Narcissism and Abuse

by Caroline, a Hotline advocate

narcissistTrying to find an explanation for an abusive partner’s behavior can be an exhausting task. It is natural to want to understand how someone we care deeply about, who says they care for us, is capable of saying and doing things to us that are hurtful or even dangerous. Additionally, the sheer amount of articles and opinions on abusive behaviors can become overwhelming. Terms like narcissistic, antisocial/sociopath or borderline personality often come up in that search for answers. Many of these labels are used loosely in the media we read and watch, and here on the lines, we hear them a lot.

“I think my partner is a narcissist.”

“Narcissist” is one of the more common terms we hear from callers and chatters about their abusive partners. This word is most often used to describe a person who is egotistic or self-serving and does not acknowledge the feelings of others. It is important to remember that narcissistic characteristics can show up to varying degrees in any person, but this is not necessarily an indicator that a person is dealing with a personality disorder.

A person who has narcissistic personality disorder, as described in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-IV), shows extreme, rigid and consistent expressions of narcissism, including:

  • Expectations of superior treatment from others
  • Fixations on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
  • A belief that they are unique, superior and associated with high-status people and institutions
  • Needing constant admiration from others
  • A sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
  • Exploitation of others to achieve personal gain
  • An unwillingness to empathize with others’ feelings, wishes or needs
  • Intense jealousy of others and the belief that others are equally jealous of them
  • Pompous and arrogant demeanor

Whether using the DSM or an internet search, it’s easy to see how these traits might sound spot-on to describe abusive partners. The same can also be said of characteristics of other personality disorders. It can feel empowering to be able to define your partner using these commonly-cited personality disorders. But, labeling a person with a diagnosis without intensive knowledge and experience, or based on generalizations, can be problematic in a few ways.

Although disorders and diagnoses are often go-to explanations for abusive behavior, we know that mental health issues do not excuse or directly cause intimate partner abuse. At this time, there is no research that conclusively shows that a higher percentage of abusive partners deal with mental illness or disorders (including narcissistic personality disorder) than the general population. Some abusive partners may be living with narcissistic personality disorder, but many of them are not. And while people managing mental health disorders may face the stigma of violence or abuse, it’s important to understand that having a mental health disorder does not mean that a person will be emotionally or physically abusive. There is no causational link between mental health issues and the choice to abuse one’s partner.

Connecting an abusive partner’s abusive behaviors with a disorder can also blur the line between free will and something seen as “unchangeable.” Many disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder, are marked by a person’s inability to identify their behaviors as unhealthy or show empathy to those affected by their actions, greatly reducing the possibility of change. When people consider their partner’s behavior in this way and apply a label like “narcissist,” it may lead to a belief that their partner has no control over their behavior, or even a feeling of acceptance of their behavior.

Or, a person might feel that if only their partner could get diagnosed, they could get some combination of medication and therapy to turn things around. However, medication is not a fix-all, and is not appropriate for everyone managing a mental health disorder. It is also important to keep in mind that medication is not a treatment method for abusive behaviors. Abusive behavior would need to be addressed separately. We know that whether someone has a mental health disorder or not, they are always in control of their choices and abuse is a choice that someone makes. Therefore, medication cannot be an appropriate solution.

Mental health disorders are commonly used as a way to justify and excuse abusive behaviors, when in reality an abusive partner is in control of their actions. Abusers often minimize or deny their behaviors, or even shift the blame to the non-abusive person. While it can feel like your partner ”just doesn’t get it” and lacks self-awareness, this is often an emotionally abusive tactic used to make the other partner question themselves. It is not uncommon for an abusive partner, whether they are managing a mental health disorder or not, to use that as an excuse for their behaviors. We often point to a few signs that highlight an abusive partner’s ability to choose or control their behaviors:

  • They choose to limit how far the abuse goes and when it happens. For example, they will become physically threatening but not hit their partner. Or, they will be abusive only in ways that cannot be recorded by their partner as evidence.
  • They only behave abusively toward their partner. Someone managing a personality disorder will exhibit behaviors across the different areas of their life, not just with their partner. That means, if a person is manipulative with their partner, they will act similarly at work, with friends, or in other social settings. This often makes it difficult to maintain both professional and personal relationships, in addition to their intimate partnerships.
  • Their behaviors escalate. While the dynamic of a person’s mental health can change over time and circumstance, behaviors are generally consistent over time. One tactic abusive partners use is choosing not to behave abusively during certain periods, but gradually intensifying the abuse as the relationship progresses. An abusive partner manages how their behaviors present over time.

