3 Ways The Phrase "Narcissistic Abuse" Harms The Public

By: Logan Cohen, LMFT, AAMFT Supervisor, Certified Trauma Professional, Founder of New Leaf Counseling Group I Charlotte, NC


narcissistic abuse Charlotte
In the last few years, the phrase "Narcissistic Abuse" has become a very popular label to describe the manipulative and coercive behavior associated with Domestic Violence.
"I know it's not popular to speak up about the dangers of Narcissistic Abuse, but I will continue and won't stop because I almost got killed!" - Julie Owens

"Narcissistic Abuse"is a new phrase in popular psychology that has become widely used in the last few years. While the phrase is quite popular, would it surprise you to hear that "Narcissistic Abuse" is not approved as a best clinical practice?


Even more, that it takes the focus off of Domestic Violence in a way that is dangerous for the abuser, the victim, as well as the general public.


Learn more in the video below with internationally renowned domestic violence expert Julie Owens joining the conversation with decades of experience, as well as a domestic violence survivor herself.


"I know it's not popular to speak up about the dangers of Narcissistic Abuse, but I will continue and won't stop because I almost got killed!" - Julie Owens



If you are interested in the other talks between Bea Cote and Logan Cohen about the phrase "Narcissistic Abuse" and its impact on our communities, you can find those additional videos embedded at the end of this blog.


#1 Way The Phrase "Narcissistic Abuse" Harms the Public

The Phrase "Narcissistic Abuse" Puts Victims at Increased Risk of Physical Harm


In the last few years, the phrase "Narcissistic Abuse" has become a very popular label to describe the manipulative and coercive behavior associated with Domestic Violence.


narcissistic abuse Charlotte
"Narcissistic Abuse" is not a phrase that has been approved by peer reviewed research for best clinical practice, yet it has still become well-known in "pop psychology" over recent years.

It might be a popular phrase, especially for those who have found a validating community that appears to be focused on recovery, so many are surprised to hear that learning about "Narcissistic Abuse" doesn't make anything better.


In fact, the strategies defined by this community--such as going "no contact"--are often very dangerous for victims in these situations!


A failure to focus on SAFETY FIRST in "Narcissistic Abuse" sets victims up for increased physical violence due to inappropriate interventions and suggestions by "Narc Abuse Coaches" and even some licensed therapists who are practicing outside of their scope.


#2 Way The Phrase "Narcissistic Abuse" Harms the Public

The Phrase "Narcissistic Abuse" Harms Trust of Mental Health by The Public


"Narcissistic Abuse" is not a phrase that has been approved by peer reviewed research for best clinical practice, yet it has still become well-known in "pop psychology" over recent years.


narcissistic abuse Charlotte
A failure to focus on SAFETY FIRST in "Narcissistic Abuse" sets victims up for increased physical violence due to inappropriate interventions and suggestions by "Narc Abuse Coaches" and even some licensed therapists who are practicing outside of their scope of practice.

It is popularly used for describing manipulative and coercive tactics associated with domestic violence, but at the cost of public trust because "Narcissistic Abuse" labels the abuser as "a Narcissist", which is unethical due to a clinician imposing their professional privilege of mental health diagnosis on a person that has NOT been properly assessed—or is even under their direct clinical observation at all.


A common phrase for this behavior of a mental health professional applying a diagnosis to an individual who is not in therapy and sometimes who has only been verbally described by a third party is "armchair psychology."


Armchair psychology is an unethical practice that is unhelpful for both the clients and the general public for the following reasons:


- Often Incorrect Diagnosis: Accurate diagnosis requires direct clinical observation and elimination of other possibilities. For example, we might think a person is withdrawing socially because he’s indifferent to relationships, when in fact he’s paralyzed with fear about what others think of him. Psychiatric diagnosis is complicated, and virtually impossible without interviewing someone directly. For more information about potential diagnoses for these issues, you can read more here.


- Mental health diagnosis can be misused. Despite a growing understanding of mental health conditions, the mental health taboo continues to be stigmatized and as a result, mental health diagnoses can be weaponized. For example, someone might be annoyed by a person’s attention to detail and label them with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In contrast, we probably would never use a person’s medical diagnosis as an insult (e.g., “She’s so annoying—I think she has the flu!”).


- Casual diagnosing can make normal behavior seem unhealthy. It is all too easy for people to create an artificial distinction between health and illness when we’re quick to assign psychiatric diagnoses like Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). In reality, the presence of coercion or manipulation does not indicate a specific disorder like NPD. These tactics do however speak to unhealthy relationship dynamics that could be a part of psychiatric illness, unfair belief systems, or just a partnership that doesn't know how to "fight fair" and could change if they were taught new skills.


In each of the situations above, there are so many different possibilities for more accurate clinical assessment and intervention as indicted by best clinical practices that guide the ethical duties of licensed mental health professionals, rather than a pop psychology phrase like "Narcissistic Abuse."


narcissistic abuse Charlotte
"Narcissistic Abuse" is not a phrase that has been approved by peer reviewed research for best clinical practice, yet it has still become well-known in "pop psychology" over recent years.


#3 Way The Phrase "Narcissistic Abuse" Harms the Public

The Phrase "Narcissistic Abuse" Keeps Victims Stuck Without Adequate Healing


A survivor of domestic violence is often impacted by post-traumatic disorder and deserves an opportunity to heal.


Unfortunately the phrase &