Terms You Should Know

____

The following are terms and definitions that are widely used in narcissistic abuse recovery to describe the experience of being in a pathological relationship and its aftermath. You should be aware that some of the terms are slang or pop culture terms that are not recognized by the American Psychological Association and mental health professionals.

 

Aftermath: The emotional and psychological damage, typical symptoms and after effects resulting from being in a pathological relationship.

 

Abuse By Proxy: A way of controlling or abusing another person by manipulating other people into unwittingly backing “doing the dirty work”.

 

Antisocial personality disorder: A mental condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. Typically, this disorder is associated with a lack of a conscience and is often interchangeable with the terms sociopath and psychopath.

 

Borderline Personality Disorder: A mental condition characterized by a pattern of unstable, intense relationships that include frequent mood swings, extreme emotions, and impulsiveness.

 

Boundaries: Guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates for themselves that dictate reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her.

 

Cluster B: A cluster of personality traits in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness (DSM).  They include borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, and antisocial.

 

Codependency: A dysfunctional, one-sided, symbiotic relationship where one person relies on the other for meeting all their emotional needs.

 

Cognitive Dissonance: The mental stress and discomfort of holding two conflicting beliefs simultaneously.

 

Complex-PTSD: A psychological disorder resulting from repetitive, prolonged exposure to psychosocial and emotional abuse where there is an uneven power dynamic.

 

Comorbidity/Co-Occurrance: Simultaneous conditions appearing in the same patient.

 

Dark Triad: A psychological term that refers to the combination of three personality traits, narcissism, Machiavellian and psychopathy.

 

Devalue Stage: One of the patterns within the pathological relationship cycle that involves a period of emotional and psychological abuse tactics aimed at undermining the self-worth of the other partner for the purposes of control and domination.

 

Discard Stage: One of the patterns within the pathological relationship cycle that involves an abrupt and callous rejection or abandonment that is usually completely out of the blue.

 

Empathy: An emotional state that involves the ability to understand, share, and feel compassion for another person.

 

Enabler:  A person who consciously or consciously acts in ways that maintain the self-destructive or inappropriate behavior of another.

 

Empath: A highly sensitive person who feels and often takes on, the emotions of others.

 

Emotional Abuse: Is often referred as psychological abuse and is aimed at undermining a person’s identity for the sole purpose of obtaining control for personal gain. It can involve patterns of dominance, manipulation, intimidation, emotional coercion, withholding, dishonesty, extreme selfishness, guilt mongering, rejection, stonewalling, gaslighting, financial abuse, extreme jealousy, and possessiveness.

 

Emotional Rape: Can result from emotional abuse and is a common feeling many victims describe of being violated and abused in a non-physical manner.

 

Emotional Vampires:  A slang term for narcissists and sociopaths that is used to describe their emotionally draining effect their victims.

 

Flying Monkeys: People, including friends, family, coworkers, and their children that the narcissist conned into believing that he/she is the victim and has recruited to do his/her bidding.

 

Fog Lifting: A term used to describe the feeling of clarity when victims begin to learn that what they are experiencing is real and that there are names for these things–such as “narcissist” and “emotional abuse.”

 

Future Faking: A tactic used to deceive the victim into believing that the pathological individual shares the same future dreams as the victim. The pathological individual will dangle fraudulent promises in front of the victim but just slightly out of reach. (Getting married, having children, taking a vacation, buying a house, etc..)

 

Gaslighting: Named after the movie, Gaslight, gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to create doubt and confusion and cause someone to question their own reality and judgment, making them more suggestible and easier to control.

 

Golden Child: The child chosen as the favorite that the abuser views as an extension of him or herself.  This child can do no wrong as is given preferential treatment.

 

Gray Rock: A technique used to disengage with a pathological person and minimize contact by becoming as interesting and reactive as a “gray rock”.  This technique of communicating in a non-reactive and uber-boring way has the effect of making the drama-seeking, pathological person lose interest in attempting to create chaos and pushing your buttons.

 

Grooming: Is a calculated and predatory act of manipulating another individual into subtly and slowly taking on a set of behaviors and actions that makes the victim more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior.

 

Hoover: Named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner, Hoovering is a manipulative ploy to suck a former partner back into the relationship.

 

Idealization: Part of the first stages of “love bombing” where the narc shows you care and attention.

 

Invalidation:  A manipulative technique used to minimize and devalue another individual’s beliefs and convince them their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.

 

Isolation: A manipulation technique used to separate another person from their loved ones and decrease their social support network for the purposes of increasing control and influence over that person.

 

Love Bombing: Typically occurs most heavily in the Idealizations stage of the pathological relationship.  This stage often involves constant communication, flattery, and  showers of attention.

 

Machiavellianism: A term used to describe someone that deceives and manipulates others for personal gain.

 

Malignant Narcissist: Not a diagnostic term nor listed in the DSM. Campbells’ Psychiatric Dictionary defines this term as a mix of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, aggression, and sadism.

 

Manipulation: Is a deceptive, covert technique used to influence an individual’s thinking and behavior to achieve personal gain or further one’s own agenda. Manipulation is hard to detect because it occurs just under the surface of conscious awareness.

 

Mask Slipping: When a Narcissist’s mask slips, it is usually only the victim that sees this–although others may from time-to-time see it too. It is during this time that the narcissist’s true self is revealed.

 

Mirror/Mirroring: This is a technique that manipulators use to foster quick intimacy and trust with their potential victims through imitating or mimicking the person’s characteristics, behaviors or traits.

 

Narc: A slang term for Narcissist.

 

Narcbait: A person that has the qualities that pathological individuals target for abuse. Some of the qualities include, high empathy, conscientious, overly trusting, cooperative, and codependent.

 

Narc Speak: Refers to common statements, lines, or nonsensical or manipulative conversations that narcissists typically engage in.