It’s important to understand that whether or not your partner is dealing with a mental health issue or disorder, you are not responsible for their behaviors. Your partner could be diagnosed with a personality disorder and still choose to not be manipulative and controlling. If your partner is dealing with mental health issues, that is something they will need to acknowledge and seek support for on their own. The same is true for getting support in addressing abusive behaviors. If your partner is abusive, their behavior is never something you can cause and is not something you can “fix.” In the end, a person must actively choose for themselves to take the steps needed to make a change.

If you have questions or concerns about your partner’s behavior, reach out to our advocates by calling 1-800-799-7233 (24/7) or chatting via this website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time.

37 replies
  1. Nina says:

    I’m. I am Australia… Totally traumatised. Staying at mother’s made it worse, I’m crazy, I’ve become narcissistic, I fear for my sanity here. I was so to a psychiatrist who said domestic violence is a figment the of a depressed woman’s mind… I’m sick in need of medication, I was terrified of the doctor stopped it a d he pushed, I was do messed up by the poisoning effects of the tablets that I coy don’t think straight. There is nowhere here that supports narc victims. DV is all about physical abuse. I’ve turned on myself, I’m a narc now, to myself to people who loved me thanks to my mother, my sister her partner who is a selfish abusive, self gratifying man.
    I stopped looking after myself. I took the horrid drugs, I destroyed my health. I had ways out but did t take them. I’m abusive to my mother. I hate myself, but I was not evil not till now.
    I don’t believe I don’t God but he gave me ways out I didn’t succeed.

    Reply
    • The Hotline says:

      Hi Nina,

      Thank you for your comment. This sounds like an extremely difficult situation. It’s very concerning that you were told by a psychiatrist that domestic violence is not real. That is absolutely not true. You deserve support, both for the trauma you have experienced and for your addictions. While we only serve residents of the U.S., there are available resources in Australia. Here is a listing of organizations in Australia that may be able to help (please note that we have not vetted all organizations listed, but it’s a good place to start). We wish you the very best. Please take care.

      Reply
    • The Hotline says:

      Hi Crystal,

      It can be so scary to reach out for help, but you have already shown courage by coming to our website and leaving a comment. If you’d like to speak confidentially with a Hotline advocate, please give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 (24/7) or chat here on our website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time whenever you feel ready to do so. We’ll be happy to help in any way we can.

      Reply
      • Melissa says:

        I’m feeling like I am going crazy right now. My boyfriend has been stealing from me for years. He has pawned so much of my stuff. He has stole money, my social security number and opened credit cards. I recently paid the vet bill for his mom. I asked one of her employees if he could give me the money directly and not to my boyfriend. Obviously because he is always stealing from me and I didn’t want him to steal this money. He has been screaming at me all night that it was unnecessary that I asked for the money and how everyone thinks it is so wrong of me to do that. I replied well it’s because u are always stealing from me. He continues screaming and says his famous quote in order to dismiss everything he has ever done, “it’s in the past”. Me: well u stole $70 from me last week. And u stole my necklace and pawned it. Am I wrong for protecting myself by asking someone I helped by lending them money to pay me back directly?

        Reply
        • The Hotline says:

          Hi Melissa,

          Thank you for sharing your story with our community. It’s not wrong to ask to be repaid when you have loaned money to someone. However, the bigger issue that concerns us here is that it sounds like you are experiencing extreme financial abuse. Stealing money from you, opening credit cards in your name and selling your belongings without your permission are very abusive behaviors, and your boyfriend has no right to do these things. He also does not have the right to verbally abuse you by screaming at you when you confront him about his behavior. We would like to help in any way we can. If you feel safe doing so, we encourage you to contact us by calling 1-800-799-7233 (24/7) or chatting here on our website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time. Our services are completely free and confidential.

          Reply
  2. Norma says:

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    I was in an mentally, emotinally nd physically abusive relationship … nd i left almost 2 months ago. I miss the abuse…..ALL OF IT. Is there something wrong with me. When we were together nd he would hit me i would touch the area for days or weeks after just to feel the pain.

