The Role of Narcissism in Verbal Abuse

October 31, 2019 Katlyn Brinkley 

How does narcissism relate to verbal abuse? Let's explore the answers to that question.

Narcissism and Verbal Abuse, in My Experience

Narcissism was the root of my verbally abusive relationship. In my experience with verbal abuse, the main concern was centered around my physical appearance. It was constantly reminded that I should be at the gym, I should be standing straighter, and I should be watching what I eat. Initially, this, of course, made me feel like crap about myself, and it felt like a problem that I needed to fix. However, once I learned more about narcissism, I realized my partner displayed a lot of the classic narcissistic personality traits in both his expectations of me and of his life in general.

It made complete sense that narcissism was the root of verbal abuse in this relationship--my partner had an image of what he thought he deserved in a girlfriend, and she was supposed to look perfect. He had a complete disregard for the way his comments made me feel. Additionally, I felt like he was very concerned with my appearance because of the way it made him look, not so much because he thought my physical appearance truly needed fixing.

For about half of the time, our relationship was loving, and he could be a very supportive partner. In aspects regarding my success and future, there was hardly any unhealthy dialogue. Verbal abuse only seemed to surface in specific conversations, which almost always had to do with my appearance, my emotions, or being involved in my social circle. My then-partner's distance in these areas of our relationship illustrated the self-importance he felt that made him believe these problems were not a priority and he was above my needs. The only thing that mattered was him.

Why Understanding Narcissism in Verbal Abuse Helped Me Move Forward

The reason I think narcissism is a relevant topic to verbal abuse is that upon realizing it, I felt a huge sense of relief in knowing that the problem was his to fix, not mine. Having a narcissistic personality is unhealthy, and can develop into a more extreme version, narcissistic personality disorder, which is really harmful to that person's interpersonal relationships. This realization depersonalized the things that were "wrong" about my appearance and made it less about me and my body--this was more about unrealistic expectations and a selfish perspective.

Identifying the role of narcissism in the verbal abuse I experienced helped improve my confidence moving forward as I learned there was nothing wrong with me the way he made me believe there was, and the abuse was just an unhealthy perception in the relationship.

I hope that if you've experienced narcissism in verbal abuse that you can find a way to make sense of why you may be going through a verbally abusive situation and are able to make changes with your partner to a healthier dialogue or situation.

What are some of your experiences with narcissism in verbal abuse?

APA Reference
Brinkley , K. (2019, October 31). The Role of Narcissism in Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, April 8 from

Author: Katlyn Brinkley 

Find Katlyn on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Lizanne Corbit
November, 5 2019 at 8:54 pm

I think this is such an honest and important read for many. Narcissism is one of those things that can be so easily misconstrued or overlooked altogether, not because we aren't looking for it, but because we don't really understand what it looks like. Verbal abuse and narcissism can absolutely go hand in hand in many instances, and sharing this experience is so helpful for people who may also be experiencing it themselves.

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