What Happens When You Tell the Narcissist He Is An Abuser



Next to nobody knows that they have been ensnared by a narcissist the first time that it happens. Indeed, in some cases the victim has no awareness until the second, third or even fourth occasion when this happens. The awakening moment usually occurs post-escape or more usually post-disengagement. This means that the opportunity to express this new found knowledge is reduced ; either because you are now maintaining no contact or the narcissist has disappeared (for the time being) with a new victim in his or her grip. Accordingly, the opportunity to confront the narcissist to tell them that he or she is a narcissist is reduced and I have written separately about what the resultant effect is where you declare ‘No! You Are The Narcissist’.

What is more likely to happen is that the victim recognises that they are being abused or if they do not use that word, they do at least realise that the way they are being treated in a way which is wrong, unpleasant or disrespectful. There are of course a whole host of reasons why the victim may fail to recognise what is happening to them and indeed act on any awareness that does occur, but those are points to address in a separate article.

If you realise that you are being abused, what will happen when you turn to the abusive narcissist and tell them that are an abuser and that they are engaging in abusive behaviour with you.

The Lesser Narcissist

The Lesser Narcissist will not deny the behaviour that you complain of. The Lesser tends to use physical violence, sexual violence, verbal violence and property destruction as the main methods of implementing abuse and exerting control. This is because the Lesser operates in a rudimentary fashion through the sudden explosion of heated fury. Make a point to a Lesser that he or she does not like, you can expect, as a minimum to be treated to the eloquent response of “fuck off”, a punch to the face or quite possibly both. Unrefined, vulgar and crass, the response of the Lesser to being wounded or the need to exert control is to lash out in a bullying and obvious manner.

Should you tell a Lesser Narcissist that he or she is an abuser, you will generate two responses which are similar in nature. If you make this allegation in a neutral manner (thus free of fuel) it will wound the Lesser because he realises that it is critical of his behaviour and therefore this wounding will result in an ignition of fury. Thus heated fury follows and you will find yourself on the receiving end of the types of violence which I have described above.

More likely, when you tell the Lesser Narcissist that he is an abuser, you will do so in a way which provides Challenge Fuel. You will probably be upset, hurt, frustrated or angry when you level this accusation at the Lesser Narcissist. This means you are providing fuel. Nevertheless, the Lesser Narcissist will interpret your allegation as one which is challenging his or her entitlement to treat you precisely as he or she sees fit. Remember, in our eyes, you are an object, a possession and we are entitled to treat you as we want. Do not forget that we have a huge need to control and abuse is a significant method of control. Again, in our world, the need to maintain control and the fact that abuse facilitates control results in its validation. Finally, add into the mix that the Lesser has no empathy whatsoever. Your challenging of our perceived right, the challenge to our entitlement, the paranoia-stoked rebellion to our necessary controlmeans that if you scream at the Lesser Narcissist that he is a hateful, abusive bastard means you issue Challenge Fuel. His response will be

a. He instinctively recognises there is more fuel to be obtained here and therefore the simplest way to gather that precious fuel is to provoke you; and

b. You are challenging his superiority and your insurrection must be quashed.

Since the Lesser operates in a rudimentary fashion, his or response will be to give you another dose of the abusive behaviour to ‘get you back into line’.  The Lesser never explains, never justifies – he or she just does because he or she is entitled to do this and if you do not like it, tough shit. In the same way that a Lesser will state an opinion and all who disagree are automatically labelled as idiots and morons (without explaining why they are), the Lesser responds in an automatic and knee-jerk manner based on their unwavering belief that they are right and entitled.

The Lesser does not recognise that this behaviour is wrong. It is your fault. You deserve this behaviour. He or she cannot empathise with your pain and hurt, instead he or she will only see the need to increase it in order to exert control and gain more fuel. The Lesser does not actually address the allegation in any way which you recognise as dealing with it, but instead will launch a verbal attack against you to deflect from your allegation, to put you in your place and to increase your misery. A fist will be driven into your face or your will be shoved to the floor and given two swift kicks. You ought to know your place and that is one of submission. If you tell a Lesser Narcissist that he or she is an abuser, expect an aggressive response designed to quell your rebellious accusation.

