By Dr. Jeanne King, PhD.
If you don’t give me what I’m seeking, there will be a price to pay and it won’t be pleasant. If fact, I will do all I can to make it hurt. Sound familiar?
If you live in an abusive relationship, you know these dynamics like the back of your hand. You know it in your thoughts, in your feelings and deep in the crevices of your bodily tissue.
The Body Remembers
I was recently administering the Intimate Partner Abuse Screen (Jeanne King, PhD 2007-2022) to a patient. As always, I guide the patient in bringing their attention to the part of their body where things are usually felt, and then I pose a question… and we gently wait.
We are waiting for their “yes” or “no” answer to bubble up to meet the question. Therein is the material for psychotherapy.
I asked, “I am aware that when I say ‘no,’ it sounds like ‘maybe’.”
Immediately, the patient noted intense fear felt throughout her body. She claimed that she could not say “no” in her marriage.
When I asked what would happen if she did, she replied “There would be a punishment.”
If you are in a controlling, narcissistically abusive relationship, you know these dynamics because you probably live them too.
Narcissistic Injury, Entitlement and Control
Why can’t you say “no” in a narcissistically abusive relationship? Answer: because your involvement in the relationship is primarily to cater to and fulfill the needs of the other person, whether with narcissistic features or a full-blown narcissistic personality disorder.
The controlling partner truly feels an injury in the face of their needs not being meet. There is this compelling air of entitlement that consumes them and those around them.
The combination of injury and entitlement can lead to some toxic consequences for the person on the receiving end. After they have failed to deliver on a demand a few times, the lesson learned is often well-established.
A true fight or flight response emerges out from merely being approached by the controlling party with a request or demand contrary to their personal preferences. They know the struggle and or punishment are coming.
I see these dynamic in romantic partners, parent-child relationships, between siblings, between employer and employee. When you live in one of these relationships, you know the inherent oppression of narcissistic abusive control.
If this is familiar to you, take a hard and fast look at the dynamics of narcissistic domestic abuse. For a full library of resources on demand to help you identify and heal narcissistic abuse, visit https://innersanctuaryonline.org
© Dr Jeanne King – Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention