Narcissistic Abuse – Signs, Examples, and Effects

What is Narcissistic Abuse? You might have heard mental health experts stressing the word narcissistic abuse especially when you seek therapy or display concerns regarding a toxic relationship with a toxic person.

That person may be a narcissist, and thus the trouble, trauma, and stress they put you through is all narcissistic abuse. But narcissistic abuse is much deeper than just a few visible actions. Narcissistic abuse includes physical, mental, and emotional abuse and thus it is not just what is visible from afar.

Narcissistic Abuse - Signs, Examples, and Effects

A relationship with a narcissistic may seem perfectly fine from afar, but once observed closely, it is all flawed. All relationships are flawed with different people as no one is perfect but with a narcissist the scene changes completely.

They may willingly put their partners and others around them in situations that may cause trauma. They may abuse and manipulate on purpose and may even gain pleasure from that. Thus a relationship with a narcissist differs.

Thus let us know more about narcissistic abuse in detail, the meaning, the signs, some examples, and the effects on the victim who may be suffering through such an abusive relationship, knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly.

What is Narcissistic Abuse?

Narcissistic abuse is emotional abuse. Narcissists put their victims through emotional turmoil that includes criticisms, accusations, threats, and torture. Narcissists may play mind games with their victims by applying all sorts of manipulative tactics that include gaslighting, withholding affection, silent treatments, holding back money and resources, lying, cheating, and more. This completely nasty treatment is termed narcissistic abuse.

Narcissistic abuse is all about controlling their victim’s actions, thoughts, and conduct along with obtaining their narcissistic supply. It is a win-win situation for the narcissist, as they achieve multiple benefits by putting their victims into chronic abusive situations.

The end goal of narcissistic abuse is to establish their control, and power and obtain what they desire the most(the narcissistic supply).

A narcissistic person craves undivided attention, lacks care and empathy, can be rude and blunt, ignores other people’s feelings, and has troubled relationships. Narcissists can play mind tricks and manipulate you. They can easily manipulate you by deceiving you. They do not think twice before hurting you, have selfish desires, can even cheat, or can do anything to make their ways work.

The most important point here is to understand their abuse and also understand how it is not normal. Then comes the task of recognizing their pattern of abuse, their ways of creating drama and a toxic atmosphere, their harmful approaches, and responses to your simple questions, their change of behavior as soon as a third party enters the scene, or never accepting their mistakes.

Narcissistic abuse is when a narcissist drains positivity out of you which can make you lifeless and sad. You may have lifelong traumatic experiences when you are with them. You may not realize this while you are with them as they isolate you. Once you understand how toxic the relationship is and step away from it, it may be difficult for the victims to understand the narcissistic abuse.

Signs of Narcissistic Abuse

There may be different signs of abuse as they may depend upon the type of narcissist you are dealing with, yet here are some generic signs of narcissistic abuse,

Emotional and Verbal Abuse

A narcissist may control you, threaten you, make you tear down, call names, or tag you with different nasty titles. They may harm your feelings on purpose.

Attempts to isolate you from others

Narcissists become more involved in your life and thus they would isolate you from your loved ones like family, friends, or anyone dear to you so that you are detached from your support system and they have absolute control over you.

Constant Criticism and Insults

They might constantly control you, criticize your ways, ideas, and opinions, and make you feel worthless. They may insult you publically and make inappropriate comments regarding your looks, ideologies, beliefs, or conduct.

Invasion of Privacy

A narcissist would always like to have an upper hand or final say even in a situation that may be your personal affair.

Arrogant and superior attitude

A narcissist’s boosted sense of self-importance may make the relationship just about themselves and their partners may feel isolated and alone.

Love Bombing

Love bombing is an act of over or exaggerated display of love which is usually considered toxic and unhealthy for a successful relationship. In an unhealthy relationship love bombing technique is often taken into practice to cover up mistakes, to recover the lost relationships, or when anything goes wrong, or to manipulate the partner with the help of lovey-dovey or cheezy words, actions, and loud effective gestures.

People Pleasing Behavior

Narcissists are people pleasers, and they may choose certain strategies when they wish to impress someone if that makes them look good, brings them social benefits, or helps them get ahead of others.

Narcissistic abuse also includes being the victim of manipulative tactics like hoovering, mirroring, gaslighting, hoarding, hogging the chats, ignoring boundaries, exploitation, playing the victim, arrogance, constant competitiveness, lack of empathy, threats, Projecting insecurities, and invasion of privacy.

Examples of Narcissistic Abuse

It may so happen that you may not be able to recognize the abuse, but knowing some examples might help you to recognize the patterns, techniques, and means of manipulation and abuse.

Emotional Blackmail – The narcissist might blackmail you, threaten you, intimidate you, or punish you to get their way.

Financial Abuse – Narcissistic abuse also includes controlling your finances. They may engage in multiple activities like gambling, or buying luxurious goods, but not allow you to spend for necessities. They may sabotage your wealth and use it for their benefit.

Spreading Lies – They may launch smear campaigns, gossip, and lie about you(their victim) to others.

Making accusations – A narcissist may accuse you of things that you might not be or might have not done like cheating, lying, and whatnot. They may also call names.

