People who have narcissistic personality disorder, which is a mental illness, often exhibit what's called narcissistic abuse. This can range from emotional blackmail to gaslighting behavior and everything in between. Of course, narcissists aren't the only people who can be abusive, but if you're experiencing these behaviors from someone close to you, it's important for your own self-worth that you seek healthier relationships:

Belittling someone's opinions

This can be a tricky one to handle because it's so subtle. A person who is very narcissistic may not say anything directly, but will make their partner feel small and unimportant by what they say or how they act. For example, let's say that your partner says something like this: "I don't want to do that tonight."

You might think that you should just go along with this and be accommodating, but doing so is actually more harmful than helpful for your relationship in the long run. It's important for both partners to express their needs openly—even if those needs aren't fulfilled right away—because otherwise there will always be tension between them. If your partner doesn't listen to what you're saying when you try to talk about something important, it may be time for some professional help.

Emotional blackmail

Emotional blackmail is when someone threatens to do something that will make you feel guilty if you don't give them what they want. This can be anything from "If you don't take me out for dinner, I'll break up with you" to "I'll tell everyone at work about your secret identity."

Emotional blackmail is a form of manipulation, so it's important not to blame yourself. You may have been manipulated into doing something by a person who knows how much it would hurt you if they actually carried through with their threat (for example, telling friends that they're going out of town when they really aren't), but ultimately the responsibility lies with them. If someone has threatened to break up with or harm themselves unless you do what they ask, this is emotional abuse and should never be tolerated.

Using the silent treatment

One of the more common forms of abuse is the silent treatment. It's a form of passive-aggressive behavior that can be used as a weapon by narcissists to manipulate you into doing what they want. The silent treatment can also be a form of emotional blackmail, where your partner threatens to withhold affection if you don't comply with their demands.

Silent treatment is sometimes referred to as "stonewalling," which means that your partner will ignore all attempts at communication for an extended period of time—often days or weeks at a time—and refuse to acknowledge you or engage in conversation with you when they finally decide to talk again.

Controlling behavior

Controlling behavior is a form of emotional abuse. It can be hard to spot and even harder to get out of, but it's important to recognize controlling behavior when it happens in your relationship. This is because the level of manipulation involved in controlling behavior causes victims to feel like they're losing their own sense of self. If you find yourself constantly having the same argument with your partner, if they always seem angry or sad when you do something without them, or if they tell you how to spend every moment of your day—it could be an example of controlling behavior.

Controlling abusers are often seen as kind and caring people on the surface; this makes it difficult for others around them (including family members) to see what's really going on behind closed doors. They may also try not only control their partners’ actions but also their thoughts, feelings and emotions through love-bombing (where someone showers someone else with affection). If someone does this all the time or frequently tries manipulate others into doing things differently than what they want for themselves then there's likely something else at play here besides just being overly passionate about getting everything right all time long!

Being overly critical of someone

One of the most common forms of narcissistic abuse is being overly critical of someone. This can look like telling someone their appearance, weight, intelligence, personality or character is not good enough; their work isn't good enough; their behavior is not appropriate and so on. You may have heard a friend say: "I was just trying to help him when I told him that he should lose some weight" or "I am only pointing out that she dresses like a slut." In these instances they are saying they were doing something nice by offering advice but in reality they are verbally abusing others by being critical in order to get a reaction out of them.

Another form of narcissistic abuse involves making false accusations against another person under the guise that what they did was so egregious it warrants punishment (often physical). A woman might tell her husband she saw him cheating on her when really she saw nothing - even though she knows full well he would never cheat on her because he loves her too much!

Bullying and shaming

Bullying is a form of emotional abuse because it involves someone making another person feel bad about themselves. It can be done in a number of ways, but it always involves making someone feel ashamed or humiliated. For example, this can include making fun of them for something they didn’t do (like being fat), or doing something that hurts their feelings on purpose (like calling them names).

Bullying is often seen as an activity that only happens between children and teens, but adults can also bully each other at work or over the internet. This type of bullying has become more common since technology became so widespread—it's easier for people to spread rumors online than face-to-face!

In some cases, constant harassment from others makes you feel like there's no point in living anymore--this is called "suicide ideation." If you're experiencing this right now and want help getting through it safely, reach out to someone close: call 911 if you need immediate assistance; otherwise try calling 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

Gaslighting behavior

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that causes the victim to doubt their own memory and perception. It can also be used for brainwashing and control, as well as torture and coercion.

You may have heard of gaslighting in relation to movies like "Gaslight" or "Gaslight," which are based on stories written by British playwright Patrick Hamilton. In these movies, a husband tries to convince his wife that she is crazy by manipulating small things around her (for example, moving furniture) so she will think she's imagining things when they move back into place. He then tells her that it was all in her mind because he loves her so much; he's just trying to help keep her safe from herself! This type of manipulation is called “gaslighting” because it makes someone feel like they're going insane by making them question their sanity while simultaneously convincing them that nothing wrong has happened at all (in fact, everything is great!).

The term describes this type of behavior perfectly: It makes someone feel dizzy from being poisoned with carbon monoxide fumes until they don't know what reality feels like anymore. Gaslighting also serves a dual purpose: not only does it allow abusers another way of controlling their victims' emotions without physically harming them directly but also allows abusers themselves a way out when confronted about their behavior—because after all if someone else feels bad then obviously there must be something wrong with THEM instead!


Projection is the act of taking one's own unwanted thoughts, feelings or impulses and ascribing them to someone else. It's a way to externalize one’s negative qualities, so that the narcissist doesn't have to feel bad about them.

For example, imagine a woman who feels guilty about her boyfriend spending their entire relationship trying convince her that she’s never going to experience true love. Her narcissist ex-boyfriend may project his own feelings of inadequacy onto this woman by repeatedly calling her a gold digger or an opportunist because he can’t admit that he has issues with himself.

If you feel like someone is projecting their problems on you, it might be time for some self-reflection—and maybe even some therapy!

Not apologizing or admitting fault in things they did wrong

If you're dealing with a narcissist, they will never apologize or admit fault in anything they do. Instead, they'll blame it on you and find ways to make the situation your fault. For example, if they say something hurtful or insensitive and you call them out on it, the narcissist might say that "it's only natural" and try to make their point of view sound like the only one that matters. Or if there is an argument about who is at fault for something (like avoiding a conversation), the narcissist will always have an excuse ready as to why what happened was not their fault. They don't care about taking responsibility for their actions because doing so would be admitting weakness—something a narcissist cannot do!

If you're experiencing these behaviors, you deserve healthier relationships.

You deserve better. You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, not like a doormat or an object to be used for someone else's benefit. You don't have to put up with this kind of abuse anymore!

You are a human being, not a possession or an object that can be used to meet the needs of another person's ego or desires. If you're experiencing these behaviors from someone close to you, then it's time for change—and we're here to help support your decision to leave unhealthy relationships behind and move forward into happiness with healthier people in your life.


Whether you've been the victim of narcissistic abuse or not, it's still important to look out for these behaviors in people we know. Even if they are unintentional, they can still end up hurting us and those around us. It's also important to recognize that no one is perfect, and we all have our flaws (including me!). That being said, there are certain behaviors that should always be avoided in relationships of any kind. We hope this piece has helped shed some light on what those might be!