Reactive Abuse: symptoms and causes

Someone who is being abused might eventually reach their breaking point and lash out at their abuser in return. This is known as reactive abuse. Reactive abuse when someone defend themselves by responding to abuse with physical attack and verbal attack to defend herself or blame on others.

In this article we discuss the reactive abuse its signs and Symptoms or treatment look out for the impact and causes.

What is reactive abuse?

The term reactive it means to be ready to react or respond to someone else. The reactive abuse means addicted to blame other one to defend herself. When the individual physically verbally abuse fight and flight response to defend and protect themselves. They are unable to fly, they fight again their abuser physically and verbally.

Reactive Abuse: symptoms and causes

Unfortunately, reactive abuse often works against the victim of abuse, because their abuser may use it as leverage against them. Experts largely agree that a more appropriate term for this behavior is self-defense, which is not abuse. When a person is continuously exposed to emotional or physical abuse, they may look for ways to defend themself against their abuser. This defense behavior typically occurs when a person has been dealing with prolonged abuse and finally reaches their breaking point.

This type of abuse can occur in any other relationship, but it is common among lovers, domestic and romantic partners. It is one of the more common forms of abuse against women and one of the most typical of behavior concerning violence against women. Despite lack of recognition, it is the most common abusive behavior in society, albeit unrecognized.

The victim may eventually react to that abuse, but that response is considered to be self-defense. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, signs that your behavior is in self-defense include:

  • You acted when you felt that your safety was at risk
  • You acted as a way to try and re-establish your independence
  • You’d like to change your behavior because you know it’s not who you are or healthy for a relationship

Signs and Symptoms of Reactionary Abuse

Intentionally provoking her partner in private and public.

Many reactionary abuser physically abuse in their partner to antagonize and bait them. Sometime they slap and lash out. They use many several ways to do this, such as name-calling, gas lighting, threatening to walk out, and being condescending, and taking digs at their partner to lower their self-esteem. Doing this they also run agenda of proving that they’re in the right and that their partner is the one with issues and wrong.

Reactive Abuse: symptoms and causes


When the abuser reaches the point of breaking down. They collecting proof against her partner to calm him false. Also They use evidence of their misbehave and physical hurt to prove that she is wrong. They use evidence to justify their own abuse, or blackmail the person they’re abusing to keep control of them, perhaps threatening to tell people about what happened.


The abuser is confuse feel disturbed by their behaviour and act. They don’t know anymore how to react in any situation. They have no idea what he do. Being an abuser he are unable to control herself in any condition.


At the time he don’t know what he do .but later he feels guilty and ashamed of his act and action. They feel of guilt expresses as an anxiety.

Gas lighting reversal

It is possible after being continually gas lighted that the victimized partner may attempt to manipulate the narcissist in return. In the expression of reactive abuse, this might take the form of ‘baiting’ the narcissist into a ‘logic trap’ with the intention of shaming them.

Causes of Reactive abuse

Emotional exhaustion

Reactive Abuse: symptoms and causes

The victim may be prolonged exposure to emotional exhaustion. Prolonged exposure to gas lighting and manipulation can lead to extreme emotional fatigue, making it difficult for victims to respond rationally.


The individual react defensively to protect herself and their worth. Reacting defensively become the survival of the mechanism for the victim. So they attempted it again and again become addicted to use this mechanisms only to save their boundaries and self-worth.

Emotional trigger

The abuser may struggling from trauma and any emotional situation. So they exploit know vulnerability or trauma to evoke a response capitalizing on emotional wounds. The victim often grape with anxiety, depression, scary, guilt, ashamed, confused and angry. These experiences undergone to emotional trigger and causes reactive abuse.

Physical responses

In physical symptoms includes

  • Headache
  • Chronic fitage
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Digestive problem
  • Fight and flight response

Strategies to cope the reactive abuse

There are several strategies to overcome the reactive abuse discuss below

Safe space

Safe space is important to reactive abuser physically and emotionally. The space provide a pattern to communicate with their trusted person and provide emotional safety and allow to persives the situation as well. That provoke the feeling of guilt and ashamed of their misbehave.


Counselling can help the individual to indicate the negative behaviour and emotions. Help to cope the trauma and anxiety. The victim may learn the strategies to cope with emotion and hyperactivity.

Professional help

The individual have to concern with expertise to deal with reactive abuse. That is beneficial for the deal with complex emotions the professional use their therapy to treat including Cognitive behaviour therapy CBT, Dielectric behaviour therapy DBT, Group and Family therapy.

Legal protection

The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides support to victims of reactive abuse and is backed by funding from the Family and Youth Services Bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This ensures that victims of reactive abuse can access the necessary support and assistance when they need it the most.

Building a support system

The victim need support to evoke their complexes. A strong support network provide him vital power. The victim ensure that is the safe place. Support system in place can provide a refuge from reactive abuse situations. Prioritizing time with people who treat them with respect can also be beneficial for victims, particularly when they are not ready to talk about the abuse.

Reactive Abuse: symptoms and causes

Consult a help line

If you need immediate support, consider one of the following helplines:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or Text “START” to 88788

Love Is Respect Helpline: Call 1-866-331-9474 or Text “LOVEIS” to 22522

Visit the NO MORE Directory to find additional resources near you.

Is There a Link Between Reactive Abuse and Narcissism?

Yes, there is a common thread between reactive abuse and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). One common trait of NPD is refusal to take ownership of one’s actions. Narcissists will frequently try any tactic to keep the blame off of them, including trying to place that blame on others. Narcissist also have emotional turmoil and become uncomfortable in their activities and action. Reactive abuser is lesser known as the aspects of Narcissism Personality Disorders.

Narcissism is harmful and can indicate toxics relationship. The individual need to get professional help on time to break the abusive cycle .Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is linked to reactive abuse as it includes a refusal to take ownership of one’s actions, and narcissists use reactive abuse to maintain power over others. The subsequent sections will explore narcissistic traits and manipulation tactics, and discuss methods for escaping this toxic cycle.


The reactive abuse is the person who abuse their partner physical and verbally misbehave with him in private and public as well to cope their complex emotions and trauma. The abuser blame on their partner using evidence to show that he is right and others are wrong. It can be treated using strategies and treat the victim. The purpose is to cope their complex emotions and establish a skill to accept their own mistakes and false. They Narcissism Personality Disorders play a role to become reactive abuser. The individual surviving with NPD can be the reactive abuser by doing that he gain comfort and satisfaction of their self-esteem.

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