The Mid RangeNarcissist will adopt a defensive response to any accusation of him or her being an abuser. Just like the Lesser, the manner in which you make the allegation will either cause wounding or (more often) the provision of Challenge Fuel. Being far more passive aggressive in nature, the Mid Range Narcissist will not lash out with a “more of the same is good for you” attitude that the Lesser adopts, but rather they will continue the abusive behaviour through defending their reputation and justifying their behaviour. This operates as follows :-

  1. “I am not an abuser, how can you say that?” The Mid Range Narcissist believes that he or she is a decent person. That is their true perspective and therefore it just does not ‘compute’ that they could be labelled as an abuser because it does not accord with their own view of themselves. There is no insight. Further, not only has the comment offended their view of themselves, but it also offends their view that they have always been ‘good’ to you, when you are asked how you can say that.
  2. “I know you get upset with me at times but that is because you over react.” The key response of the Mid Range Narcissist to being accused of abusive behaviour is to automatically blame-shift. Notice how they do not deny that the act has happened but rather it is your response which is the key to the Mid Ranger being able to avoid any culpability. It is again your fault. Whereas the Lesser lets you know that it is your fault just because it is, the Mid Ranger will at least tell you why it is your fault

“You are too sensitive.”

“You take too much to heart.”

“Don’t be silly, you read too much into things.”

Thus the narcissist dilutes the effect of the behaviour by suggesting it is the perspective of the victim which is the problem and not the narcissist.

3. If the Mid Range Narcissist does not suggest that it is the perspective of the victim that is the issue, then they will blame-shift in a further way by glossing over the abusive behaviour and instead focusing on the victim as being the catalyst for the abuse and therefore it cannot be the fault of the Mid Ranger. He or she does not necessarily deny that the behaviour has taken place, but their automatic need to maintain the upper hand means that their perspective ensures that the victim is the one who is blamed. Accordingly,

“I know you get upset when I do not speak to you, but if you let me have some peace and quiet rather than nagging me all of the time, I would not have to do it.”

“I slapped you because you were out of order shouting at me the way you did, that is no way to talk to your husband.”

4. The Mid Ranger also deflects by ignoring the abusive behaviour (again not denying it has taken place) but removes any validity of the accusation by deflecting and does so by pointing out all of the good things that the Mid Ranger does for the victim. There is also a good dose of projection in these responses too.

“I cannot believe you pick on one minor incident where I lost my temper after all of the things I have done for you recently.”

“I find it a bit much for you to accuse me of such behaviour when I have been working my nuts off to provide for this household. That really is not fair. Do you know how much pressure I have been under as of late?”

“I said those things because they are true and you don’t appreciate anything I do for you, nothing at all. You always seize on the one thing which I apparently do wrong and castigate me for it whilst you ignore all of the really good things that I do. How is that fair?”

5. The False Mea Culpa. The Mid Range Narcissist may well acknowledge that what they have done is unpleasant and hurtful and rather than blame-shift on to the victim as described above, they transfer culpability to something else.

“I don’t know what came over me, I think someone must have spiked my drink.”

“I have no idea why I did that, it must be all the pressure at work.”

“That’s not me that does that, it is like, it is like there is some demon or something which takes over from time to time. I need some help, will you help me?”

“I know there is something wrong with me, I just cannot help it, it isn’t the real me, I want to stop it, I will see someone about it and together we can conquer it.”

Notice how there is no accountability, it is some other ‘force’ or event which has caused the aberrant behaviour. The Mid Range Narcissist also deflects from what they have done by making it all about them in terms of them being a tortured soul, needing help, needing the support of the victim. This apparent contrition not only regularly cons the victim (because it is not genuine but is just a further manipulation) but it also results in plenty of fuel for the Mid Range Narcissist as he is “fussed” over by the victim and third parties.

The bottom line with the Mid Range Narcissist is that they will never accept they are an abuser. They are not programmed to do that as they have no emotional empathy. They might understand how their conduct is considered as ‘wrong’ by you and other people, because of their increased cognitive function but their disorder will not allow them to accept accountability for it. If they did, they would lose control and lose fuel and therefore they are automatically conditioned to reject any suggestion of culpability or accountability for the abuse.

