Narcissism and Emotional Abuse: Paying Attention to Your Path

Many of our blogs identify the narcissist as “him” and the victim as “her.” While most of our content leans that way, and most of the couples who seek our help lean that way, the reality is, not all narcissists are men, nor are women the only victims. We are all, male and female, quite capable of being absolutely arrogant, carelessly emotionally destructive, and acrimoniously self-protective. And the outcome is the same: relationships marred by trauma, brokenness, and deep pain. We end up in relationships that are shallow, void of connection, and wracked with fear and confusion.
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A Woman Scorned

By the time most couples seek help with their marriage, anger is a profound element of the relationship. I’ve also noticed, however, that it’s common for neither party to acknowledge their own anger, although they can often easily point out the anger within their spouse. Wives might bring up their husband’s outbursts, raging, or controlling behavior. Husbands tend to point out their wife’s lack of forgiveness, withdrawal, or depression. Each of them feels fairly justified in what they’re allowing to brew under the surface of their behavior, without recognizing how much damage their anger is doing.
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How do I Know if he’s Really Changing?

Lisa had recently realized that her marriage wasn’t functioning well. She had wrapped her life around Joe, managing the house, the kids, and the schedule to cater to his expectations. Now, several years in, she was becoming aware of some important issues, namely (1) Joe’s “expectations” randomly changed, (2) he did not take her seriously, and (3) he had no real empathy or understanding of her, nor did he seem to want to.
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Narcissistic Traits or Malignant Narcissism?

No one deserves to be mistreated by another. No one! To be insulated from mistreatment, however, we must always be on the alert for those who would mistreat us. First, let me be clear: any form of narcissism is destructive. Yet, it is one thing to experience abuse at the hands of someone with narcissistic traits and something altogether more debilitating if the abuse has been perpetrated by a malignant narcissist.
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Is Your Marriage Making You Sick?

For years researchers have championed the positive aspects of being married. Healthy marriages offer us opportunities to have a partner in facing stress, a mate for vacations, not to mention a companion in achieving many of life’s goals. Friend, partner, and even soul-mate. When a marriage is functioning effectively, even our bodies reflect the healing power of close and intimate friendship. But, what happens when your marriage is fraught with bickering and emotional abuse? Medical professionals are quick to inform us about the impact of stress on our bodies. We need to pay attention to what emotional tension does to
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What He Wants Her to Know

A while ago, I produced a series of videos called What She Wants Him to Know. I tried to capture the sentiment of what emotionally abused women desperately want their mate to know and understand about them—that they need to be seen as individuals and encouraged to find and speak their voice, to be empathized with and valued, to have their anger and hurt understood, and for men to go on their own journey of in-depth healing. They want the abuse to stop so healing can begin.
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Letting Go of Snooping

I need the truth to get back to normal. The first thing we tend to do when our spouse does something to cause suspicion is go digging, scrounging up any and every possible detail and angle we can find to help us “know” what is really going on. Suddenly, we have a desperation to fit pieces together that we didn’t even realize were missing or to find evidence to disprove what we now “know” so we can “go back to normal.”
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Is emotional abuse contagious?

“I can’t believe the way I act toward my husband,” a client told me recently. “I speak in ways I never used to. I call him names, just like he does to me. I respond to him in the same angry tone he uses. I’m not proud of it, but it happens.” I often share with couples that “emotions are contagious.” Think about the last time someone spoke harshly to you. Did you speak harshly back or at least consider doing so? It is tempting to react to provocative behavior by acting in a similar manner. We’ve all done it.
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