Narcissistic Abuse is a form of emotional abuse inflicted or done by someone who suffers from narcissism. These people use words or actions in manipulative ways to control their partner’s behavior. A narcissist is one who shows extreme affection, love, and admiration for himself or herself. He or She is full of pride and ego. Therefore, when you are obsessed with your own self-image and ego, you are said to be narcissistic. Narcissistic Abuse is an umbrella term for the financial, sexual, emotional, physical, and psychological abuse of others by someone with narcissistic traits or suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Cycle Of Narcissistic Abuse
The cycle of typical narcissistic abuse generally follows a pattern. There are three stages in an emotionally abusive relationship: idealization, devaluing and discarding.
This is the beginning of a romantic relationship. Here, we normally find the “honeymoon” stage. Your narcissist partner begins to cultivate trust in your relationship which will make you develop empathy for him or her. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone that grooms trusts in a relationship is a narcissist. Am just guiding you on how to detect one if you ever find yourself with a narcissist partner.
He or She accelerates loyalty and bond and ends up rushing intimacy. There are too many acts of kindness and generosity. However, a narcissist will tend to isolate you from your family and loved ones. He will want to be your only center of attention.
Even after showing a lot of inappropriate behaviors, they use the act of “hovering” to draw you back to their lives. This they do by apologizing and showing you an amazing side of them that you probably have never seen. They will even promise to change or see a therapist.
You, as a victim, will feel special, loved, happy, hopeful, and attached to them. You will even ignore your personal boundaries and adjust your behavior just to make your narcissist partner happy without knowing it.
This is the tension-building stage. Your narcissist partner will feel threatened, defensive, betrayed, or uncomfortable once you begin to open up about his or her inappropriate behavior. He or She will seek to justify their abusive behavior and gain sympathy from people around.
You, on the other hand, will begin to have self-doubts and you won’t feel valued anymore. In addition, you are going to feel worthless. As a result of this, communication begins to break down. Threats, emotional withdrawal, and silent treatment set in.
Discarding, however, is the abuse escalation stage. There is rage, force, and cruelty in your relationship. Your narcissist partner will project their own shame and fears on you. He or She will nevertheless, be in control of your life and will use your emotional response against you.
Your partner, when he or she notices your withdrawal will tend to employ the hovering method to get or have you to themselves, and thus the cycle begins. Of course, the cycle ends when you permanently leave the relationship.
Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
Emotionally abusive relationships are usually toxic. It is very difficult to identify a narcissistic person especially if he belongs to the wealthy social class. Being in a relationship or living with a narcissistic partner can lead to a condition known as the narcissistic syndrome.
This can, however, affect your self-confidence and mental health because you will begin to doubt your own self-worth. If you are suffering from this syndrome, you will only be concerned about your flaws, failures, and all your shortcomings even if they are not real. This is because the idea has already been planted in your head by your narcissistic partner.
Your mind will be confused and you will have a hard time identifying reality or what you once knew was real. This is a result of constant emotional abuse and manipulation.
There are many symptoms that can affect someone who is struggling with narcissistic abuse syndrome. Some of these symptoms include:
- Feeling isolated or detached from others.
- Avoiding people and places associated with the narcissistic person.
- Unwanted thoughts.
- Feeling extremely vigilant at all times.
- Recurring instances in which the individual feels like they are reliving a traumatic experience.
- Anxiety and depression.
- Doubt from others and self- blame.
Narcissistic Abuse Examples
A Narcissist can be either your parents, partner, or your friend as the case may be but in the end, it involves shattering of one’s self-esteem and confidence.
Some examples of narcissistic abuse are:
#1. Verbal Abuse:
Narcissists like attention and they know how to give one to make you feel special. But then, they shame, criticize, threaten and bully you. Verbal abuse often escalates in tone and frequency. They use it to intimidate others and prove themselves as dominant and superior. All of this verbal abuse is just an attempt by the narcissist to shift blame in order to prove that they are right.
