Signs That You’ve Been Abused by a Narcissist


Self-Doubt

1. YOU DOUBT YOURSELF

Do you recognize that you’re doubting yourself more than you ever have before?

Victims of narcissistic abuse often appear uncertain of themselves, constantly seeking clarification that they haven’t made a mistake or misheard something.

This reactive adaptation to narcissistic abuse is because the narcissist is ALWAYS finger pointing and shifting blame to YOU for ALL of the ups & downs both in the relationship AND in the narcissist’s personal psyche.
Because this relationship has NON EXISTENT boundaries, you will find YOURSELF constantly PUT UPON and FORCED to accept responsibility for things you didn’t do or say. This borrowed humiliation and shame is exactly what the narcissist intends for the victim to take from the narcissist. Their own unfelt core of shame.

2. CONFUSION

confusion

Just refer to the above explanation of self doubt and boundary transgression if you want to understand the CONFUSION that is part and parcel of narcissistic abuse.

Daily boundary transgression and criss crossing of responsibility starts to wear on even the clearest minded of targets.
Suddenly you wake up and realize that all the realities and borders between yourself and others is not only BLURRED but MISSING.

It’s confusing to KNOW that you aren’t responsible for someone else’s behavior, thinking and feeling but to be CONSTANTLY SCOLDED for behaving, thinking and feeling as if you ARE.

It’s crazy-making and a narcissist purposefully causes this confusion. They know that a divided and conquered mind is their most vulnerable and susceptible target who won’t be able to identify that their confusion is caused by an abusive technique called ‘gaslighting’.

Gaslighting is a technique of psychological abuse used by narcissists to instill confusion and anxiety in their target to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment.  With gas lighting, the target initially notices that something happens that is odd, but they don’t believe it.  The target attempts to fight the manipulation, but are confused further by being called names or told that they’re: ‘Just Too sensitive’, ‘Crazy’, ‘Imagining things’ or the narcissist  flat out DENIES ever saying anything hurtful. Gradually, the target learns not to trust their own perceptions and begins doubting themselves.  Broken and unable to trust themselves, they isolate further. The target now doubts everything about themselves: their thoughts and opinions, their ideas and ideals. They become dependent on the narcissist for their reality.

For it is in your CONFUSION and acceptance of responsibility that belongs to the narcissist, that a narcissist is able to successfully CONTROL YOU and USE YOU as a scapegoat for their problems.

3. FEELING CRAZY


Every minute of every hour of every day of every year, a Narcissist, who has a DSM classifiable personality DISORDER (ie: not playing with a full deck) is PROJECTING their disorder onto those around them. If you don’t think that having a crazy person constantly blaming you for being “crazy” will make you crazy, I’d like to introduce you to a narcissist that will convince you otherwise.

This disorder isn’t a relationship gone wrong. This disorder isn’t kid stuff. It’s MALEVOLENT. It’s a transference of malevolence and MENTAL DISORDER from the person who has it to the person who DOESN’T.LOVE QUOTES (39)

Frankly, before a narcissist, I’ve not once in my life, FELT CRAZY. Neither have I ever been told by a psychologist and I’ve seen lots of them – that I had anything WRONG with MY own MENTAL HEALTH. Personally, I always had it “together”. I was resilient, mentally tough, and withstood many events in my life that would make others crumble.

Yet, when I unwittingly dated someone with this serious mental health malady, I wanted to slam an entire set of broken porcelain down his throat sideways and every obtuse moron that believes the garbage that comes out of his mouth. No, it’s not that I suddenly became a person interested in physical violence, I suddenly became a person who was witnessing a DSM category all wrapped up into a physical being – who turned his mental health problems ON Me. I became a target of a person with a problem. They say, “Hurt people, HURT people”. I say, “Narcissistic People DESTROY PEOPLE”.

