One of the most dangerous behavior patterns we have in our society today is waiting. If you go onto social media you’re bombarded with motivational speakers telling you to stop testing the water and just jump in. There are plenty of individuals who’ve taken heed of this advice and reaped the rewards, but still a majority of us hold back.

This irrational fear of “jumping” has effected the entire world over the past few years. I’m talking about the coronavirus but from a hidden perspective. Yes, countries all over the world had slow responses but what has been even more sluggish is our awareness of domestic violence.

“I had a panic attack when I found out I was going to have to be locked in that house with him. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was walking back to our apartment after having lunch with my best friend and talking about my safety plan because I was getting ready to leave my husband. I thought he was at work but when I got home he was already there. It pains me to say this but I wasn’t allowed to leave the house when he was at work so as soon as I saw him I knew I was in trouble. It started a huge fight and ended with me having a really swollen eye. I had been working so hard for WEEKS to leave that relationship but that fight completely destroyed my hope of a better life and I just froze. By the time I was able to snap out of it, we were in a full lock down and I had a complete breakdown… I was so close…”

Gina (she was able to escape her abusive relationship a year later!)


According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, the quarantine periods for the coronavirus caused domestic violence cases to increased by 25-33 percent globally in 2020. Sadly, that means that Gina’s story is not unique.

There has been a lot of controversy over the idea that all domestic abusers have narcissistic or other antagonistic personality styles but on May 24th, 2021 a study led by Sophie Kjærvik, a graduate student in communication at Ohio State, was published revealing a very big connection between narcissism and aggression of all kinds.

A woman learning about whether or not her abuser could kill her.

So, for the purpose of this article we are operation under the assumption that all abuser display narcissistic and/or other antagonistic personality traits.

When I first came across the study it inspired me to write Living With a Narcissist When Leaving Isn’t an Option and The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle: A Complete Guide to Safety. But giving the silent femicide going one (MMIW2S), a multitude of cases like Gabby Petito’s, and covid lockdowns for the foreseeable future, I think it is important for victims of domestic violence to be able to identify the warning signs that the abuse they’re enduring is moving towards something deadly.

Table of Contents:

16 Signs That the Abuser in Your Life Is Capable of Homicide

  • Has Your Abuser Ever Choked, Strangled, or Suffocated You With either His/Her Hands or an Object?
    • The chances of homicide increase by 750% for people who’ve been choked, strangled, or suffocated by their abuser versus those who haven’t.
  • Does the Abuser in Your Life Express Ownership Over You? (“You can never leave me;” “Death before divorce;” “If I can’t have you, nobody can.”)
    • The risk of the violence escalating to serious injury or homicide is significantly higher when you abuser makes statements that imply he/she owns you. ‘
  • Has the Abuser in Your Life Threatened or Expressed Dreams, Fantasies, or Ideas About Killing You, the Children, Your Relatives, and/or Himself/Herself?
    • Threatening to kill you, your children, relatives and/or expressing such ideas is one of the strongest risk factors commonly linked to homicide.
  • Does Your Abuser Have a History of Domestic Violence?
    • A history of Domestic Violence is the second most common risk factor found to be present in Domestic Homicides. Research studies indicate that those who are severely verbally abusive are very likely to become physically violent against their partners.
  • Is the Abuser in Your Life Dependent on You? Put You Above Everyone Else? Isolate You From Friends, Family, and/or the Community?
    • Experts say that when an abuser exhibits these behaviors, the violence often escalates after the abused woman leaves the relationship. This is the third most common risk factor (62%).
  • Has There Ever Been Any Weapons (firearms, knives, bats etc.) Involved in the Domestic Violence?
    • Weapons are present in 40% of death review cases.
  • Is Your Abuser Depressed or Not Seeing the Value of His/Her Own Life?
    • Depression is a common precursor to murder-suicide and is something that should be taken seriously when considering your own safety.
  • Has There Been Violence When You Left the Relationship and/or Violence When You Tried to End the Relationship?
    • Domestic violence circulates around your abuser’s need for power & control. If they were to feel that they were losing power & control, you could be at a greater risk of deadly violence.
  • Has Your Abuser Stalked You, Held You Hostage, or Taken You Against Your Will?
    • The risk of violence and/or homicide rises.
  • Does the Abuser in Your Life Frequently Use Drugs and/or Alcohol?
    • Drug and/or alcohol use is present in 42% of Domestic Homicides.
  • Have You Ever Experienced Physical Abuse During a Pregnancy?
    • Pregnancy increases the risk of serious assault or homicide. In fact, domestic violence often escalates from verbal/emotional abuse to physical abuse during pregnancy.
  • Have You Noticed an Increase in Violence and/or Other Dangerous Behavior?
    • The risk of violence and/or homicide rises.
  • Has Your Abuser Violated a Restraining Order or Protection Order Before?
    • The risk of violence and/or homicide rises.
  • Is There Any Kind of Sexual Violence or Sexual Coercion Going On?
    • Abusers who tend to force sexual encounters are more likely to move to lethal actions.
  • Has Your Abuser Ever Abused You In Public?
    • The risk of violence and/or homicide rises.
  • Is There Any Kind of Cyberstalking Going On?
    • Constant texts and phone calls, a need to be updated on your whereabouts, or the installation spyware/tracking devices on your computer or phone are huge indicators of potential violence and/or homicide.