    Reply
    • The Hotline says:

      Hi Norma,

      Thank you for sharing your comment with our community. There is nothing wrong with you. You have experienced trauma, and people react to trauma in many different ways. If you’d like to talk things through with a Hotline advocate, we’re here for you. Call 1-800-799-7233 any time, or chat here on our website from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Central time.

      Reply
  3. Tarah says:

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    Hi. I left an abusive relationship after I gave birth to my daughter. I was abused emotionally, financially & traingulated with pics & threats of his affairs. I was recently granted a permanent restraining order against him for harassment & calling our daughter a baby bitch. Even though I’ve been in [REDACTED], I’m severely depressed because he continues to blame me for all of his wrongs, threatens me with his current relationship by saying that woman is better than me & denies that he’s the father of our daughter. I’m still heartbroken. I know he doesn’t deserve us but I was hoping he would do the work he needs to get better than start a new relationship.
    He abused me severely. He serial cheated, wished death on our unborn daughter & I, sent naked pics of the women he was dating to me. Even the house he’s renting that we were going to live in was obtained through an affair. The woman he had an affair with is his landlord’s sister. He told me all this in a fit of rage when I was pregnant. I was devastated & thought I would lose my baby. I lost weight when I was pregnant & was thankful when my baby was born a healthy 7lbs. I never had anyone treat me so cruely. Since I filed the RO, he has contacted me but hasn’t been verbally abusive. Emotionally abusive yes.
    I miss him & I wanted our family so bad. But I know that’s impossible since he refuses to be accountable & continues to lie & blame me for his faults. He also has other ROs from previous girlfriends & his ex wife. I know I’m not a fault but I can’t help to feel that I’m to blame for some & I feel bad that my daughter has not seen her father & vice versa. I’m very depressed.

    Reply
    • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

      Hi Tarah,

      Thank you for sharing your story with our community. It sounds like you have been through so much pain. Please know that you are not to blame for any of your ex’s behavior. He has made the choice to be abusive, time and time again. You do not deserve to be treated this way. We hope that you and your daughter are in a safe place. We are here for you if you’d like to talk through this situation. We can also recommend some additional resources that might help. Please give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 (24/7) or chat here on our website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time whenever you feel ready to do so.

      Reply
  4. TJAI says:

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    Ive read numerous articles regarding narcissist and domestic violence. I know for a fact that my partner was a narcissist. I’ve questioned my sanity tons of times. I had a child for this narcissist. I knew him from years ago we finally got back in touch through social media. He had nothing I welcomed him into my home with my son. We had a baby together a year later. He got after my child and said it was my fault because I never disciplined him and that I let him do whatever he wanted. He started spanking him and poking my him in the chest whenever he asked for something. He choked me and pushed me down and would poke me in the chest hard whenever I told him not to treat my son like that. I gave him money to support his smoking drinking and gambling habit. He found a job but i still paid for everything. We been apart 7 months he moved on after the 1st month apart. Hes currently with his coworker. He claims hes changed for her. That he would do anything for her because shes worth it. It seems as though he has changed hes helping her with her kids etc. I on the other hand am taking it day by day. I dont know why I miss him and why I think hell apoligize and come back to me and the son i had for him.

    Reply
    • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

      Hi TJAI,

      Thank you for sharing your story with our community. This sounds like such a difficult and heartbreaking situation, and we’re so sorry your partner chose to treat you and your son that way. It sounds like you did all you could to make the relationship work, but the truth is, nothing you could do or say could make your partner change. It’s understandable that you would want him to apologize and be a family with you and your son, but his choices and his behavior are always up to him. We’d be happy to talk through this more with you. Feel free to call us any time at 1-800-799-7233 or chat here on our website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time.

      Reply
  5. Jonas says:

    [Admin note: This comment has been edited for safety according to our community guidelines]

    I need help to get away from the Narssistic Abuse!! Can anyone help me please? My grandma, mom, sister, stepfather, and brother are all Narcistic & sabatoge any & every chance I have to get away! I don’t have any friends & nowhere to go or how to get on my feet!! I’m willing to move anywhere as long as I can survive this abuse I’ve endured all my life!! My family has started gas lighting me all at one time & I am starting to feel like there’s no way out!! 2 other family members have died due to the abuse & I don’t want to be the third!! Someone please help me!!