4. EMERGING CLUSTER OF SYMPTOMS THAT HAVE NO OTHER EXPLANATION

1inexplicable

All I could muster to the narcissist in my dear john letter when I broke up with him that wonderful New Year’s Eve, was “I DONT KNOW what’s WRONG!! But I just don’t feel like myself. Something feels EXTREMELY TOXIC and I don’t know why”…..This should be the alert when a victim of narcissistic abuse presents themselves to therapists. The inexplicable “complaint”.

My first visit to my therapist were those words exactly. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but It’s SERIOUS!” I felt it. I did – I felt BEWILDERED inside, but I could not articulate what it was. (another red flag for someone usually able to articulate every feeling and explanation about myself in-depth).How was it that after 43 years of explaining, analyzing and discussing my own deficiencies quite well, I could NOT for the life of me explain to my therapist what was so “wrong” with me that it was palpable. His answer, set me free, it really did. 

“YOU HAVE BEEN IN A DOMESTICALLY VIOLENT RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST “

My therapist had some background with this person. He’d WITNESSED the narcissist calling me, berating me during sessions. I held the phone away during one session, so that my therapist could hear the narcissist on the other end questioning me about cheating, “Accusing me of having an affair with the therapist”.  Grilling me about what the therapist looked like and would speak to me like. He even accused the therapist of wanting me sexually and that was the reason the therapist spoke so lowly of the narcissist. (of course it couldn’t just be that the narcissist had a bad reputation and the community was on to him)

Sufferers report that their spark has gone out and, even years later, find they just cannot get motivated about anything.

Unaware that we’ve been living in a war zone with a tyrannical narcissist, we can’t quite grasp the words to articulate the abuse, yet at the same time, we VERY MUCH FEEL IT. We present ourselves to the mental health community, incapable of speaking about an abuse we yet know nothing about. Until that word, “NARCISSISTIC ABUSE” is given to us, we have NO IDEA that is what’s causing our pain. That’s why it’s SO IMPORTANT to get the word out there, what narcissists look like, their modus operandi, the words and phrases they use, so that when a victim of their abuse begins looking for answers, they quickly will be able to identify that they are involved with a narcissist.

In Narcissistic Victim Syndrome you are looking for a cluster of symptoms to emerge many are the symptoms of trauma (avoidance, loss of interest, feeling detached, sense of a limited future, sleeping or eating difficulties and nightmares, irritability, hyper-vigilance, easily startled, flashbacks, hopelessness, psychosomatic illnesses, self-harming, thoughts of suicide etc).Some victims develop Stockholm Syndrome and want to support, defend, and love the abuser despite what they have gone through.

5. DISSOCIATION

Victims tend to ‘dissociate’ or detach from their emotions, body, or surroundings. Living in a war zone where all forms of power and control are used against you (intimidation; emotional, physical and mental abuse; isolation, economic abuse, sexual abuse, coercion, control etc), the threat of abuse is always present. Dissociation is an automatic coping mechanism against overwhelming stress.

dissociation 3

Symptoms of dissociation resulting from trauma may include depersonalization, (disconnecting your body awareness from your physical self) psychological numbing, disengaged from life and passions, or amnesia regarding the events of the abuse.

It has been hypothesized that dissociation may provide a temporarily effective defense mechanism in cases of severe trauma; however, in the long-term, dissociation is associated with decreased psychological functioning and adjustment.

Other symptoms sometimes found along with dissociation in victims of traumatic abuse (often referred to as “sequelae to abuse”) include anxiety, PTSD, low self-esteem, somatization, depression, chronic pain, interpersonal dysfunction, substance abuse, self-mutilation and suicidal ideation or actions. These symptoms may lead the victim to erroneously present the symptoms as the source of the problem.

6. PTSD

Let’s face it. If I didn’t mention PTSD, or Complex PTSD, I would NOT be doing the topic of narcissistic abuse syndrome ANY justice.

