This post was updated on Nov 28, 2022
What many people don’t realize about narcissists is over the course of their life, they have built an idealized self, a pretty picture that hides all of their weaknesses and shame from the world. Because they know deep inside how flawed they are, just like everyone else, they use defense mechanisms that may cause great harm to the people closest to them.
If you’ve been the victim of narcissistic abuse or any form of emotional manipulation, you may benefit from understanding the main driving forces behind narcissistic behaviors. Many codependent relationship intensive workshops are designed to illuminate different facets of narcissistic abuse and help codependents regain control of their life.
Keep on reading to find out more about narcissistic abuse and its effects.
What Does Narcissistic Abuse Do To You?
Narcissists use a wide array of abusive tactics to manipulate and hurt their victims. You might have found yourself at the receiving end of gaslighting, idealization and devaluation, sabotaging, stonewalling, deflection, and many other forms of control and coercion.
All of these forms of narcissistic abuse can have a devastating effect on your emotional and psychological health, especially if they are exercised over a long period of time. Naturally, the exact effects will vary from one person to another, but they may share some overarching patterns you might be able to recognize within yourself.
The Effects Of Narcissistic Abuse
Here’s how narcissistic abuse can damage your emotional wellbeing:
- Decreased self-esteem: one of the most common effects of narcissistic abuse is a greatly impaired confidence. Even if you used to be assertive, self-assured, and aware of your worth, you may now feel unlovable, unworthy, and weak.
- Impaired communication skills: a relationship with a narcissistic can have an effect on your communication style too. You may find it hard to express yourself openly and share your thoughts and feelings. This may influence your friendships, career, and family life.
- Constant feelings of worthlessness and blame: do you constantly internalize everyone else’s problems and feel blame even though you had nothing to do with them? This may also be a consequence of narcissistic abuse.
- Insecure attachment: narcissistic abuse may influence your future relationships, impairing and destabilizing your ability to form healthy attachments in your life. You may no longer feel safe opening up, or you may develop a fear of abandonment.
- Narcissistic tendencies: unfortunately, narcissistic abuse can breed more narcissistic traits, especially if it is inflicted by a parent or caregiver. You may begin to exhibit narcissistic tendencies too, although you may not be aware of it.
- Superficial behavior: in order to protect yourself from a narcissist while being in a relationship with them, you need to be at least a little bit superficial. You have to fake happiness and satisfaction in order to avoid abuse instead of being open and honest.
What Happens When You Stand Up To A Narcissist?
Although you may feel like standing up to a narcissist and blaming them for all the heinous things they’ve done would be a good idea, you will most likely subject yourself to even more hurt if you choose to do so. Here’s how a narcissist may react if you confront them:
- They may cater to your ego, charming you into forgiving them
- They may use various intimidation tactics to silence you
- They may make fun of you and attack your weakest spots
- They may pretend to be ignorant and make you question your sanity
- They may badly about you to other people, isolating you from friends and family
How Do You Feel After Leaving A Narcissist?
Breaking up with a narcissist is a big step. It may feel a lot like overcoming an addiction – at first, it may be extremely painful, frustrating, and chaotic, but it will give you your life back in the end. Once you part ways with your abuser, you should keep reminding yourself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that you deserve to have happy relationships.
Once the initial stages are over with, you will feel free and at peace with yourself. You will learn to trust your intuition, set healthy boundaries, and be more confident when dealing with other people. You will no longer have to walk on eggshells and navigate the volatile emotional world of the narcissist. Ultimately, you will feel like your healthy, strong, and lovable self once again.
How Do You Recover From Narcissistic Abuse?
Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be a lengthy and challenging process, but no matter how big the obstacles may be, the journey will surely be worth it. Here are some useful tips if you’re struggling with the aftermath of narcissistic abuse:
- Don’t deny the abuse: there’s no point pretending that you weren’t hurt by the narcissist’s behaviors. Try to understand how you were affected by the abuse and face the grief head on.
- Set clear boundaries: if your abuser is still trying to contact you, you will need to show serious strength. It is very likely that you will feel tempted to stay in touch, but most experts agree that it’s best to cut off all communication if you are to heal.
- Teach yourself compassion: be gentle on yourself, however hard it may be. The abuse you suffered is far from your fault. Try to remember that your abuser hurt you because they have their own issues that they need to work on and focus on your own wellbeing.
- Have a support network: while spending some time alone can be very beneficial to your mental health, prolonged isolation is rarely a good idea. Instead, talk with your friends and family about your struggles and practice vulnerability.
- Speak to professionals: your family and friends may be able to offer some support, but they may not have the knowledge necessary to give you the help you need. A skilled relationship coach will provide you with resources you need to facilitate change and recover.
Regain Your Sense Of Worth At A PIVOT Codependency Retreat
Are you looking for support on your path to happiness and wellbeing? You don’t have to go it alone. With PIVOT, you can find the strength and rebuild yourself and recover from emotional neglect and abuse. Our relational freedom coaching sessions and intensive retreats for codependents will give you a new perspective and opportunity to create a happier and healthier you. Contact us today!