What Does Narcissistic Abuse Look Like?

Narcissistic abuse can be challenging to identify and difficult to endure. A narcissist’s behavior may fluctuate from loving to confusing to scary, and it is often hard to determine their true motives. If you have experienced this form of abuse, you may be constantly uncertain of whether it is safe or healthy for you to stay in the relationship.

You are not alone in this experience. There are several common signs that Georgia residents can look out for if they suspect narcissism in their relationships. Knowing when these behavioral patterns have crossed the line is essential in maintaining your well-being, and identifying what narcissistic abuse looks like is a critical first step in effectively managing your relationship.

What Does it Mean to be a Narcissist?

Essentially, a narcissist only cares for themselves. They are self-absorbed and often lack normal human empathy, or the ability to understand how other people feel. Without these emotions, a narcissist may only see people as a means for their own personal gratification.

However, despite their inflated ego, narcissists are typically driven by shame and self-hatred. There is often a large gap between their outward persona and how they view themselves. To avoid feeling this shame, narcissists often employ defense mechanisms that hurt their loved ones and ultimately destroy their relationships.

Common Types of Narcissistic Abuse in Georgia

What is narcissistic abuse? Mistreatment by a narcissistic partner can take many forms. Common forms in Georgia includes physical, emotional, social, financial, or sexual abuse.

Emotional Blackmail

This type of mistreatment is unfortunately common in relationships with narcissists, and may include:

  • Threats or intimidation
  • Name-calling and belittling
  • Undermining behaviors
  • Ordering people around
  • Demanding compliance with the narcissist’s wishes

Whether these behaviors rise to the level of abuse depends largely on their frequency and severity.


A narcissist often attempts to indirectly influence people to act in a way that furthers their own goals. Initially, their words can seem harmless or even complimentary, but their hostile intent may become clearer over time. One common example of manipulation in Georgia relationships is when a narcissist makes their partner feel bad for not doing exactly what they want, even if that behavior is harmful to their partner.


One of the most manipulative actions a narcissist may take is gaslighting, or convincing their partner that they are going crazy. This could include statements like:

  • “I never said that.”
  • “You must be forgetting things.”
  • “You are imagining things.”
  • “You always overreact.”

When a victim is gaslighted, the narcissist slowly distorts their sense of reality and weakens their ability to separate right from wrong. It is another way for the narcissist to assert complete control.


Whether it be money, love, sex, communication, or security, a narcissist may seek domination by refusing to give their partner what they need in the relationship. Through stonewalling and refusing to talk, withholding even the simplest forms of affection, or hiding the truth to string you along, a narcissist will feed on your insecurities and leave you always feeling on guard.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse in Georgia might include various forms of economic domination, such as draining your finances through extortion, theft, or gambling. A narcissist may also attempt to cause financial harm by disposing of your property or accruing debt in your name without your consent.


Isolating you from friends, family, or access to outside support is another form of narcissistic abuse. A narcissist may use manipulation or character assassination to cut their partner off from other people. This allows them to continue to assert total control through gaslighting and other means.


If challenged, a narcissist may spiral into overtly violent actions, including hair-pulling, kicking, slapping, or punching. However, narcissists typically do not take responsibility for these actions and will go to various lengths to shift the blame onto you or others.

Contact Our Firm to Learn what Narcissistic Abuse Looks Like to Better Protect Yourself

If you experienced this type of abuse, it can be challenging to clearly identify the damaging behavior. Because of the constant manipulation from their partners, many abuse victims in Georgia have difficulty accepting that it is not their fault.

Building a safe support system could provide you with objective opinions about what is really going on in your relationship. We recommending searching for support groups near you to get the help you need. Other coping strategies include setting clear boundaries with the narcissist, seeking counseling to rebuild your self-esteem, and retaining strong legal support if you are considering a divorce or separation. Most importantly, learning what narcissistic abuse looks like is the first step in identifying harmful behaviors and effectively managing them in your relationship. Contact our team to learn more.

Recent Blog Posts
What Is Parental Alienation?
When parents live apart, sometimes one person holds a grudge or becomes bitter about the relationship. Unfortunately, when parents...
Is Georgia a Community Property State?
People considering divorce often worry about how dissolving the marriage will impact them financially. The specifics depend on how...
How Long Does Divorce Take in Georgia?
When you are ready to end your marriage, you might want your divorce to be final as quickly as...
View All Posts

Atlanta Divorce Law Group

Sara Khaki
Our Locations