Do narcissistic and abusive partners really want to hurt you?

14 Jun 2018

Have you tried and failed to get a narcissistic or abusive partner to understand that what they’re doing is really, really hurtful to you? Have you wondered why it is that you just can’t make narcissistic and abusive partners see things from your point of view?

In this article we’re going to be looking at the key issue of whether abusive and narcissistic partners really do want to hurt you.

Now I’m guessing that, like every other partner of an emotional abuser or Narcissist before you, you have told yourself that whatever your partner does or says is not actually their fault. They probably had a difficult time growing up, they may not have your sensitivity, they may be battling (or embracing) addictions. There are plenty of reasons that you can point to – and which you can use to let them off the hook.

The problem is this: when you let Narcissistic and abusive partners off the hook for their bad behavior, who do you leave on the hook?

So, I invite you to stay with your belief that there are reasons why Narcissistic and abusive partners hurt you.  There are. Just not the reasons that you would prefer to believe.

But nobody likes to believe inconvenient truths, at least not until the evidence forces them to do so. So, let’s take a look at the evidence.

Common behaviours of narcissistic and abusive partners

As you surely already know, all Narcissistic and emotionally abusive partners exhibit certain behaviors including,

  • Gaslighting.   Gaslighting is a fabulous ploy that they use to undermine your sense of reality – and your sanity. They will swear to you blind that what you have experienced in a situation is a thousand miles away from the reality. That actually you’ve got it totally wrong. To this end, they will lie through their teeth, get others to support their lies and, even, hide or change “the evidence” to prove their version of events. They come out with the most outrageous, unbelievable garbage with such a sense of conviction that you end up doubting yourself. And you end up wondering if they could be right when they tell you that you are going crazy….
  • They label you crazy and inadequate.   It as if they appoint themselves as your mental health care professional – albeit the mental health care professional from hell. Everything that you do – or don’t do – can, and will, be brought up as evidence of your deep-seated mental health problems.
  • They reject you. Big time. They particularly love to do this out of a clear blue sky. Admittedly, that takes them a bit of time and trouble to set up – since they HATE acting nice and showing you a good time – however the resultant rejection works wonderfully well to devastate you. They specialise in sexual, as well as emotional, rejections.
  • They humiliate you. In fact, they evolve countless ways to humiliate you both in front of other people and when you are alone with them. One of “my” wasband’s specialist subjects was the Twofold Rejection. First, he would play a blinder before we were going out for what should have been great evening with friends (who actually liked me!!). Then, he would work the public dimension. He would pointedly keep as great a distance from me as circumstances permitted and fail to address a single word to me. However, he would not spare me the glances full of loathing. That man could have run – who knows, maybe he did? – masterclasses in How to Make Your Partner Feel Loathsome.
  • They level all sorts of accusations against you. Some of their favorites include selfishness and of course, craziness and inadequacy. They tell you – often in so many words – that you’re unlovable.
  • They betray your trust over and over again. They make promises that you think you can rely on and then, of course, when it comes to it, they don’t keep them.
  • They trash you. They malign and put you down every which way. In fact, they will even undermine your professional competence. Even if you’re hugely successful in a sphere that they don’t understand or where they cannot compete, they will still vow that you are not good at what you do.
  • They show extreme insensitivity to your feelings. Otherwise why would they keep on doing the thing that you tell them hurts you? You tell yourself that they are not just listening to you. Actually, they are. Narcissists and abusers listen carefully – but only for what serves them. What you need to know is this, Narcissists and abusers are listening. Just not in the way that you understand listening. For a narcissistic or abusive partner your conversation is like a game of billiards/snooker/pool. They listen but only to choose which (emotional) ball to target.

If all of this resonates with you, that is because that is how your narcissistic and emotionally abusive partner operates. It is how they all operate. I have heard the same story from women from every corner of the world. I have heard it from women who belong to all the mainstream religions, as well as a few brought up in cults. I have heard it from women who live in very, very difference societies and belong to very different socio-economic groups. who live in very, very difference societies and belong to very different socio-economic groups. This is how narcissistic and emotionally abusive partners operate, regardless of educational and professional attainment.

What does that tell you?

So what does that tell you? It could tell you that all narcissistic and emotionally abusive partners,

a) Belong to some secret supranational society.
b) Are clones manufactured on Planet Zog.
c) Operate the same way.

I don’t subscribe to  the first option because conspiracy theories strike me as toxic, alarmist and generally wrong.  The second option enchants me, personally, because it makes me laugh. (But I would not want you to embrace the Planet Zog notion unless it pleases you.) The third option, on the other hand, has the unmistakeable ring of truth about it.

Narcissistic and emotionally abusive partners all operate the same way. It’s almost as if they all have the same handbook and are all using it.


Well, you could argue that’s because they’re not really individuals. I wouldn’t disagree with that. However, the more important point is that they do what they do because it serves them. Making you unhappy serves their purposes. It keeps you locked into the relationship with them.

Their true agenda

So, do they really want to hurt you? Is that their intention? Is it their agenda?

Absolutely. As they see it, a wounded partner is a weakened partner, and a weakened partner is a dependent partner who makes them feel stronger. That makes them feel good. That is why they hurt you. Deliberately. Over and over again.

From where they stand, hurting you is a winning strategy.

They may have had a difficult past, but that is not the reason why they do it. The real reason why narcissists and abusers hurt you over and over again, is because narcissistic and abusive partners actually get their kicks out of hurting you. That is why there is no mileage in the relationship.

You cannot change the relationship that you have with narcissistic and emotionally abusive partners because of the firm foundations on which it is based. You were always there to be their thing for them to use and abuse whichever way they wanted.

So, unless you’re prepared to embrace being their punch- bag as your reality, the relationship is never going to work.

But here’s the thing, although you have served as their punchbag, you are much, much more than that. You always have been and always will be. They have a twisted way of doing life, you don’t. Despite your sojourn in the hell of their making. You can still have a wonderful life without them, even if you don’t believe you can right now, you truly can. Hold that thought. Yes, something is very broken in the relationship but what is broken and cannot be fixed is not you but the way they choose to go through life. You long for happiness, they don’t.

What matters now if not what you have had, so far, but what you want. Your happiness awaits you.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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