Sanctuary for the Abused

Thursday, November 09, 2017

When the "Crime" Doesn't Fit the Punishment

Disproportional Responses
by Anna Valerious

One of the oft used tools in the narcissist's manipulation toolbox is disproportional response. This technique is highly effective on adults; it is devastatingly effective on children.

Any abusive tactic is targeted at one goal: control.

The narcissist is consumed with controlling his version of reality which means he must control you in order to maintain a sense of the world as he has defined it. The narcissist attempts to maintain "order" and internal cohesion in himself by shaking up your world. By confusing you, he gets to feel sane. By fragmenting your reality he gains a sense of wholeness.
Yeah, it's twisted.

He keeps you off-balance by his disproportional reactions to minor affronts. He rages suddenly over what seems like nothing. It is nothing. That's part of the point. He punishes over the tiniest infractions to throw you off balance by confusing you. You gently disagree with him on some minor point and he throws a giant tantrum. Or you may have no idea what you did, but suddenly you have an enraged beast going for your throat. You start walking on eggshells around him. You never feel completely relaxed in his presence because you never know when or where the next outburst will come from.

There is an important thing to know about the narcissist's rages. A narcissist doesn't rage the way normal people do. The narcissist is in total control of his rages. They are calculated for effect. When a decent person experiences rage it is the result of extreme provocation. While experiencing the rage, this person feels out of control and it takes some time for the feelings to subside and some great effort at self-control. So when we are confronted by a narcissist's rage we wrongly assume they are feeling what we would be feeling if we were enraged. You are wrong in this belief. If you've been in the presence of narcissistic rages often enough you've likely seen that they can turn it off and on like a switch. If you haven't seen this, then try this: rage back at them. Watch them crumble into a helpless, whiny little suppliant. Or simply walk into a room where other people are and watch them flip the switch to "off". Watch them pick up the phone during one of their rages and suddenly act completely normal. This is not normal rage. This is contrived rage. They are in complete and total control even while your eyes and ears tell you they are out of control. They are using rage the same way they will use their sexuality, or their charm...for effect only. They are trying to control you with it.

The use of disproportional reactions by the narcissist will usually contain some level of rage as its component, which is why I took the time to describe what narcissistic rages are all about. Be assured that this is an abusive tactic. Don't accept it. Let them taste their own medicine. If you are willing to put up with the inevitable fall-out then get in the narcissist's face with your own disproportional reaction. Interestingly, just about any abusive tactic of the narcissist can be turned around on them. It is about the only way to penetrate their frustratingly thick skulls with any impression of your displeasure. Turning their own weapons against them can be highly effective. Don't try this with a narcissist whom you have reason to believe could turn violent though. The less confrontational approach would be to simply refuse to put up with the disproportional responses by demanding just and proportional treatment. Reject or ignore their unpredictable, volatile behavior. They can be conditioned to somewhat modify their behavior. Like any dog, they are not likely to keep up a behavior that doesn't reap rewards. They'll move onto their next obnoxious trick. Really, what is the point of keeping these bastards in your life?

If you have children with a narcissistic spouse, you owe it to those children to get them away from the narcissist parent. This type of abuse is extremely destructive to the hearts, minds and souls of children who have no power to get away from it. The capricious and disproportional reactions are corrosive to the child's sense of security which will undermine a child's psychosocial development.
This abusive tactic sends adults into tail spins... multiply that effect many times when trying to measure how children are affected by it. If you're any kind of decent person, save your children from your narcissistic spouse. I could fill books with descriptions of the private terror a child under the care of a narcissistic parent while the other parent worked 16 hour days and closed his eyes to any evidence of abuse. Whatever you may be experiencing doesn't begin to compare with the reign of terror your child is enduring.


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shared by Barbara at 12:01 AM



Excellent article. I've never considered that they were in control and that their rages are calculated but you are SO right! They can and do turn it off like a switch. I particularly like what you said about getting children away from these "people". They cause life-long damage.

