Life Advice



Ask Amy: Friend wants to ‘out’ abuser to others

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I recently helped one of my neighbors to leave her emotionally abusive/narcissist husband.

He still lives nearby and sometimes joins a “social-distancing happy hour” on the block.

The others don’t know about his horrible mistreatment of his wife.

My secret desire is to “out” him as an abuser.

I want to enjoy the social hour, but hate being around him, so what’s the best way to handle this?

— Hate Keeping This Secret


Dear Hate: I believe that the best way to react to this person is to show up and claim your own space in the social sphere – and completely ignore him.

Actual diagnosed narcissism seems to be quite rare, but narcissistic traits are more common and recognizable.

A true narcissist will want to provoke a response from you, and then will blame and bully you into being on the defensive – and you won’t even realize it while it’s happening. The encounter will only start to make sense to you later, when you deconstruct the dynamic.

By confronting him or reacting emotionally if he confronts you, you will have made his day. He might walk back to his house after a confrontation, believing he’d just had a triumphant experience.


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