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The narcissist put on a good show with their charm. Their personality is just a front to capture you and make you victim of their abuse which can be toxic to your soul. Unlike physical abuse which is apparent, emotional abuse is more elusive and insidious.
The victims of abuse quite often do not see the mistreatment as abusive as they develop coping mechanism of denial in order to minimise and deal with hurt and stress. Long term emotional abuse can cause severe damage to victim’s psyche .
Narcissist use emotional abuse to control and dominate the other person. If you are not sure what narcissistic abuse is here are seven signs to recognise it-
1. You feel lonely
The loneliness you feel comes from deep within you. It seems to have seeped in your soul. You may be living twenty four hours with your partner under the same roof but still feeling of loneliness pervades you. You feel like you can never share your real inner most thoughts with your partner. You feel that your partner never really listens to you . Communication with him leaves you unheard , frustrated and disappointed. You may as well be talking to walls. You can’t talk to him about your dreams because he mocks you. You can’t show your vulnerability because someday he uses it against you.You feel lonely and stifled at the same time!
Its because your partner is not for real. He is an illusion. He is a mirage which exists in your mind. The real person that lives with you is nothing like what you think him to be. What he has trained you to think him to be. He doesn’t really cares about you except on your utility value. The attention he lavished on you during early phase of relationship was the first stage of narcissistic love- The Idealizing Phase when he bombarded you with love and attention . Occasionally you glimpse the same person you fell in love with but its always when he needs you for something or just wants you to keep you strung.
2. You try too hard to please
“Everything I do I do it for you!” Your partner has become the center of your existence. You simply live to follow his every whim. You go out of your way to please him. You dress the way he likes, you wear the hairstyle he likes, you detach from people he tells you to.Your energy is all focused on making your partner love you like he did once when he said that you were his soul mate and you felt the same. You even compromise on your personal values and beliefs to please him or forgive him. You have started tolerating behavior you never thought you could in the name of love, you start taking part in demeaning activities you feel uncomfortable with just to prove your love .
You may have stopped indulging in acts which made you happy be it volunteer work, going out with friends or charity because your partner mocked you about it or convinced you that they are waste of time and money. You do feel being taken advantage of by your partner or even feel resentful about it but somehow you let the cycle repeat again and again and have no power to stop it. You feel the pressure to be ‘perfect’ in your partner’s eyes. You lose your sense of self and have become his shadow. What’s worse is that you have become used to being his shadow and idea of breaking free appalls you. You learn to walk on egg shells lest something displeases him. There is some level of anxiety always lingering in your mind as you analyse your every action before whether it will please him or upset him. Even then your best plans and intentions fail.
3. You feel confused
You doubt yourself. You are often uncertain about the situation. Your partner always shift blame to you. Narcissist effectively use Gas lighting as a psychological tool to abuse you. You notice something which feels odd, you draw the attention of your partner towards it , your partner denies it and confuses you by calling you names like you are over reacting oversensitive or imagining things or even calling you crazy. He may say hurtful things and than deny saying them. Gradually you began doubting your own perceptions, you deny your own intuitions!Narcissist do it to control you as they know that confused mind makes you more vulnerable and susceptible to their manipulations.
You feel something is wrong but you can’t pinpoint it. The relationship feels toxic but you do everything to save it.
4. You no longer feel good about yourself
You may be independent, successful, accomplished woman but slowly your own sense of worth starts eroding. Your narcissist partner mocks and ridicules you as he enters the second phase of narcissistic relationship- Devalue Phase. He mocks you to feel superior. He ridicules your achievements to destroy your self esteem. Whatever he praised you for in Idealize stage when he was love bombarding you - your looks, your success , your sense of humor he systematically devalues now. He may abuse you by name calling with intention to hurt you and make you feel unworthy. He may even deny the name calling later or call it a joke. Or they may later blame it on work stress or some personal crisis and try to make you feel guilty. You slowly find yourself feeling insignificant and dysfunctional and may actually lose everything you had.
5. You feel tired by good and bad cycle
Narcissistic use the psychological tool of intermittent reinforcement or ‘hurt and rescue’ They constantly blow hot and cold. They may treat you like a Queen one day, lavishing their love and attention on you, calling you the best thing that ever happened to them and then completely withdraw their attention for many days and give you the silent treatment. This creates a strong feeling of insecurity as you never know where your relationship stands. Your hopes are raised to be crushed and crushed to be raised again. This intermittent reinforcement is what keeps drug addicts hold on to their addiction. By using this tactic your partner makes you hold on to him while managing to maintain his distance.
It makes you hold on to toxic relationship for too long as you cling to their occasional signs of affection. You starve yourself waiting for the bread crumbs he occasionally throws in your way. Whenever you try to break free he comes back with fake affirmation. When he returns to you , you experience euphoric relief making you more prone to accept their offensive behavior as you want to avoid the hurt of their abandoning you again. You may even end up pleading and apologizing for his mistakes just to make him stay. His ambiguous way of treating you leaves you exhausted , frustrated , nerve racked and still begging for more!
Intermittent reinforcement is the reason victims of narcissistic abuse feel craving for their tormentor even when they themselves decide to walk out of the relationship and end their further abuse or they are abandoned by their partner as he enters the third stage of narcissistic relationship- the Discard Phase.
6. You feel more and more sick
You may experience mental illness like anxiety as you are always walking on egg shells. Constant anxiety disturbs your sleeping patterns. Disturbed sleep leads to gradual memory loss. You start dissociating from yourself to avoid feeling of hurt. You seem to have poured everything in the void called your partner and feel empty inside leading to depression. You may feel emotional numbness. You avoid places, sound, food, songs which remind you of abuse. You may reach a point of hopelessness with suicidal thoughts kicking in. The scars of emotional abuse don’t show but run deep.
7. You fear that you have become Narcissist yourself
As you become emotionally numb in response to continuous Narcissistic abuse you find it difficult to empathize with others. As you are systematically starved of love and attention you become clingy and started seeking attention. As you read more and more on narcissism you start doubting that you too suffer from it. And this is the worst fall out of Narcissistic abuse.
June 1 is being celebrated as World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day. Get yourself aware about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It is quite prevalent more than we like to think. According to US studies about 8-10% of population suffers from some degree of Narcissistic personality Disorder. You come across them everywhere, in all professions and in your homes. They can be your spouse, your parent, your sibling, your child. Their masks are perfect and so are their lies. They are too good at emotional manipulation, shifting blame, triangulating, Gas lighting, love bombarding then systematically de-valuing their victims. Their victims believe too long in their illusion. They do not understand that they are being abused by a narcissist. Gradually the victims get brainwashed enough to get disconnected from their own emotional pain. They make excuses on behalf of their abuser because they do not comprehend the disorder. They start feeling and thinking the way the narcissist wants them to think, believe and feel. They become a mirror for their narcissist.
#WorldNarcissisticAbuseAwarenessDay # NarcissistPersonalityDisorder