Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional abuse in which the perpetrator only cares about himself and may exploit their partner’s behaviours and words to control their mood and conduct. NPD or narcissistic tendencies are characterised by a pattern of dominating, manipulative conduct that includes verbal abuse as well as emotional manipulation. Regardless of the type of relationship, narcissistic abuse typically follows a predictable pattern, but this pattern may take on somewhat varied appearances.
Narcissists have difficult relationships, an exaggerated feeling of their own significance, a strong desire for unrestrained attention and praise, and little empathy for others. But beyond this outward display of excessive confidence comes a delicate sense of self that is easily damaged by the smallest of remarks.
Relationships, employment, education, and money matters are just a few of the areas of life where a narcissistic personality can cause issues. When they don’t receive the particular treatment or adoration, they feel they deserve, people with a narcissistic personality disorder may generally feel dissatisfied and disappointed. Others might not enjoy being around them, and they could find their interactions to be unsatisfying.
They appeared to be nice, polite, and generous while the initial stages. They showered you with gushing compliments, romantic gestures, and pricey presents to make you feel loved and unique. It’s possible that throughout this initial phase you felt so intense and overpowering that you didn’t stop to think whether they might be too amazing. Then, gradually, the presents and vows of love started to be replaced with negging or other deceptive methods. As long as you don’t do anything to offend them and lose their favour, narcissistic parents may also provide you with love, admiration, praise, and financial assistance. Then they too frequently use strategies like gaslighting, silent treatment, and negging.
Is the abuse evident?
Narcissistic abuse and manipulation are frequently subtle. These actions may be so well-masked while taking place in public that those who hear or see them fail to recognise them as abusive. Even then, you might not fully comprehend what is going on. You simply are aware of your confusion, annoyance, or even guilt about your “mistakes.”
This uncertainty may be doubly damaging. It can cause you to lose hope in your loved ones and make you question whether the abuse actually occurred. Perhaps you misread what they said or simply imagined their expression.
Narcissists merely take pleasure in getting their way. They might not necessarily take pleasure in the conditions they create and may not even be aware of how unpleasant they are. Abusive actions could stop once their primary objective is achieved, just to start up again when a new issue arises.
Signs to look for
Here are some specific strategies that narcissists may employ to manipulate their victims. Depending on how extreme the abuser is prepared to go in order to achieve their goals, the sequence and intensity of these acts might change.
- Controlling – Controlling behaviours are frequently shown by those who have narcissistic personality disorder characteristics. They may at first appear to only want to be in charge of their partner’s time and attention, but as time goes on, they will start to want more.
They could demand that their preferences be followed, and they might even try to persuade their partner to engage only in pursuits that benefit or appeal to the narcissist. In such circumstances, control is equivalent to power.
- Isolating from loved ones – Isolation attempts by narcissistic abusers are frequently used as a prelude to more severe types of abuse. The narcissist makes themselves the main provider of affection, validation, and support by destroying the victim’s support network, which may include family members, friends, and social networks.
Additionally, keeping a victim out of the view of those closest to them who know them best might give an abuser time to establish control. The narcissist will make an effort to prevent their victim from socialising with family and friends, especially those who express dislike for this spouse.
- Verbal insults and abuse – Narcissists employ insults and put-downs to make sure their victims never have faith in their own judgement. Even though it can often be subtle, verbal abuse is meant to demean or denigrate the other person. A person may get hurtful remarks about their choices or appearance while being mocked or encouraged in a good way. The most heinous type of verbal sniping is emotional abuse.
Threats, ranting, and silent treatment can replace name-calling, blaming, and judging. A person may not be touched physically during verbal abuse, but these exchanges can still be violent.
- Gaslighting – According to psychologists, gaslighting is a form of manipulation used to confuse. This tactic is used to cause someone else to doubt their reality. A person might pretend to have forgotten an event or deny being aware of one in which they played a significant role, or they might cast doubt on other people’s views and memories.
To maintain a dominant position in relation to others is the whole objective of this method. The narcissist’s version of reality will win out if they can convince others that their own perceptions or memories are flawed.
- Online or digital abuse – Many victims also mention technological barriers like GPS trackers, social media banning, or passcode theft. These breaches of online privacy can be equally upsetting and harmful as physical seclusion.
To test their victim’s allegiance, abusers may even go so far as to create a false profile and engage with them online. They might even make threats to post private information or reveal photos on social media.
- No respect for boundaries – Narcissistic abuse victims report having trouble making their own decisions, especially ones that require them to physically separate from the abuser. Co-dependency and physical proximity are essential components of the above control strategies. Narcissists may cross boundaries to make sure they are constantly one step ahead since they thrive on shifting the scales in their favour.
Victims claim that their abusers have read their private emails, journals, or diaries. Other fundamental rules, such as the ability to use the restroom alone and making choices about one’s own body (such as nutrition, exercise, clothing, etc.), are frequently broken.
How to overcome Narcissist abuse?
Abuse frequently causes severe trauma, and recovery might take some time. No matter how difficult the aftermath of narcissist abuse might be, there are a few ways you can step out of the unhealthy spiral by starting counselling which a professional counsellor.
- Consulting a Counseling expert in NPD – An expert knows how to identify all the dimensions of your personalities which were affected by narcissistic abuse. They know how to heal it in less time. This will give your healing journey a huge boost.
- Acknowledge that you were abused – Recognizing that you were abused, whether it came from a friend, family member, or romantic partner, is a crucial first step on the road to healing. You could find it challenging to put any justifications and defences for the other person’s actions aside in the early stages of the healing process. In fact, you could be quite happy to accept responsibility for your own actions if it prevents you from having to acknowledge that a loved one wounded you on purpose.
- Setting strong boundaries – When possible, therapists and abuse recovery experts advise ceasing any communication with your ex-partner after the relationship has ended. Going without contact is more than just a limit for them. It serves as a boundary for you as well, one that you may initially find to be quite challenging. It’s normal to feel compelled to call or react to messages and phone calls, especially if the person calling has apologised truly and made a change. You can help yourself resist giving in to this desire by blocking their phone number, email address, and social media profiles.
- Work on your identity- Narcissistic individuals frequently have expectations for how other people should act. They severely mock or condemn those who fall short of these expectations. Finding out what you love, how you want to spend your time, and who you want to spend it with is a necessary step in the healing process. Biros advises staying single and refraining from starting new connections while you’re recovering. After all, you’re still recovering. You may feel quite vulnerable while you engage in self-reflection and work to repair your relationship with yourself.
- Practice self-care and compassion – Self-care techniques that work can significantly speed up your process of healing. Self-care entails taking care of your physical and emotional needs. This could involve things like: having adequate quality sleep, calming down when you’re anxious or overloaded, making time for hobbies and other enjoyable pursuits, and spending time with loved ones.
It’s difficult to coexist with a narcissist. There are things you can do to keep strong, supported, and psychologically healthy even if it might be exhausting and tough. Keep in mind that you are not the issue, and try not to take their actions personally. Establish clear boundaries, safeguard your self-worth, and look for supportive relationships with others who can relate to your situation. A counselling Psychologist will help you come out from the traumatic mental realms.
Last but not least, keep in mind that you don’t need to wait until a relationship becomes poisonous to quit it. The best thing you can do for your mental health is frequently to leave the circumstance.
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