Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome – 12 signs to understand what’s going on
Have you went through or going through narcissistic abuse syndrome or seen your close ones going through it? If yes! Here are all possible things you must know and understand about narcissistic abuse syndrome.
NPD or narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition in which people lack empathy, have an inflated sense of self, and an extreme need for being admired and receive attention from others.
People having such narcissistic tendencies sometimes can be very manipulative and has controlling behaviors involving emotional and verbal abuse. All these falls under narcissistic abuse syndrome or victim syndrome. If you are dating a narcissist you will be able to recall a lot of experiences of abuse.
They perform various tactics that might put you in a dilemma and make you question your sense of reality. They can even damage your self-esteem.
Narcissistic victim syndrome is a specific term that collectively describes the events of narcissistic abuse that people go through. While many people do not call it or recognize it as a mental condition, experts acknowledge narcissistic abuse syndrome as a condition where the person has serious and long-lasting impacts on their emotional health.
You have to understand that narcissism and abuse are not related always. A diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder does not translate to abusive behavior and many people that often engage in emotional abuse do not have anything to do with NPD.
A mental health diagnosis will never excuse abusive behavior done by people. People choose themselves to manipulate and abuse other people and it is completely possible to live with traits like narcissism or certain other personality disorders without becoming overly abusive.
Keeping these things in mind, here are certain signs that can suggest if you have suffered or gone through narcissistic abuse syndrome.
Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome Signs
These signs can help you a lot in knowing more about narcissistic abuse syndrome, read them carefully, and see if you have anyone facing any of these so that you can help.
1. They Seemed Perfect In The Beginning
This is the first sign one must note. Narcissistic abuse generally follows this clear pattern through it might appear different based on the relationship you share with a narcissist.
If you are in a romantic relationship with a narcissistic person, research suggests that this abuse generally slows down if you have fallen fast and hard for them. It is no wonder that you fall for the person. The initial phase is the love-bombing phase, they will seem generous, loving, and extremely kind to you. They make you feel a lot more special and adore you with gushy compliments. They being you expensive gifts and involve into affectionate displays.
This stage might have appeared and felt so overwhelming that you must have never stopped thinking how fantastic and loving they are. Most people cannot even have a single thought of doubt in the initial stage. After this stage, slowly manipulation and begging begin. These tactics replace all the decorations of love and replace the gifts you receive.
Narcissistic people often try to come into your life when you are going through a vulnerable phase be it financial or emotional. They offer love, praise, adoration, and sometimes financial support until you do something that displeases them. Once you do something that they feel is not right, soon these favors will be taken back. Then their love turns to tactics like silent treatment, begging, and gaslighting.
2. The Abuse You Went Through Is Doubted
This abuse is very subtle most often. When it starts in public, it is so well disguised that other people with you do not recognize it and fail to help you. Even you might not understand fully what is happening with you or what is wrong with the person.
You will just know that you feel upset, confused, or guilty for the “mistakes” you have committed (even if there are not any).
If you are having parents that have narcissistic personality syndrome, they might say, “are you sure you want dessert?” or they might turn everything around into a joke, “you are so clumsy, you cannot even help yourself” Saying this, they will just pat on your back and laugh to make this insult seem well-intentioned. This is just a simple example, you might have had many such experiences if you have any such person.
You would always hope that other relatives or friends will believe you, but unfortunately, no one does. They will just tell you you have misunderstood the whole situation and do not consider it as abuse. These doubts can be sometimes more harmful as you will lose belief in your loved ones or you might even think about the whole incident and feel if the abuse has really happened or you overthink?
3. They Have Begun A Smear Campaign
Narcissistic people often maintain a good image of themselves in front o others so that they keep getting the admiration they are seeking. To achieve such goals, they might make you feel worse so that they appear high.
Once you start questioning their behavior and pointing out certain things they do, they will just lash out at you and openly direct all the rage towards you with their threats ad insults. They will hit you with hurtful one-liners that you do not wish to hear. Sometimes they even involve other people in between to criticize you and break your morale.
They can twist the facts into stories inf front of all the people you love. A narcissist always has a knack for impressing others. You might have seen a different personality of theirs in the beginning, many people might still see that and doubt you instead of them.
These qualities often make them have all the support of your loved ones by insisting that all they wish for you is good and nothing else. After such happenings, when you try to explain the abuse you have been facing, your loved ones might pat their ways and side with them. This feels sad and lonely. You go through emotional disbalance due to narcissistic abuse syndrome.
4. You Start Feeling Isolated
When no one pays attention to you or listens to what you have to say, you start feeling lonely. This further leaves you in a vulnerable state where you can be easily manipulated by the narcissist. The person who was abusing you might pull you back with kindness and a lot of apologies by pretending that you overthought and the abuse has never taken place.
This tactic is called hoovering and is often seen in narcissistic abuse syndrome. This often works when you do not have anyone to support you. You are more likely to doubt what you perceive of the abuse when you cannot share it with anybody in the room.
If anyone among your loved ones reaches out and asks you to give your partner another chance, you might easily do it without thinking twice. Chances of doing this are high as you simply want to regain the love and trust of your loved ones.
5. You Freeze
There are several different ways in which people react to trauma and abuse. Some people attempt to confront the person who is abusing them while some people just choose to fight and leave everything behind. People with narcissistic abuse syndrome are slightly different as both the methods do not work well for them, they might respond with freezing.
This response is usually seen when the person is helpless and does not get a way out. It is often associated with dissociation since distancing yourself from emotional abuse can help lower the intensity. When you dissociate, you are numbing some of the distress and pain you are experiencing.
While freezing has certain benefits in some situations, it does not help much as you can escape from dangerous situations as well. If you think there is no way for you to get out of such relationships, you might be with the narcissist instead of seeking help and support from others.
