What Does Narcissistic Abuse Look Like?
Narcissistic abuse can present itself in many different ways. My abuser happened to be an attorney so he was smart, calculating, and as sneaky and underhanded as it gets. He knew he had to create a case before he left the house and he knew he was going to have to work to figure out how to get me to snap. So, he recorded me. And then he studied and analyzed those recordings to figure out what my hot buttons are. Below is the story of “The Recordings”.
In August of 2016 I gave birth to our first child. In May 2018 I gave birth to our second and third child (beautiful twins!). If you do the math, I had 3 babies in less than 2 years. I wasn’t doing well and thought I was struggling with post-partum depression (knowing what I know now, I actually believe my emotional state was caused more by the isolation, gaslighting, and extreme covert abuse I was dealing with every day). But, I digress, at that point in time, I knew I wasn’t doing well and I needed some help.
So, I went to him, this person who was telling me he was my partner and supporter, and I told him I wasn’t doing well and thought it was post-partum depression. He didn’t say much of anything during that conversation. There was no compassion, no suggestions that I go get some professional therapy or see a doctor. Nothing. This conversation would have happened around August of 2018, because I know the twins were a few months old at this time.
During the protective order hearing, he testified that he had been recording me all day every day since August. So, when I pieced this all together, here’s what played out:
I went to him and said “I’m not doing well”. He saw weakness and pounced on it. He began creating recordings. All day, every day. And continued recording for 7 full months (just think for a second about the level of psychosis that would be required to do this to someone while still sleeping next to her, talking about your future together, and telling her you love her. Scary stuff, yeah?) so he could set me up to look like the abuser in the relationship and get himself out of any consequences he would have suffered for the things he had already done to me.
He’s actually given 2 different stories about when the recordings started so it’s a little difficult to keep it all straight. However, in another document he filed he said that the first recording he created was in December of 2017. Then, he stopped until August of 2018. In his sworn testimony, he stated that the purpose of creating the recordings was to show me that I was gaslighting him. However, he never had me listen to the recordings. I believe this is because when he went back and listened to them he realized that I wasn’t the one doing the gaslighting, but that it was actually him.
He studied and analyzed these recordings to learn my hot buttons. He knew exactly how to push me and what to say that would hurt me the most. Essentially, I suffered 7 full months of emotional and psychological torture (it honestly makes me feel like kind of a badass that I lasted 7 months before I snapped). After 7 months of this abuse, I snapped and slapped him across the face. Of course, you can hear this in the recordings and this was the evidence he used to say I was an abuser. It was found that I was guilty of domestic violence, while this same judge (who was also the same judge to deny my protective order) told him what a great guy he is. As an aside, I’m not excusing my behavior. It was very wrong for me to slap him and if I could take it back, I would. However, I had never slapped anyone before, this was not at all a reflection of my true nature. This behavior is known in the psychology world as “retaliating victim behavior”. He had to work really hard to push me this far.
So, here’s where things get really disturbing. He came home one day, after we had been going through a period where we had just been arguing too frequently, and he said “I’ve decided I’m just not going to get angry anymore”. Most people can’t just simply decide not to get angry and I remember thinking this seemed odd. But it was what it was, and the arguing did slow down for a while. When you put this together with the recordings–here’s what, I can only assume, was really was going on in his mind: he knew he was gathering evidence to use in court so he didn’t need to fight or get angry. He would simply sit and poke and toy with my emotions while I slowly started to feel like I was going crazy. It was a playground and a game for him to watch me. He knew it was all being recorded and that if he showed his actual emotions he would get himself in trouble. So, he remained calm while toying with me.
Even with all of that though, the judge allowed him to play just the short snippets in the courtroom that suited his purposes. He didn’t have to play the whole recording. My attorney made an argument for this but the judge just completely blew it off.
This behavior is so disturbing that it’s hard to wrap your head around. There was a person who knew what was happening and who was trying to help me. She told me that she had been in a courtroom with this same judge when a case was being presented in which the husband made several recordings of the wife. This same judge told this husband that recording his wife like that was “very disturbing behavior”. Why was it not disturbing behavior when my attorney ex did it to me???
This is what narcissistic abuse looks like…if you’re in a relationship with someone who shows any signs at all of this type of behavior GET OUT NOW! Learn from my mistake and get yourself safe.
What did your narcissistic abuse look like?