Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional abuse in which the abusers manipulates the victims, threaten them, torture them emotionally and physically, destroy their self-worth, and make them realize that they are at fault and the real sinner.
The abusers have sociopathic tendencies or narcissistic personality disorder. Whatever it is, the victim suffers the most. Learning about narcissistic abuse is essential otherwise, you will not differentiate between a normal and narcissistic relationship. That’s why I have discussed the sign of narcissistic abuse, its effects on the victims, and the essential treatments here. So, keep reading.
Identifying Narcissistic Behavior: 20 Signs to Look For
Here are the 20 signs showing you are in a narcissistic relationship.
The other person gaslights you by using several phrases that make you believe you are mentally unstable and your views about everything and reality are incorrect.
The other person emotionally abused you. They can do the following actions like
- Accuse you
- Bullies you everywhere
- Criticizes you on everything
- Shames you
- Gives sarcastic remarks
- Threatens you for everything
The abuser always blames you even when you are not wrong. Even in projection, the abuser never takes the blame and puts the blame for their own wrong deeds on the victim.
Their biggest tool is twisting the situation and things in their own favor. If you question the narcissist people of their behavior, they counterquestion you and make you feel that you are the real culprit and even make you feel so bad that you, in the end, apologize to them.
The victim in a narcissistic relationship always feels a lack of empathy. This kind of relationship remains incomplete because the abuser cannot feel and express emotions and never gives the victim any emotional strength and empathy.
The abuser always lies, doesn’t want to, or like to take responsibility.
Narcissists are famous for ignoring others or cutting people from their lives for even unbothered things. No one is special in their lives. Thus, they can easily ignore their partner and demand an apology for something they themselves have done.
The abuser sabotages the victim completely by interfering in their matters and relationships because of their personal grudge, revenge, or advantage.
The abusers always talk about themselves and think and make others believe that they are the most important entities, leaving their partners in distress and alone. Even the victims become people pleasers due to their behavior.
The abuser makes you feel fearful and puts you in doubt and guilt, becomes angry with you, intimidates and threatens you, gives you punishments and warnings, and thus uses every emotional blackmailing way to manipulate you.
They make everything a competition and always try to win it by hook or crook.
Sometimes the abuser uses love bombing and shows you excessive flattery, affection, and attention, only to influence and manipulate you.
They either financially dominate you or use your finances without your permission like
- Sell your property
- Gamble with your money
- Take debt in your name
They never give you any privacy nor accept your request for it. They look through your email, phone, and social media accounts, stalk and follow you, and even don’t accept that they’re wrong.
They never listen to your feelings and emotions and never feel for you.
The narcissistic abuser even does your character assassination by spreading lies and malicious things about you.
They always wished to be cherished; if you don’t pay attention to them, they mentally and physically abuse you.
Sometimes a narcissist tries to play the victim’s card just to get sympathy and controlling behavior, don’t fall for it.
The abusers never appreciate you for your efforts or achievements, even due to their insecurities or jealousy; they try to change the topic or start other conversations.
They don’t care for your feelings and emotions; instead, they focus on using you and treating you as an object just to fulfill their needs. Remember, you will not see any kind of guilt and shame in their behavior when you question them about their behavior.
Understanding the Effect of Narcissistic Abuse
Anxiety and depression are common ailments in a narcissistic abusive relationship. Anxiety attacks, depression, panic attacks, hypervigilance, and even separation anxiety, a victim may feel everything during or after the abuse.
Every narcissistic abusive relationship victim struggles with post-traumatic stress. Anything bad associated with the previous experience may trigger an anxiety attack, and the victim always seeks protection everywhere.
Loss of Self-worth
Narcissistic abuse is such a big trauma that it destroys a person’s sense of self-worth. It totally destroys your personality.
Unable to Forgive Yourself
Sometimes the narcissists successfully make the victims realize they are always at fault. In that situation, the victims blame themselves and cannot forgive themselves.
Health problems like body aches, stomachaches, headaches, difficulty sleeping, or nightmares are common physical problems a victim faces nearly daily.
The release of stress hormones in a traumatic situation or while thinking about it affects the hippocampus region of your brain, thus causing cognitive problems like short-term memory loss and cause problems in your routine work. A victim also faces cognitive distortions.
