Am I Suffering From Narcissistic Abuse? How Do I Know? Is It Abuse or Am I Being Dramatic?
Signs that you may be suffering fro narcissistic abuse.
There's been a lot of talk about narcissists. I myself didn't figure out what happened to me until it was actually over! Social media is flooded with accusations of narcissism at the moment. I can't throw a dead cat across Facebook without seeing some relationship meme where people in the comments are holding up narcissist accusations like pitchforks. Honestly though, thank heavens that is the case. I kept seeing this word over and over again. I was getting bursts of information slung at me everyday. All of a sudden one day I said to myself "okay let me look this up because apparently everyone who's mean is a narcissist? My gathered definition from taking the word as presented in context, was that it was someone who was stuck on themselves and felt superior. Like a snob I guess. When I actually went ahead and googled it, I just sat there kind of stunned. Oh my god.....I was a victim of narcissistic abuse for almost SEVEN years and i didn't even know it! There's lists all over the internet of signs you could be suffering from the abuse of someone who has NPD. I'm going to shuffle that deck and lay out a selection of those signs.
- mental exhaustion
- one second you are being loved and cherished. the next you are being treated with disdain.
- you have a problem accomplishing everyday tasks.
- when you try to pursue personal interests, you get told you are selfish and whatever interest you have is belittled and mocked.
- you disassociate because you are overwhelmed
- walking on eggshells
- you compromise yourself
- you get sick a lot as a result of rising cortisol levels. The stress makes you sick.
- when you are away from the NPD, you are anxious, jealous, needing to know where they are and who hey are with. constantly texting and calling them. essentially separation anxiety.
- self isolation
- you compete for their attention.
- you make excuses for them.
- depression. you are in bed a lot more than you ever used to be.
- you wait for them to come home like a dog waiting by the door for its owner.
- you do things in hopes to please them which is backed up by a fear of not pleasing them enough.
- constant feelings of guilt
- feeling like no matter how much rest you get, you are always in a fog.
I could go on. Now keep in mid, If you are anything like me, you might already have generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and maybe you already struggle with depression. So in these instances it is harder to be able to realize whats going on until much later. You assume that the inflation of your symptoms is a "you" problem. For instance, for some reason this week my anxiety has been a little worse. Could be the food I've been eating or not getting enough sleep. So if you are already someone with emotional or mental disorders its a little harder to "check oneself" in a sense than for someone who is healthy in that way. We are used to heart pounding and thought racing and sometimes a sense of slight paranoia. So if that is in fact the case with you, focus on when those symptoms maybe started getting more unmanageable. More overpowering. Then maybe take a look at some of the other signs. Do they get irritable for instance when you attempt to make a tiktok video? Do they get upset say when you re on the phone with a friend or even a family member for longer than 5 minutes? My mother and I can talk on the phone for 2 hours at a time. This used to drive my narcissist insane. He would keep coming up to me, trying to push his way into the conversation, say "the dogs need to be walked." He absolutely hated being ignored. Maybe a sign you can look at is how focused you are on them rather tan yourself. Do you look at the clock all day while wondering what they are doing just counting the hours until they are home? Not in a loving way, but in a sort of urgent feeling way? How about if this person is late coming home? Even if they call and let you know, do you get upset and "just know" they are lying to you? All of these behaviors and responses may seem crazy. They may seem like I'ts again, a "you" problem. I argue that it is not. It is an affect of the abuse.
Is It Actual Abuse?
I feel the need to add this in because I struggled with this myself. The term abuse is pretty serious. When we hear that word, we picture bruises and hostages. We picture violence and people saying "They seemed like the perfect couple, he was so nice, I had no idea..."
So when we say abuse, it takes a bit of bravery. People who haven't been through this situation usually don't see it as abuse. Usually, to the narcissists delight, the victim gets blamed for staying. So even if they are the bad guy, they aren't to blame for your abuse. Isn't that nice?
Well let me tell you something. It most certainly is abuse. Abuse of the most deceptive kind. Its not like one day they just turn around and hit you and you have to decide if you are going to tick around and get hit again. Its comes over you slowly. It has nothing to do with your confidence or intelligence. It has nothing to do with how much you love yourself. Although that can start to be affected later. All kinds of people fall for narcissists.
The mental and emotional turmoil that one goes through during this abuse and then the recovery process afterwords.....yes.....it is abuse. The abuse you endure and the internal echo's left behind are as valid as any other form of abuse and injury.
This is not a popular opinion, and I've gotten some flack for it on other social mediums but I liken it to Stockholm Syndrome. You know, where a victim will identify with their captor? Well that occurs in scenarios where someone is kidnapped and their captor can get them to feel for them and even be loyal to them. The captor can gain the victims trust and before you know it, the victim will even refuse to leave the person who kidnapped them! I am by no means equating staying in an abusive relationship with being kidnapped. But from the third party perspective, the commentary is usually the same. "They took you from your home and you don't want to leave them?" Sounds a lot like "All he does is lie to you and your miserable and you don't want to leave him?"
It comes down to a conditioning and manipulation of the victim. You were chosen. and at risk of getting chased by pitchforks, I'm gonna say it....you were groomed. You entered this relationship and from the first word they said to you they were misrepresenting who they were. They made sure you couldn't resist or wouldn't feel there was any reason to resist, and then they moved fast. They had you all set up and then they started the cycles. Ah the cycles. So much fun.
