50 common phrases narcissists use and what they really mean
Have you ever come away from a conversation with a weird, sick feeling like the other person didn’t mean what they said? If so, trust your intuition; these common phrases can be very clear red flags!
After surviving 20 years of abuse, I’ve become very familiar with these common phrases and have become fluent in the language of abuse. Through the support of the survivor community, I have found that I am not alone. These phrases were not unique to my abuser. Many survivors have even reached out to me or shared hoovering screenshots asking me, “What does this mean?”
As part of my own healing, I wrote these common phrases out. On paper, the pattern of abuse becomes completely obvious as the frequency and severity of abusive phrases slowly increase.
I am sharing this in hopes others can recognize these common phrases as warning signs. If you have experienced these common phrases, the best thing to do is to end the relationship immediately before you graduate to what the survivor community calls a primary or secondary source. Leaving may be dangerous if you believe you are a primary or secondary source.
- What’s your story? I’ll fake interest in you to make you think I’m looking to meet new people to develop a healthy human connection. The sad truth is I lack the ability to develop healthy relationships. I can’t tell you that because you’ll be on to me and leave me immediately. I’ll pretend that I want to get to know you, but I really want to learn about your deepest wounds and desires. I’ll make you feel comfortable so you’ll share all the intimate information that you wouldn’t normally share on a first date or a stranger you have just met. I’ll poke and prod to uncover your strengths, weaknesses, interests, passions, and everything you’re missing from your life so I can morph into the person you desire and use all your passions and insecurities against you later. This will make you feel like I’m such a good listener and we have such a strong connection because there is no way you would have shared this deeply personal information with anyone before, much less someone you just met. Once I think I have you figured out, I will turn the conversation around me and attempt to one-up all of your experiences. You’ll be so hooked by then that you’ll mistake it for my ability to relate to all of your feelings associated with those experiences.
- It’s crazy how much we have in common! — What is crazy is how perfectly calculated it all actually is! Now that I got you to tell me all about yourself, I’ve studied you, and I am mirroring you, just like I have done with all of my other victims. I’m a great actor. I can morph into what you have always wanted in a partner — at least, for the time being until I get you hooked. Once I have you hooked, I can get more comfortable and let the mask slip from time to time. Soon, you won’t be able even to recognize the person you met who had so much in common with you.
- It hurts too much to talk about it- I will only share with you what I want you to know. I expect you to be an open book. You should feel comfortable telling me your deepest, darkest secrets so I can file them away and use them against you later. I will never admit to anything that makes me feel vulnerable to anyone, not even a therapist or doctor. I am counting on your capacity for compassion to respect this and not poke and prod at me as I have already done to you.
- Yeah, I moved around a lot / I love to travel. — I say this to get you hooked on the idea that we can travel together, but that’s not true. I actually hate traveling, and I’m a horrible travel companion. If, on the rare occasion, I do take you on a trip with me, It means I think I have you so hooked that I can feel comfortable showing you my true self. The stress alone causes the mask I have been wearing to hide my true persona to slip a little. Then I will realize that you are completely vulnerable, away from home and your support system, and that’s when the real abuse starts. Only a small amount of victims will have the guts to leave me in the middle of a trip, though. That’s the true test! That’s when I know you’re really hooked. I’ve moved around a lot because I leave places where my victims have figured me out, and I have no choice but to start all over again. With each new destination comes a whole new life and identity where I don’t have to ever deal with the consequences of my actions or the people who know my true self. Once I’ve exhausted my numerous victims in each city and state, it’s time to pack my bags and go on a new “adventure.” I leave my mark along with a trail of victims wherever I go. I don’t have roots, and I have even alienated my family. It’s quite lonely, and I will use this later to make you feel sorry for me.
