If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, or someone who you suspect might be a sociopath, it can be difficult to explain what’s happening. For example, day-to-day in the relationship you may feel alone but not quite understand why. You may feel like you’re always saying the wrong thing and making your partner angry, but you have no idea what set them off.
Without the right words, everything can seem confusing, especially if you haven’t read about personality disorders before.
Psychologists and the online community of survivors of narcissistic relationships use several terms to help make sense of what happened to them, such as why they fell for a narcissists charm, why they were targetted, or what made someone they loved treat them this way.
Because once you start to be able to talk about it, you can start to realize the way you were treated wasn’t okay.
Donna Andersen is a journalist who founded the website LoveFraud.com after she came out of an abusive marriage with a sociopath. The website is now a popular go-to place for people who have been through abuse, to help teach them to recognize and avoid sociopaths.
Andersen wrote a blog post last month about some of the phrases and words you should know if you think you’re going through an abusive relationship with a narcissist or sociopath, and this is a few of the ones you should be aware of.
Sociopath and narcissist are used interchangeably in this article. This is because for the most part, if someone is dealing with any of these situations, anyone with narcissistic tendencies, including sociopaths, could be to blame.
1. Love bombing
Unsplash / Jamie Street
When you first met the narcissist, they may have showered you with affection. They probably told you how different you were to anyone else they’ve dated, how you were “the one,” and you two were “meant to be.” They might have complimented you all the time, given you expensive gifts, even taken you on holiday.
In reality, they probably weren’t Prince/Princess Charming at all, they were just reeling you in, psychologists say. They spotted you, and they wanted to use you as their source of supply, and so turned on the charm using a technique called love bombing. It’s when someone makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the world, and they must be the one for you because they seem so perfect.
However, none of it is real, and this isn’t how a normal relationship is supposed to progress, Dr Steven Stosny writes in a blog post for Psychology Today.
If you feel a relationship is progressing too fast, then it probably is, says Stosny. If someone has declared their undying love for you a few weeks after meeting them, and telling you you’re their soul-mate, and they’re making you uncomfortable, then the affection probably isn’t coming from a good place.