11 Signs of Narcissistic Abuse You Should Recognize
Have you been trapped in toxic patterns in your relationship that cause you to feel frightened and insecure, to have a low sense of self-esteem, and to battle persistent feelings of guilt, shame, and helplessness?
Does your partner lack understanding of your feelings and have an unhealthy obsession with getting people to like them? Do they fail to accept responsibility for their actions, always playing the victim’s role, and make you feel guilty and desperate for reconciliation?
Abuse from a narcissist can be covert and ongoing for a long time, leaving the victim stuck in the same vicious cycle over and over again.
So, it is essential to recognize the signs of narcissistic abuse as soon as possible to protect yourself.
What is Narcissistic Abuse?
Narcissistic abuse is a form of abuse by someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or who displays narcissistic traits.
This abuse is often difficult to recognize because the abuser is typically very charming initially. However, narcissists are self-centered and manipulative, using various abuse strategies to control and dominate their victims.
Also, narcissistic abuse usually develops gradually and subtly over time.
What Causes Narcissists to Become Abusive?
While not all individuals with NPD become abusive, some of them do. Narcissistic personality disorder and personality traits can cause a person to display a sense of self-centeredness, grandiosity, and entitlement, along with a lack of empathy and manipulative behavior.
Numerous factors can contribute to abusive behavior in narcissists.
Firstly, narcissists often feel entitled to attention from others. So, they may lash out and become abusive when they don’t get what they want.
Also, narcissistic abuse may result from childhood trauma. For example, individuals who experienced emotional neglect or abuse in childhood may develop narcissistic traits, or NPD, as a coping mechanism.
Furthermore, although narcissists appear confident on the surface, they may actually feel vulnerable and insecure. This can cause them to be abusive in an attempt to control others and protect themselves. Narcissists typically have a strong need for control. Therefore, they may become abusive if they feel they are losing control over a person or situation.
Finally, most narcissists lack empathy – they cannot understand others’ feelings, making it difficult for them to see how their behavior is hurting another person.
What is Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome?
Narcissistic abuse syndrome is a condition that develops in people who have been in a relationship with a narcissist and endured emotional or psychological abuse.
If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse, you may experience a range of negative emotions, including anxiety and depression. You may also develop a range of symptoms, including:
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feeling confused
- Low self-esteem
- Loneliness and isolation
- Difficulty trusting others
- Intimacy issues
- Feeling detached from your emotions
- Physical symptoms like headaches or chronic pain
- A sense of being trapped
However, you may struggle to leave the abuser or seek help.
11 Signs of Narcissistic Abuse You Should Recognize
Narcissistic abuse can take many forms and be challenging to recognize, especially when it’s covert and disguised as love and affection. So, here are 11 signs of narcissist abuse you should realize.
1) They Blame Everything on You
The narcissist may blame you for their mistakes, making you feel guilty for things that are not your fault.
2) Overly Controlling Behavior
The abuser may limit your freedom, choose your friends, monitor your phone or social media activity, or control your behavior in any other way.
Your narcissistic partner may make you question your reality and common sense. They may tell you your thoughts and feelings are wrong, causing you to doubt your perceptions, memories, and knowledge.
4) They Want You to Distrust Others
The narcissist may use triangulation – involving a third person in your relationship – to create distrust, tension, and jealousy.
For instance, your narcissistic partner could fabricate information and say things about you to a third party that you haven’t said, and vice versa, to create mistrust and problems between you.
5) They are Prone to Self-Aggrandizing
Exaggerated feelings of superiority and self-worth are characteristics of those with narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic tendencies. For example, your narcissistic partner may need to be in charge at all times and frequently exhibit manipulative and egotistical behavior. Yet, at the same time, they may belittle and demean you, making you feel small and insignificant.
6) They Cause You to Socially Isolate Yourself
Your narcissistic partner may try to cut you off from your family and friends to make you utterly dependent on them.
7) Verbal Abuse
When narcissists want to bring down their victim’s self-esteem, they frequently turn to insults, degrading statements, and criticism. They will typically use a condescending or superior tone, manipulating you by using guilt, fear, or shame so you feel vulnerable and insecure.
8) They Refuse to Take Responsibility for Anything
The narcissist never assumes responsibility. On the contrary, they will always project their flaws and mistakes onto you, making you feel responsible for their behavior and problems.
9) They Regularly Criticize You or Your Behavior
Nothing you say or do can ever satisfy a narcissist, no matter how much effort you put into it. They will never be satisfied and constantly find something to criticize about how you look, cook, talk, and behave, making you feel like you can never do anything right.
10) They Don’t Respect Your Boundaries or Privacy
Narcissists frequently have the sense that they are entitled to control the time, attention, and personal lives of other people; as a result, they may have difficulty respecting the boundaries and privacy of others. In addition, they may breach your boundaries and privacy to achieve what they want and resort to intimidation, gaslighting, or guilt-tripping you to get their way.
11) They Constantly Make You Feel Guilty
People with NPD or narcissistic tendencies typically believe their needs should always come first. So, they commonly make others guilty to get what they want.
For example, your partner may hurt your feelings and blame you for being too sensitive. They may also withhold affection or resources to make you comply with their demands or punish you. This typically leads to a cycle of guilt and shame.
How to Escape Narcissistic Abuse in a Relationship
If you recognize signs of narcissistic abuse in your relationship, you must take steps to break free from it and protect yourself. It is essential to seek support from people you trust and go to coaching to help you work through the aftereffects of the abuse.
A skilled coach can help you identify abuse, set boundaries, stop the cycle of abuse, and regain your sense of self-worth.
If you need support to escape narcissistic abuse in your relationship, contact me to set up a free empowering conversation.