The Cycle Of The Werewolf
1- The Chase
Who doesn't like to be adored? This is the beginning. The beginning of a relationship with a narcissist begins as any other relationship might. You are bombarded with attention and desire. There is an attempt on both parts to form a bond as deep as possible. The narcissists love these new beginnings because everything they throw at you is being mirrored right back onto them. The narcissist craves reinforcement and positive attention. They put you on a pedestal and you put them on one as well.
2- The Descent
Inevitably in every relationship there is a point in which the physical aspect lighten up. You aren't so preoccupied with one another and you go back to being the you that you were before the relationship. Seeking out friends, prioritizing work or social situations that you put off in the beginning when you were spending as much time together as possible. After all, you cant spend all day in bed after a certain point. At some time, you have to get up, shower, go to work and feed the cat. Real life starts creeping back in after the aura of newness starts to fade and you naturally start incorporating real life. Now in a normal relationship, this is natural. To the narcissist, this is the point in which they become disappointed that there is anything else you need to do other than adore them and dote on them. For them, this is a let down. Ever come home form a party and feel the "after party blah's?" This is what occurs in them. They start to get bored.
3- The Big Bruise
A narcissists ego is fragile. And their sense of resentment is way off balance. The narcissist starts to ask you to cancel things, not do things you want or need to do so that you can fulfill their wants and needs. Maybe they ask you to take off work or not go to a baby shower. Maybe they ask you not to spend so much time on the phone with your cousin or make you feel guilty for doing so. They start restricting you essentially and even though it is you who should resent this, they make it perfectly clear that YOU are the one causing the issue. YOU are resisting compromise, YOU are changing.
4- The Full Moon
Here is where the narcissist shifts and when you have an opportunity to see it. Not all narcissists are dramatic in this shift. Some are very covert about this and some are more dramatic, but essentially this is when the narcissist begins to depreciate you. They become more controlling. They start using guilt, they may throw out ultimatums. Some become verbally abusive. Again, this verbal abuse may be covert like "your acting like you hate me," as opposed to "your being a (insert expletive here)." They want you to behave the way they want you to. They want you to do what they want. They feel disrespected because you aren't falling in line.
5- The Talk
At this stage, you've realized that this person who you fell so hard for is not the same person that you see in front of you. Something is wrong. So like anyone would in this situation, you try and talk to them. Keep in mind while reading this that you've already shared laughs, romantic evenings, invested time and care into one another. So its only natural that many people would try to fix things instead of throwing the whole relationship away. And this is why narcissists LOVE empaths. Empaths are fixers. We don't throw things away that maybe just need a little bit of glue. When you confront the narcissist about their behaviors and seeming unhappy or discontent. You hope that if they can just understand that whats happening is hurting you that they will maybe hear you out and work on things together. The reaction is always the same. A series of denial of any wrongdoing on their part, triangulation, gas lighting, blame shifting....it goes on. They do not like that you are trying to fix a problem where some of the responsibility might be on them. They didn't do anything wrong. It's all you. Be prepared for raised voices and name calling. Accusations and double talk.
They love this. It gives them a sense of power. At this point you have wracked your brain trying to figure out whats wrong. Through a series of manipulative fast talk, the narcissist has been able to confuse you. You don't know who's to blame. You keep trying to talk to them about it, it always ends up in an argument. They grow tired of always being confronted and being told they are doing horrible things. So they out and out abandon you. This one makes me really angry. They ghost you. They spent this whole time convincing you that everything was your fault and they did nothing wrong. In your mind, usually the person who's been mistreated is the one who leaves right? So you actually wonder if you were the one abusing them. Maybe the last thing they said was that your always yelling at them and that your mean or whatever. They go silent and you are left hurting and confused. They convinced you they were your "soulmate" and you feel like you've lost everything. There's a thousand questions and not a drop of closure.
7- The Boomerang.
They come back around. Did you think they were gone for good? Yea me too. Honestly it would be less cruel for them to have left and never come back. But they do. After all, they know exactly what they are doing, and they know that at this point you are fragile and are ready to treat them with your undivided attention and compromise any and everything for them. They come back after they feel you have "learned your lesson."
When this happens, they've got you where they want you, and they know it. This is much like the first stage in the cycle except now you know what they expect, and you know that if you stray from what they expect of you, that the cycle will begin again. You know how the cycle ends. Abandonment. This scares the hell out of you because you are so worried about loosing the narcissist that you will do anything to avoid loosing them again. Honestly this is where the real abuse starts to take place. Because if the threaten to leave you know there is a chance they will make good on it. Because they've done it before.
Take Some Time
After reading all of this, I advice you to take some time and think about if any of this is familiar to you. If it is, and if you are in an actual relationship with a narcissist I can only suggest to you that you start forming an escape strategy. Maybe putting money away that only you know about so that you can get away from them as painlessly as possible. Maybe seeing a counselor or a therapist to deal with any and all feelings you may be having as a result of narcissistic abuse. Whatever you decide to do, I can only highly suggest that you leave.
If you are already recovering from an abuse situation with an NPD person, looking at all of this might help you with closure. I know it's helping me. One day by cozy fire I will tell my entire story. But for now all I can say is that Warning people and writing about it helps me. I'm still pretty emotionally and mentally wrecked from it all. I get better everyday and it helps that my now husband is the furthest you can get from a narcissist.
Either way, I hope this helps. Helping is my goal. Helping others in this way helps me.
Stay Genuine- EH