The victim will be suckered into thinking either it is their fault (they over-reacted, they have been getting on the Mid Ranger’s back more recently (yes, with justification but they are dissuaded from seeing it that way) or that the Mid Ranger recognises and accepts they have abused the victim. Typically, rather than get away having (apparently) secured the truth (as a truth seeker) the victim stays in the hope of securing the healing of the abuser which they long for (alongside all of the other reasons why a victim remains with an abusive narcissist).

The Mid Ranger will maintain the façade that he or she is a good person, blame-shift and then if necessary created waves of sympathy for their behaviour whilst still not accepting they are to blame for it.

The Greater Narcissistknows the behaviour is abusive and sees it as entirely necessary to the fulfilment of his or her aims, namely control, and The Prime Aims. The Greater Narcissist also lacking emotional empathy, guilt or remorse sees what they do as a function. The Greater Narcissist knows what they are doing but the overriding need for control and superiority means that it is entirely acceptable to abuse.

Of course, the aware Greater Narcissist recognises that to make such an admission to the victim is a foolish one as this would cede control to the victim, something which must not happen. The Greater Narcissist adopts a triumvirate approach to any allegation that he or she is an abuser

  1. Total Rejection.
  2. Misperception.
  3. Threat

Through Total Rejection, the Greater Narcissist will just dismiss the allegation. Able to control his or her ignited fury with a far greater degree of control, the glacial Greater will just wave a hand and tell the victim

“That’s not abuse, punching somebody is abusive, what I did, is not abuse.”

“Don’t be so silly, I do not abuse you. Does an abuser take someone to the premiere of the new Bond movie and the after performance party? No they do not.”

The Greater is able to do this because he or she control their ignited fury, the fact that they speak and operate with a supreme confidence and conviction and because the nature of the abuse doled out by the Greater is done in such a calculated, insidious and mind-fucking manner that the victim (with eroded self-worth and reduced critical thinking) is easily led to the conclusion that it cannot be abuse. The Greater acts with plausible deniability. There are no marks from the kick to the lower back that a Lesser would leave. No finger tip bruising from the Mid Range hand about the neck. No witnesses, no observers, no evidence. Your word versus ours.

Misperception is also used. Greaters enjoy gas lighting you as the finesse and skill required appeals to our more sophisticated approach to abuse. Of course whilst we see this as an almost noble way to abuse you, it remain abuse nevertheless.

“Don’t be silly darling, that never happened.”

“We must get you back to the doctors, you are hallucinating again.”

“I told you not to mix that medication and vodka, see what it has done? It has you thinking horrible things about you and me.”

Events never happened, actions have been perceived by you inaccurately. Throw in the game-playing of our Coterie and our Lieutenants and you will find yourself in a dizzying and disorientating nightmare where the abuse never did happen because of your mistaken perception.

Finally, threat will be used. Here, the ever confident Greater will admit that the abuse has happened but makes it very clear with an accompanying reptilian smile that if you ever breath a word of it to anybody else then the resulting repercussions will be a hundred times worse than what you have experienced before. The jet-black eyes fixed on you and the steady delivery of such a threat readily convinces you that this is the case. Having experienced the abuse and also being well-aware of what the Greater is capable of, the Greater’s admission gets you no further forward. Instead, you may think you have gained some power through achieving this admission, but you actually have a sword of Damocles hanging over your head now, reminding you of the threat attached to acquiring this power. In reality, it is not power at all.

With regard to the issue of abuse, it is pointless to try and gain acknowledgement from the abuser. You will not receive validation and instead you will face further abuse and manipulation.

If you require validation as to what is happening to you, rely on your gut instinct and read Manipulated, Devil’s Toolkit and Black Flag as within those pages you will find all the confirmation you require which will give you the logic to move to the next stage of countering and escaping that abuse,


46 thoughts on “What Happens When You Tell the Narcissist He Is An Abuser”

  1. Playground. Kinder garden. In the head of a 4-year old boy: “OK, I punched her on the nose; I pulled her hair, I showed her my snot… What else should I do to show her that I love her?!”

  2. Mine was a greater. I’m fine with that. He needs his coterie, his spare women, his admirers. I don’t need to feed on people as he does because I know who I am in the first place.

  3. Wow. I told my hub this past weekend that I feel like he WANTS me to feel crazy. I finally told him that. Here’s what led up to it… Am I wrong? Is he NOT trying to make me feel crazy? I don’t fucking know.

