Picture this -You are deeply in love, everything is perfect, and you have future plans. In a matter of seconds, your reality is completely shattered and turned into dust. The person you thought you knew has been infringing on your beliefs, controlling you, you are being lied to, you are being mocked, scorned, teased and told that you are all these negative qualities that you know you are not.
You used to think so highly of yourself, now you barely even think about yourself, unless it is negative. He made you feel romanticized; now you feel devalued. He may have even put you on the back burner, while he went and hung out with other potential love interest. However, he never stopped talking to you so that you wouldn’t leave. He let you loiter in the background, so he could pull you back in when it was convenient for him.
This is not how a relationship should work; this is not a healthy cycle to be part of. This was a part of making you feel like you had no safety or security. This was all part of his plan to make your heart and soul sick. This is the homicide of your spirit. Although it may not be visible to the public, you are left in a million pieces and nobody to help put you back together. You are left with the invisible scars.
Narcissistic abuse is ugly and crude.
Narcissistic abuse can come in different forms. It can be verbal and emotional, poisonous plans, ignoring, threats, stalking, harassment, and any other form of control and manipulation. The person that is doing this does not care about you. They do not care about your well being, and they certainly do not care about your feelings. They are doing it for themselves. This is done to only make themselves happy without any care for who or what they hurt in the process.
A lot of mental challenges are presented to the victims of narcissistic abuse. PTSD and complex PTSD are two of the most popular struggles for these victims. In the end, this can lead to many problems down the road. Victims can face flashbacks to the abusive times in their lives, struggle with anxiety and depression, they are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and also a crushing sense of not being good enough for anything or anyone.
It is difficult to know that you are in an abusive relationship with a narcissist when it is going on. Victims often cannot tell that it happened until it is too late. The abuser usually likes to cover up their abuse by engaging in highly intense loving moments. They will cuddle and buy you things, so you forget about what they did before.
Following are eleven signs that you may be in or have at one point been in a relationship with a toxic individual.
1. You purposely avoid socializing to protect yourself.
Separating yourself emotionally and physically from people and your surroundings is a tall-tell sign that a narcissist has abused you. Your views do not seem like they used to. You forget things frequently. Your confidence has completely fallen off the face of the Earth. Separating yourself is very common in a traumatic situation. The memory is extremely excruciating to you that your brain tries to block it out for you, to protect you.
When any situation presents that even remotely mimics the traumatic events you have experienced, your brain will try to shut off for you and tell you to evacuate the situation. These things often lead to filling it with other obsessions. Your brain tries to block it out, so you don’t have to feel the full effect of your past.
2. You are cautious with all that you do.
It is common for anyone who has been abused to try to avoid having to be in a similar situation again. No matter if it’s a person, place or thing, the victims will try to avoid it at all cost. Often, a victim will watch what they say around their most valued friend, their bosses, or even their new partner because they are scared (consciously or not) and do not want to have to face any sort of punishment or fury.
On the other hand, this essentially does not help. This only victimized you further and makes you more of a target. Any sort of narcissist that come along, will see you as prey. This only causes you not to have any sort of boundaries.
In the end, this will only make you a people-pleaser. You will carry this trait into your work life, your friendships, and into any future romantic relationships. You will disconnect yourself from anyone that looks like your abuser or has contact with your abuser. Victims continue to have their guards up.
3. You put your abusers needs above your own, no matter what
You used to have goals. You used to have dreams. Once you met your abuser, your dreams started to fade away. Your health took a back seat, while theirs is on the top of the list. You abuser being happy is more important than you experiencing happiness.
Everything is now only with their friends; Where did all your friends go? The only activities that you guys do or did were only things that he wanted to do. It was always about his goals and his hobbies. He was never interested in making you feel your best. It was only about what he could benefit from you.
4. Your health has changed drastically because of the abuse
Has your weight recently changed drastically? After you have been abused, you start to see different symptoms of the aging process. You begin to get wrinkles and grey hair dramatically earlier than what you would have. This is because the levels of cortisol in your body goes into overdrive and your immune system shuts down and leaves you in a vulnerable place.
Sleep becomes a thing of the past. You no longer know what it is like to get a full night’s rest. Nightmares and flashback continue to haunt you in your sleep, causing your immune system to shut down even more. It is important that your body can go into a full REM sleep. This is hard to achieve when you fear going to sleep.
5. You have trouble trusting.
Even your best friends become a threat to you. Putting trust into any body will give you massive anxiety because the person you once trusted with your world betrayed you. Being able to trust anyone after that becomes nearly impossible. You feel that everyone is a threat -that anyone can do that to you. You look at anyone and anything with a cautious eye. Your abuser has already programmed you to think that everything in your life is unacceptable. You have a hard time trusting anybody, let alone, trusting yourself.
