Would you recognize it if the dynamics of your relationship began to shift into emotional abuse? Sometimes it can be difficult to notice these changes right away. Perhaps that’s where the old saying “love is blind” come from. However, in a healthy relationship you should feel a growing sense of support and empowerment – not the opposite. Lessening self-esteem, low motivation, increased isolation from others (either through your choosing or simply to please your partner) can all be red-flags.
Recently, there’s been a lot of press regarding Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a relatively rare diagnosis, in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. It’s important to note however that the personality trait of narcissism falls on a spectrum, so a true diagnosis isn’t necessary to experience its erosive effects.
Gestalt therapy trainer Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D., clarifies some of the terms for tactics that are often used by narcissists:
1. Gaslighting – when someone refuses to admit they’ve done wrong even when they have been caught. They will try to convince the other person otherwise.
2. Flying monkeys – Narcissists enlist “friends” to help talk badly about someone the narcissist doesn’t like. The narcissist will make lies that will make the other person look bad in order to look like the victim.
3. Going “Gray Rock” – When interacting with a narcissist, your manner is “boring, unemotional, and neutral.”
4. Love Bombing – Narcissists courtship tactics. Think of it as positive attention in ways so the narcissist gets what they want, but once they are satisfied, the ‘love-bombing’ will stop.
5. Hoovering – Essentially, a way of manipulation by way of actions of words like when trying to get an ex back in a relationship. Saying the things that need to be said in order to regain their attraction.
If you recognize your relationship being affected by some of these tactics, then a trained counselor may be able to help you and partner create a healthier communication dynamic.
Wise Counseling, Inc. offers both individual and couples counseling aimed at empowering you to create your greatest quality of life. We also specialize in EMDR Therapy to help you address past trauma – and break free from unhealthy life patterns. Offices in both Fort Myers and Naples. Please allow us to be your partner in wellness.