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Abuse By Proxy

Uploaded 5/19/2011, approx. 3 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

If all else fails, the abuser recruits friends, colleagues, mates, family members, the authorities, institutions, neighbors, the media, teachers, in other words, third parties, to do his bidding.

The abuser uses them to control, coerce, threaten, stalk, offer, retreat, tempt, seduce, harass, communicate, or otherwise manipulate his target.

The abuser controls these unaware instruments exactly as he plans to control his ultimate prey.

In both cases, he employs the same mechanisms and the same devices.

And he dumps his props unceremoniously when the job is done.

One form of control by proxy is to engineer situations in which abuse is inflicted on third, another person.

Such carefully crafted scenarios of embarrassment and humiliation are meant to provoke social sanctions, condemnation, opprobrium, or even physical punishment against the victim.

Society, or social group in this case, become the instruments of the abuser against the victim.

Abusers often use other people to do their dirty work for them.

These sometimes unwitting accomplices belong to three groups.

The first group is the abuser's social milieu.

Some offenders, mainly in patriarchal and misogynist societies, co-opt family members, friends, and colleagues into aiding and abetting their abusive conduct.

In extreme cases, the victim is held hostage, isolated, and with little or no access to funds or transportation.

Often the couple's children are used as bargaining chips or leverage in such a dispute.

Ambient abuse by the abuser's clan, kin, kith, or village, or neighbourhood is rampant.

The second group of unwitting or unwitting accomplices is the victim's social milieu.

Even the victim's relatives, his family members, his friends, his colleagues, they are all amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness, and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian acting skills.

The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interpreces events to his favor.

Others rarely have a chance to witness an abusive exchange first-hand and at close quarters so as to discern between abuser and victim.

In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown. They are harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical.

Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, and suave abuser and his harried casualties, it is easy to reach the wrong conclusion that the real victim is the abuser.

Or another conclusion that both parties are abusing each other similarly and equally.

The praise acts of self-defence, assertiveness, or insistence on her rights are interpreted as aggression, lability, or a mental health problem.

Thus we come to the third group of accomplices and collaborators, aiders and abettors, the system.

The abuser perverts the system. Therapists, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers, judges, they all end up upholding the abuser's version and helping him in further abusing his victims.

The abuser uses them to pathologize the victim and to separate her from her sources of emotional sustenance, notably from her children and then from her family and then from her friends and colleagues.

Forms of abuse by proxy include socially isolating and excluding the victim by discrediting her through a campaign of malicious rumors, a smear campaign.

Harassing the victim by using others to stalk her or by charging her with offenses she did not commit.

Provoking the victim into aggressive or even antisocial conduct by having others threaten her or her loved ones, colluding with others to render the victim dependent on the abuser.

But by far the victim's children are the abuser's greatest source of leverage over his abused spouse or mate.

There is a video in this channel dedicated to how the abuser leverages the children in his dispute with his victims. Be sure to watch it.

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Body Language of Narcissistic and Psychopathic Abuser

Abusers emit subtle signals in their body language that can be observed and discerned. They adopt a posture of superiority and entitlement, and they idealize or devalue their interlocutors. Abusers are shallow and prefer show-off to substance, and they are serious about themselves. They lack empathy, are sadistic, and have inappropriate affect. They are adept at casting a veil of secrecy over their dysfunction and misbehavior, and they succeed in deceiving the entire world.


Coping Styles: Narcissist Abuses "Loved" Ones Despite Abandonment Anxiety

Narcissists abuse their loved ones to decrease their abandonment anxiety, restore their sense of grandiosity, and test their partner's loyalty. Abuse also serves as a form of behavior modification, as it signals to the partner that they need to modify their behavior to avoid abuse. Coping styles for dealing with abuse include submissiveness, conflicting, mirroring, collusion, and displacement, but some of these styles can be harmful and should be avoided.


Abusive Ex Leverages Children Against You

Abusive ex-partners often use their children to manipulate and control their former partners. They may co-opt their children into aiding and abetting their abusive conduct, using them as bargaining chips or leverage. The abuser may emotionally blackmail the children, threatening to withhold love and affection if they do not comply with their demands. The abuser may also pervert the system, using therapies, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers, and even judges to pathologize the victim and separate them from their sources of emotional sustenance.


Bullying as Art, Abuse as Craftsmanship

Abuse is about control and is often a primitive and immature reaction to life's circumstances. The abuser's primary colors include unpredictability, disproportionality of reaction, dehumanization, objectification, and abuse by proxy. The abuser engineers situations in which he is solely needed and generates his own indispensability in the victim's life. The abuser fosters an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, instability, unpredictability, and irritation, which erodes the victim's sense of self-worth and self-esteem.


Spot a Narcissist or a Psychopath on Your First Date

There are warning signs to identify abusers and narcissists early on in a relationship. One of the first signs is the abuser's tendency to blame others for their mistakes and failures. Other signs include hypersensitivity, eagerness to commit, controlling behavior, patronizing and condescending manner, and devaluing the partner. Abusers may also idealize their partner, have sadistic sexual fantasies, and switch between abusive and loving behavior. Paying attention to body language can also reveal warning signs.


The Abuser's Mind

Abusers suffer from dissociation, a mild form of multiple personality, and often have a dichotomy between their behavior at home and in public. They view their victims as two-dimensional representations, devoid of emotions and needs, and convert them into their own worldview. Abusers are often narcissists with low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence, and abuse is bred by fear of being mocked or betrayed. There are various forms of manipulation that constitute verbal and emotional abuse, including withholding, countering, discounting, blocking, blaming, and accusing.


Abuse Victim as Hostage: Stockholm Syndrome and Trauma Bonding

Abusive relationships require two people to sustain, and the abuser and the abused form a bond and dependence. Society often refuses to tackle this phenomenon, and people, mostly women, remain in abusive households for various reasons. The abuser treats their spouse as an object, devoid of a separate existence and denuded of distinct needs, preferences, wishes, and priorities. The abuser exploits the vulnerabilities in the psychological make-up of their victim, and abusive behavior often indicates serious underlying psychopathologies.


Narcissistic Abuser Cons System

Abusers are often able to deceive mental health and social welfare workers, even when the diagnosis is unequivocal. There are four types of mental health and law enforcement professionals and practitioners who can be co-opted by abusers: adulators, ignorant professionals, self-deceivers, and those who are actively deceived. Mental health professionals are often egocentric and emotionally invested in their opinions, and they may pathologize the behavior of victims who disagree with them. Victims of abuse may need to stage a well-calibrated performance to convince therapists that they are the victim.


It's All My Fault: I Provoked Him

Abusers tend to blame others for their misfortunes, mistakes, and misconduct, and believe that the world is a hostile place out to get them. Victims of abuse often adopt the abusers' point of view and begin to feel guilty and responsible for the abusers' reprehensible behaviors. Shared psychosis is a complex phenomenon with numerous psychodynamic roots, and victims may fear abandonment, grew up in dysfunctional families, or are simply masochistic. Victims should realize that abuse is never a form of expressing love and should analyze their relationship to determine if they can reframe their roles or if they need to plan a getaway.


Contract with Your Abuser - Part II

To negotiate with an abuser, it is best to co-opt their prejudices and pathology by catering to their infantile emotional needs and complying with their wishes, complex rules, and arbitrary rituals. It is useless to confront the abuser head-on to engage in power politics. To move the abuser to attend couple or marital therapy, tell them that you need their help to restore your relationship to its former warmth and intimacy. Gradually, try to free the rigid edges of your sex rules.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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