    Over the weekend, my hub and I had a major argument. He was seething with rage over the fact that I didn’t read his mind, basically! It was one of our miscommunication arguments that we have often, where I’m capable of writing it off as “I need more communication and he assumes things and expects me to do the same.” He can’t do that. He says I’m trying to fuck him over. And he used a fight we had last year where there was a similar misunderstanding, and he used the same phrasing that I was trying to “fuck him over when he was bending over backward to do me a favor.” I had asked him to drive me to and from a medical procedure, and he had insisted it wasn’t a problem, until the day of. Suddenly I was fucking him over. I’d told him on the phone “I am driving home from visiting mom in the hospital now, so it’ll be 40 minutes when I get there.” And then I was home FIVE minutes later than I said (cause he’d screamed at me on the phone and I was crying). So when this argument came up again recently, I asked “How is being five minutes late fucking you over?” He said, “Oh, but you just said yourself it takes FORTY minutes to get back home from there, so how were you only five minutes late? FORTY minutes is much longer than FIVE!!!!” And he’s seething with disgust and contempt, and looking like he’d just caught me in a big one. I said, “I told you I’d be home in 40. I never was 40 minutes late. I was home in 45 so I was 5 minutes late. And this doesn’t even make sense to me because I had a set appointment and we got there, and no matter what time I got home, you still had to miss the same amount of work because you had to stay until the injection was over to drive me home.”

    So then I told him “I’ve felt like I’m crazy all these years, but it’s all THIS and I’m so done with it! You acting like I’m fucking you over when there is a misunderstanding because we communicate differently. And also, you saying mean shit to me, and not saying ANYTHING when I tell you I know you get off to pics of my mother’s feet. And you acting like NOTHING is happening since I mentioned that to you. You suddenly want sex all of a sudden. And I love that you do, and that you are trying, but I also feel like it’s a bandaid and you’re using it to avoid telling me WHY my own MOTHER’s feet? Why my mother? And you ignoring it and not ever addressing it, and acting like things are fine without helping me understand that, is the biggest mind-fuck of all.”

    And he gets quiet, looks down. Almost looks a little ashamed. But then he goes right back to acting like nothing happened. And I went along with it because we were at the beach and I didn’t want the trip ruined because I love the beach and it was our last day. But now still, nothing ever happened apparently.

    I don’t even know what to make of that.


  4. Dear Mr Tudor,
    I asked the weasel …. “Are you a narcissist (3 times) … he replied “I guess I am”
    Only because it was suggested on another site ….. before you Mr Tudor … hehe

    I don’t think it “computed” with him ….. but …. we’re rid of him …. so yeah

    I wish I had found your site beforehand and I would’ve done things differently.
    I’m learning …. so thankyou

    1. Oh, Bubbles, I agree I would have done sooooo much differently. Like ‘never give him the time of day’ in the first place. He’s beneath me. Cheers

  5. My narc ex knows very much that he is a sociopathic narcissist. If it comes up to authorities, court officials, nannies, etc., and it often does, he will lay on the charm and gaslight to the extreme. He has such a way of manipulating situtations and his words, that people think that what he is saying is the truth. Occasionally people dont buy his narratives, so his last resort for manipulation, is word salad. I have seen authorities question him and he would go off on so many irrelevant issues, that the authorities would forget what and why they were questioning him.

  6. My exhusband was on a diatribe about midrangers yesterday. He can’t stand them, but of course he doesn’t call them midrangers. He calls them Passive-Aggressive Hypocrites. Made me laugh and reminded me of this post. Lol!

      1. Twilight,

        I think the funniest thing about his rant about midrangers is that what he can’t stand is that they are dishonest about their lying. Not that they lie, mind you (because he believes all intelligent people should lie), but that they have to pretend to themselves that they’re something different than they are. They’re not “honest liars” like him. That reminded me of a different thread here about narcs saying things that contradict. I almost asked him, “You mean they’re not honest liars?” But no sense poking an angry bear. Lol!!

        1. Windstorm

          Ohhhh I am sooo sorry I would have poked that bear…..I wonder if that is what HG means by challenge fuel?

          1. Twilight
            Maybe. I’ve never been much on challenge fuel. I prefer to stay painted white! Ha, ha! That’s why I space out my narc interactions. I only enjoy providing positive fuel!

