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. 1,079 Comments.

  1. Finally the article I’ve been looking for! This is my life and I’m scared and stuck!! Brings tears to my eyes that this is actually true and happening to me.

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  2. Marie vreeland

    have studied narcissistic abuse endlessly to see what was happening to me. In all I read THIS is the best. It is a masterpiece putting all aspects of this hideous abuse together so well in entirety. Years of learning and painfully enduring 57 years leaves me, Just five months. Limp struggling for purpose. This deserves to be a criminal offense. There is little awareness and no place to go for help. No knowledge out there if otherwise perhaps we would have gotten out sooner with far less scars. Torture done on purpose is CRIMINAL and no different than murder as it is soul murder! The best to all of you..to us. May we smile..laugh…thrive soon and put this all behind where we and they deserve it to be……I wish you smiles

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  3. How do you get past the “I love him” so you can get past the abuse. I feel like I’m in this type of relationship because I’ve had so many of the mentioned thoughts. I constantly think I’m overreacting, I’ve been on antidepressants for years now. He constantly says “ that article helps me understand you” “ I’m just trying to understand because I don’t think/feel that way. I tell myself I love him, that I don’t know if I can survive on my own, but I can’t really be this crazy I just don’t believe I’m “nuts” as he said in the past,,,

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  4. How do i get OUT

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  5. How do i get OUT

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  6. I am dealing with the situation right now my situation is extreme I have done everything this man has asked I move my things out I have a few remaining articles due to the extreme situation and stress I passed out now before last my body is sore I moved everything by myself and he promised first 2 3500 then it went to 25 now it’s down to 15 he wants me to live in here out of the bag with nothing in here I cannot do it I’ve asked for him to give me the money even if it is the 1500 he’s talked slandered me make fun of me make jokes about me blames me down to me tells me what I’m not worth tell me about my race that were lazy sexually is frustrating because he’s very is is is just simply nasty is nothing for me it’s just simply about him and demanding and I cannot do it he’sMean abusive and I need to know what I can do at been living with this man and I’m I’m absolutely tired I’m stressed out and today because he leaves money and stuff on the table the card was there I use the card now I’m called a thief I didn’t take his other courts I don’t know what he’s talking about but I need some real help for real now in this situation I have no money no place to go in a go fund me project no one would help I need real solutions and answers because I feel like I’m not gonna make it

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  7. I have felt all those hopeless feelings! My ex husband did it to me first! I had no clue what was going on! He continued to torture me even after the divorce because we had a son together! My son has some of the jezebel spirit! Then I turned around and dated another narcissist and got pregnant and he abuses to this day! I wonder if this was a learned behavior in my childhood to that is why I gravitate towards ! I work with narcissist because they believe the lies of my daughter’s biological father! I lost myself the first time in this game! I struggle and fight these jezebel spirit at work and my daughters biological father! He bullies my daughter and it pisses me off! He uses the child to hurt me! I know I am not trash! They are! They will go to hell for this! Narcissists never change!!!!!!! Seek help and hunger for God! God is there!

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  8. I am quite amazed and also quite disappointed how closely this relates to my horribly dysfunctional relationship with my “father”.

    Amazed at how accurately it all fits in and disappointed at how likely it is I’ll turn out to be just like him. I self-isolate so that I may not continue to spew that poison all over another innocent person. I won’t have kids or seek a partner; It’s time to end this circus lol…

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  9. Hello. I am also a victim of narsissitic abuse, and I was just having a breakdown the moment your blog showed up in my timeline and and seems it was a sign from heaven above. The thing is I have always known he was a narcissist and even so I had no clue of the damages it would cause me. He started showing his true colors as soon as we started going out and the first thing that should have alarmed me was that he couldn’t take “no” as an answer. He wouldn’t take “no” when I said I didn’t feel ready to sleep with him because I was a virgin, and he made a whole speech about how “sentimental” I was being. I should have known better when after a couple months together I thought I was pregnant (thank goodness I wasn’t) and he said I could only be mad or something, because bad stuff didn’t happen to him. But no matter how much I tried running away from him several times he would always convince me that I was the one wrong all the time and I always apologized to him. He called me crazy several times, and I even started to go crazy. There were times all I wanted to do was choke him and I remember feeling terrified by the thoughts that were popping in my mind. I became aggressive and fragile, broken by such little things. I never thought of him as the source of my problems but he was the only one responsible for them. But still there was something that wouldn’t let me break free from him as much as I wanted to. I felt like a prisoner. Last time we talked to each other he said I was the one to blame for everything that had happened on our relationship, because he was really good to me. We’re not even together anymore and he still tries to manipulate me. Well, anyway, I’d just like to say that your post helped me a lot and everyone that’s going through any sort of abuse should read this. Stay strong and never let anyone else make you feel worthless or out of your mind.

