Sometimes called "crazy making," mental abuse is when one person in a relationship tries to convince another that the other is insane, in order to hide guilt about the abuser's own wrongdoings. If the abuser is successful, and the partner really does appear to be irrational and overly emotional, then the abuser may also attempt to convince other family and community members of the partner’s craziness as a ploy to attract sympathetic allies.

Chronic liars fear exposure, so the perpetrator of mental abuse may also attempt to "divide and rule," spreading gossip and rumors that divide family and friends. Turning people against each other makes it less likely they will get together and uncover the truth.

Turning people against each other may also be a way for an abuser to gain favor among the people in their life. The perpetrator of mental abuse may be hiding affairs, gambling or embezzling money, or they may be putting their partner down out of a deep sense of failure.

Mental abusers rarely take responsibility for themselves and often blame others to make themselves feel better. An abuser who fears abandonment may believe that belittling and isolating their partner will keep them from leaving.

Because people tend to take other people at their word, this kind of family abuse can be hard to detect. Therefore, it is very important that victims of mental abuse not feel guilty when they can’t trust their partner but learn how to self soothe instead. For example, if someone has lied to you in the past, you may still feel bad about being suspicious about the ‘truthful’ things they are telling you today.

If you weren’t taught how to deal with shame or embarrassment growing up, it’s natural to shift blame to others who you perceive as being more powerful. However, not only will this cause pain and frustration in the people close to you, it will also stunt your development.

When we learn how to work up the courage to admit our mistakes, shortcomings and wrongdoings, people are more likely to become our allies.

Kim Cooper is the author of “Back from the Looking Glass” and “The Love Safety Net Workbook,” e-books about healing an abusive relationship. She and her husband Steve co-host The Love Safety Net talk radio show and website at

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At Narcissism cured we care to understand and help people to correct and heal the emotional dysfunction they may have been facing all through their life. To find out more information, visit .