            I got a feel for what he meant today, though. I met my narc friend from NYC for lunch and told her about his rant. She confessed that she and her narc brothers say all sorts of passive-aggressive lies to their parents when she comes to Nashville. They practice major deception in the name of “sparing Mom and Dad’s feelings.” I was horrified! It made me grateful for my own brutally honest children who come right out and say, “No, Mom. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to …”. I gained new appreciation for my “honest liars.” Lol!

          2. Windstorm

            I prefer to be painted white, sometimes thou…..I just can not help myself.
            My son is brutally truthful with me, sometimes I am just like…. wow that’s my son! No sugar coating it. My other two…..smh lies roll off their tongue like water flows and they expect me to believe them.

          3. Twilight
            All my children lie like they breathe – probably the narc influence. But it’s lies for fun, to trick, to show off their cleverness. When it comes to answering real questions, they are all brutally honest. That’s a legacy from my father in law – our family’s Narc-in- Chief. Lies are for fuel, for fun. But only spineless wimps lie to protect themselves. Strong people are brave enough and confident enough to say painful truths. This was hard to adjust to (God knows my birth family is not this way – they’re a bunch of spineless passive-aggressive narcs) but now I’ve learned to respect it.

  7. I’ve been enmeshed in narc abuse since childhood. Then, I made the brilliant choice to bring five of these monsters into my life, with the last being the worst. The gaslighting and smear campaign has been ungodly.
    Finally, however, I’ve learned my lesson (it only took 29 years), I RECORDED what went on behind closed doors. Not to file charges, although I could, but to remind myself of reality when the Hoover’s start up again.

    1. Jules,

      Regarding “I RECORDED what went on behind closed doors. Not to file charges, although I could, but to remind myself of reality when the Hoover’s start up again.”

      THIS! I started doing this recently, recording arguments in my marriage when I can. Not planning to file charges either (if need be though, I’d use some of it as leverage if he ever tries to pull anything vindictive if I leave). But it’s like you described, to have that reminder of what it’s REALLY like, when everything appears rosy.

  8. Denial and abuses you more keeping in the back of their mind that you are a betrayer and if a greater that youre onto them. Never show the narcs your cards.

  9. Mine was classic mid-range. When I told him he was a psychopath he ignored me (over email). When I told him to his face that he had a personality disorder he said ‘we all have personality disorders.’ He also went for sympathy and excuses such as ‘I know I’m a bumbling idiot but I have a hard time understanding other people’s emotions.’ He also accused ME of ‘scaring’ him because of MY anxiety (which he caused). What cracks me up now is that after I escaped once (well, he put me on the shelf and I disengaged), he tried to hoover me and triangulate. One of the points of the triangle (really a quadrangle, I guess) was the sudden appearance of the IPPS and the other was either another shelf IPSS or a Candidate IPPS, in any case someone with whom he was having what he described as an ’emotional relationship.’ He must have read it on some web page because I have to ask myself how a narc has an ’emotional relationship.’ She, unlike me, caught on quickly and disengaged, but she was too young for him and looking for a life partner. He said to me at one point, ‘she wants kids so I know it wouldn’t last a year.’ It was clear he was seeking an escape route from IPPS. But I just wanted fun and couldn’t figure out what was so hard about that. In the end, I did place the blame partly on myself, however, because I think it’s empowering to accept some responsibility. I don’t hate him. I just find great joy these days in taking him down. It’s the fun I did not get to have with him! So I will have it at his expense! Contemplating my next move. I think I’ll place myself incognito on a dating site in the city he is now in and see if I can find him. Screen shot for the IPPS…

    1. I do not think you are too harsh, no. You express your view and I do not regard it as one which is gratuitous. You often challenge me, I have no issue with you doing so. If I recall correctly, English is not your native language and therefore it might be that some comments may come across as very direct because of that, but not harsh.

  10. All I saw was…..

    “Don’t be so silly, I do not abuse you. Does an abuser take someone to the premiere of the new Bond movie and the after performance party? No they do not.”

  11. recognizing and yet , keep believing yourself seems like one helluva job with a “ Greater” trying to escape one gots to be difficult .