 

Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome: A diagnosis used to describe the health symptoms experienced by long-term victims of narcissistic abuse.

 

Narcissistic Injury:  Is anything that the narcissist perceives as a threat to his/her self-esteem, self-worth or sense of importance.

 

Narcissistic Rage: Inappropriate or disproportionate displays of anger and rage that a narcissist exhibits in response to a real or perceived attack or any suggestion that they are not right.

 

Narcissistic Supply: A term that describes anything a narcissist uses to “supply” his/her ego with some combination of attention, food, clothing, shelter, sex and admiration.

 

Narcopath: This is a slang term that is a hybrid of the both Narcissistic personality disorder and sociopathy used to describe a person who has traits of both disorders.

 

No Contact: Survivors will cut all forms of communication and contact, including distancing themselves from mutual friends and social media cyber-peaking, in an effort to detach from the pathological person for good.

 

Pathological Person: A person with either a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, or psychopathy.

 

Pathological Relationship Cycle:  A pattern of relationship behavior that a pathological person repeats with every partner which includes three very distinct stages. (Idealization stage, Devaluation stage and the Discard stage.)

 

Parent Alienation: When one parent uses their influence to manipulate and coerce the children to reject the other parent.

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Is a mental health disorder that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

 

Psychological Abuse: Also referred to as emotional abuse. It can be just as damaging as physical abuse and is aimed at undermining the victim’s sense of self-worth and identity for the sole purpose of obtaining control for personal gain. It can involve patterns of dominance, manipulation, intimidation, emotional coercion, withholding, dishonesty, extreme selfishness, guilt mongering, rejection, stonewalling, gaslighting, financial abuse, extreme jealousy, and possessiveness.

 

Psychopath/ Psychopathy: The term psychopath is often used interchangeably with the terms sociopath and antisocial personality disorder, however some mental health professionals make distinctions between these terms. According to Dr. Hare, the world’s leading psychopathy researcher, the twenty traits used to assess psychopathy are:

  • glib and superficial charm
  • grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
  • need for stimulation
  • pathological lying
  • cunning and manipulativeness
  • lack of remorse or guilt
  • shallow affect(superficial emotional responsiveness)
  • callousness and lack of empathy
  • parasitic lifestyle
  • poor behavioral controls
  • sexual promiscuity
  • early behavior problems
  • lack of realistic long-term goals
  • impulsivity
  • irresponsibility
  • failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • many short-term marital relationships
  • juvenile delinquency
  • revocation of conditional release
  • criminal versatility

 

Projection/Projecting: A tactic used to ward off uncomfortable feelings or qualities by denying them and attributing them to others.

 

Red Flags: Potential warning signs that serve as warning to the observer to slow down and proceed with caution.

 

Relationship Amnesia: When an abuse victim has difficulty remembering how miserable they were during the relationship due to factors such as, cognitive dissonance, suppression, and trauma bonding.

 

Ruminating:  Thoughts that keep repeating over and over.

 

Sadist: Someone who enjoys and takes pleasure in intentionally inflicting pain on others.

 

Scapegoat: The child or children in the family who the narcissistic parent(s) arbitrarily assign the role of the “fall guy”. These children can do no right and are unfairly blamed for any family problems.

 

Silent Treatment: Is a passive aggressive manipulation tactic where the pathological person ignores and cuts off all communication with someone to avoid any possibility of resolution about important topics and as disproportionate punishment to teach the other person a lesson for a real or perceived wrongdoing. The silent treatment can range from days to weeks and is used to communicate the abuser’s displeasure, disapproval and contempt toward the victim. During this time, the victim becomes weakened and desperate and will do just about anything, including forgiving the pathological person for whatever event triggered the silent treatment to start.

 

Smear Campaign: A premeditated and often pre-emptive attempt to ruin someone’s reputation and discredit them while deflecting attention away from one’s own actions and agenda.

 

Stockholm Syndrome: The unhealthy bonds of attachment that a victim feels toward his/her abuser resulting from a relationship characterized by an imbalance of power, fear, and an atmosphere alternating between cruelty and kindness. It is also a psychological term, in reference to a “hostage” having an emotional bond with their captor and involves trauma bonding.

 

Sociopath: Sociopath is a pop culture term, not a clinical term. It is often used interchangeably with the term psychopath. The closest clinical equivalent is antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). ASPD is a mental condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. Typically, this disorder is associated with a lack of a conscience

 

Stover: Stover is short for So Totally Over and is an extreme form of no contact where the survivor takes meticulous precautions to terminate all forms of contact and any possibility of future contact with a pathological person.

 

Supply: The support, attention, admiration or interaction (good, bad, negative, positive) from a source that the disordered can draw energy from.

 

Trauma: Is an emotional response to a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.

 

Trauma Bonding: The unhealthy bonds of attachment that a victim forms toward his/her abuser as a result of the pathological relationship dynamics.

 

Triangulation: Is a manipulation tactic where a person doesn’t directly communicate but rather uses a third party for the purposes of control, causing a conflict between two people, and/ or fostering jealousy.

 

Walking on Eggshells: The chronic anxiety of censoring what you say or do around a certain person because anything might set them off.

 

Word Salad: Is a combination of intentional, crazy-making, manipulative conversation designed to control, frustrate, deflect, invalidate, create chaos, confuse, and wear down the victim making them more suggestible to the pathological individual’s point of view or agenda.

Get in Touch

                    

Free From Toxic

Copyright © 2018 - Bree Bonchay/ Free From Toxic ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No material on this website may be reproduced in any format without prior written permission of Bree Bonchay.

Copyright © 2018 - Bree Bonchay/ Free From Toxic ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No material on this website may be reproduced in any format without prior written permission of Bree Bonchay.

Translate »