    Reply
    • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

      Hi Jonas,

      Thank you for reaching out to us. This sounds like such a scary and difficult situation; you do not deserve to be treated this way by your family, and it’s very concerning that the abuse has affected other family members as well. Our expertise is with intimate partner violence, so we definitely recommend that you reach out to the BoysTown (http://www.boystown.org/) Hotline at 1-800-448-3000. They specialize in family violence. For services in your local area, you might try calling 2-1-1 (211.org). In the meantime, please stay safe and know that you are not alone.

      Reply
  6. Jack says:

    I’m currently have a child with a woman that I live with. She literally goes on screaming rants for 30 minutes at a time not even caring that our 15 month old is right next to her. We’ve been living together for 2 years now and nothing is ever good enough. After having the baby I decided to buy a house to raise a family. She was all for this but within a week of moving in, she keeps threatening me that she wants to go back to Las Vegas and is taking my child. I also took in her 2 other children and try to give them a good life. She hits her children and is emotionally abusive with them also. She puts us down on a daily basis and will not let anyone just be themselves. When we have dinner we can’t talk or she goes into a rage if the conversation doesn’t go her way. If someone talks while she’s eating she literally blows up and says we ruined dinner. When I try to have a conversation with her out about the way she is acting she will over power me with words, get louder, and blame me for everything. I lost the love the moment I brought my adoptive autistic Son for a weekend and she treated him horrible. Told me to tell him not to talk around her and called him a retard when he wasn’t in the room. She has sucked the life out of me and I don’t know what I can do. I pay all the bills and my only way out is to give her the house I bought and rent a place of my own. This would be a temporary solution because I can’t pay for both places long. I don’t see her ever moving on and paying for her own place. I’m also worried that my daughter is going to be like her if I’m not around to teach her to think logically and be a good person. Every conversation is all about her and her problems. If I talk about something in my life she turns it into a negative thing usually beating me down about whatever the problem is. I’m literally in a living hell, sleeping on the couch in a 3 bedroom house that I pay for with no way out. She is unstable and telling me if I don’t move out she is going to put me through hell and one of us will end up dead. She will say all these crazy things but then ask me to help her the next day like nothing ever happened. I need help

    Reply
    • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

      Hi Jack,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. This sounds like such a difficult situation, and we’re so sorry to hear that your partner is treating you and your children this way. You all deserve to live in a respectful, loving home. We’d like to help in any way we can. Please give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 anytime, or chat here on our website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time.

      Reply
  7. Nat says:

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for 7 years .. We live together going on 3 years .. I find once he gets truly upset he begins to swear and yell at me

    Tonight I was a little late coming home from my best friends house he was slightly mad but we sat to watch a Movie .. After I didn’t want to have sex with him so he got so angry telling me “to leave and get out for being a bitch ” and I did leave as he threatened to hit me

    After an hour I returned to bed and he seemed okay and gave me a kiss ….40 mins later he started yelling once again this time he hit me twice on my back until I left and moved the dresser so I wouldn’t come back in

    Reply
    • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

      Hi Nat,

      Thank you for your comment. From what you’ve shared, your boyfriend’s behavior is very concerning. Swearing, yelling and calling you names, hitting you or threatening you for not wanting to have sex are abusive behaviors, and you do not deserve to be treated this way. If you feel ready to speak confidentially with an advocate, we can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or you can chat live via this website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time. We can offer support, resources, help you safety plan, or assist with whatever you might need to feel safe.

      Reply
  8. Kristyn says:

    [Admin note: This comment has been edited for safety per our community guidelines]

    My husband is not the abuser but I get it from my family. My brother and my mother. I also am extremely worried my Internet usage is being monitored somehow. This emotional abuse has gone on for way too long. In 2014 I was bullied from some friends and made a bad design about a house I moved into. My mother told me I was crazy a year after we moved into it. An ex friend told me I better be careful I might wind up in a mental hospital AFTER I was there several years ago. I hate this house I am isolated. Emotionally abused and isolated but now I just fight back because I am stronger and NOT crazy and sick of their dumb games. I want out and I am frustrated with my words bouncing back and being taken from me. They are doing this. Please how do I get out

    Reply
    • Kristyn says:

      [Admin note: This comment has been edited for safety per our community guidelines]

      My husband makes me feel isolated in this house though and he ruined our last anniversary. As well as undermining my feelings OFTEN

      Reply
    • Kristyn says:

