Written by Dr. Eric Perry
“Narcissistic people are always struggling with the fact that the rest of the world doesn’t revolve around them.” ~Unknown
It is common for individuals who experience narcissistic abuse to suffer in silence or not even know that they are being abused. Because narcissists are master manipulators, they can be very difficult to spot. Narcissist abuse syndrome is a term used by mental health professionals to describe individuals who have been victimized to the extent that long-term negative effects may seem insurmountable to the victim. Before we can heal, we must identify the signs telling us that healing must be a priority. Here are some of those signs.
1. Trusting again seems impossible
If you are experiencing the effects of narcissistic abuse, chances are you find it difficult to trust others and maybe even yourself. Let’s not assume that the world is a safe and harmonious place. Trust must be earned. However, if you find yourself hiding in isolation, this might be a sign that there is room for growth. Don’t assume that people are healthy for you just because you have known them forever or they are family. Start small and listen to your intuition. If you feel like your intuition is untrustworthy, it is time to seek the support of a mental health professional.
2. Constantly doubting yourself
A narcissist will train you from the beginning to doubt yourself. They are masters at love bombing until their victim is reliant on the love bombs. If you are not familiar with the term love bombing, it means to influence a person by demonstrations of attention and affection. It makes sense that a person would experience self-doubt once their steady stream of affection and affirmation are taken away.
3. Blaming yourself
Let’s start here. It isn’t your fault. During your experience with the narcissist, maybe you felt the need to collude with the narcissist in order to feel at least some sense of control. It isn’t your fault that you had to or felt the need to do this. Sometimes, we make unhealthy compromises just to feel like we are not completely powerless. Also, keep in mind that narcissists use guilt and shame as weapons to control their victims. Say this out loud, “It isn’t my fault that a narcissist weaved their way into my life. I will learn from my experience and commit myself to living the fullest life possible.”
4. Feeling confused and sometimes even cr*zy
Gas-lighting means to manipulate someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. Narcissists are experts at this. Journaling is a great remedy for making sense out of where your confusion or feelings might be coming from. As many of you know (to the bloggers out there), writing is a great way to make sense of your thoughts. Try this, take out a sheet of paper and a pen, or open up a blank document and write a short but honest reflection on why you have been feeling confused. Let the words flow without criticism or judgment. After you finish writing, read it back to yourself. Did you find answers? If not, try again soon. Try to go deep. The answers are within you. Here’s a hint, your confusion and feelings are not because of you. Whispers… it’s the narc.
5. Everything feels hopeless
Are you familiar with the term hoovering? The hoover maneuver is an attempt to see if a prior target of abuse can be conned into another cycle of abuse, resulting in the abusive person reclaiming a sense of power and control by causing pain to a target. This pain can be emotional and sometimes physical. Feelings of hopelessness often arise when a narcissist hoovers their victim. Have you completely cut ties with the narcissist? If you haven’t, this might be a reason why you are feeling hopeless.
Have you healed from narcissistic abuse? Do you have tips that might help someone who is struggling? Share it in the comments section.
The thoughts expressed in this blog post are my own and are not meant to create a therapeutic relationship with the reader. This blog does not replace or substitute the help of a mental health professional. Please note, I am unable to answer your specific mental health questions as I am not fully aware of all of the circumstances.
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
M.A. in Clinical Psychology
B.A. in Psychology
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