9:33 AM  

Thank you for posting this. This explanation was a big trigger for me. The line "Watch them pick up the phone during one of their rages and suddenly act completely normal." hit me hard. I remember being at home with my mother while dad was at work. She raged at me and my sister pretty much all day long. We literally prayed and willed for that phone to ring. As soon as she picked it up she was as sweet as pie, laughing up a storm and even bragging about her daughters. It was so confusing.

We'd also pray for my father to get home from work for the same reason. She may have still been fuming, but the rage attack subsided significantly when he was present.

10:56 AM  

I can't even begin to describe the emotions that I feel after reading this. This was/is my life. This is my mother.
I could add story after story and they would be hauntingly familiar to us all.
My dad tells me a story of how my mom would be raging at him and then the phone would ring and she would pick it up and be Mary Poppins. He would say to her, "how the hell do you do that?"
The result of this rage was devistating to me and still affects me today...45 years later.

10:41 AM  

Wow, this post really hit home! This was my husband to a tee for the past 20 years of my life with him. We have been separated for over a year now when he chose to leave last year instead of trying to get help for his abusive behaviors towards me and our two sons.
I always hated leaving my boys alone with him and tried hard not to ever do that. At times they would literally beg me not to go and I shamefully admit I left anyway. :(
My sons are now 18 and 15 and feel such relief that my husband is gone from this house and we are not walking on eggshells any longer. How I wish I had tried to stand stronger over the years and rescued my children from such horrible abusiveness. People don't understand how debilitating this type of behavior is and many from my church have told me to just sit down and talk it out with my husband, get over it already and get back together.
But never, ever will I go back to that crazy making crap that defined my life for two decades.
I am printing off these articles daily to give to my pastor along with a letter saying that I will no longer attend a church that supports someone like my husband and expects our boys to respect him.

12:19 PM  

This was my life as a child!!! I wish my mother was still around and I could give this to her. I have realized it is really her fault for keeping me in that house and wrecking my life for the past 47 years.

Anyone reading this, if you have children living in this situation, get them out immediately. I can't tell you the damage you are doing to them by keeping them there. They will have dangerous issues the rest of their lives and it will be YOUR fault.

11:54 AM  

"I wish my mother was still around and I could give this to her."

Anonymous -

NEVER, I repeat, NEVER EVER tell a pathological person what they are or try to show stuff like this to them. EVER. It is highly dangerous!!!

10:20 PM  

My husband would pick a fight with me, either before he went to work or the night before, and I would be sick all day, heartbroken, mad, contemplating the fight and then he'd come home from work, giddy, happy, gleeful. I thought I was such a horrible person but see, he just LOVED to stir up strife. Didn't care of the effects it had on me or the children. It was (still is) his RIGHT in his mind.

Through God's Grace, I now know what he is and there is relief in this. To be able to watch from the standpoint of knowing that it is all a show that he puts on and is full of hatred. Here are just a few Bible verses that address this, Galatians 5:19-21 "19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like."

The only reason we are still married is the usual reason most of us have to stay, he put us so far in debt and and I never completed my education. Through God's Grace, I am working on this, my degree, but the PTSD is so bad that it is a real struggle. I pray that all this evil that God allowed into my life will bless others. And I would also like to add that I'm so grateful that God loved me so much as to SHOW me the truth about some people. That they are born evil and DESIRE to stay this way.

Isaiah 59:7 "Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways."

2:01 PM  


Here's another article in the on-going study of psychopathy. Oh, by the way, in the "study" of this, they are ADMITTING that it DOES exist and that THESE PEOPLE ARE WIRED DIFFERENTLY! Um, to me it's like the "Doppler Effect." People who can hear, know what this is. Just because we now have a name attached to it and we can explain it through science, doesn't change what it is and was. Psychopathy. Same thing. If modern day psychology hadn't raped away our right to say some people are evil, we may have gotten here faster.

