Documenting Narcissistic Abuse
One of the most important things you can do when preparing to leave an abusive relationship is documenting the abuse your going through. This is critical for a couple reasons:
#1, If you end up in court then you will have something to support your word against his.
#2, After your gone you will have something solid to reference when the narc either tries to hoover you back in or continues to gaslight you.
(For the purposes of this article I will be using the pronoun him to refer to the abuser. Feel free to insert whatever pronoun fits your situation as women are also capable of being both narcissistic and abusive.)
Documenting Narcissistic Abuse #1: WRITE IT DOWN
I have found just keeping a super factual account of what happens day to day is very helpful. Keeping a journal encourages emotional response, but when your just reporting it, you can get it down without reliving it and going through it all again. Bullet points make it impersonal. make sure to record the entire picture of what happened though, did you make a comment and then he exploded? Did he damage the house or other property? Were the kids present? Did they interact with the incident? Any other witnesses? All of this is important information. Also, don’t keep in in a hard copy in your home. I recommend an online password protected journal or just keeping an ongoing email to yourself.
Documenting Narcissistic Abuse #2: Document all Digital Evidence
Abusive text messages should be screenshot and emailed to a private email account reserved for evidence. Did he call you 15 times because you didn’t answer the phone? Screenshot. Forward any abusive or threatening emails to the dedicated account. Send any recordings of arguments to the email as well. Keep in mind though, in some states it is illegal to record someone without their knowledge, so verify that before you attempt to use any recordings in court. Use your best judgement on weather or not you should openly record. It may enrage them further, or it may temper their reactions, it depends on the situation.
Documenting Narcissistic Abuse #3: Document Physical Abuse
Even if you don’t have any visible marks, go see your doctor. They are trained to spot signs of domestic violence and their report can be used in court. Also, get copies of any police reports and neighbors accounts of police being called to your home. Take pictures of your injuries and make sure they’re dated. Get photos of any household damage caused by the abuser during an incident.
Documenting Narcissistic Abuse #4: Store the Evidence Safely
If you need to run from the house, you still need to be able to get to your documentation. Make sure you email password is memorized. Be sure to email everything off your phone as soon as possible and then delete it right after. Having hard copies is great but impractical in this situation. You can not run the risk of him discovering you have been documenting him.
Documenting Narcissistic Abuse #5: Document Financial Abuse
Financial abuse is often overlooked but can be extremely stressful for the victim. Document any cash or money transfers he gives you. Document what it is intended to be used for. Did you get $30 but that is supposed to be groceries for the entire week for your family? Write it down, take pictures of your fridge and pantry if needed, keep your receipts or take pictures of them before you discard them. Did the gas or electric get turned off? Do you have access to his paystubs or know how much he makes? All this can support your claims in court if need be.
Documenting Narcissistic Abuse #6: Get Support
One of the abusers strongest weapons against you is isolation. Don’t leave yourself without recourse should you be forced to leave suddenly or need a supportive shoulder. Find a trusted family member or friend, or contact a local women shelter and speak to some of the counselors there. Have an escape plan for an emergency situation.
Keep in mind, abusers, especially physical abusers, are extremely dangerous. Do not underestimate what he may be capable of.
I am not a lawyer and this information should not be used in place of legal counsel. Use your best judgment for your situation, you know your abuser better than anyone. Stay safe out there everyone. <3