6. You have suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
Along with feeling depressed and hopeless, you start to feel that circumstances are too much; that there is no escape. You feel situations are becoming too unbearable. You may go to bed, hoping you don’t wake up. Participating in dangerous situations may become a hobby of yours. Often times, alcohol and drug abuse start to show up in these self-harming thoughts. Other times, victims tend to cut or carve their skin to get a release of feeling in control.
When someone commits suicide because of being abused by a narcissist, they are letting the narcissist win. The narcissist is getting away with murder, without any penalties. They drove the victim to that point and they do not have any consequences for it.
7. You separate yourself.
Abusers have a tendency to separate their victims from other human beings. They need to keep their victims to themselves. Often times, the victim will also separate themselves because they are ashamed as to how they are being treated. Anybody that tries to tell the victim that they are being abused, will automatically be sunned from the victims and the abuser. Victims are just that: victims. They have a hard time trying to understand this strange love coming from their abuser and then the input from the outside influences.
Victims often think that people are judging them. The feeling of judgment will keep them from reaching out for help.
8. You compare yourself and blame yourself for your abuser’s actions.
Narcissistic lovers tend to cheat and make their victim feel less than. It is often they will stir up the relationship by creating a love triangle. When the abuser brings another person in, the victims starts to compare themselves and why they aren’t good enough. The victim will go to extreme lengths to try to be perfect or good enough to get the abuser’s attention and not the other person.
Victims will look at other relationships and wonder why they don’t have that. Victims will also watch their abuser treat other people, even strangers, better than the victims. This will cause the victim to wonder why they aren’t good enough, when the reality is, is that the abuser is the one who is not good enough.
9. You set yourself up for failure and tear yourself down.
Narcissist say mean and hurtful things to their victims. This will cause the victim to replay it over and over in their head, causing them to have self-destructive tendencies. Narcissist like to set their victims up, so they self-destruct.
Victims will torture themselves because they are ashamed of what has happened. They do not understand how their actions caused the abuse, but they are hurt so drastically by the abuser, that all they focus on is that they have let their abuser down. Victims will punish themselves by sabotages their goals and dreams to make up for letting their abuser down.
10. You are scared to do what you want and being successful.
The narcissistic predator will become jealous if their victim is successful. They do not want them to be better than them. Abusers will make their victims feel as if doing well, and succeeding is actually a cruel and forbidden action. This causes the victim to develop a mind set that being successful will only result in scolding.
With that being said, it causes the victim to become depressed, lack confidence, and they will take the back seat, as to make sure they do not steal the light from their abuser again. The abuser is scared of your success because they fear you will be driven by your success and leave them behind. They do not want to share that control with anyone or anything else.
11. You are defensive about your abuser.
Victims, especially while still in a relationship, will defend their abuser until they are blue in the face. They know that if they do not defend their abuser, that they will only get reprimanded later on. Victims sincerely believe that the narcissist really isn’t “bad” and that the victim themselves “started” the abuse themselves.
It is key that a victim looks into research and reads about narcissism. At that point, the victim can see for themselves the traits that the abuser possesses. The victim cannot get away from the situation until they realize that their abusive tendencies is who they are as a person; these things cannot just be covered up with a nice romantic moment.
I have been abused by a malicious narcissist, what do I do?
If you or someone you know are in an abusive relationship, realize you are not alone. You are not the only one going through it and you won’t be the last. You can be part of the tough group of survivors that are all over the world. Other victims are coming from every part of the world and all kinds of cultures. The first thing that has to happen is that you have to accept the fact that you are in a bad relationship with a narcissist. If you do not admit it, you cannot move forward.
One helpful tip is to write down experiences that make you feel less than. Write down these moments where you are feeling mistreated, that way you can look back and acknowledge the abuse. You should share these things with someone you can trust. You may go to family, friends, or even a health care professional to give you help, but it’s best not to fight the battle alone. Your abuser has already put you in a situation where you cannot trust yourself. Two common practices to start rehabilitating yourself is through yoga and meditation. Yoga and meditation are both practices that target the same lobe in your brain that was affected by the abuse.
It is not easy to break from the chains of your abuser. There are side effects of the abuse that will continue to carry over for a short-term while you are rehabilitating back into the real world of non-abuse. There are options that are available to help keep your abuser astray. You can get a no-contact order, or if by chance you have children with your abuser they do have the option of a low-contact order. Repossession of your own life is not easy, but it is worth getting your life back.