"NeuroLaw Blog
12 October 2011
Mirror neurons as the source of human sociability"

8:42 PM  

yup, thats my mother to a t! turn it on and off, blame me for everything, crazymaking, but when I did confront her about her verbal abuse finally, she shut right up and was much less aggressively abusive. No contact now for several years and don't miss it at all1

9:54 PM  

I had to leave my kids with their abousive father. He refused to work. Thank God I got made redundant and was finally able to kick his whole butt to the kerb. I saw the rages my kids had to endure for 3+years for offences such as using too many towels,using too much toilet paper(they were rationed),eating too noisily,not answering in a certain manner, not responding his mother tongue(italian),answering questions,using ketchup, spilling drops of food on their clothes,best of all ASKING FOR FOOD!which I put there, not wearing slippers, leaving minor things out of place - pencils, rubbers,tissues, not wanting to watch his favourite fishing programmes,his stuff being slightly skewed from its position,me giving them sweets, spending money on school photos.......and I haven't even got started yet. It used to kick off when I was at work full time. As my son said when I was there he was a completely different person.

5:03 AM  

I am so thankful for this site. Oh how I wish we did not have the stories to compare and that we could write and finish for each other huh, but we do. Mine is one that involves a church not only supporting my spouse but also he exploitation of one of our children who is severely injured and on life support..oh yea...ugly! SO how do you get your children safely away and keep them away because here in Ohio it is 50/50 and a fear is that the kids will be with not only "him" but those around him who are enabling the sickness and those who are sick like him.
Can you write some suggestions in that area and again...thanks for this page!!!!AN early counselor in my journey to learning all about narcissism told me that until I could get out...learn as much as I could...that learning has strengthened me but also made it more difficult because I understand more the depth of harm it is doing to these precious children:( And with a church involvement that harm is greatly magnified!

8:22 PM  

They do turn on and off like a switch. Barely out of relationship with a narcissistic SOCIOPATH ...been away from him since end of last May but he turned my entire family and myself into people I don't even know. Im 43 next month and I just want to be able to get out, work, and have fellowship with ppl. Nothing is as it was. The aftermath is the worst especially when you didn't realize you were with a N.S. rather made excuses for his awkwardness and always felt he had bad childhood and tried to get him to up. Im pretty easily deceived and have been greatly humbled but im not living life. Feel no one is left to try and talk to bc he did a number on my family and making me out to be the psycho one. I used to have a zest for life and I still do which makes it more painful. I know he's hurt many women and my guess is he's hurt children and done worse case imaginable to some ppl. I don't know where to go from here. I feel emotionally paralyzed without a soul that may ever believe my story... my faith keeps me going but Idk sometimes... im afraid this is never ending. Want to heal. Want to work again. Miss my family...miss life period. Yea this man was an expert at making himself look good and me look like someone im not. Knowing he's a sociopath now I don't really ask the how could he or why would he... as I know from all I've learned its just the monster within him...not me. What really hurts and I find the biggest stumbling block is how my family friends neighbors and even doctors and others shut me down as if I've made all of these things up. They certainly had to see much for themselves and I believe perhaps theres denial on other parts... and rather than healing together or allowing me to heal they continue to write me off as needing help or a liar. That's the betrayal that's so painful. When its your own family. A sociopath I've learned is just someone who has no emotions to contend with... no remorse and all the rest it sounds most on here are very familiar with. I pray for all effected and wounded by such deceptive cruel people. I pray God somehow brings truth into the light where im concerned here. I can't do this much more.

4:07 PM  

Somewhere i read in the New Testament that if we are unable to live considerably with a self-centered unpredictable dangerous (piece of crap) that we can move out because we are called to live in peace. As for these cult leaders, there are way too many reprobates in the ministry. May you find a real church. The reprobates can go f* themselves.

12:34 PM  


I would like to tell anyone that realized that are victims of the narcissist abuse, not to gave up, it really get’s better.
When I became aware of the fact that the last 7 years of my life where a lie, that my husband never loved me, that I was just a trophy and he did what he wanted with me and I even praised him for this, was awful. I was destroyed, I would cry almost everyday, have nightmares, do comfort eating and it heart so much that I just wanted to die.
But when I went to bed, I would say as a mantra that I am strong and I will get over it.
The most difficult part was to go over and over again through my past and analyze everything, I wanted to know why?
10 month later, I am good, I feel happy, I even got 70% of the money that he borrowed and I am fighting for all of it. He got into the narcissist anger and he want’s to force me to have a baby and to quite my job, he threatens to divorce. But not this time, I am strong now, I don’t believe his lies anymore and it feels great, I know that my fight isn’t over yet, until I got the divorce and I never see him again.
I am not going to stop here, I am going to find a healthy,normal person that I am going to love and is also going to love me for real.
So, please don’t loose hope, this is your chance to build a better you and if I done it ( I was suicidal), you can do it to, be kind to yourself and learn to love yourself.Good luck!

