I'm posting this website (below) because it lays it on the line. What does it lay on the line, you ask? Abuse. Pure and simple.
One of the things my narcissist did regularly was speak of the inability to define abuse. If someone brought up the word, he had (still has) all sorts of arguments about how people say things are abusive because they've made themselves victims (yeah...) or every little thing becomes abuse when someone wants to bring someone else down, etc. It is interesting to me that every conversation I heard him take part in where the word 'abuse' was mentioned, he insisted that the definition was up to interpretation. Basically, in his opinion, there IS no real definition. Curious. He even went so far as to say that correctly disciplining your children could also be considered as abuse by the child or an observer, so really, if you think it is correct, it’s your interpretation... (And yet, when other people did things, he called it what it was – an unsafe environment, etc. This ‘calling out’ of others is an NPD trait.)
Muddying the lines causes confusion and chaos. It causes the one being abused to not do anything, because they are seen as jumping to conclusions, or over-reacting, or being dramatic, or overly sensitive, blah, blah, blah…Ultimately, the abuser lays all blame on the abused.
There HAS to be a definition. I think that seeing what is NOT abuse brings to light a whole garbage can of things that have been swept under the rug. The website below turns on the light and rolls that rug back. Each page addresses both experience and knowledge, helping the readers to develop a criteria to identify abusive behavior. There is even a recorded conversation in which one party was abusive and the other was co-dependent. Much of what I read there, I had written off as my ‘being too sensitive’ because that is what I was told. We all lose it sometimes, yes? But when a relationship is defined by harsh, critical words, (and a whole host of other nasty things) it is no longer a healthy relationship (maybe never was!). There IS a line. Let’s draw that line in the sand and stand our ground, hold our boundaries, no matter what venom is spewed at us for doing so. Yes?