Narcissistic abuse is one of the hardest tribulations we can overcome in this life. It completely destroys our sense of self and erodes our confidence over time. Even if you manage to escape narcissistic abuse, its effects are long-lasting and can follow you for years and years to come. It shifts our world perspective and can even result in major changes to our personality — changes which can have a major impact on our lives.
Surviving narcissistic abuse requires us to engage in active self-healing, and that often begins with internal acknowledgement. We have to look at the way we’ve allowed ourselves to be changed, and compare those changes against the person we authentically desire to be. By arming ourselves in understanding, and getting set on protecting the wellbeing and needs that are rightfully ours, we can find our way back to freedom. It’s a process that requires us to dig deep, however, and look at the bigger picture that’s waiting for us on the other side.
Narcissistic abuse is everywhere.
We hear a lot about physical and emotional abuse, but what of narcissistic abuse? This type of manipulation and control can be a slow and insidious sort, creeping in over our relationships and destroying our sense of self before we know what’s happening. When we become victims of narcissistic abuse, we completely lose sight of our value and the value of our needs and our dreams. We drop our boundaries and surrender control to another person, and with that we surrender pieces of our personality and our happiness.
Narcissistic abuse refers to the behaviors and coping mechanisms narcissists use within their relationships or against their partners. These behaviors erode their partner’s self-esteem, and can even dramatically shift their personalities. It’s a toxic way to live and one that has lasting effects for the victims involved.
Narcissistic abuse occurs through verbal abuse, emotional manipulation, and even all-out campaigns of fear, threats and terror. A narcissist is unable to see the inherent value in anyone else, because they are only able to see their own needs, desires and perspectives. Breaking free of them is only the first step in healing. In order to fully thrive in the wake of narcissistic abuse, we have to understand how this abuse impacts us and then work to correct it through self-love and understanding.
The telltale signs of narcissistic abuse.
When we’re victims of narcissistic abuse, there are a number of telltale signs that can help warn us and help us protect ourselves and our wellbeing. We don’t have to accept the poor treatment and behavior of the narcissists in our lives, we can find freedom and happiness again but we have to know how to spot the signs that we’re being put down and walked over.
Walking on eggshells
When you build a life with a narcissist, you’re building a life on shifting sands. Narcissists are inherently emotional and rely on their emotions to manipulate the feelings and behaviors of those around them. If you question them, or even call them out on the way they behave — they’ll react with rage, sorrow, and even terror in order to put you back in your place and get what they want. Living with a narcissist means walking on eggshellsand constantly gauging your speech and behavior in order to avoid upsetting them or driving them away.
Gaslighting is a hot-button term and one that is (understandably) becoming increasingly popular in today’s world. It’s a complex and multi-faceted means of manipulation, and one in which bases itself around 4 primary techniques: withholding, countering, blocking, trivializing and denial. When you speak up about an issue, or something that troubles you, the narcissist will deny it, minimize it and then react with anger and indignation of their own. It causes the victim to question their own emotions, desires and sanity. Over an even greater length of time, the victim who is destroyed by insecurity and made completely unsure of themselves.
Zero sense of trust
There can be no true trust or stability when it comes to narcissistic abuse, because destabilization is one of the core tactics narcissists use to get what their way. In order to ensure that you’re too confused, upset, or off-center to question them, the narcissist has to drive you constantly to the point of mistrust before reeling you back in with kindness. By destabilizing your sense of reality, they cause you to question yourself (rather than them) and this erodes any true and lasting trust that the relationship requires.
Putting aside your needs
In the world of the narcissist, everything is about them, and only their needs are important. One of the trademark signs that you’re suffering narcissistic abuse is a constant dismissal of your needs. The abuser dismisses and diminishes your needs to the point that you begin to do the same. Any time you’re given a choice between yourself and the narcissist, you’re coached to choose them and — little by little — you learn to put your needs in a box and pack them away out of sight and out of mind.
Have you noticed that your world is shrinking? Are your social circles or professional opportunities getting smaller and smaller on the back of your relationship? Narcissists require us to shrink our worlds, and that’s especially true when it comes to narcissistic abuse. In order to get away with their terror and manipulations, the narcissist (like all abusers) isolates you and drives you away from any points of center that might otherwise direct you toward your limits and your boundaries.
Always shouldering blame
Along with sidelining their own needs, victims of narcissistic abuse are forced to shoulder the blame when things go wrong or their abusers make a mistake. In the narcissist’s world, they can do no wrong. Whether they make a genuine mistake, or are just faced with the natural challenges of life, they shift the blame to their partner. The victim is then forcedto internalize this blame in order to keep their abuser happy, or keep their relationship “alive”. It becomes a pattern, and one that can follow the victim even after the abuse has ended.
Instability and insecurity
Instability and insecurity are the key to the narcissistic abuser’s game. If you feel as though you can’t ever get a straight answer from your partner, or if you feel as though you’re constantly off-foot with them; that’s no mistake. Narcissistic abusers use this back-and-forth instability in order to make you insecure. The more insecure you are, the more you will look to them and come to rely on their emotional manipulations as the only means to be happy.
How our personalities change after narcissistic abuse.
Whether you’re the victim of narcissistic abuse for a few weeks or a few years, the consequences can be far-reaching and long-lasting. Narcissistic abuse destroys our sense of self, and it can destroy our personalities as well. We change through the pain and instability that narcissism relies, and we change who we are in order to survive its massive effects…