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Because narcissists are master manipulators, they have a way of completely distorting your sense of reality, thus leading you into a world of confusion about what is going on. I know it may sound crazy, but it isn’t always easy to spot abuse, especially in the case of the narcissist.

Narcissists are individuals who have a personality disorder known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Typical traits of this disorder are a lack of empathy, a grandiose sense of self, a constant need for attention, and a lack of regard for others. Much like many other disorders, this disorder manifests on a spectrum. However, for the most part, narcissists are abusive by nature.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way excusing the behavior of the narcissist with their mental illness. Abuse is abuse no matter who it comes from, or what their situation is. And the sooner you recognize the abuse, the sooner you can find freedom from it. In a situation of abuse, the best thing to do is to part ways from the abuser. Unfortunately, narcissists can make it difficult to spot their abuse, unless you know what to look for. Here are 12 signs the person you are with is an abusive narcissist.

1. Your partner belittles you when they are angry or don’t get their way.

Everyone says things they don’t mean when they are upset or angry. And while all people are flawed, narcissists take it to a whole other level. When a narcissistic partner doesn’t get their way, they become downright emotionally abusive. They may call you childish, stupid, crazy, or whatever they believe will hurt you the most.

2. Your partner gaslights you.

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that is downright abusive. Put simply, gaslighting is when someone makes you doubt your sense of reality. Examples of this might be telling you that “You don’t remember that correctly, because you are crazy,” or if you call them out for their abuse, they may say, “That never happened, this is how it happened.” Other ways narcissists gaslight is working to undermine your sanity. They may even tell others you are crazy regularly, even though you are of sound mind.

3. Your partner does extremely aggressive things to you, only to apologize after, but never changes.

When your partner violates your boundaries or acts aggressively or disrespectfully towards you, they hesitantly apologize. Even if they seem sincere, they never follow through and treat you better and the same bad behaviors keep happening over and over again.

4. You feel isolated from the rest of the world.

Your partner has worked to isolate you, either by telling you outright that you cannot have certain people in your life or by picking fights with everyone you love and care about. Your support system has drastically dwindled, and sometimes you wonder if your partner is trying to keep you away from everyone you know and love.

5. Your partner uses triangulation to manipulate you.

During arguments, your partner brings in a third party and only tells them their side of the argument to try to manipulate you into seeing things their way. Another example of triangulation is when you are in a relationship with someone, and they bring in someone of the opposite sex to make you jealous.

6. When your partner doesn’t get their way, they stonewall you.

Stonewalling is when you are in the midst of a discussion and your partner simply shuts down and refuses to communicate. This can make it very hard to express how you feel or even work through a serious issue.

7. Your partner never takes full responsibility for their actions.

When your partner does something wrong, they refuse to accept full responsibility. They may say things like, “I’m sorry, but if you would have just done what I asked you to, I wouldn’t be acting this way,” or “If you would just shut up, I wouldn’t throw things at you.”

8. Your partner makes everything a power struggle.

Every situation with your partner feels like a power struggle. They want full control over you and refuse to let you make any major decisions or do anything without them asserting dominance over you and the situation.

9. Your partner is very volatile.

Partners of narcissists often report feeling like their partner is extremely volatile. You never know what to expect from a narcissist and because of this, you will always have to walk on eggshells around them.

10. Your partner doesn’t care about how you feel.

When you try to voice your feelings and concerns to your partner, they don’t seem to care to hear what you have to say. They lack empathy and don’t often consider how anyone else feels but themselves. When you explain how you feel, it’s like talking to a wall.

11. You are beginning to blame yourself for their missteps.

Because of their blame-shifting and manipulation, sometimes you wonder if the abuse is your fault. At the same time, you know that what they are doing is wrong, but they have your mind so up and down, that it’s hard to know what is what.

12. Your partner was once a charming person, but now that has changed.

When you first met, this person seemed like the greatest person in the world. Unfortunately, over time, their behaviors have changed immensely, and it’s almost as though you don’t even know who this person is.