    1. DoForLuv, yes, yes, yes, the Greater is the Greater weasel. I am having a miserable time getting rid of mine. The last time I saw him (4 months ago), I saw hatred toward me in his evil eyes and then after 4 months NC, suddenly he’s infatuated again, doing benign and malign hoovers (the malign are the worst–vicious, yet he ‘loves’???)

      He must be between girlfriends . . . I wish he’d hurry up find her (although I ‘feel’ sorry for her).

      What happens when you tell a Greater what he is; that you figured it out and then you “escape?” He/she HATES your guts and will smear you, in my case, physically abused me, etc. Hell hath no rath like Satan.

      1. AimToGetBetter

        So sad to read what you’ve experienced(ing) with your ex greater narc !

        I hope you remain strong and have a quick recovery to enjoy life narcfree again .

        Strenght to you and yours 🤗

  12. Fucking hell.

    I told my husband this weekend that I’m done trying to read his mind, and feeling like I’m the crazy one for not being able to, and him never acknowledging just being wrong if we have a misunderstanding. OMG, he doesn’t just not take blame, he accuses ME of trying to fuck him over, when I just couldn’t read his mind! I said, “You don’t ever admit you have any part in any fuck-up in communication whatsoever. And I’m not judging you, because I know you aren’t CAPABLE of acknowledging any fault. You aren’t. You just don’t have that ability, but I do, and constantly question myself. But every time we have a fight, I’m left feeling crazy, and you go back to acting like nothing happened the next day. That is the biggest mind fuck!” He suddenly went quiet, looked down, stared almost shamefully at the floor. Then I left the room and when I came back, he went back to acting like everything was fine.

    What the fucking hell is that?

  13. Why it is not worth telling him? Because he is a narcissist … that is my mental answer to all my questions .

    To all my questions now I have this answer and I try to move on …. why ? Because he is a narcissist.

        1. I vividly remember that last chaotic scene with my Narc – where in a split second I withdraw / as I could have dig for more details and lies etc and I stopped and said to myself … there is no point in finding out one more lies, one more manipulation , one more triangulation, one more smear , the details are irrelevants , he is a narcissist , that is allo I need to know and I withdraw and went NC – at light speed. That is all we need to know . They are narcissist in encompasses everything- neatly tied.

  14. Hi. Which book(s) best demonstrates the tactics used by narcissistic family members. You have stated that family members are usually not the narcissist’s IPPS. Why, then, would I be the slaughtered target, ostracized and maligned, by my sibling(s) if I were nothing more than a secondary fuel source? Why so much disdain towards me if I’m not a primary source? Why not just leave me alone, as I disengaged a year ago? A familial narcissistic dynamic is a death sentence whether you are in or out of the tribe.

  15. When I told him that he had narcissistic personality disorder. He said that he had gone to see a psychologist who told him this was not true. To the accusations of abuse his words were:”I pushed you but I would never lay a hand on you.” Regarding the psychological abuse , it was all in my head. I think he must belong to the greater narcissist category. Am I correct?

    1. Perhaps but that information on its own does not equate to the individual being a Greater, more likely to be Mid Range.

      1. I agree. It’s difficult to form an opinion with so little details. I could give you more examples but it would take too long. Whatever type of narcissist he was, the damage was substantial. As a victim of narcissistic abuse, we always wonder how aware they were about the abuse that they dished out but I guess it is something that we will never know. They are the only ones who truly know while we will always wonder. It’s hard to accept but we don’t have a choice.

        1. Confusing is the way they roll.. What a jerk! Glad he’s your “EX” pascale

          (Not you HG, love your comment, made me smile.)

  16. HG,
    You totally described my mother in the midranger section. Except for the false mea culpa. I don’t remember any of those.

    I got most of the greater ones from my husband, except the threat of harm. I think I was spared the threats of harm from my husband because his father was a greater, too. After our children were born he told me to come to him if my husband ever abused me again, because he didn’t want me unable to care for his grandchildren. My FIL could be a violent, scary man – when he wasn’t being a doting FIL and papaw. I was shocked to learn that my husband was afraid of him. I always wondered what had happened in the past to make a confident, grown man in his prime so afraid of his father.

    1. The five facts articles and The fuel matrix articles are massively helpful to identify cadre. School was quite clear from the ofset for mine. Victim – he did not fit in any of the others.
      You have probably read the above articles but may be worth it again as sometime we can miss things on first read.

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