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  10. I have no way out of getting away from my narssistic socialpathic sister’s abuse. I am trying to help myself through this before I snap. I grew up with (ADHD)-(Bi-polar disorder)-I have had 2 separate mental breakdowns with being accused of simple assult and harrassment charge’s in 2010. I was found not guilty on both charge’s. My sister lied on the oath of the court at the Montgomery county courthouse in Norristown PA. I am living with a mother who is a stage 3 alcoholic and also a manipulative person towards me working with my sister on the phone wraight Infront of me making it look like I have no interest in her welfare because I won’t go buy her gin from the wine and spirits liquor store. I have talked to my mother’s doctor about this issue I have to be subjected to also my phsyciatric doctor about my family history and the mental abuse I grew up with. Plus my mother contacts her sisters who never been there to help with anything even when I was basically pleading for help over the phone to them only to be told..they don’t know what to tell me..they can’t help even though they wish they could.. but I have caught them on multiple separate occasions two facing my over the phone with my mother. I have had police called on me with complaints of beating my mother from my sister calling police reports of elderly abuse.. as always they would come out to my house where I rent and no problems with me of course.. I have heard them say that my sister has called Everytime.. how can I get the help I need from my abusive Family members. I have tried everything I can to just get the run around by every local doctor, police, even though the rehab center for my mother’s alchohol problem.. this is causing me stress disorder-memory loss, I can get away from my sister’s mental abuse.. She is gonna do this to me as long as she can..she is very slick about how she plays this game on me..she never has been arrested for the stuff she does to people and the narssistic socialpathic personality that she has. Hopefully someone can help me with contacting the right people or agency for a problem I can’t escape from. My sister is causing me to go into a deep depression PTSD along with depression I already have to deal with being bi-polar,ADD, ..

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    • The biggest question is why are you allowing these people to destroy your life? Living with your own disorders is difficult enough but to have to subjugate yourself to abusive others is destroying you from the inside out. They do not want help or love. They want a prisoner that they can control and use up to make themselves feel powerful. While changing your life that drastically sounds terrifying staying is even worse. They are not real family just toxic people who want to use you up.

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  11. I agree with all of this went through it unfortunately

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  12. I was in this type relationship and feel heavily damaged from it. I’m afraid I will never have another happy normal relationship again. Its a sad and veryvlinely feelings.

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  13. Ghia South Africa

    I’ve been in this relationship from the age of 15, now 43, the last 8 years has been hell, always looking for the fault with me, so tired of the phycologial angle to proctect our children from their father, the self blame that I am not doing enough to restore their broken spirits, my broken spirit, I send my son to boarding school beginning 2017 at the age or 13 from English Medium to Afrikaans medium just to give him some sence of being good enough, and he loves it there, constantly thanking me for making it happen I am sure he anticipates coming home every other weekend just to hear how he needs to achieve more that he must realize how much this is costing and that he can anytime go back to his previouse school, our daughter 1st year university 19yrs old, says she will never have a family she wants to be a cat lady, so damaged and I allowed it. I feel dead, guilty, useless, over sensetive, not good enough at he same time I hate myself for being everybodies “go to” person everbody elses pilar but my own, that person who always makes things happen, to be succesful in everything I tackle, I guess that is why I thought things could change. Currently busy with mariage counsiling, but I’ve had enough no counsiling in the world can change a person who can not admit they have a problem in the first place. He has a surprise comming, as much as I don’t truly know this person I’ve spend 28yrs with, he will find out he never knew me. Tired off crying at my desk during work, tired of feeling feverish and nausia from being stressed out of what next who is comming home tonight. Yet the family thinks the world of him, nobody knows what he’s really like. Constantly telling me how terrible the house looks, yet when I plan to clean the garder he says it can wait not now, when I want to have broken window replaces, not now I have to hear I want to wear the pants, broken window unpainted house no garden no curtain railings broken diningroom chairs, 15yrs later not repaired and
    it’s all my fault.

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  14. Unfortunitly my undersanding of my situation came too late.. I lost too much let it akl go too far i knew no better and blamed myself. Il never love or trust again and my life is over but atleast i know y niw that is a comfort to know i wasnt crazy im a. 35yr old male we get abused too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you need a friend to talk to. Email me. Rising.phoe@outlook.com

      Yes, guys get abused to but you’re not alone. Vent all you want. I have had many NPDs, in my life… losing my health to. Fight the good fight!

      Prayers your way and a hug for comfort.

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  15. My best friend gave me the name, she told me what kind of relationship I was in. For me there’s never been a more freeing moment. A moment of clarity and understanding. It wasn’t me at all. I was never the problem. I worked so hard to save my marriage, but it just isn’t possible with a narcissist.

    I’ve read, and re-read this article at different stages of my healing. It rings true more and more each time. And I don’t cry reading it anymore. The more time goes by the more I feel myself coming back, being re-energized.

    For any of you out there who are realizing this is your relationship reach out to a professional(s). Get help. Don’t judge yourself harshly for not being able to just cut off the relationship in one fell swoop. It took me numerous times to get to a point mentally where I didn’t feel like we could work it out. It will be one of the hardest, but best decisions of your life. You owe it to yourself, and in my situation I owed it to my kids too.

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  16. Reblogged this on Walking With a Purpose and commented:
    This blog post was a beautiful articulation of some of the abuse that I, and millions of other people, have suffered. I know that God is a healer of all things physical, emotional, and spiritual. And I believe that healing starts when you can finally identify what happened and how to become whole again. I am so glad I ran across this blog post.

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  17. Do they know there narcissistic

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you thank you. I might actually sleep for the first time in almost a decade. U r so brave and inspiring.

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