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Dark side of narcissism abuses mind and body


Design: Sirius Graphix

Narcissist as abuser — when the charm turns to harm

In the ebook Betsy Wuebker of PassingThru.com and I co-authored, The Narcissist: A User’s Guide, we write about detecting, avoiding, and handling a narcissistic relationship.

But there can be an even more abusive and twisted side to narcissism that Betsy and I only touch on in the book.  One of the three personal stories we include in our ebook describes this chilling side of narcissism. The writer is Lori Newman, author of a book on her battles with narcissists to protect herself and her children “Here All Along.”


Secrets – he was all about making sure no one knew what went on behind closed doors.Clubs

He drank a lot that night, but he always drank a lot at night, and he continued to drink until he had passed out. I found him still holding his beer, on the couch in front of the TV.

The last time I found him in this position and did nothing, he told me, “Why would you just leave me there; you think it’s funny?”

So that evening I knew it would not be wise to leave him there again to sleep it off. I took his beer from his hand and tried as best I could to get him to stand and follow me to the bedroom. He awoke for a moment and began lifting his hand to his mouth as if taking a drink from his beer. I got him to stand and managed to help him stumble into our room.

I awoke several hours later to hear someone banging into the walls and mumbling to themselves how crazy the walk to the bathroom had been. Then he passed out on the floor and didn’t move. I got up to make sure he was still breathing. That’s when the smell of what he had done fully hit me. He had been standing in front of my closet with the door opened believing he was in the bathroom.

The next morning when he awoke and found himself on the floor, he got up and asked what had happened. He laughed as he left the room, telling me, “Have fun cleaning that up.” He took a shower and left.

“Make sure that’s cleaned before I get back,” he told me.

No apologies, no offer to help, just letting me know I had a timeline to get my own shoes and clothes cleaned up. A few months later, I shared this story with a friend. She, in turn, told her husband, who then laughed as he teased my husband about his midnight mishap.

I came home one day to find my husband in our yard swinging a golf club. He wasn’t supposed to be home from work for another four hours so I knew something was wrong.

“Do you think you are funny?” was the only question he had asked me.

I saw his eyes go black, and I knew I was in trouble. I ran for the house but heard him close behind me. I tried to lock myself in our room, but I wasn’t fast enough. He pushed me onto the bed and put a pillow over my head and explained, “No one laughs at me.”

  • This is how the narcissist works—it is always the fault of others for why they cannot succeed.
  • This is how the narcissist works—no one is more important than they are.
  • This is how the narcissist works—no one is ever truly worthy of their love.


Some narcissists can fit so well into society, it’s often hard for those outside their influence to see or believe the nature of their power and control. Much of their abuse is verbal or emotional abuse, but they can and will step over the line into physical abuse if their false or balloon self sees that as an option.

Want to know more? Take a look at
The Narcissist — A User’s Guide

Thank you for visiting.
If you think others can benefit, please pass it on!

Lori Hoeck

Photo: Casey Fleser

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Betsy Wuebker January 28, 2010, 10:58 am

    Hi Lori – It’s the escalating nature of the need for the “fix.” Like cocaine or any other addictive substance, it’s never as good as the first time. So they have to up the ante, create drama, ramp up the intensity, and spill over into even more thrilling (for them), dangerous behavior. This can end in even more tragic circumstances. Thanks to Lori Newman for sharing her story with us, too.

  • Lori Hoeck January 28, 2010, 11:47 am

    Hi Betsy,
    Well put!

    Thank you for the great post on your site today!

  • Lori Newman January 28, 2010, 12:22 pm

    Thank you, Lori & Betsy,

    You are doing a wonderful job at helping others recognize and fight against this type of behavior. I wish I would have met you both back in the 90’s. It took me a long time to see that he could not love me. It took longer for me to see it wasn’t because of anything I did or did not do to deserve his behavior. I know others will benefit greatly from the efforts you both contribute.

    Thank you,
    Lori Newman

  • Davina January 28, 2010, 2:51 pm

    Hi Lori.
    This has been a wake-up call in the sense that if we are not strong and confident within ourselves, we can be more susceptible to their influence. And, when a person doesn’t have a strong sense of self-worth they are more likely to put up with the abuse. I can see so many ways this can play out… each enabling the other.

  • Lori Hoeck January 28, 2010, 3:09 pm

    Hi Lori Newman,
    Thank you!
    So many people have said, “I wished I’d had this book earlier in my life.” I just hope we can spread the word far and wide so more folks don’t have to walk our path.

    Hi Davina,
    There was a certain yin-yang relationship in my case, but you’re right in that the more I woke up to the narcissism and my own worth, the less impact the narci had.

  • Diane Velikis January 29, 2010, 8:30 pm

    A very good post. I recently wrote an article about a mothers dark scavanger hunt… on my web site. There are so many Crippled Walking Wounded ( hmmm that sounds like a blog ) that are victims from living with people with narcissist behaviours. Drug addicts, alcoholism, and people who are just plain mean, crush the human spirit of the lives they hold in mental bondage. Bravo!!! Good job .