      [Admin note: This comment has been edited for safety per our community guidelines]

      My Facebook is heavily monitored. I don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone. I just whoever is monitoring it to get sued because they have no right. I thought this was private. Even my so called private phone calls about my physical health. They claim it’s private so why is it eveywhere. I want this to stop I fed up. I will call and HOPE it is private

      Reply
      • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

        Hi Kristyn,

        Thanks for sharing your story here. It’s very brave of you to reach out for help. From what you’ve shared, it sounds like you are experiencing abuse from your family as well as your husband. Monitoring your digital activity, isolating you, and undermining your feelings are all very concerning behaviors, and you do not deserve to be treated this way by anyone. It is possible for someone to monitor your internet and phone usage. If you’d like to speak confidentially with a Hotline advocate and worry that your conversation will be monitored, you might consider using a safe phone or device that your family and husband do not have access to, if possible – perhaps at a friend’s or neighbor’s house, a local library or church. We are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or you can chat live via this website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time.

        Reply
  9. crystal says:

    Reading this article I feel like I’m not crazy. I question my own sanity when I speak to my partner. Ive been with him for 7 years and grew up in an abusive household. He refuses to get a job and puts me down for having one. He says he’s done more important things in his 20s than I will ever do in my pathetic life. He had a job 1 time since I’ve been with him and uses it to say how I’d be homeless without an extra persons income on the paperwork because he is such a saint who has rescued me from poverty. He calls me white trash because some of my family is poor and calls me stupid for being with someone who takes advantage of me. He says all the physical abuse and name calling is my fault and I’m the abusive one. Sometimes I believe him, especially the bit about me ruining his life which was so great and privileged. I think I have the courage to leave him now after all this time thank to everybody’s stories. I don’t feel like I’m insane anymore.

    Reply
    • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

      Hi crystal,

      Thanks for your comment, and for sharing your story. We’re so glad to hear that this post was helpful to you. Your partner’s abusive behavior is absolutely not your fault. You deserve to be in a mutually safe, respectful and supportive relationship. It’s wonderful that you feel you have to courage to leave this relationship. We are here to support you, if you need us.

      Reply
  10. Anna says:

    [Admin note: This comment has been edited for safety per our community guidelines]

    I have been married for 12 years.. My husband can be emotionally abusive where he feels the need to occasionally swear at me in front of our 2 children which upsets me. Some words very cutting like insufferable bitch, idiot, feeling the need to mention his degrees and that I have no idea what I am talking about when in argument.. I feel empty and he has tried to be close with me but I am spent and explained when he swears at me I check out and that there are never apologies for this behaviour and that this isn’t a good example for the children.. They deserve to have a good relationship with good role models for them to grow into healthy relationships.. Am I wrong in feeling like this? I cannot leave as I don’t have a job.. I am 50 and he is the breadwinner and with school and schedule the only option is a supermarket of which makes me feel more worthless..

    Reply
    • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

      Hi Anna,

      Thank you for your comment. You are brave to reach out and share your story. It’s not okay for your husband to treat you this way, and your feelings are not wrong. You deserve to be treated with respect and not be belittled or called names, and your children deserve to grow up with models of healthy relationships. You say you cannot leave, but we would be happy to talk through options with you, whether you decide to leave or not. If you feel safe doing so, please call us anytime at 1-800-799-7233 or chat here on our website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time.

      Reply
      • ibtissem says:

        [Admin note: this comment has been edited for safety per our community guidelines]

        hello, thank you for your article. I don’t know what i’m doing bit this is my first time commenting on a website. i’m a woman married to a manipulative narcissist for the past 19 months. I am lost and I need help, I really don’t know what I should do or go. I married this man running away from my father who is a control freak and never let me work. I was patient because eof my mother’s health and our conservatIive family. then this prince charming came to me with all the beautiful promises and happiness in the world. we organized a beautiful wedding and I was the happiest woman on earth. Three days after my marriage I discovered that he had another face, he screamed at me just because I didn’t prepare dinner. this moment I realised that I was trapped by the false face he was wearing. the story goes on and on every time I try to leave him he either return to the idealisation phase or blame me for stupid mistakes. my problem is that I cannot return to my father and my narcissist doesn’t let me work and I have the capacity to do so and break free. I tried working online, I created many websites but everytime I do a step forward my wolf husband comes across and my father from behind. He recently hit me after that I told him why did you turn off your phone while some friends were waiting for us for dinner, he hated these people and always criticises them since they have happy families and successful jobs. I need help

