Reactive abuse is what happens when you lash out towards your abuser. Generally, this doesn’t happen right away, but rather after you have been accepting the abuse for quite some time. One day, you just lose it and snap. This creates the perfect setting for the abuser because he or she will quickly turn the tables and call you the abuser and you will most definitely be referred to as crazy. Shortly thereafter, they will more than likely call you dramatic and tell you that you need to relax. They will drag you down to a level so low, that you cannot effectively communicate.
It won’t be long before you start to feel shame because you are behaving completely out of character and that’s when you start questioning your sanity.
Once you start “behaving badly”, the abuser gains more control and will intensify the abuse. Essentially, they will provoke you to react and suddenly you are labeled the abuser.
I remember recording our fights and the horrible things he would say, and then one day, I snapped and turned into someone I did not recognize. I started yelling at the top of my lungs, slamming doors, and hysterically crying. This became a viscous cycle and over time, not only was I disgusted with him, but also with myself.
Narcissists love drama, and they not only enjoy, but thrive when receiving any attention, whether negative or positive. We went through this for the last 4-5 years of our relationship, even though it initially started prior to that, the worst of it began after our second to third year together. I remember being emotionally exhausted and when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t even recognize myself. I looked and felt defeated.
I couldn’t figure out if he was truly obsessed with the woman I refer to as his obsession, or if he just enjoyed the drama and attention that he was getting from creating the triangulation. This was a huge source of our fights and why we split multiple times. He would only attempt to or fake break contact with her when he was about to lose me, and then gradually, he would inch his way back to her. Her number went from being blocked to unblocked. The time before the final breakup, I would only allow him back in my life if he blocked her on social media, which he did because he wanted to come back home, but he could never fully break contact. Looking back, I realize how pathetic I was, begging the man who I was supposed to marry, who supposedly loved me, to cease contact with another woman. When a man really loves and respects you, they don’t need to be told what to do- they just do the right thing. At least I know now, that it had nothing to do with me, since he’s repeating the cycle.
When you recognize that you are behaving out of the norm, it’s time to reflect on the situation before you spiral into a deep depression. Its at this point that you slowly begin to lose self-respect and your self-esteem starts to plummet, which is exactly what the narcissist wants for you. This is how you become trapped in the toxic relationship, since you no longer feel worthy. The constant fighting and issues also help to keep them entertained since they are always in search of attention and stimulation. Whether the attention they get are compliments, criticism (which they don’t handle well) or pity- it’s still attention.
If you have never experienced this, consider yourself blessed. I imagine you can’t fathom how anyone would live like this, and why they wouldn’t just leave. The answer isn’t simple, and it’s a combination of things. Narcissists are very calculated- they don’t start behaving this way immediately. Think of it this way- if you put a mouse in boiling water, they will immediately burn to death and as it’s happening, they know they are dying. But, if you put it in cold water, and gradually add small amounts of hot water, it eventually dies, but it doesn’t see it coming. This is how the abuse works- it’s so gradual, you don’t realize it until you have been psychologically damaged. Once you are at that point, it becomes much harder to leave because you are so damaged.
I share this because it’s so important to see early signs and pay attention to red flags. You need to remove the narcissist from your life before you end up in a trauma bond. https://fiercelyanya.com/2020/08/27/trauma-bonding-why-you-cant-cut-the-cord/
Although I got rid of my narcissist from my personal life, I still have to deal with his narcissistic bullshit with the business. He royally fucked up with some work deliverables and caused some issues with the business recently but in typical narcissistic fashion, he put the blame on everyone else and tried to gaslight me (screenshot attached- sorry for his terrible grammar).
The employees have expressed their grievances to me, but, as always, he is in delusional denial and told me that I am a negative person and am angry that he’s happy, which I found comical. He is a miserable and negative person, while I’m a very happy person and haven’t stopped smiling since I removed him from my life. Meanwhile his “happiness” is drinking, partying, sneaking around with his obsession, and spending excessive amounts of money. This is not happiness, it’s an attempt at filling his hollow soul. I would be ecstatic if he was actually happy, so that he would actually focus on the business, rather than worrying about maintaining his shady lifestyle.
Luckily, I have learned how to handle this reactive abuse. I speak my piece and then go “gray rock” (becoming uninteresting and unresponsive), since I don’t have the option to go no contact.
I highly recommend no contact as a first choice, but if you have children or require contact for some reason, gray rock is the next best option.
Once you take control of your life and emotions, your life becomes more peaceful, and you can heal your soul. Do not let them turn you into someone you are not! It feels amazing to have me back!