- That’s not fair! That’s morally wrong! — Yep! I have a messed up moral code. Anyone who does anything bad should be punished. I will even take the law into my own hands to make sure someone is punished for their actions. This will even create a false sense of security for you, especially if you’ve not felt safe most of your life. At some point, I may even be the only person you have felt safe with! I won’t tell you that I believe there is a set of rules for me and a different set for everybody else. Any of the unacceptable behavior or actions I eventually use to hurt you emotionally or physically is morally wrong if YOU do it back to me. I have very different standards for myself. I expect and demand complete loyalty and transparency from you. However, I am free to carry on numerous affairs, treat you like a side piece, or lie to you about the fact that I am already “committed” to someone, all while stringing you along for money, sex, companionship, praise, or whatever else you have to offer me. Being held accountable for my actions is a reminder to me that I am not special. I truly believe that I am better than everybody else and do not have to follow rules, common courtesy, or basic human decency. I truly believe that when my well-earned consequences catch up with me, it is unfair for me to pay them. I will have all sorts of very convincing reasons for why my actions were justified to convince authority figures and those around me to support me. I’ll even have you convinced that all my victims actually deserved the horrible things I admitted I did to them! (I think it goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway to those folks who are brainwashed by these horrible people: Nobody, no matter how bad they are, deserves this type of abuse. If, while reading this, you think there are actually people who deserve it, you should call the number at the bottom and get help.)
- I’m just so busy right now! — You’re just my transitional target, not my primary or secondary source. All you are is something to keep me satisfied in between my two or more Primary and secondary sources. I am so busy sleeping around or flirting with anything that moves I simply don’t have the time to invest in you while entertaining so many others. However, I’ll be happy to keep you waiting for my attention on the sidelines. I’ll string you along so I can tap into your resources whenever I’d like. Who knows? Perhaps if one or two of my victims wakes up or bows out, you’ll get to occupy a new position on my weekly rotation. How fun would that be?
- We’re just friends! I swear!- I don’t have friends. I’m incapable of developing the healthy relationships necessary to have friends. My friends may think we’re friends too! They’ll even tell you we’re just friends and really believe it, but they’re just sources of my well-deserved attention that I’m addicted to like a drug. I’ll eventually screw them over too. The fact that I even have to say this to you means I’ve hooked you! Congratulations, you have officially graduated from the friend zone to my secondary source! You should know this because I’m actually getting defensive now that you're calling me out on all the red flags I’m flashing. I keep these “friends” around for whatever I’m not getting from you. It’s not you, it’s me, really! I’m a bottomless pit, so you will never be enough for me, no matter what you do! I truly believe in my demented head that it’s your fault, though, for not filling my bottomless pit of attention supply! I have to have these “friends” around because it is not humanly possible for one person to fulfill my insatiable need for supply! I have to lie to you about it because the thrill of cheating on you is part of the fun! The adrenaline rush I get from it is incredible! I’ll hide it well from you at first, but once the thrill starts to subside, I’ll get sloppy. I’ll even leave clues and laugh at how much of a fool you are when you don’t even notice. You see, I actually want you to find out about them! That’s part of the supply, too! I get an even better high from that! It makes me high like heroin! Then, just like withdrawal symptoms, I’ll actually feel hurt and insecure when you don’t notice the clues I leave for you! Shame on you for being so trusting of me! Do you not even care about me to notice? That will make me angry, and I’ll accuse you of the same behavior that I’m actually doing! Since you didn’t care enough about me to notice I’ve been cheating on you this whole time! Finally, when I rub your nose in it, and you rightfully become jealous, I can triangulate you both! I just love it when people fight for me. It makes me feel so special and powerful!
- No, but really, we are just friends! Of course, we’re sleeping together.
- They mean nothing to me. You’re my one and only! I swear! -God, all this rivalry over me? Please, keep it going! How absolutely exciting this is! I get so bored when I am in a long-term, committed relationship. It’s wonderful to create these love triangles and have so many people competing over me. I thrive on the validation and attention of so many admirers. I will never really “choose” anyone — I just enjoy the game of always choosing myself and my own needs first. I love that you care this much about me to get this upset! Now I can set the hook!
- You’re my soulmate!- Congratulations, you’ve graduated from secondary source to Primary Supply. This is either because my other source finally woke up and left me or because you got so upset over my appalling behavior that you’ve shown me that you are a much better source of supply than the other one! Now starts the cycle again, but a little worse each time. I will persistently love bomb you until I know for sure the hook I set is lodged deep into your heart. Then, once I get your complete emotional investment, I’ll only have to do nice things for you after abusive incidents occur for intermittent reinforcement to keep you from leaving me. I may even shower you with gifts before I do something wrong, too! I’ll stop by your work unexpectedly with a big bouquet of flowers, on my way to meet my friends at the strip club, but I’ll tell you we’re just going to TGIFridays, because I know what I am about to do is a huge violation of your trust, hence the flowers.