Narcissistic abuse is a trauma that makes you either emotionless or moody. The common things are
- Sudden mood swings
- Stress and anxiety
Having children in such a stage may worsen the situation. Narcissistic abuse makes children mentally disturbed, and they may start hating the abuser and develop mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, PTSD, low self-esteem, discomfort, and confidence issues.
Even ending a relationship can’t stop the abuse. The abuser continuously stalks and follows you, tries to make new promises to get you back, manipulates you, and even threatens you.
One bad experience can also create trust issues. A victim can never feel safe while trusting anyone. Thus, it affects a person’s relationships at every point at home, among friends and family members, and workplace.
The victims think they are at fault and punish themselves and may develop self-destructive habits; thus, they may become addicted to smoking, drinking, food addiction, or overspending.
Treatment Options and Strategies to Addressing Narcissistic Behavior
When it comes to treatment, people believe that it’s not possible to heal from the effects of a narcissistic relationship. However, it might be right, but only in a case when you are not ready to accept that your relationship is narcissistic.
Remember one thing, such kind of abuse can pose irreparable damage to your life. The emotional, physical, social, and financial destruction the narcissistic relationship causes demands a person to take steps against it and try to do something to heal from it. That’s why I am sharing some treatment methods here which prove a great help in fighting back against narcissism.
Don’t think you are an abuser, but accept that your partner is. Accepting reality is the biggest thing. In many cases, people live their whole life with such toxic people and even let them ruin their lives and even touch the deaths.
Moreover, no matter how much you love that person, you mustn’t neglect the situation and their toxic behavior.
Are you experiencing emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, and anger in relation to various things? Don’t think you are mad, immature, or mentally unstable. You are completely healthy; you just need to accept your feelings and emotions as a normal human reaction. Don’t suppress your feelings; instead, understand that these feelings indicate that you are in a narcissistic relationship.
You have to learn about the traits of a narcissist and know everything about what things and behaviors fall under abuse and how a person easily manipulates others. If you understand all these things, you can differentiate between normal and narcissistic behavior and easily get it when manipulated emotionally.
Remember one thing, if a person questions and tries to leave their narcissistic partner, they come with a promise to change themselves. They apologize for their previous actions and make you believe they will never do anything wrong in the future.
Don’t fall into their trap; they are manipulating you. Don’t change your mind; set boundaries if you are in a marriage relationship and have kids. Otherwise, completely leave them.
Suppose you are going to leave a narcissistic person by breaking up or ending a relationship. In that case, you have to face many things like shame, fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, and even people suspicious of you, and you also feel symptoms of PTSD.
And to deal with such feelings, you have to become patient and remain positive. Don’t let the negative emotions and thoughts ruin you. by giving you a safe and neutral environment, a therapist will help you to work through your emotions successfully.
Shift your whole attention toward yourself. When ending a relationship with a narcissistic abuser, it can seem overwhelming, but it’s essential to make self-care and self-discovery a priority to facilitate the healing process.
Focusing on oneself and adopting self-care practices can be instrumental in improving self-esteem and overcoming the harmful impact of abuse. The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers several self-care techniques, including using positive affirmations, engaging in breathing exercises to manage emotions, exploring new creative hobbies, and participating in physical activities to release pent-up emotions.
By prioritizing self-care, survivors of abuse can rediscover their self-worth and autonomy and recover from their traumatic experiences.
Keenly observe around you in society, and you will see many people like you struggling to live with a narcissist and many successfully overcoming a narcissistic abusive relationship. Having such people or support groups is helpful in your journey of struggle, and you feel more blessed and strong in their company.
It’s just like therapy to interact with them or tell your story or feelings without any stress or privacy breach threats. They understand you and your situation and always give the right advice based on their personal experience.
A therapist is the most important entity which plays a crucial role in your healing journey from a narcissistic abusive relationship. Struggling with the situation alone makes things tougher for a victim. A mental health professional knows how to handle such situations healthier, process and defeat complex and negative feelings, and suggest the right therapies. Some therapies include
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Trauma-focused CBT
- Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EDMR)
- Motivational interviewing
- Group therapy
- Restoring routine therapy
- Creating rituals therapy
- Art therapy
Understanding and overcoming the effect of narcissistic abuse is not easy; it’s a long-struggling path, but remember, the destination is so beautiful. If you are in such a relationship, stop punishing yourself by remaining in it, it’s time to say goodbye to it and visit a therapist to give your life a second chance, which you surely deserve.