MORE about understanding how a Narcissist keeps up locked up in a state of confusion, fear, silence, and isolation. Walking on eggshells – where a person feels coerced into silence to avoid the conflict from an abusive person – NOBODY SHOULD EVER HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS TYPE OF TOXICITY AND ABUSE with anyone, no matter if it is a parent, relative, friend, co-worker, spouse, partner, or professional! Knowledge is power, and education is the key to that knowledge concerning this abuse.
MORE about understanding how a Narcissist keeps up locked up in a state of confusion, fear, silence, and isolation. Walking on eggshells – where a person feels coerced into silence to avoid the conflict from an abusive person – NOBODY SHOULD EVER HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS TYPE OF TOXICITY AND ABUSE with anyone, no matter if it is a parent, relative, friend, co-worker, spouse, partner, or professional! Knowledge is power, and education is the key to that knowledge concerning this abuse. Understanding the different components of this abuse will help you find your way to closure knowing that it WASN’T you, AND most definitely it wasn’t YOUR fault.
From my Book – Greg Zaffuto – Author – From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist!
The most insidious aspect of living with an angry or abusive partner is not JUST the obvious nervous reactions to the shouting, name-calling, criticism or other demeaning behavior. It is the adaptations you make to try to prevent those painful episodes that become the standard of life you come to accept. You ‘walk on eggshells’ to keep the peace or a semblance of connection. You become especially vulnerable to the negative effects of this ‘walking on eggshells’ due to the greater vulnerability to the attacks over time. Many targets/victims engage in constant self-editing and self-criticism to keep from pushing the abuser’s buttons. Psychologically and emotionally abused targets/victims will second guess themselves so much so that they feel as though they have lost themselves in a deep dark hole. You will tend to isolate yourself more and more, losing yourself in work, hobbies or anything. In my personal situation, I built things, added a room to my house, built decks, pergolas, learned to carve, etc. Luckily these things were wonderful additions to my life, but nonetheless they were my diversion from this raging Narcissist and what kept me sane!
See if any of these descriptions fit you:
• You frequently wonder if you are a good enough sibling, spouse, employee, friend, child or loving partner. You feel looked down upon and believe you have something wrong with you.
• You can’t understand why you aren’t happier when it seems you have so many good things going on in your life. It feels like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, BUT FROM WHAT?
• You are constantly second-guessing yourself or everything you do. It is seriously difficult for you to make easy decisions or move forward with many normal things in life.
• You constantly question yourself believing you may be too sensitive, overreacting to things, an angry person, distorted in your thoughts and actions, or even believing you have some sort of issues that you need professional help with.
• You often feel confused, fearful, forgetful, numb, or displaced in life and you start to isolate yourself from the world.
• You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never put your finger on it or able to express what it is to yourself.
• You start lying to avoid always having to explain yourself, or to avoid the put-downs and reality twists from your partner, friend, or family member. You don’t feel solid in the world, instead you feel very much displaced.
• You are always apologizing for your actions because you have come to believe that you are wrong and just not normal like everyone else.
• You buy things like clothing, furnishings, or other personal purchases with your partner (Narcissist) in mind, thinking about what THEY would like instead of what you would want. You have lost your own internalized love for yourself and you stop caring for yourself and ignore your own personal needs. Instead of fixing yourself you put your energy into your abuser so they will recognize your worth again.
• You frequently make excuses for your significant other to friends or family as if you feel a need to explain or justify something or other about them to protect your secret.
• You also find yourself withholding information about what you are going through from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses. You want everyone to believe life is good and everything is perfect when you are holding on by a thread.
• You think twice before bringing up certain seemingly innocent and normal topics of conversation with your abuser or always walking on eggshells to avoid more damaging punishment. This has become your new normal or just existing without being the individual you use to be.
• Before your partner comes home, you run through a checklist in your head to anticipate anything you might have done wrong that day. Everything has to maintain a level of peace designed to survive in this relationship, but you are not any part of it in a normal and functioning way.
• You have the sense that you used to be a very different person that was more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed. Now you are a shell of that person and feel that you are damaged instead.