        Reply
        • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

          Hello ibtissem,

          Thank you for your comment. It’s very brave of you to reach out for help. This sounds like such a difficult and scary situation. Abusive partners are very good at manipulation, and they often show different “sides” of themselves at different times to different people. This is one tactic they use to control their partners. It is not your fault that your partner chooses to behave this way toward you, and it is definitely not okay or acceptable. Our services are U.S.-based, so if you are living in the United States, we would be happy to help in any way we can. Please call us at 1-800-799-7233 (24/7), or you can chat here on our website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time to speak confidentially with an advocate.

          Reply
  11. Mav says:

    I was a victim of both verbal abuse and physical abuse. I am not a woman. The abuser was my wife. She attacked me after I caught her texting intimate messages to a male friend. Make a long story short, she ended calling the police after I left the house to get away from her. The next day when I returned, the police came to the house and arrested me. I went to trial and was proven innocent. She had admitted to the police of striking me, and yet, I still ended getting arrested when she should have been the one getting arrested. I went to court and was able to prove innocence. Unfortunately, the prosecutor did not pursue a case against her even after she admitted to the jury, in front of a judge, under oath, in a court of law of assaulting me. Why doesn’t anyone think that the female can also be the abusive one in the relationships? You don’t believe that? Read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from its National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Also, read the article by Jenna Birch, “The Number of Male Domestic Abuse Victims Is Shockingly High- So Why Don’t We Hear About Them?” We as a society need to realize that abuse is also happening to men at the same rates as women. We need to increase the resources and give them the same amount of help and support as we do to the women. I hope this website brings more awareness of this situation by posting more resources, articles, support services and other publications that men can go to for help. We have the Battered Women Protection Act, but we don’t have anything for the men. Why not when the CDC study clearly shows that men are just as much the victim at more or the same rate as women are. I’m not trying to take away from the rights of women victims. But I do feel we should have equal rights and resources for male victims as well. The police, the justice system and support centers need to be aware of this and realize that abuse goes both ways and the victim can be a male as well and give them the help they need.

    Reply
    • HotlineAdmin_KW says:

      Hello Mav,

      Thank you for your comment. No matter what, you do not deserve to be abused in any way. At The Hotline, we know that anyone can be a victim of abuse – including men. We acknowledge abuse occurs across all genders and we serve anyone who is experiencing abuse. If you would like to reach out to an advocate about your experience, we are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 and we are available to chat everyday from 7am to 2am CST.

      Reply
      • Dave says:

        You say that this is for men too, but is that really how it is working? I too have been falsely accused by two separate women in two separate relationships. Just that fact makes me guilty in the court of public opinion. After the second woman (my current wife) made false accusations with her lawyer (a DV specialist working out of a woman’s shelter), I went to counseling and they helped me discover the emotional abuse I have been suffering my entire life. With me, it’s really as simple as going back to the abuse from my mom and then I continued to choose to be with women like this. Currently, my wife is holding me and my son hostage by threatening to use these false claims to gain full custody. My career is in a downward spiral as I devote all my energy to protecting my son as we are both subject to continual emotional abuse. There’s nothing I can do. I call the hotline, and the moment I mention the past false accusations, everything changes and the person I’m talking to basically refuses to help. If it is a man I’m talking to, they seem to be a bit more understanding. As is, your resources are being used to enable my and my son’s abuser be arming her with legitimate threats and a lawyer who is willing to treat accidental bumping while sitting down on the couch as a “pattern of physical abuse.” This system is sick and disgusting in its ignorance of how men and children are emotionally abused by women.

        Reply
        • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

          Hi Dave,

          Thank you for your comment and for sharing your story with our community. This sounds like such a frustrating and difficult situation, and we’re so sorry to hear that you have not found the support or justice you seek. I don’t know if you have contacted our hotline before, but I encourage you to do so. We may be able to help you identify additional options for your situation. We’re here 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233, or you can chat online from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Central time.