4:17 AM  

Need help my husband likes to hit me and other things to me. I have been with him for 5years and I am scared to leave. We have a chil

10:30 PM  

I have been with my partner for 17years ... half my life now we have 5 kids and his younger siblings with us he calls me names won't let me talk when he's angry and doesn't know how to plain argue, threatens to punch me in the back of the head, but then say later at least i didn't stop being dramatic, but if i don't shut up when he says he will hurt me he has plenty of times... I hate knowing how to act and what to do when I feel he's going to hurt me to prevent it

5:29 AM  

Is this potentially abusive or just mental illness? Been with him for 8 months. He did push for me to officially be his girlfriend. I needed help financially and he offered to live together. I was hesitant but he reassured me that if things got to be too much he would stay with his mom (were both 34) for a while, no problem. I really needed the help so I agreed. Where I was living before I never was able to have my daughter stay with me. He found an apartment super close to her place with her dad. Everything was amazing but it's slowly turning awful. He is insanely jealous. I've never given him a reason not to trust me. He let's me go out but every time I come back it ends in a fight/him crying/ cutting himself/talking about suicide.he says I don't love him like he loves me. Says I don't give him enough attention. Analyzes Everything that I do. Like, I pulled away from a hug too soon. He doesn't work, he's a retired marine. He has admitted he has issues and will see a therapist but now that his appt is getting closer (this thurs) he is drinking, telling me to tell him the truth about how I feel. I tell him I love him, want him to get better. But then he won't believe it and again demands for "the truth." There are so many little things he does and it really wearing me out. I am pushing for him because when I was really sick with post part um depression I was lucky to have people that loved me and pushed me to get help. I don't want to bail on him, I want him to get help. He is such a good guy with my daughter. The main thing that made me look into abuse is because the other day he said (was drinking, probably doesn't even remember saying this) he was so mad that for a split second he wanted to hurt me. And last night as I was trying to go to bed (again, was drinking) he started rubbing my chest. I was almost asleep. Asked him to stop. He grabbed my face to turn towards him for a kiss and he put his hand around my throat. We have had "kinky" sex before tho that we are mutually playfully forceful with each other so I'm not sure if he thought it'd be a turn on? But it really upset me. It felt like frustration. He seems to support confused. I was just laud off recently and only able to work part time so I am completely dependent on him financially. What do you think? Help please. Never ever been in a spot like this.

8:51 PM  

My boyfriend and I have been together nearly a year now. He is 38 and I am 22. It has been on and off though and he did get with another woman after our split straight after our last one but then he kept making up accounts on Facebook to spy on me and accused me of dating a few males on my facebook whilst he was seeing her. She is 25. I forgave him and took him back though. It's a very long story but to cut it short he has bad anger issues. He has broken my front door before and shouted, screamed and swore in my face. Called me a c*nt, accused me of having affairs and flirting with other men. He accidentally hacked into my Facebook before and I don't think he trusts me. The thing is he scares me when he's angry that look in his eyes. He punches things but he has never hit me and he is nice nearly all the time. He's overprotective he said because he cares and he runs around after me all the time which I never asked for but he uses it against me sometimes and makes me feel bad and guilty. In arguments he has said some really hurtful things and I am still self conscious over them now. He is also very clingy and has threatened to commit suicide before more than once when I said I was leaving him. He said I am the only woman for him and he can't live without me. Will it get worse, his anger? Should I leave him or am I just being paranoid? Can somebody help me please as I dunno what to do and I am so confused.

11:33 PM  

I totally agree with you. Being abused and torn by faith is a hell of a position. Proud of your choice. Keep moving forward

7:45 PM  

Proud of you. The church has got to stop women from remaining in abusive relationships. It is not a God's will to live like that.

7:48 PM  

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