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Battling Narcissistic Abuse

A work in progress...

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What is Battling Narcissistic Abuse?

This site started out of my frustration that we are all fighting the same battle against narcissistic abuse, yet each of us is left to figure it out on our own. My hope is to create a "guidebook" of sorts to help targets of narcissistic abuse win this fight. With your help, I hope to create an educated community, and a resource for friends and professionals to better understand and support each of us through this struggle.

There is strength in numbers, and knowledge is power.

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What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

DSM IV Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

*A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning in early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).

  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

  3.  Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status people (or institutions).

  4. Requires excessive admiration.

  5. Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectation of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations).

  6. Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends).

  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

  8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

  9. Shows arrogant or haughty behaviors and attitudes.

American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, Va., American Psychiatric Association, 2013, pp 669-670. Copyright 2013, American Psychiatric Association. 

*Sense of grandiosity may be overt or covert.

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Financial Abuse

Financial abuse serves three purposes for the narcissist:

  1. It is a way for narcissists to control and manipulate their victims.

  2. It limits a victim's options for leaving the relationship. 

  3. It supports the narcissist's reliance on external goals and motivation

Financial abuse can take many forms including (but not limited to):

  • misappropriation of funds allocated for bills and expenses

  • hiding income or assets

  • purposeful unemployment or underemployment

  • causing property damage

  • not contributing to shared expenses

  • interfering with your education or career advancement

  • withholding money as punishment or ransom

  • hiding bills and financial statements

  • failing to pay bills and expenses

  • spending funds allocated for bills & expenses

  • spending money gifted to someone else (e.g., a spouse, a child)

  • prohibiting a spouse from working

  • not including you in financial decision-making

  • ruining your credit

  • sabotaging your job

  • prioritizing personal spending over shared living & child expenses

  • taking out loans or credit cards behind your back

  • taking out loans or credit cards in your name or your child's name

You may even get glimpses of the narcissist's entitled, financially exploitative behaviour with others: 

  • manipulating others into giving them things, or performing services for free

  • fraudulently using other people's credit cards

  • borrowing items and not returning them

  • damaging borrowed items

  • borrowing money with no intention of paying it back

  • stealing

  • asking lots of "favours" of others

If you'd be willing to share your personal experience of financial abuse, please email me at

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Infidelity is a common weapon of choice for a narcissist. Not so for mine. Perhaps this was because the opportunity never presented itself, but I think that's unlikely given my ex-husband's profession as an airline pilot (a common occupation for narcissists, I've come to learn).

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