- I don’t know what I’d do without you!- This is true, but not the way you think it is. Now that you are my primary source, I will literally feel like I’m dying if you leave me. The supply you provide me is so pure it’s more addictive than heroin! I will literally have physical withdrawal symptoms if you leave me. It’s horrible! That doesn’t mean I’ll stop my behavior, though. Even if it means I’ll risk losing you for good. That’s how self-destructive I am! It’s okay, though. I have my secondary source primed and ready to be promoted to Primary as soon as you wise up and finally leave me for good. Don’t think I’ll let you leave me without putting up a fight, though. I’ll still Hoover you while I’m living it up with my new source. Oh, and now that I’ve got you hooked on me, you’ll have those physical withdrawal symptoms, too! You didn’t really think that you were immune to those, too, did you? The best thing you can do is just go no-contact with me. Quit me, cold Turkey. Once your withdrawal is over, the worst thing you can do is watch all the fake fun I’m having on social media! That’s enough to get pricked by the heroine needle again. My new source will make you jealous, and you’ll come crawling back soon enough! They always do.
- My ex is so crazy!!!- Hmm, what did I do that was so bad that ultimately made my ex engage in reactive abuse? At this point, if I said all the other phrases to you, there is a 100% chance that their desperate attempt to escape my abusive behavior gave me a taste of my own medicine. My ex-source got tired of my abusive behavior and finally left me in a fit of rage. Of course, I couldn’t let them leave without a fight! I had to back them into a corner, forcing them to resort to my behavior to outsmart me finally. Of course, I’ll tell you all the horrible things they did to me to get your sympathy. That’s part of the supply, too!
- Miss you 😘- Oh Boy, this is a test! No, really, I’m just “Checking in.” I will check in on you often. My check-ins will gradually increase in frequency and severity. I am checking in because I need my supply from you as my primary source; you are the one and only pure source for me. You’d better acknowledge me immediately! If you don’t, the next time we speak, I will need to know exactly what you were doing at the time of my text and why it took you so long to respond. Good thing phones have time stamps on them! I love that you haven’t adjusted your privacy settings because I can tell when you read my messages, and I’ll use that fact to my advantage while I interrogate you about every detail of what you were doing between my messages and when you finally found the time to respond! I’ll ask you so many questions that you actually feel physically dizzy and question what you were doing. No matter what you say, it couldn’t possibly be important enough for you to drop everything you’re doing and respond. I’ll accuse you of lying, and then we’ll argue about that for a while. If you were with a friend at the time, I will soon grow to hate them for stealing my source from me. I will point out all of their flaws and convince you that they don’t deserve you and how toxic they are to you. I’ll isolate you from them. This way, when you finally decide to leave me, you won’t have them for support and strength. We’ll, of course, fight even more about this, and through this, I’ll get the source that you kept from me during that neglectful period between my text and your response. Once I have you convinced that your lack of response was your fault, you might think our fight is over. I will continue to resent you for it, though. The next time I send you a text, you better respond much faster, but it still will be too long for me to wait for my desperately needed supply. After I interrogate you again, I will remind you of the last time you hurt me by not responding fast enough. Soon, I will have you conditioned to respond to me immediately rather than face my wrath. I’ll have you convinced that it’s just easier to follow my simple requests rather than upset me. If you challenge me, I’ll even play the respect card: It’s not too much to ask you to respect my wishes. Soon, you will never let your phone out of your hand while I’m not around. Every 10 seconds, you’ll glance at your phone just in case you miss a text. You’ll even rehearse excuses in your head in case you miss my next text! Don’t bother; none of them will be good enough. Eventually, you’ll lie to me about where you are or what you are doing, knowing no matter where you are or what you are doing won’t be acceptable to me. You know I’ll interrogate you when you get back. You think your made-up location or activity is good enough to justify how important it was that you didn’t respond. Now I’ve caught you. Now I got you to actually do something wrong by lying! Now, I don’t have to minimize the value of your time away from me! I will use this every time we argue to chip away at your self-esteem. I will make you feel so ashamed even though you would have never engaged in this behavior until I got ahold of you. You never had to lie before! Now I’ve got you perfectly trained. You’ll start to feel tension in your shoulders and even notice you’re squeezing your phone. This preoccupation will no doubt distract you from work or school. You won't ever be fully present while you’re out with your friends, shopping, or even at yoga. You’ll be anxiously expecting my text. Soon, you’ll stop accepting invitations from friends and family. It’s just not worth the aggravation of having to justify the value of your time to me or make excuses to your friends about the way I treat you. Any attention wasted on anything other than me will end in a fight, leaving you physically and emotionally exhausted. I will alienate you from your support system. I will cause you to sabotage your career and self-care, all because I sent you a text that said: Miss you😘