Ptsd, in layman’s terms? From a fellow sufferer? A Cerebral anxiety attack that makes your whole body come alive with PALPABLE FEAR. The rapid heart beat, the intrusive and spinning thoughts and fears – just like the abuse is CURRENTLY HAPPENING SEQUENTIALLY ALL OVER AGAIN. This is called RE-LIVING.  It’s as if the traumatic abuse event is occurring in the present tense. All the emotions of fear, shame, shrinking, wincing, looking over your shoulder & walking on eggshells waiting to be attacked ruthlessly AGAIN.     ptsd

Physical numbness –

(toes, fingertips, lips) is common, as is emotional numbness (especially inability to feel joy).

Avoidance –

of places, sounds, tastes, and songs that remind them of their abuser or the abuse. Intense feelings of anxiety even in anticipation of having to revisit the memories.

Memory Loss – Almost all targets report impaired memory. Partially due to conscious avoidance as well as from the damage done to the hippocampus, an area of the brain linked to learning and memory.

Need for solitude / tendency to isolate
We’re EXHAUSTED after narcissistic abuse. Feelings of withdrawal and isolation are common; we just want to be in our own head for a while, find our own answers; thus, solitude is sought.

Lack of Joy and Hope
Inability to feel joy (anhedonia) and deadening of loving feelings towards others are commonly reported. One fears never being able to feel love or trust again.

The target becomes very gloomy and senses a foreshortened future sometimes with justification. Many targets ultimately have severe psychiatric injury, severely impaired health and/or stress related illnesses.

Sleeplessness-
Melatonin became my new best friend after narcissistic abuse. The nightmares and night terrors can be overwhelming that good restorative sleep becomes impossible.  Napping became my new favorite passion.

Sleep becomes almost impossible, despite the constant fatigue; such sleep as is obtained tends to be unsatisfying, unrefreshing and non-restorative. On waking, the person often feels more tired than when they went to bed. Depressive feelings arrive very early in the morning, making falling back to sleep an impossibility.  Feelings of vulnerability and loneliness may be heightened overnight.

Anxiousness, Guilt & Disturbing thoughts – 

Targets have an extremely short fuse and are easily irritated. The person frequently experiences obsessive visions of violence happening to the narcissist  hoping for an accident for, or murdering the narcissist; the resultant feelings of guilt further limit progress in healing.

Fight or Flight Response – 

With your system on alert for ever-present danger in the environment it’s easy to react sensitively to sudden changes – causing the startle response.

Awareness of symptoms – 

It’s very harrowing to realize that you are different from you were before the narcissist; FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT. When you are very aware that PTSD has replaced the narcissist, it emotionally drains the target of any hope for being PERMANENTLY NARCISSISTIC FREE. We don’t want to be constantly reminded and aware of the person we escaped. We want to live freely, however symptoms, are a constant reminder that we DON’T.

Posted on December 1, 2013, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 258 Comments.

