Narcissist and Psychopath Coping Strategies: Conflictive Posture

Uploaded 10/8/2010, approx. 3 minute read

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

This is the second in a series of videos about how to cope with a narcissist or a psychopath in an intimate relationship.

Be sure to watch the previous video.

Today we will discuss what I call the conflictive posture.

Contrary to its name, the conflictive posture is actually about avoiding conflict, by minimizing contact and by insisting on your boundaries. It is about refusal to accept abusive behavior by demanding from the abuser reasonably predictable and rational actions and reactions. It is about respect for you and for your predilections, emotions, needs, wishes and priorities.

A healthy relationship requires justice and proportionality. You should reject or ignore unjust and capricious behavior. Conflicts are inevitable, even in the most loving and mature bonds, but the rules of engagement are different in a liaison, in a relationship which involves abusive conduct.

There, in such a sick relationship, you must react in kind. You must let your abuser have a taste of some of his own medicine.

Abusers are predators. They are attuned to the subtlest emotional cues of their prey. You.

Never show your abuser that you are afraid or that you are less than resolute.

The willingness to negotiate is perceived by the abuser as a weakness.

Violent offenders and bullies are insatiable. Do not succumb to blackmail or to emotional extortion.

Once you start compromising, you won't see the end of it.

The abuser creates a shared psychosis, in French, a foliar duet, with his victim. It is a narrative, a confabulation, a story, an overwhelming feeling of the two of us against the whole hostile world out there.

Well, don't buy into it. Feel free to threaten him with legal measures. Feel free to disengage if things get rough or to involve law enforcement or officials, judges, friends, neighbors and colleagues.

The abused feel ashamed. They feel somehow responsible, guilty and blameworthy for their own maltreatment.

The abuser is adept at instilling these erroneous notions in his victims. He passes the buck. He makes them feel responsible for whatever has happened. He says openly, look what you made me do.

So above all, do not keep your abuse a secret. Secrecy is the abuser's weapon.

So you should share your story with friends, colleagues, neighbors, social workers, judges, the police, the media, the courts, your minister, anyone who would listen. Don't make excuses for him. Don't try to understand him. Do not empathize with him, for he surely does not empathize with you. He has no mercy on you.

You, in return, do not bother to have misplaced pity on him. Never give him a second chance. React with your full arsenal to the first transgression.

Teach him a lesson he is unlikely to forget. Make him go elsewhere for his sadistic pursuits or to offload his frustrations.

The abuser sometimes uses third parties, his family, his peers in order to torture and torment and taunt you.

Well, often the abuser's proxies, his long arms, are unaware of their role.

You should expose him to them. You should inform them.

Demonstrate to them how they are being abused, misused, and plain used by your abuser. Trap your abuser. Treat him as he treats you. Involve other people. Bring it into the open. There is nothing like sunshine to disinfect abuse.

There are a few techniques which work wonders with abusers.

Some psychologists recommend to treat repeat offenders as one would toddlers. The abuser is indeed a kind of immature brat. He is dangerous. He is endowed with privileges and capabilities of an adult, but he is still an immature brat with temper tantrums.

Sometimes ignoring these temper tantrums is a wise policy, but not always and actually not very often and actually definitely not as a rule.

In the next video, we will discuss specific techniques and strategies for dealing with narcissists and psychopaths.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Narcissist's Victim: NO CONTACT Rules

Professor Sam Vaknin advises victims of narcissism and psychopathy to maintain as much contact with their abuser as the courts, counselors, evaluators, mediators, guardians, or law enforcement officials mandate. However, with the exception of this minimum mandated by the courts, decline any and all gratuitous contact with the narcissist or psychopath. Avoiding contact with the abuser is a form of setting boundaries, and setting boundaries is a form of healing. Be firm, be resolute, but be polite and civil.

Signs You are Victim of Narcissistic Abuse, Not Common Abuse (Stress, Depression Management Webinar)

Narcissistic abuse is a subtype of abusive behavior that is pervasive, sophisticated, and can be practiced either covertly or overtly. Victims of narcissistic abuse often experience depression, anxiety, disorientation, and dissociative symptoms. This type of abuse can lead to complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) and even elements of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The way individuals process and react to trauma can lead to either regression into infantile behaviors or personal growth and maturation, depending on their emotional regulation and maturity.

Gaslighting and Ambient Abuse

Ambient abuse, also known as gaslighting, is a subtle and insidious form of abuse that is difficult to identify. It is the fostering of an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, instability, unpredictability, and irritation. There are five categories of ambient abuse: inducing disorientation, incapacitating, shared psychosis, abuse or misuse of information, and control by proxy. The abuser uses these tactics to manipulate and control their victim, often leaving them with low self-esteem and a sense of isolation.

Deja-vu: Fight Back Gaslighting, Messing with YOUR Mind

Gaslighting is a manipulative form of communication where a power differential exists, often involving invalidation of emotions, twisting reality, and coercion. It can lead to lower self-worth, feelings of insecurity, depression, and anxiety. To combat gaslighting, it is important to recognize the situation, document events and feelings, assert oneself, seek support from others, and consult a professional if necessary. Gaslighting is a dangerous form of emotional abuse that can have long-lasting effects on mental health.

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.

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.

Empath and Gaslighting: Setting the Record Straight

Self-proclaimed empaths are actually narcissistic individuals seeking attention and victimhood. Highly sensitive persons (HSPs) are extremely few and far between and are unlikely to expose themselves in cyberspace. Gaslighting is often confused and conflated with dissociation, confabulation, and dissonances. Narcissists rarely engage in gaslighting, which is a psychopathic tactic. Narcissists' desperate attempt to restore continuity, introduce some glue into the disjointed parts of their personality, and dissonances are very common but have nothing to do with gaslighting.

Good People Ignore Abuse and Torture: Why?

Good people often overlook abuse and neglect because it is difficult to tell the abuser and victim apart. The word abuse is ill-defined and open to interpretation, leading to a lack of clear definition. People also tend to avoid unpleasant situations and institutions that deal with anomalies, pain, death, and illness. Abuse is a coping strategy employed by the abuser to reassert control over their life and regain self-confidence. Abuse is a catharsis, and even good people channel their negative emotions onto the victim.

Narcissist and Psychopath Coping Techniques

The video discusses techniques for coping with narcissistic and psychopathic abusers, including mirroring their behavior, frightening them, luring them, and threatening to abandon them. The most recommended technique is to refuse all contact with the abuser, except for the minimum mandated by the courts. The video also advises watching another video in the series that deals with warning signs and identifying marks to avoid abusive relationships. All techniques should be pursued legally and with caution, as they can backfire and provoke the abuser into violence and aggression.

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.

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