- Go ahead, do what you want. I don’t care! Actually, that’s an absolute lie; you should know that by my contemptuous tone. Any time you spend away from me is a brutal attack on my ego. The entire time you are “cheating” on me by doing whatever activity I was invited to, I chose not to go because I think is stupid; I will feel like I’m dying from your withdrawal. While you are gone, I will rehearse everything I will argue about you in my head so I will be ready to use them when you return. I will pull out the list that I keep of all the times you’ve hurt me in the past so I can use it as ammunition when we argue. I’ll text you and call you repeatedly so when you get back, I can interrogate you about it. I will poke you until I find one trivial thing about what you were doing so I can convince you that it was a waste of time and that you would have better spent time with me.
- If you cared about me, you would ___” (Manipulative affection)- I am trying to control you with my words. I am trying to make you question your actions and intentions. No matter what you do to show me you care won’t matter. You actually caring about me is not what I am saying this for. I don’t want you to show me that you actually care about me. What I really want to do is control you.
- I was only trying to help! I had your best interest in mind. How dare you accuse me of crossing clearly set boundaries or willfully hurting you, you ungrateful, self-centered nobody. You’re standing your ground, and I’m scared. I need to make you feel guilty so I can turn the argument back on you. I am trying to reverse the situation and convince you that I am the victim to avoid accountability.
- I’m just trying to protect you!- I’m just trying to control you. I hold you in such low regard that I think you need to be managed or handled. Healthy adults don’t need to be handled or managed. You’re a grown man/woman, and my protection will cost you tenfold. No matter what you say to dispute my well-intentioned protection, I will accuse you of overreacting and being irrational. This will further solidify my belief that you are so emotionally unhealthy that you indeed do NEED my protection. See! I told you so!
- My mom does love you. My family does not hate you! You’re overreacting!!! Of course, they hate you! I’m their Primary Source, and you are my primary source, so that is taking my attention away from them! There’s no sense in fighting it. Nothing you do will take away their resentment for that.
- You deserve so much better than me; I don’t deserve you. I am literally admitting to you that I am a shitty person! What a fool you are to stick around. I won’t even credit your loyalty. Instead, I’ll make you feel sorry for me by showing you my soulless puppy dog eyes.
- We’re just so different! I just don’t get you!- Wow, what a fool you were to believe me when I told you it was crazy that we had so much in common when we first met. We are indeed very different. You have empathy, and I don’t! I can’t let you figure that out, though. I need to minimize my lack of empathy by making you think it’s a compatibility issue. I’m not lying about that either! It really is the truth. An abuser like me is certainly not compatible with a healthy person. This makes me so afraid of losing my Primary supply source from you. I have to gaslight you to make you feel like you’re crazy so you don’t see that we’re completely incompatible. Then you’ll do what I fear most: abandon me! I can’t let that happen! If I make you self-conscious, you won’t have the guts to leave me, so I’ll shame you for being different every chance I get.
- It was just a joke! You’re so sensitive! I swear, you have no sense of humor! — I actually, on the other hand, have an incredibly warped sense of humor. I’m quite proud of it, too! I constantly amuse myself! My jokes are great! I can be so cruel to you and completely wear down your self-worth without being held accountable! I can even recruit others to join in on the fun at your expense to humiliate you and compound your emotional wounds! Who doesn’t love a good joke, right? Oh, just you, I guess, because you’re intelligent enough to see it for what it actually is: a covert put-down. I can’t validate this because if I do, you’ll see me for the sadistic monster I truly am, and you’ll abandon me! Ugh! I’ll have to start all over again and groom another supplier. Faking empathy is so exhausting! It’s just easier for me to make fun of you! Your reaction is hilarious! It truly is the best supply! You’re so cute when you're mad!
