Many people are not sure whether or not they are suffering from narcissistic abuse.
Cognitive dissonance and the confusion that goes with abuse can have a lot to do with this.
John Sandford described Narcissistic Personality Disorder as, “Having excessive feelings of self-importance, reacts to criticism with rage. Takes advantage of other people and disregards the feelings of others.” An estimated 1 in 200 people in the United States has Narcissism Personality Disorder. More are male than female.
Your relationship with the person is not kind, caring, or sane. Toxic relationships can be very confusing, making it difficult to tell who is who in the zoo because the toxic person will spin it back on you and blame you and not be accountable.
If someone hurts you and isn’t capable of a genuine apology, they will continue to hurt you and will never be remorseful if you keep hanging with the person. The truth is that people either have a decent character, or they don’t. You cannot change them.
They display immature behavior, and you give up pieces of yourself to comply. Narcissists get angry over minor issues. They believe they are entitled to expect preferential treatment. They can be nasty, demanding, punishing, and explosive if they don’t get what they want.
Jeffrey Kluger said, “The narcissist really does believe that he or she is better than or more entitled than other people and truly does not see why that’s not the case.”
Topics that are normal to discuss could be risky and unacceptable to them. If this person doesn’t get things their way, they will abandon you or threaten to do so, therefore making you do something out of your comfort system to make them stay.
You feel angry, disjointed, and are behaving in ways you normally don’t. If you know you have empathy, you can have sane conversations and get along with most people, yet this person brings out the worst in you. This is generally because your boundaries are being violated, and the normal modes of human operations don’t stand.
Narcissists state how false your accusations are when you confront them. They argue with you to manipulate you.
You find yourself trying to prove you are a good person. A narcissist may regularly accuse you of all the things they are and do, e.g., lying and making it all about yourself. Naturally, you become incensed and try to prove yourself. This is a vicious cycle that narcissists can immerse you in. If you believe your integrity, safety, character, and well-being depend on what other people think of you, you are susceptible to this behavior.
You are mopping up the messes. You pay their fines, sort their messes, and even lie for them to cover their tracks. You focus on them while neglecting yourself. By walking away, you can heal and restart your life with self-responsibility.
Your boundaries are being disintegrated. It’s common for people with weak boundaries to get involved with narcissists because they find it difficult to speak up, stand up for themselves, or maintain boundaries. They have to beg or plead for their boundaries to be respected. Discovering that the narcissist has zero empathy for you and won’t comply takes you into an even deeper place of hopelessness.
You feel addicted, disjointed, and manic. This is known as trauma bonding. You feel manic and unable to stop contacting that narcissist even when you know how much you continually get hurt. You can be horrified by how addicted you feel to someone who treats you so terribly. It just doesn’t make any logical sense.
Suffering from abuse symptoms. When your emotional inner being has been screaming out for your attention, but you haven’t yet pulled away and turned inward to heal, then you start breaking down physically as well. Anxiety, depression, and even more significant issues like PTSD and agoraphobia may start developing. You lose interest in the activities, people, and self-care used to restore your energy and focus. The shame and pain become so much that you may start hiding from the world.
If someone in your life doesn’t show you value and doesn’t care for your feelings, then the relationship is not a healthy one. You may lose a lot by leaving. However, by leaving, you can achieve the most significant gain of finally turning inward, to integrate yourself so that you are in a position of wholeness. Only then can you be in control of your choices, have the power to look after yourself, and have a happy, healthy, and genuinely loving life.