  1. How does one recover ?

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  2. I am not sure what my husband is or isn’t i, I just know he had exploited my trust inhim and that as an attorney he is intimidating me and taking advantage of my lack of support financially and socially His betrayal of me has left me full of anxiety and rage as he has publicly humiliated me , defamed me and made it impossible for me to protect myself without putting my child and i at risk of being homeless . His sons mother is a therapist and has enabled his abuse by telling him not to engage with me . She has never treated me or assessed me but gave him ongoing permission to abuse and negate me . He will provoke me in texts , issuing threats and marginalizing me . It is all I can do to to respond I begin shaking so badly . As soon as I attempt to convey my dismay he says what’s he told is proper : he tyoes NOT ENGAGING ! Good bye . He cuts me off , refuses to read my emails and acts like anything. Have to say is beside ithe point . It is demeaning and frustratting
    I asked that he attend therapy with me before he unilaterally decuded we were divorcing and announced it on Facebook . Indeed he has been discussing our marriage on face book and calling me a borderline personality and sociopath behind my back . Even my friends seem to believe him .
    I cannot be sure of what is happening anymore , but I kniw that he was intentionally posting these things after I askedthey called me bitter m difficult , a bich .mhe Lapps it up like cream ,especially my suffering . I beg him to stopl the ugliness, it has made my quest to fund work impossible as he and a stalker he knows I have been abused by for years along with all his pals proceed to trash me . I am a who’re one da and the next I am frigid for not sleeping with him ,. I can’t bear the thought if this the sex is si awful . They imply i am violent theough I have never been violent to anyone . He knows that but he and the stalker gleefully say I am a threat to children . They called me a psycho, a terribke mom and a , horrible person I am accised of infidelity when my husband is out chasing coeds who want no part of him , I go to Kmart and get acuused if sleeping with”men” . The stalker accuses me of accused me of stalking and my husband has driven me to it as . I have been kind of stalkin g his FB. I I have to check up in face book to see if they’re up to their antics again bc I am afraid an employer wil, see that ad I will never get work. I shake all the time , I can’t sleep and i feel at odds and on edge .
    Yesterday I asked that he attend a few sessions of therapy with me so that I can have closure . As usual he went into this unnecessary but offensive routine where he repeated that he was NEVER NEVER EVER GOING back with me .
    I have no interest in being with him but I he has unilaterally denied any say so in my marriage and the divorce . He has totally marginalized me . They treat me like I am someone on a very low end of intelligence with a grave MENTAlL illness.l he has betrayed me in every sense and this is an un reparable pain . If he merely apologized in therapy I could get well but he refused and git very aggressive and threatening . I know I don’t come across so wel after these ordeals and my husband uses my childhood as proof that I am a a but because it was in his word “horrific”… maybe so, but I do not abuse or humiliate others . I think after his betrayals and the abusei have been subjected to m it is reasonable to ask that he attend some sessions . He says I need them .i do.but it seems like I have a right to confront t him too U had asked before the divorce but he went alone behind my back then set ne up by inflicting these public humiliations on me . He says I am abusive but the truth is I VAM easily prove he is . Still I know the court and shrinks are never going to force him to go l I cannot live without the truth coming to light . I just can’t
    He twists everything and because I have been isolated up here ( his freinds always have treated me very badly like a third chass person and for no reason ) and have no job , I m at his mercy . Unfortunately he has none and a reasonable request for some sessions has ignited world war three . He is strong arming me with threats of eviction . He will put my son and I in the street if I do not sign immediateky and this will be all my fault so I would be expected to explain why to my child , who he is manipulating.writung this out makes me sick to my stomach . I cannot get well and he seems determined to kill me with this stress . I don’t know what to do because I can’t think straight much less look for jobs as a teacher when he has been slandering me and my being is so tenuous . I have to surrender to his will as he has long wanted . He is stealing my strength and sabotaging me at every turn . Trapped and slowly dying in HUMBOLDT county