- You always/never ___ .” By talking in absolutes, I am putting your integrity to the test. I am attempting to destroy your credibility. I’m trying to make you doubt yourself, and it makes me feel superior. It’s great! It’s like killing two birds with one stone! I’m also making the situation seem more extreme than it really is. I’m trying to distract you from your completely valid accusations by turning the blame on you, making myself the victim and you the offender. Go ahead and get defensive! Do it around other people, too! That’s the best supply! I’ll just sit back and watch everyone else’s reactions as they grow completely appalled by your out-of-character behavior. I want you to get upset and defensive, so you look/ act crazy! Especially around your support system! The ultimate goal is to convince them that you were the crazy one all along!
- You’re just like ____ .” (Emotional abuse by comparing you with others) I know this is a low blow, and I’m using this to trigger your insecurities and make you doubt yourself intentionally.
- I hate you….I’m just kidding!!! You can’t ever take a joke. My jokes are the only truths you’ll ever receive from me during the whole relationship. Holding in my truth has become harder and harder for me. I need to disguise it with the veil of a joke. My jokes are either exactly what I think of you or are really what I think about myself. But which is it? Now, the mystery of my projection will drive you crazy for years; even after you finally escape me, you may never recover from the mind game of “I swear, it was just a joke!”
- Everybody Hates you! This is exactly why you don’t have friends.” I am attacking your self-esteem. I am purposely triggering unresolved childhood insecurities. I can’t admit that you lost your support system because it was really me who isolated you! I must make you believe it’s your fault so you won’t wake up and leave me!
- That’s not what I meant. Great Job! You’re standing your ground, not giving in, and holding me accountable for my actions. Now, I am making you question what actually happened. And as a result, you start to question your own memory and experiences. I am attempting to escape the well-earned consequences of my actions by making you question your sanity.
- I’m concerned about you -Great job! You’re holding the boundary you set for me really well! I’m really scared and desperate now. By faking concern, I’m hoping you’ll let your guard down so I can gain access to you to inflict drama, chaos, confusion, division, and sabotage to achieve my ultimate goal: your destruction. I can’t understand how destroying my primary source is actually self-destructive. That’s how disposable I think you are. I don’t give a damn about your well-being. My secondary source is chomping at the bit to take your place.
- I saw this, and it made me think of you (insert random gift)- What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is none of your business. Whatever gift I give you will always have strings attached. I’ll come to collect on it when you least expect it. I’ll remind you of all the nice things I’ve done for you until I wear you down and convince you to sell your soul.
- You’ve changed- I’m thinking about cheating on you. I’m bored of you now. If only you would become an entirely different person, I could be happy! On a very basic level, I don’t like or respect you and need you to be someone you’re not or will ever be, and no effort you make will ever please me because I’m a perfectionist, and nobody is perfect. By now, I know all you’re insecurities, and with my filthy hands, I will pick away at those festering wounds as they ooze with puss and blood. I’ll make you feel like you need to lose weight or somehow change your appearance. Your unhealthy reactions are my supply, so I must seek another source.
- Give me your phone!! I cheated on you or violated your trust in some way. I hope to cover it up by focusing on you without telling you what I did. I’m feeling guilty for cheating on you, so I’ll accuse you of the thing that I just did. That way, when I do get caught, I can use my made-up suspicions to turn it back on you and call it even.
- I am truly sorry! I really am. This is not who I am. Oops! You caught me, and this is exactly who I am. My behavioral patterns should have tipped you off by now. I’m feeling shitty because I am facing the consequences of my bad behavior. Sure, I’ll apologize from time to time to get these discussions over with and to make you think I really want to change or that this was a momentary lapse. I hope you’re buying it because if you let me back into your life again, you’re in for one hell of a ride.
- I promise I won’t do it again — I’ll say whatever it is I need to say to get out of the consequences of my shitty behavior. While I may not do the exact thing I just did in the near future, I absolutely will continue to violate your trust, and by the time I actually get around to doing the thing I promised I would never do again, your self-worth will be so diminished that it won’t even matter you anymore that I just did what I promised I would never do.