  • Julie Jeffs January 30, 2010, 7:56 am

    Reading Lori Newman’s excerpt sent chills up my spine. I was not a victim of a narcissist, I was on the other side of the law, I was in Law Enforcement and spent 4-1/2 years of my career as a detective specializing in Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault/Child Abuse/Child Sexual Assault. This brought back so many memories. I applaud you for bringing these stories to light and I applaud Lori Newman for her courage in telling the story again.

  • Deborah January 31, 2010, 1:12 pm

    The movie Gaslight (1940 Ingrid Bergman) tells my the story. I looked like the crazy one – the one always screwing up. In reality, I was living with the masterful deception of the alcoholic narcissist who could be so very charming. It is indeed cunning, baffling, and powerful.

  • Lori Hoeck January 31, 2010, 1:27 pm

    Hi Diane,
    Thank you for commenting!

    Hopefully the walking wounded will find the support to set boundaries and work on healthier relationships. The journey of a thousand miles ….

    Hi Julie,
    Glad you stopped by and left a comment!

    Tough work you did! Thank you for the time you spent helping others. Scary stuff.

    Hi Deborah,
    Gaslight, eh? Name is familiar, not the plot.

    “Masterful deception” is right! It’s great, though, to start seeing through it and finding healthier ways to relate.

    Thank you for the visit and comment!

  • Deborah January 31, 2010, 1:41 pm

    The psychological term “gaslighting” was taken from this 1940’s movie. When I first watched the movie, it took me 3 or 4 sittings… it was too powerful and too poignant to watch all at once. I have a friend living with this right now, and I am getting to remember..

    “Gaslighting is an insidious form of emotional abuse and manipulation that is difficult to recognize and even harder to break free from. That’s because it plays into one of our worst fears – of being abandoned – and many of our deepest needs: to be understood, appreciated, and loved. The abuser is usually a very insecure person. He has a need to put others down in an attempt to make himself feel better. He must be seen as right at all times.” (The Gaslight Effect)

  • Lori Hoeck January 31, 2010, 1:48 pm

    Hi Deborah,
    Exactly right!

    Sorry for your friend and the revisiting you are having to undergo.

  • Betsy Wuebker January 31, 2010, 4:18 pm

    Hello Everyone – It seems as though Lori and I have tapped into some kind of more-prevalent-than-we-thought phenomenon. Deborah, I read with interest about “gaslighting” and recently saw the movie on Turner Classics. So many parallels, although if one were to quibble, I’d say many narcissists would never admit malicious intent to themselves, as opposed to Bergman’s husband in that movie.

    Hey Lori Newman – I thought I was the only one to witness an intoxicated husband doing what you describe at the foot of our bed. Nice, right?

    Davina, you hit it on the head. Our need causes us to seek the approval of someone whom we deem our superior in some fashion, despite the fact that the only evidence to that effect is their assertion that they are! We are definitely more vulnerable (and less attractive to a more centered prospect) when we’re needy.

    Julie – I can only imagine what you’ve witnessed. In my own case, I was amazed at how my narcissist verbally manipulated police officers into believing that my husband and I were abusers and scofflaws. Talk about a parallel reality!

  • Patricia February 2, 2010, 11:20 pm

    I am reminded of the first time I ran into a narcissist in my counseling work – it took me a long time to figure out what was going on – it was frightening to figure out how skilled the person was at hiding and hurting others….
    I felt so naive, but it was a profound lesson and one I uncovered a number of times more in my career – I was so happy to be prepared and to have learned. I hope my energies and worked helped someone to a better life?

    thank you all for sharing this work…more needs to be known and revealed in these areas.

  • margie nobody September 20, 2010, 10:44 pm

    after 25 yrs ofabuse, I havefinally come out of the closet and faced the world
    my husband is an abuser. He hits me, pushes medown, breaks furniture
    drives me to work, but will not pick me up, it takes me 2 hrs by bus to get home.
    He has taken all assests and put them in his name only, drinks 3 drinks every
    day by 2 pm 7 days a week. Tells me I have no skills, controls the drapes,
    windows,dishwasher ,cars. Hehas video cameras set up so I can’t ;move freely
    around the house or yard, get to the mail. I have no funds to move,I have no car
    in my name. My family claims Icomplain to much, I want a better life.
    I did apply for HUD housing, but they want a mailing address, I can’t get mail
    here, so what do I do? Helpless age 63in Laguna Niguel.

  • Lori Hoeck October 18, 2010, 4:23 pm

    Hi Margie,
    This is something your local domestic violence group can help with. Also, the National Domestic Abuse hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE.

  • pddf January 10, 2011, 9:07 pm

    My husband started the gaslighting behavior in 2006 after he vehemently brought out that he ahd beens exuallyabused by his mother as a child and ten. He would place my personal things in strange ways, or they would mysteriously disappear. When confronted, he would a) deny it completely, b)admit it but claim no memory, c)tellme I did it to get him in trouble, d)make it sound like a normal occurance, e) make me think I was crazy.. The reprucussions have run the gamet. Separated, reconciled, separated again. I have a list of almost 100 things he did. It started including tampering with my medication in very strange ways.