She Showed Him the Rope

Malignant narcissist responsible for woman’s death?

“She showed me the rope two weeks ago.”

That is what Blake Harris* told police when they responded to a 9-1-1 call to his apartment where Blake’s live-in girlfriend had hung herself, in her closet, with a rope.

According to family members of Sarah Key*, 22-year-old graduate student in North Carolina*, Key had endured several years of emotional and verbal abuse at the hands of Harris.

Just as we tend to do with victims of physical abuse, society asks “why didn’t she leave?”

Why would a bright, lively and lovely 22-year-old, her entire life before her, choose to stay with someone who verbally humiliated her, tortured her with mind games, and retreated into The Silent Treatment when she tried to resolve issues or ask that her emotional needs be met?

For those unfamiliar with the Covert Narcissist, the person who appears to the outside world as both charming and devoted to the object of his ‘affection’ please know that the face the narcissist presents to the world is not who he or she truly is behind closed doors.

Trauma Bonding is a phrase used to describe the complicated relationship between a victim and his/her narcissist, and somewhat explains why the victim stays in the relationship, often to her detriment.

A trauma bond involves intensity, complexity, inconsistency, and a promise. 

Victims stay because they are holding on to that elusive “promise” or hope. 

The hallmark manipulative tactics of the Narcissist enhance the promise. 

Victims are prey to the manipulation because they are willing to tolerate anything for the payoff, which is that never-to-materialize promise and ever present hope for fulfillment of some deeply personal need within the victim.

They live for the good times, clinging to the promise that never delivers.

Some victims of Narcissists have said they would rather be hit than psychologically abused.

The insidious nature of constant manipulation, keeping the victim off-base, wondering if she is the problem; questioning her entire reality all the while achingly sad for what is missing in the relationship is enough to drive the victim to a sort of madness only someone who has been through this sick type of relationship knows.

While women who have been physically abused would argue with what is ‘better,” physical or emotional abuse can we all just agree that no person** should have to go through either?

Physical abusers may kill or maim your body, but the emotional abuser is killing your soul.

Sarah Key* showed Blake Harris* a rope two weeks before her death.

She begged him to be an emotional companion, to stop putting her down, ignoring her requests for true intimacy; to stop trivial relationships with other women meant to keep her off-base and questioning her attractiveness and her self-worth; to stop the abuse.

She threatened to kill herself if he did not change.

Narcissists don’t change without intervention leading to significant therapy.  See DSMV-V Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Sarah’s family is sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner without her this year.

No, her boyfriend did not beat her, shoot her, or maim her.

It was death by a thousand cuts, and only Sarah’s own hand, tying that noose, ended the torture.


*names and places have been changed

**narcissists are overwhelmingly male, for whatever reason; just a fact







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