- Give me another chance- I’ll say whatever it is I need to say to get out of the consequences of my shitty behavior. While I may not do the exact thing I just did in the near future, I absolutely will continue to violate your trust, and by the time I actually get around to doing the thing I promised I would never do again, your self-worth will be so diminished that it won’t even matter you anymore that I just did what I promised I would never do. (Repetition was intended.) does this feel like de ja vu? This will happen over and over again like a viscous head-spinning cycle.
- Honestly, I would never lie to you — Our entire relationship has been a complete lie! I am lying to you right now as I say this. You do know that an authentic truth-teller wouldn’t have to convince you, right? I constantly have to tell you I would never lie to you because I know you will eventually find the discrepancies in everything I say and what I do. When you’re struggling to understand why I am acting with such cruelty, you’ll remember how I stressed to you that I am an honest person of integrity and character — someone who would never do such things. You’ll be confused because my actions speak so differently than my words. Slowly but surely, I am brainwashing you into believing that I would never lie to you. That will create a conflict in you — enough reasonable doubt for whenever my lies come to the surface. My actions will be so unbelievably horrible that you won’t want them to be true anyway. You will want to believe in the person I pretended to be rather than who I really am.
- He/she was obsessed with me!- My past victims glanced momentarily at the monster I am. They called me out and tried to hold me accountable for my actions. They even tried to expose me! Don’t be surprised if they reach out to warn you about me! By the time they do, you’ll be convinced they’re crazy and obsessed with me. They’re just jealous of what we have. At least that’s what I’ll tell you. They’re just stalking me because they want me back so desperately. It couldn’t have anything to do with the pain I’ve inflicted upon them.
- You’re overreacting! — I am the one who overreacts to any threat to my perceived superiority. I’m very sensitive about this, so I project this onto you by making you feel like there’s something wrong with you so you don’t notice my severe character flaw. Go ahead, turn around, and tell me I’m the one who’s overreacting! I love that shit! Especially if you do it in front of other people! This way, I can convince everyone that you’re the crazy one!
- My Ex never overreacted or did any of the behavior you’re showing right now. — My ex did, in fact, react to my abuse. That’s why we are no longer together, but admitting that would mean that I can’t gaslight you into making me feel like there’s something wrong with you. This way, I can get away with my behavior while triangulating you with my Ex! Making you jealous makes me feel so powerful! It kills two birds with one stone! I’m such a genius!
- After everything I did for you! I sacrificed so much for you! — I want you to feel guilty and indebted to all the love bombing I gave you. I am deeply unsatisfied with how my own life turned out. I wasn’t able to achieve what I wanted, and I’m disappointed. I blame you for the life choices I made. I refuse to take responsibility for this outcome. It’s much easier to blame and shift this responsibility to you. You are now officially my scapegoat! I want to trap you in a feeling that you owe me something. No matter what I try to do, I will never be satisfied. This debt can never be repaid to me. You will forever owe me, and I own you.
- You have no idea what I have been through. People have not given me the infinite attention and respect I deserve! Even if I went through a legitimate traumatic event, I’ll use this as an excuse for my actions to avoid accountability.
- You must do this_____!” Look at yourself! What is wrong with you? Your current situation is no good. I want you to feel ashamed of yourself because you choose to behave in a way that goes against my desires. Following your own path is an attack on me. To control you, I am exploiting your fear of social rejection by making you feel inadequate and not deserving of approval. I am extremely insecure and afraid of rejection. I am filled with my own shame and preoccupied with public opinion because of my low self-esteem, so l am projecting my insecurity on you. I am making you question your life decisions, and I am secretly afraid that you will surpass me in social status. Even if you are my primary source, my life partner, I cannot put together that by sabotaging your success, I am actually sabotaging myself! This is because I do not view you as my life partner at all! I view you as competition, which is why marriage lifelong relationship with me will never work unless this insecurity in me is addressed, but I will never admit this to you or a therapist.
- My ex was so toxic.- I was the toxic one, but you won’t figure that out until it’s too late. I betrayed my previous partners, and they found out. Of course, by then, I had to discard them because they had seen behind the mask, and they were no longer willing to invest in forgetting my crimes. And now, I have to do some damage control by convincing you that I am someone you should pity and take care of — someone who’s been hurt by others in the past. Feel sorry for me. Nurse me back to emotional health. Come closer. The truth is, I prefer to be the one inflicting pain.