          Reply
  12. Lee says:

    I see again that even in this site that all of the ABUSE seems to point to the ” MALE ” partner as the abuser. I am a disabled male that is struggling through the difficulty of becoming disabled, & since becoming disabled, my wife began a relationship with another man. I have not been able to maintain friendships or the like because she is so controlling & continues to lie to everyone to try to conceal her cheating, yet there are very few resources available for a MALE that is the victim. I admit that statistics show that the man is usually the guilty party, but this only seems to empower the female abusers as others always see the female as the victim even before they know all the circumstances. I had this happen to me even when it was me who called the police. All she had to do was lie her way out of the situation & I somehow turned out to be the perpetrator instead of the victim. Now because of this stigma, my hands are tied and I am forced to live with my wife while she continues to carry on an extramarital affair. It isn’t fair at all. Every thing I once owned is stolen, my wife sleeps with her FRIEND in the other room and gets away with it because she lies her way out of everything & even this app shows that society never considers the husband getting abused. It’s this same stigma that prevents me from being able to get any help from any resources. Everyone I spoke to tells me right out that they don’t have resources available for men and some very manipulative women take full advantage of this fact and even use it as part of their attics to continue to carry on the way they want to. I installed this app hoping to find help for a MARRIAGE OF 17 YEARS that has been in ruins for the past two years. Once again, I discover that all the help is available for women and the men are forced out by the very stigma that sites like this, whether by intention or not, seem to help only woman. Thanks and GOD BLESS YOU. Lee

    Reply
    • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

      Hello Lee,

      Thank you for your comment. We’re so sorry to hear that your partner is treating you this way. At The Hotline, we know that anyone, of any gender, can be a victim of abuse – including men. No matter what, you do not deserve to be abused in any way. We are here to support anyone who has experienced abuse, and I encourage you to contact us whenever you feel safe doing so. Advocates are available 24/7 by calling 1-800-799-7233, or you can chat here on our website daily between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time.

      Reply
  13. Heather says:

    I am offended by this article. It absolutely needs to be fact checked. Yes, it “says” a personality disorder does not excuse abuse but that’s not how it reads. Narcissists are so covert and methodical their partners suffer extreme psychological and emotional abuse and almost always believe they are going crazy. I find it extremely difficult to believe there is no increase or correlation between domestic abuse and personality disorders. It’s also complely untrue that a narcissist will have apparent problems across all their relationships. Infact the NEED to appear perfect and the best is paramount to a narcissist. They are often described as the “nicest guy” and charming. Their coworkers and family only see and know what the Narcissist WANTS them to. They are experts at it. Those of us who research the behavior of our abusers read everything we can. It’s like being struck by lightning when we come across the definition and criteria for Narcissism or any other term that fits our experience. We find hundreds of stories that are so similar they could come from one victim, they are our story. It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to put two and two together. The majority of narcissistic abuse victims suffer from some form of PTSD. The basic premise of this article suggests victims are wrong. Doctors and Psychologists who think victims just throw words like “narcissist or sociopath” around are causing more harm, instead, a victim who uses these terms should set off alarm bells. The LAST thing we need is someone else who denies our reality and reinforces the belief that something is wrong with us.

    Reply
    • HotlineAdmin_BR says:

      Hello Heather,

      Thank you so much for taking time to form this thoughtful response. Please know that this blog post was not meant to blame or shame survivors for wanting to find answers to their partners’ behaviors, or to discredit that an abusive person can also be dealing with a personality disorder. Individuals are complex and dynamic, and making a blanket statement would understandably leave a lot of other considerations out of a person’s life. We absolutely support a survivor’s right to define their own experience, and we do trust that they are the experts in their own situation. The field of psychology itself is very nuanced, and we are not here to make any definitive statements about mental health. Rather, our expertise lies in the field domestic violence where we engage with abusive partners who both are and are not managing personality disorders. We also encounter abusive partners who themselves use mental health to justify their behaviors, versus taking responsibility for their actions. At the National Domestic Violence Hotline, we believe abuse is a choice, and not one that anyone has to make. This post was written to give some perspective to a term that is frequently used to excuse or explain intimate partner violence. We know that personality disorders and the spectrum of mental health are very complex, and we aim to always keep that in mind when offering information that empowers survivors. We also believe that there are no excuses for someone to be abusive, and mental health issue or not, your partner is responsible for controlling or recognizing their behaviors, and for seeking the help they need.

      Reply
    • Wyona says:

      [Admin note: This username has been edited for safety per our community guidelines]

      This is so true. I do not understand why the victim is always attacked.

      Reply

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