• You avoid speaking directly to your significant other sibling, friend, spouse, etc., for fear of retribution just for expressing words or having a thought worth hearing.
• You feel as though you can’t do anything right at all so you basically become subservient.
• Other people try to protect you from your significant other or warn you about situations they are aware of but you somehow justify it and avoid the truth. You feel the need to protect them and instead imprison yourself because you feel so damaged and nobody could ever want you, so you hang on for dear life.
• You find yourself feeling anxious, and short tempered with people you’ve always gotten along with before. You basically avoid many people and isolate yourself within these thoughts as it concerns the outside world.
• You feel hopelessness and lack the exuberance you once had for life, or just feel you are going through the motions of life and feeling numb and anxious. You are no longer a real and functioning person, instead you are a product of dehumanization through the devaluation you have endured, but you are unaware that this blame was intentionally administered onto you to disable you in this manner.
NOBODY should ever have to feel diminished like this or fearful to just be themselves in the presence of ANY other person. Unfortunately a Narcissist will slowly but surely brainwash us into this feeling of fear and worthlessness.
An emotionally abusive partner (Narcissist) controls their target by manipulating them with fear or harm, isolation, and deprivation. He/she (the Narcissist) threatens or implies that he/she might do something drastic like leave you or separate you from the things you love (like family, children or your home) and they will do this. An emotionally abusive person controls their partner by manipulating with strong messages of failure or worthlessness across every spectrum of your life and even smear your good integrity to gain support from other people.
A typical defense against the shame and pain that is inflicted from a Narcissist is to attempt to avoid causing anything to upset them or basically accepting their behavior as being OK for the greater good of fixing the relationship which is basically denying the truth that their behavior is horrendous and even sadistic. We can never forget cruel humiliation or sadistic and destructive behaviors from a loved one. That is the very reason we tend to make the same mistakes over and over again hoping that things will change if we change or stay silent, but ‘things’ don’t change, and we end up changing and enabling more abuse and losing ourselves completely.
In many ways, emotional abuse can be more psychologically harmful than physical abuse. There are a couple of reasons for this. Even in the most violent families, the incidents tend to follow a particular cycle. Early in the physical abuse cycle, a violent outburst is followed by a honeymoon period of remorse, attention, affection, and generosity, but not genuine compassion. Emotional abuse, on the other hand, tends to happen every day. The effects are more harmful and disabling because they are so frequent or on a consistent basis. The other factor that makes emotional abuse so devastating is the greater likelihood that targets/victims will blame themselves. If someone hits you, it’s easier to see that he or she is the problem, but if the abuse is subtle like saying or implying that you’re ugly, a bad parent, stupid, incompetent, not worth attention, or that no one could love you, then you are more likely to think you ARE the problem. Emotional abuse seems more personal than physical abuse, more about you as a person, more about your spirit, belief systems, worthiness, etc., AND most importantly It makes love hurt. Both abuses are wrong and equally destructive to a person or better yet any and all forms of abuse are dehumanizing – nobody deserves to be abused and there is no reason that can justify abuse!
To truly move forward to recovery, you can’t make your abuser (the Narcissist) the focal point of your life AND your recovery. They are what they are, and you have had personal experience which more than defines their character and agenda! You have to make YOU the focal point of YOUR life. This time of grieving, healing, and regrouping with you is an opportunity to get real about the relationship that has just ended, and you have to look at you and your relationship with open eyes and the reality that it was abuse. So many times, I have heard targets, victims, and survivors say that they want to be able to get past it all, to move on, and they want it all to just be over with so they can live again. The wanting is only part of the battle, a very important part, but the rest of it takes longer and demands introspection, education, support and the need to accept that this Narcissist was AND always is a potential danger if you let them be any part of your thoughts OR life. There is no magical kiss from the prince/princess Narcissist that will awaken you from this this doom, because they are the one that gave you the apple that poisoned you in the first place! Your own care, love, and self-compassion will awaken you and return you back to a fulfilling and real life! Please start with no/minimal contact to get clarity back into your life so you can move forward with education, support, healing and rejoin life where you belong! Greg