- You are just like your father/mother/ My Ex. I harbor a lot of resentment, which I am unable to process because I am refusing to accept responsibility, so I blame others for the conflict. Instead of working through my issues in an emotionally mature fashion, I will get you involved and guilt you into feeling like you are a bad person, too. I project my negativity towards the other person onto you. On top of that, if the other person was the one who initiated the break, I am secretly afraid of abandonment and seeking reassurance that you won’t do the same, even though what I’m doing is actually pushing you away.
- You are so selfish! You only think about yourself! You are never allowed to think about yourself, and you should always be thinking about me! I’m secretly the one who is selfish because I am pressuring you to turn your life around and adjust to accommodate my demands. Since I didn’t receive the love and support I craved as a child, I have an emotional void inside that is unable to be filled. I fear abandonment and being alone. To cope with this pain, I demand all your resources and attention be directed at me. It still won't be enough even if you give me all you’ve got. You will never replace my unmet childhood desires.
- I don’t need you!!! Welcome to the discard phase. I will always need you to stroke my ego. I’ve promoted my secondary supply to primary, so I really don’t think I need you anymore, but I really do.
- I’m not saying we should break up; I’m just saying we should take a break. I just need space- I’m bored, so I need space to sleep around and get supply from fresh sources. Also, pretending to empathize with all these source candidates is so exhausting! I’m starting to let my mask slip, and I'm terrified that you will see me for who I truly am, so I need some space.
- I’m not the abuser; you are!!!!!! Oh no! You’re on to me! I have to convince you that I’m the Victim and you are the Abuser to avoid accountability.
- I do so much around here, and nobody appreciates it! I am the best and deserve a different relationship because I am not receiving the infinite amount of praise I expect. Even if you try to help me, I will criticize every attempt because I am a perfectionist, and nobody will ever do the chores to my standards. Secretly, I don’t want you to help me either. Doing the chore to my standard will not please me or make me in any way proud of you. In fact, that would make me feel inadequate, and this would take away my opportunity to complain that I’m the only one who does anything around here!
- It’s over for good- That’s a complete lie. You couldn’t be so lucky. You will never see the end of me. I am, however, sick and tired of you trying to hold me accountable for my abusive actions! I simply don’t have the time or empathy to take responsibility for them. I’d rather minimize your feelings and stonewall you by making you feel like you don’t matter to me. Let’s face it. I chose you as a primary source. I will never be truly done with you, and you will never truly get rid of me. I’ll stalk you for years, and you’ll have no idea. Once I get wind that you're finally starting to move on, I’ll hoover you back and love bomb you like my life depended on it because it does. Losing you for good would mean the death of my ego! I’ll literally feel like I’m dying, so deadly force toward you would seem justifiable based on my messed up moral code!
- I need you- You’re the only person who makes me happy and feel full. My new supply finally figured me out and kicked me to the curb before I could discard them. Please take me back so I can start the abuse cycle all over again! Only this time it will increase in frequency and intensity.
- You have no idea who you are messing with- OK, now I’m really scared! Good for you for standing your ground! Now that you have completely abandoned me, I feel like you have wronged me in some way, and now I need to get revenge. I feel completely justified in taking lethal action against you. If I can’t have you, nobody can. I am hoping to scare you enough to control you. Most of my victims usually comply, but if you don’t, I am completely prepared to make your life a living hell until you finally give up and come back to me. No matter how far you go, I will make your life miserable. Just like the blondie song, One way or another, I will find you, and I will get you.
Disclaimer — I am not a mental health professional. I am simply a victim who experienced the horrors of what is described above on a prolonged basis. I was left to piece it all together with little access to resources. I only wish this information was readily available to the average person. Perhaps that would have saved me years of torment, thousands of dollars in therapy and legal bills, and most of all, the loss of myself at a tender age. Things like this aren’t talked about, and it should be! No wonder Victims think they’re going crazy! Nobody admits it’s happening, and it is! If you are experiencing any of the abuse listed above, seek a licensed professional’s help.
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1–800–799–7233
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