Characteristics of a Victim of a Narcissistic Abuser
Now that you have begun to see some Red Flag behaviors that are common to narcissists, let’s look at some feelings and behaviors frequently reported by the victims.
Feeling guilty for “making” the narcissist feel the way he does
Chronically confused about their partner’s sudden changes in behavior
Frequently exhausted from never knowing what might happen next
Feeling like they have to “walk on eggshells” to avoid “rocking the boat”
Coming home to find Dr. Jekyll and suddenly discovering Mr. Hyde, and never knowing what caused the change
Always apologizing for “never doing things right”
Trying to keep a low profile to avoid being noticed
Making up stories to their friends and family about how they got the latest bruises
Blaming themselves for never doing things well enough
Always feeling anxious when they walk in their own home (or workplace if the narcissist is at their place of work)
Never completely trusting their partner
Never feeling respected or equal in the relationship
Always worrying about their performance in any role, including in the bedroom
Often wondering if it’s OK if they phone or meet with friends or family
Having to ask permission to do anything
Not being allowed free access to their financial accounts
Not being able to give their opinion for fear of being chastised
Never being able to win any argument
Always wondering what they did “wrong” Avoiding arguments at all costs
Always attempting to “try harder” to make things better
Chronically feeling empty
May periodically have suicidal thoughts
Wishing for “someday” when things will change, but someday never comes
After breaking up with their narcissistic partner, all they want to do is run back to them
Repeatedly making excuses for and forgiving their partner’s unacceptable behaviors, which continue to happen
Often wondering how they got into this situation to begin with
Always being told everything is their fault
Oftentimes feel humiliated by their partner
Constantly fearing abandonment by the partner, so “doing whatever it takes” to keep him
Doing things they are uncomfortable with because they feel pressured to do so
Compromising their values, needs, and beliefs because their partner wants them to
Discovering that the narcissist has frequently lied or misled them Feeling like no one else could possibly love them
Believing they are not as important as their partner
Taking their partner’s advice, although their gut tells them not to
Feeling like they’re living a lie – that the outside world sees them one way, while the inner reality is definitely something entirely different Feeling subservient or less-than their partner
Rarely feeling like their needs are being met or even acknowledged
Never doing anything unless their partner says it’s OK Their friends tell them they are being abused, but they just can’t see it
Feeling like they are being parented – that they’re too immature or childish to be able to think on their own
Often wishing they would have never gotten into this mess to begin with and now don’t know how to get out Frequently feeling numb or depressed
They no longer know who they really are
May end up looking like the “crazy one” in the relationship
These are just some of the behaviors and feelings many and victims express. If you find yourself recognizing many of these, perhaps you are realizing you are in your own narcissistic relationship. Extricating yourself from the grips of a narcissist who wants to keep you entrapped is complicated at best.
You may or may not want to leave this relationship, but at least, by acknowledging and understanding it, you can make better decisions and educated choices about your future. Just remember one thing … It is all about choices. Unless they literally have a gun to your head, nobody can make you do anything you don’t want to do.
No one can determine your attitude unless you let them. Deciding to move on or to remain a victim of a narcissist depends upon your own circumstances. Yet, when children are involved it certainly complicates things. For many individuals, the implied security of having a partner may feel safer than being alone in the big, wide world. As a result, you may feel like you are stuck in your situation.
However, as you learn the devastating effects a narcissist can have on those around him, it is important to weigh the effect he can also have upon your children.
Do you want them to learn that these destructive and abusive behaviors as normal, and fulfill a never-ending legacy of narcissism in their own lives? Or would you do whatever is in your power to help them avoid growing up to become a narcissist, or perhaps even the victim of one themselves? Have you considered all possible options for your future? Or will you submit, give up, and continue to let your narcissist control your life?