24 Terms Of Narcissistic Abuse That You Should Know About

Terms Of Narcissistic Abuse

As a victim of narcissistic abuse, it is imperative to educate yourself with as much knowledge as you can about this kind of abuse. Let this complete guide of terms related to narcissistic abuse help you understand and talk about your experience with it. 

I became familiar with these terms while being professionally treated for narcissistic abuse syndrome and through resources given to me by my therapist. 

The Diverse Terms Of Narcissistic Abuse

1. Adult Children of Narcissists (ACoNs)

You will hear this term, or the acronym, in the narcissism survivor community. This term will relate to those who have a narcissistic parent or guardian.  (Remember, narcissistic abuse is not only in the form of a partner or lover. It could be your parent, boss, friend, co-worker, etc.)

2. Cognitive Dissonance

The experience of psychological stress occurs when a person holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, values, or participates in an action that goes against one of these three. This experience can confuse.

An example might be, you know something is wrong but the narcissist in your life makes you believe it’s not wrong. Thereby making you question yourself and your belief. Self-doubt and disassociation are symptoms of cognitive dissonance.

3. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) 

A condition where you experience the symptoms of PTSD along with additional symptoms, such as: distrustful towards the world, not being able to control your emotions, or a general feeling of hostility. This condition allows you to have a distorted perception of the abuser. CPTSD is caused by ongoing neglect and physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.

Read What is Narcissistic Abuse: 16 Signs To Identify And How To Protect

4. Denial 

A narcissist thinks or pretends to think that a traumatic event or circumstance does not exist or did not happen, even when presented with evidence to the contrary. 

5. Devaluation 

The deliberate reduction of something or someone’s worth. A narcissist will use judgment, belittlement, rage, and abandonment to make the victim feel devalued.  

6. Divide and Conquer

This strategy is used by narcissists to gain control by creating divisions among individuals. This tactic makes it easier for the narcissist to manipulate and dominate individuals so they are fighting against one another instead of gathering to fight against the narcissist.

7. Enabling 

Giving the authority or means to do something. Many times, the partner/spouse/child of a narcissist will “normalize” the narcissist’s behavior. An enabler will absorb the abuse. They often apologize for the behavior. They may even conclude that they are the only ones who can understand the narcissist.  

8. Fauxpology

A fake, insincere apology. Narcissist refuses to take responsibility for their actions. If they do apologize, it will come in the form of one that also points out your faults. For example: “I’m sorry you’re so sensitive,” “I’m sorry you think I’m a bad person,” or “I’m sorry you’re so angry.”

9. Flying Monkeys

Have you seen The Wizard of Oz? The Wicked Witch of the West had flying monkeys. She would send them off to do her dirty work. Flying monkeys are the enablers for the narcissist. They are manipulated by the narcissist to believe his or her side of the story.

Flying monkeys will target and abuse the victim. They can be the narcissist’s family or closest friends. Sadly, some of them are trying to avoid abuse towards themselves by going along with the narcissistic abuse pattern.  

10. Gaslighting

A form of psychological manipulation in which the narcissist sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual. This manipulation will have the victim questioning their perception, memory, judgment, and even their sanity. An example would be: “You’re crazy,” “You’re too sensitive,” or “None of my past relationships acted like you.”  

Read 5 Types of Narcissistic Blame Shifting

Terms Of Narcissistic Abuse
Terms Of Narcissistic Abuse

11. Grey Rock Method 

A practice where the victim becomes emotionally non-responsive and virtually acts like a rock. This emotional detachment serves to undermine the narcissist’s attempts to manipulate, causing them to become bored. This method can also be used on the narcissist’s flying monkeys and enablers.

12. Hoovering 

A toxic manipulation to suck (like a vacuum) an ex-partner, friend, or relative back into the narcissist’s control. They may promise to change their behavior or offer gifts to reel the victim back in.  

13. Hypervigilance 

A state of heightened alertness accompanied by behavior to prevent danger or being in the line of fire. Both the narcissist and the victim suffer this debilitating state. It’s a coping method that can lead to CPTSD.   

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Tricia Vittorio

Tricia Lynn was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and has lived there most of her adult life. After turning fifty in 2019, Tricia decided to create a second act for herself. She left her career in medical administration to pursue her passion for writing, art, and a life with less stress. She's a creative mother of two adult sons. Triston, the youngest, is the owner of Vittorio Visualz. Together, the two of them love to explore their city by taking road trips. Tricia writes the stories and her son takes the photographs. When she's not behind the wheel on a road trip, you can find her hard at work on her lifestyle blog - Live, Create, Tell the Story.View Author posts