Emotional, physical, verbal, sexual, and any other aspects you can think of, narcissistic abuse is all about control. Narcissists are actually scared and terrified of losing control. This desire for control can be troubling especially in sexual relationships.
A narcissist’s most favored technique is manipulation. They often use their charm to manipulate thereby making you question your own sanity and behavior. It is their own method of self-protection and defense.
Signs Of Narcissistic Abuse
These are some signs of a narcissistic personality.
- Excessive Need For Admiration: He or she wants to be the center of attraction and attention. They also feel enraged when ignored and tend to monopolize conversations.
- Exaggerated sense of sense importance.
- They lack the ability to care for and about the emotional needs of others including loved ones.
- People are valued only to the extent as they are viewed as beneficial.
- They have difficulty with attachment and dependency.
- When they are not showered with praise and attention, they often feel bored or depressed.
- Identity Disturbance: Self-stability depends on maintaining the view that one is exceptional.
- Interactions are superficial and intimacy is either rushed or avoided.
- Compromises required by school, relationship or job may feel unbearable.
- A narcissist fears abandonment.
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery And Healing
Abuse is often traumatizing and the healing process can take some time. When you end a toxic relationship, you are likely to be dealing with confusion and hurt.
Sometimes, deep down, you know that you were mistreated and that you are not to blame for whatever happened but you still can’t shake off the good memories you created at the beginning of your relationship. These memories might lead to craving the presence of your narcissist partner or loved one in your life, hence the trauma.
Here are some steps for easy recovery and healing:
#1. Acknowledge And Accept The Abuse:
This is a very important first step towards recovery. It is normal for you to want to take the blame for your loved ones active in the beginning of your healing process. Denying what happened will only slow down your healing and recovery process.
Learning to identify tactics often used by people with narcissism can make it easier to come to terms with your experience.
#2. Set Your Boundaries:
Therapists and specialists often recommend cutting off all contact with your ex-partner after ending a relationship. This is a necessary boundary not just for them, but also for you.
#3. Get Ready For Multiple Emotions:
Grief and loss, anger, sadness, depression, fear, anxiety, shame, shock, and even paranoia, you are going to feel and face all of them. Toxic people can cause a lot of pain and you, as a result of such pain, may begin to question your actions and reality.
Therefore, a therapist is needed to guide you as you experience these complicated feelings.
#4. Reclaim Your Identity:
Perhaps you have been behaving in a certain way because your narcissist partner wants you to, you may feel belittled. You may have even changed your looks and appearance to please them and then ended up not knowing who you are anymore. This is the time to be yourself.
#5. Take Care Of Yourself:
Get enough rest, relax, calm your nerves, do things you love, connect with loved ones, eat balanced meals and stay physically active. If possible, exercise. Your mind and body need it.
#6. Get Professional Help:
Talking to a therapist or specialist one-on-one helps a lot. They can offer guidance with building coping skills and dealing with depression. You will feel more supported when you begin your healing and recovery journey with a therapist.
In conclusion, join support groups and talk to people. Learn to open up to supportive family members and friends whenever you find yourself in a toxic relationship.
What are the long term effects of narcissistic abuse?
Some examples of long-term effects include mood and anxiety disorders, physical ailments such as headaches, stomachaches, or body aches, the inability to get a good night’s sleep or having nightmares, and a lowered sense of self-worth. Is it possible to fully recover from narcissistic abuse?
Why do narcissists rage?
Deep-Seated Fear of Rejection / Being Unimportant – This is the core of narcissistic rage. Many narcissists are constantly hounded by the insecurity that people may not see them as the privileged, powerful, popular, or “special” individuals they make themselves to be, and react intensely when their fears are confirmed.
How do narcissists abuse their partners?
If you have clients who are intentionally exploited by their spouses; endure regular insults and rejection, alternating with affirmation; and feel manipulated into doing or saying something out of character, then they might be experiencing abuse.