What Type of Narcissists Are Most Likely to Kill You?

It is important to understand that narcissists, regardless of the type, have the same underlying characteristics. But depending on the type of narcissist, some characteristics will be more prevalent than others.

twelve narcissistic personality traits that could lead to deadly violence in a abusive relationship

If someone is willing to physically abuse you, there is always a potential for the abuse to escalate into someone deadly. We’ve met survivors of every type of narcissistic abuse who have reported at least four out of the sixteen signs that an abuser will kill you that we listed above. So, I don’t want to exclude a type of narcissism under the umbrella of domestic homicides.

With that being said, malignant narcissists are by far the most dangerous types of narcissists in the narcissistic realm. Malignant narcissism is dangerously close to psychopathy, so close in fact, that malignant narcissists are often labeled as psychopathic. 

As I hinted at before, they display all of the underlying characteristics commonly seen in narcissistic individuals, but they are masterful at weaponizing fear and exploiting others. They have a disturbing need for dominance, power, and control.

Malignant narcissists have an uncontrollable need to prove their superiority, they’re plagued with violent tendencies, and have very little control over themselves when things don’t go their way.

Recourses You Can Use to Make a Safety Plan

A safety plan is the most important thing to have when trying to escape an abusive relationship. A safety plan is a personalized and practical plan that you can use while you’re in an abusive relationship, planning on leaving an abusive relationship, or after you’ve left an abusive relationship.

For those inside the United States, The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a fantastic website you can use to create a safety plan, find support groups, and stay safe!

Domestic Shelters has a ton of resources for those of you who are in Canada.

If you aren’t living in either of those countries then I suggest that you find your countries domestic violence support organizations to get help creating a personalized safety plan for yourself.


References:

See “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From a Multisite Case Control Study,” Jacquelyn C. Campbell, PhD, RN, et al., Am J Public Health 93(7): 1089–1097 (July 2003)

See, for example, Murder-Suicide: A Review of the Recent Literature, Scott Eliason, MD, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 37:3:371-376 (September 2009)

See How to Recognize and Act on Risk Factors for Domestic Violence Homicide, Ralph J. Riviello, MD, ACEP Now (May 2014); see also Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy, A Guide for Clinicians

Glass et al. Non-fatal strangulation is an important risk factor for homicide of women. J Emerg Med. 2008 Oct; 35(3): 329–335 (2008).

Kjærvik, S. L., & Bushman, B. J. (2021). The link between narcissism and aggression: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 147(5), 477–503. 

https://news.osu.edu/narcissism-linked-to-aggression-in-review-of-437-studies/


All of the content that Unfilteredd creates is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for clinical care — please visit here for qualified organizations and here for qualified professionals that you can reach out to for help. This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

Suggested Readings:

The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle: A Complete Guide to Safety

Living With a Narcissist When Leaving Isn’t an Option: Complete Guide