6. Trouble Taking Your Own Decisions
Narcissistic abuse syndrome often leaves you in a state where you cannot decide what has to be done. A pattern of criticism and devaluation can leave you with little or no confidence and self-esteem.
Narcissistic abuse syndrome often involves you making bad decisions and cannot do anything about them. Narcissistic partners may call you names or ignore you outright. Their tone while insulting you can be something like- “honey, you are dumb. How will you ever manage without me?” This is a falsely affectionate way to insult you.
These might sound a little offending or normal in the beginning but over time you will be used to them and attach them to your self-perception. You will constantly consider yourself to be what they say-Dumb.
Narcissistic abuse syndrome also involves gaslighting tactics that can often make you doubt the decisions you make and affect your decision-making skills.
If the person is manipulating you to believe that you have only imagined things that actually happened. you will start doubting your perception of events. This uncertainty of events can confuse you and affect your ability and skills to make decisions well even in the future when you are no longer with the narcissist.
7. You Always Feel Something Is Wrong With You
This is a hallmark sign of narcissistic abuse syndrome. You will always feel like something is wrong with you or you are done something wrong or it is your fault. Also, it is a key characteristic of a narcissistic person that they have difficulty taking responsibility for anything they have done and put all the blame on you. Over time you start assuming that it’s your fault when it isn’t.
Abusive partners or narcissistic partners find ways to blame you and they often accomplish this by saying something that you cannot recollect or getting immensely angry and lashing out at you so that you end up apologizing to them and agreeing that you did the mistake.
For example, you suspect that they cheated on you. So you will explain the concern and talk to them about this. Instead of handling everything with grace or normally as a person does, they will just ash out on you by saying “how dare you doubt me and my loyalty after constantly showing how much I love you?” They might even say hurtful things like “if I was having an affair outside, it is because of you as you were bad in bed”
Such rage can leave you shattered and feel helpless. You might also end up taking their side and think that you should be grateful as they are staying with you even after you make so many mistakes. Narcissistic abuse syndrome goes like this. It leaves you emotionally distressed.
Even after the relationship is over, you might carry this belief of not doing anything right. It profoundly affects you. When anything goes wrong in your life, you might always end up thinking it is your fault.
8. Unexplained Physical Symptoms
Narcissistic abuse syndrome is not only related t emotional abuse ad trauma, it affects a lot of things. It may trigger nervous and anxious feelings that lead to physical symptoms like appetite changes, nausea, upset stomach, insomnia, fatigue, muscle pain and aches, stomach pain, and some other gastrointestinal distress.
During these stages, using alcohol seems a great option for many people. it might seem helpful in managing all such symptoms of narcissistic abuse syndrome as a result people end up consuming more alcohol. This also has its own negative impacts on health.
9. Feeling Of Restlessness
Narcissistic abuse syndrome can lead to a feeling of restlessness. The abuse is unpredictable at most times. You cannot determine whether you will be surprised by a gift next or criticized for something you do not even know. This leads to a feeling of restlessness and you feel unsettled.
When you do not know what someone will do with you at the moment, this might get you to develop a lot of stress and tension needling to prepare yourself to face a conflict.
Worrying about what may happen next can leave you on edge constantly. You do not realize it but you may not know how to relax your mind anymore. It feels unsafe to let your guard down.
10. You Stop Recognizing Yourself
Narcissistic abuse syndrome leads to such behavior that over time you lose the sense of self. Many people adjust their identity to accommodate their abusive partners, which is not right though but you will not realize it until its high time.
They may force you to not go out with your friend anymore as it will mean you do not love your partner. So you’ll stop seeing others as you love them. You tend to give up on what you like, you skin drinks with co-workers, give up on hobbies, cancel all the plans. All you do is spend your time with your partner and do things that they love doing.
All such changes often lead to a loss of sense of self, which leaves you empty and lost. You start having a hard time enjoying life and do not have any purpose.
11. You Have Trouble Setting Up Boundaries
Narcissistic abuse syndrome tends to affect a lot of things in your life. Someone who has been through abuse in their relationship does not have much knowledge of boundaries. When you try to set limits and enforce them, your partner may ignore them completely, or start giving silent treatment until they can achieve what they have wanted from you. Over time you will give up on boundaries.
Once you end the relationship with a narcissist, they might not leave you easily as they still need to control you. Narcissist abuse syndrome tends to be even worse at this phase. They will again keep texting ad calling to break your boundaries and enter your life. If you have gone through narcissistic abuse syndrome, you are likely to have trouble setting boundaries with all other relationships as well.
12. You May See Symptoms Of Depression And Anxiety
Narcissistic abuse syndrome involved depression and anxiety-like mental conditions. The stress you go through significantly triggers feelings of nervousness, fear, worry, and sadness when you do not know what to expect next from your partner or how they are going to behave with you.
You start feeling worthless and hopeless. You tend to lose interest in everything that once excited you and you struggle to think of anything hopeful in the future which keeps us going.
You may even shoulder all the blame for the abuse by believing your partner who accuses you of everything wrong in the world. This is common to face in narcissistic abuse syndrome.
What To Do?
If you are struggling with narcissistic abuse syndrome or someone you know has been dealing with it for a long, here are few things you can do.
- Learn coping strategies that can help you manage mental health issues.
- Practice setting boundaries in a healthy way in any relationship you are.
- Explore certain ways through which you can regain your lost confidence and sense of self.
- Practice things that made you happy.
You can always take your friend who has been through narcissistic abuse syndrome to a therapist as it will of great help to them.
This was all you needed to know about narcissistic abuse syndrome and signs of dealing with it.