    Like

  3. I am not sure what my husband is or isn’t i, I just know he had exploited my trust in in him and that as an attorney he is intimidating me and taking advantage of my lack of support financially and socially His betrayal of me has left me full of anxiety and rage as he has publicly humiliated me , defamed me and made it impossible for me to protect myself without putting my child and i at risk of being homeless . His sons mother is a therapist and has enabled his abide by telling him nit to engage with me . She has never treated me or assessed me but hse gave him ongoing oermission to abuse and negate me . He will provoke me in texts , issuing threats and marginalizing me . It is all I can do to to repsond I begin shaking so badly . As soon as I attempt to convey my dismay he says what’s he told hein he oils : NOT ENGAGING ! Good bye .
    I asked that he attent therapy with me before he unilaterally decuded we were divorcing and announced it on Facebook . Indeed he has been discussing our marriage on face book and calling me a borderline personality and sociopath behind my back . Even my friends seem to believe him .
    I cannot be sure of what is happening anymore , but I sdomknow that he was intentionally posting these things after I asked him to stop l the ugliness made my quest to fund work impossible as he and a stalker he knows I have been abused by poor years and his pals proceeded to trash me . I was fridgit for not sleeping with him , violent theough I have never bee ti anyine ine and he kniws this . They called meostcho , horrible person , and accused me of stalking . I have been kind of stalking as I have to check up in face book to see if they’re up to their antics again l I shake all the time , I can’t sleep and ai fel at odds and on edge .
    Yesterday’s asked that he attend a few sessions of therapy with me so that I can have closure . As usual he went into this unnecessary but where he repeated that he was NEVER NEVER EVER GOING back with me .
    I have no interest in being with him but I he has unilaterally called Al, the shits and marginalized me . They treat melike I am someone on a very low end of intelligence with a grave MENTAlL illness my husband uses my childhood as proof that I am a nit job because it was in his word “horrific”… maybe so, but I do nit abuse or humiliate others . I think after his betrayals and the abuse U have been subjected to m ut is reasonable to ask that he attend some sessions . U had asked before the divorce abut he went alone behind my back then set ne up by inflicting these public humiliations on me .
    He twists everything and because I have been isolated up here ( his freinds always have treated me very badly like a third chass person and for no reason to) and have no job , I mo at his mercy . Unfortunately he has none and a reasonable request for some sessions has ignite world war three . He is strong arming me with threats of eviction . He will put my sin and I in the street if I do not sign immediateky and this will be all my fault so I would be expected to explain why to my child , who he is manipulating. Erupting this out makes me sick to my stomach . I cannot get well and he seems determined to kill me with this stress . I don’t know what to do because I can’t think straight much less look for jobs as a teacher whenwe has been slandering me and my being is so tenuous . I have to surrender to his will as he has long wanted . He is stealing my strength and sabotaging me at every turn . Trapped

    Like

  4. After marrying & living with a sociopath/narcissist for 14 years, the best advice I can give is to stop considering yourself a victim asap. Overcome, move one, do not give one more second of your life to the toxicity. I gave way too much time to this pos.

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  5. I was with him for 6 years. 6 years of pure hell, and he left me for another woman who has a child. Lately all I’ve thought about is reporting her to child services so they can inspect his home for drugs and letting them know he’s an abuser. I don’t know if this makes me vengeful, but I feel guilt ridder because this stupid woman who just thought she “won” him over his “crazy” and “abusive” ex-girlfriend who didn’t want to take care of him anymore brought in her innocent daughter into this monster’s home. She barely knew him, but she was all too eager to throw herself into his life…and her child. It haunts me knowing no child ASKED for this. I know I was not the abuser. I know he was sick. He was the cheater and the liar with the history (after the confrontation he tried to see if I still wanted to try to work it out two weeks later and when I called the house to leave a message to let the woman know he told me what an awful human I was for trying to ruin his life). This is a man who does drugs compulsively, and I feel haunted now that this idiot desperate woman brings in a poor kid. How can she put her own interests before her child?

    Like

  6. Just accurate and perfectly portrayed my experience.

    Like

  7. Reblogged this on Parrots, Prose, and Poetry and commented:
    Spot on. Been there and done that.

    Like

  8. This was eye opening. Thank you.

    Like

  9. Excellent!

    Like

  10. Heather Mccoll

    so happy to find this ,been living this hell for years and have never knew that this kind of hell has a name..it has deterorated me to a isolated worthless person who i never was before..but now im 50 these narcissitic pricks have made me have to die this way..hate hate hate them

    Like

  11. This is the best and most concise article I’ve read…and I have read a LOT of them. This month marks 9 years since I left him. I was a shred of a person at that time. I don’t know how I survived everything he put me through (control, stripping me of the things I loved, stripping me of my confidence, etc.), or how I survived the aftermath that I didn’t know was coming (dissociation, amnesia, flashbacks, etc.). As I read this article, I grew so angry, which is good, because it’s a feeling I’m still not quite used to, as he took that from me as well. I wish we could find therapists who are well trained in this area, as many of the ones I’ve seen really don’t know much about this phenomenon. So, thank you again. Very good read.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I Unfortunately suffered From every one listed. But it wilk be 1 full Year since I have not seen or spoken to my Narc. I pray I never hear or see him again, in this or any other lifetime!
    #GodisSOREAL
    #HesavedyoumefromME

    Like

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