Silent Treatments – A silent treatment is the best example of narcissistic abuse, as they may never really discuss the issues thus issues keep piling up making the relationship more abusive.

Withholding – The best example of narcissistic abuse is withholding physical intimacy, money, possessions, communication, affection, and love from you when you have upset them or there is some issue.

Effects of Narcissistic Abuse

Though everyone may display different signs, here are a few generic effects of narcissistic abuse that may be commonly noticeable,

  • You lose your self-worth, self-pride, and self-love around them.
  • You start doubting your sanity around narcissists as they manipulate and disregard you.
  • You fear their presence, you are threatened when you do something unpleasing to the narcissist, you fear your safety, and are constantly disrespected in the relationship.
  • You feel isolated, your habits change drastically when you are around them, you leave your good old selves just to match their expectations and you become their pawn to fulfill their demands.
  • You feel confused and clueless around them.
  • You may develop anxiety and depression.
  • You may also face mental health illnesses like PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress).
  • You feel the constant need to walk on eggshells around the narcissist as they might get upset by the littlest things.
  • You feel your reality is distorted and you live just the way the narcissist wants you to live.
  • You get used to domestic violence, rage outbursts, and mental and physical pain.
  • You get used to the lies that a narcissist tells you all the time.
  • You may lose your sense of self as you may be entirely isolated and brainwashed by the narcissist.
  • You may not be able to forgive yourself and heal yourself as you may feel unworthy and undeserving of the changes and healing that are coming your way.
  • You may suffer sudden mood swings and be irritated and agitated.
  • In some extreme cases, some victims may also face memory loss as the trauma may be deeply ingrained in their memories that much that they lose the memories in their entirety just to forget those bewitching memories.
  • Narcissistic abuse is not something that happens once, it is cyclical. Thus you may be stuck in the cycle or a loop of abuse and may get stuck there for quite a long time as the narcissist would control even after parting ways.
  • You may develop serious trust issues as you may not be able to trust someone easily after dating a narcissist and going through so much trauma.
  • You may also develop some self-destructive habits that may include substance abuse like alcoholism, smoking, addictions, overspending and so on to numb the emotional pain and get over the trauma.

Narcissistic abuse can lead to many negative effects on the victims,

  • PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Life long Traumatic memories
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Cognitive issues
  • Fear and Panic
  • Headaches and body aches
  • A breeding ground for more mental health disorders

The Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse

Once the narcissist feels that they no longer need you, or you have served their purpose, and there is no longer supply left in you, that is when the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse begins. Once they feel you lack “narcissistic supply” (Supply here refers to giving them attention, praising their accomplishments, providing a sense of entitlement and validation whether it is positive or negative, providing special treatment due to their sense of entitlement, and meeting their needs and demands) they leave you without any signs or even a warning.

This cycle of victimizing, devaluing, and discarding keeps going on making it a cyclical or habitual conduct for the narcissist which is often termed the narcissistic cycle of abuse.

In a relationship with a narcissist, you constantly feel that they overpower or sabotage the relationship already. But as if this was not enough, they also decide to discard you without giving much consideration to your feelings and your perspective.

Narcissists are super greedy and they cannot cut ties easily with their exes, so they would keep coming back until you realize the toxicity and deny them with strong actions. Unless you are headstrong about denying them to enter your lives again, they would keep coming back to you after discarding you several times. It does not matter to a narcissist how many times they dump you and come back to you because they do not have any intimate bond with any of their dating partners.

Narcissists have a tendency to use people for their needs and desires. They just seek attention and control. They believe the world revolves around them and they are entitled to have whatever they desire. Hypocrisy is their go-to trait. Selfishness is in their true nature, and they would do anything to seek benefit from you. They ought to keep in touch with their exes and not hesitate to lure them into new relationships.

When you end a relationship with a narcissist, it is just not over there. You would finally be taking a breath of relief, as you are out of the narcissist’s toxic and abusive relationship cycle, but get ready to be burdened again by the narcissist’s manipulation and persuasion as the relationship is just not over yet.

Narcissists use this persuasive tactic called hoovering, where they lure their victims. The one and ultimate goal of narcissistic Hoover is to tempt or persuade their ex-romantic partners, back into the relationship by manipulating them, abusing them emotionally, and guilt-tripping them about ending the relationship.

Why is Narcissistic Abuse so damaging?

The narcissistic cycle of Abuse leaves the person experiencing emptiness, deep scars, and a long-lost connection with the world. Narcissists have a very negative impact on their partners and thus their partners find it hard to recognize genuine feelings once they are out of the toxic narcissistic cycle of abuse.

Final Thoughts

The narcissistic cycle of Abuse leaves the person experiencing emptiness, deep scars, and a long-lost connection with the world. Narcissists have a very negative impact on their partners and thus their partners find it hard to recognize genuine feelings once they are out of the toxic narcissistic cycle of abuse.

Thus to sum up this article, it is recommended for the readers that they should carefully plan their exit from the toxic relationship with the narcissist if they are planning to do so as it seems one of the best and safest ways to say no to narcissistic abuse.

Ending a relationship with a narcissist requires careful planning, boundaries, and support. Remember that you deserve to be in a healthy, respectful relationship, and do not let anyone convince you otherwise.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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