5 Signs of Narcissistic Abuse

Hey Optimist Minds, are you in a relationship that makes you feel terrible about yourself? Maybe it’s not a romantic partner but a friend, coworker, roommate, or teacher? Since you met this person, has your life completely changed to a darker, more confusing time? It’s possible that what you’re experiencing is narcissistic abuse.

This is a toxic and insidious way that narcissists treat the people in their lives. It isn’t as blatant as physical or sexual abuse, but it can be equally detrimental to a person’s health and wellbeing. 

Narcissistic abuse is the cumulative effect of months or years of small daily mistreatments. That’s why it can be hard to identify, especially if you’re on the receiving end of it.

This video will describe five signs that indicate that you’re going through narcissistic abuse. Use this information only to help yourself or someone you know to recognise and escape a toxic relationship. This video is not meant to diagnose or condemn narcissists.

Without further ado, here are five signs of narcissistic abuse.

Number 1

The relationship had a honeymoon phase.

When you first met this person, did it feel like everything was hunky-dory? Maybe they were nice to you and let you know what they liked about you. It’s possible they even went out of their way to make you feel special and wanted. Any relationship with a narcissist, whether personal or professional, always starts on a good note. 

They need to do this to maintain a good image and to convince you that they’re a lovely person. In romantic relationships, this phase is packed with what experts like to call “love-bombing”. 

There’s plenty of affection and admiration, almost as if you’ve been placed on a pedestal. But it never lasts for long. Before you can realise what happened, things become very ugly.

Number 2

You’re always the bad guy.

Once the honeymoon phase is gone, the two of you are having frequent conflicts. Arguments become screaming competitions only to be interrupted by indefinite periods of silent treatment and stonewalling. No matter what the fight is about, you feel like it’s your fault.

Sometimes, you may not even know what the reason is, but you’re convinced that you must have done something wrong. You might find yourself constantly backtracking and trying to figure out what you did to upset the other person. It can also make you very careful with what you say or do as if you’re walking on eggshells.

Number 3

Your autonomy got replaced by social isolation.

Whenever this person was upset with you, did it lead to you letting go of your freedom one step at a time? Maybe it started with you going to see your friends less often or hardly visiting your favourite places anymore. Soon, you stopped wearing the clothes you liked or took a break from your hobbies.

Gradually, just to avoid nasty conflicts, you stopped doing anything that the person may not like, even if this activity meant a lot to you before the relationship started. 

As you slowly gave up parts of your life, you found yourself spending all your time either with the person or alone. It might have even reached the point where you feel like there’s no one you can call or speak to about how sad you are.

Number 4

You’ve started questioning your reality.

Is it hard for you to remember specific details about something that happened? Does this frequently occur when the two of you are arguing about something? Maybe you wanted to voice your concern, but somewhere along the line, the conversation became about something entirely different that probably made you feel guilty.

In extreme cases, it could be that you’re so sure about something you did but then you’re proven wrong. For example, you know you kept a book in your study, but now it has changed its location, and they’re convincing you it was never in the study.

This form of abuse is called gaslighting and is a behaviour widespread among narcissists.

Number 5

You just can’t stop thinking about this person.

Despite all the ugly things they have said and done to you, do you find yourself thinking about them constantly? In platonic relationships, the fear of the person may keep you away from them physically, but in romantic ones, it becomes almost impossible to walk away.

The two of you might break up and spend some time apart, but before you get to process what happened, you’re back together again, and for a brief while, everything is back to normal. 

Even if you’re away from them or don’t see them romantically, they’ve taken up all your headspace.

Are they showing up in your dreams? Do you see them in other people or their silhouettes in the dark? This could be interpersonal trauma, or even trauma bonding, depending on the nature of your relationship. 

Did any of these signs seem familiar to you? Are you able to relate to the scenarios we described? If you’ve been facing even one of these five signs, we recommend that you immediately consult a mental health professional. Surviving narcissistic abuse is a long and tiresome journey, but its first step is to identify the abuse.

Let us know in the comments if you found this video helpful. A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below. 

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.

References

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