Many people are not sure whether or not they are suffering from narcissistic abuse. Cognitive dissonance and the confusion that goes with abuse can have a lot to do with this.
Today I want to grant you eight signs to know that you are suffering narcissistic abuse, so that not only can you have clarity, but also you know where to go from here.
If this is your first time dealing with narcissistic abuse, you may not realise that by the time you’re suffering these eight signs things are serious, and if you don’t get clarity and start making decisions to protect yourself it’s going to get much worse.
Those of you who are going through this again, like myself and many others did twice or more, we really need to face up to the facts about what toxic relationships look like and who we need to be to get out of them and stay out of them.
This is exactly what today’s article is all about – the awareness and solutions to empower you up and out of narcissistic abuse. Please know this article is about absolutely any narcissist in your life – all the signs apply to any toxic relationship such as a spouse, lover, family member, neighbour or friend. Anyone.
Number 1: Your Relationship Is Not Kind, Caring Or Sane
Now, this is where we need to get really clear. Toxic relationships can be very confusing at times, making it difficult to know ‘who is who in the zoo’. This happens because a toxic person will spin it back on you, blame you and will not be accountable.
I really want to say this about the first of the eight signs that you are suffering from narcissistic abuse: if someone hurts you and is not capable of a genuine apology, and you keep hanging out with this person, they will continue to hurt you. They will never be remorseful and, of course, will continue the same behaviour.
We do need to understand what out-of-bounds behaviour is. It can range all the way from name-calling to physical abuse; to mental abuse and pathological lying; to having no regard for your property or the people you care about … the list goes on and on.
I have included here a link to my article Are You With a Narcissist? so that you can get very clear about what narcissistic behaviours are.
If you are in a relationship with a person who repeats out-of-bound behaviours that are violating and hurtful, first of all know our Inner Being always registers this! This means you are being abused. If this person makes false or non-existent apologies, has no respect or care for your feelings, blames you for the problems, and even smears you to others telling them you are the bad guy or girl and that it is he or she who is being abused, then this is absolutely narcissistic.
The Truth About This
People either have a decent character or they don’t. We are not going to change who people are – it is us who needs to change for us to have any chance of a healthy, loving and happy life.
That entails letting go of our connection to someone like this, healing ourselves by doing the inner work, and getting very clear about our own self-love, self-worth, boundaries and how to generate real, loving and responsible adult relationships in the future.
A person like this simply does not have the resources to grant us this – but we can.
Now let’s look at the second sign that you are suffering from narcissistic abuse.
Number 2: You Are Dealing With Immature Behaviour and Give Up Pieces of Yourself To Comply
A hallmark of narcissistic relationships is this person gets bent out of shape on hair-line triggers that mature adults just don’t get upset about. Also, they believe they are entitled to and expect preferential treatment, and can be nasty, demanding, punishing and even explosive if they don’t receive it.
You discover that there are certain things you just can’t naturally or normally talk about. Likewise, there are things that you would normally be free to do, that may be unacceptable or risky now.
Maybe if this person doesn’t get their own way, they will abandon you or threaten to leave you, and again you start doing things outside of your comfort and value systems to stop this happening.
Often your inner being is screaming ‘no’ when the narcissist asks for something, but you know what could take place if you don’t comply, so you give up your time, resources, and even life, trying to keep this person happy, which ironically doesn’t work and the walking on broken glass doesn’t stop either.
The Truth About This
You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t, and it doesn’t matter how many shapes you twist yourself into, they are still not happy.
You will never make this person happy, and it’s not your job to either. Your true soul mission is to align with the truth of your soul and then you will serve others and life in holistic and healthy ways. By staying with someone like this, not only are you being destroyed but you are also hurting the people who care about you. By staying with them and trying to please them, you are enabling this person to continue being an abuser.
No one wins in the healthy stakes in this dynamic.
Okay, so the third sign that you are suffering from narcissistic abuse is this…
Number 3: You Are Angry, Disjointed and Are Behaving In Ways That You Normally Don’t
I believe a good indication that you are being narcissistically abused is seeing the discrepancy with how you feel with this person in relation to your everyday dealings with other people.
If you know that you have integrity, can listen, have empathy, are capable of having sane conversations and get along with most people in your life, and yet there is ‘this’ person who brings out the worst in you – this is generally because your boundaries are being violated and the normal modes of human operations don’t stand.
The circular arguments you are having make your head spin, because they go around and around on unrelated tangents – points that make no sense. Narcissists use these tactics when confronted, or they argue with you to manipulate you into something unwholesome:
- make excuses for their behaviour.
- minimise an incident altogether.
- accuse someone else of wrongdoing.
- confuse you with antics or trivia to take you off the subject.
- use allies, real or fabricated, to back up their argument.
- use ‘tit for tat’ behaviours relating to something you did in the past.
- state how disloyal your accusations of them are.
- discredit your observations, owing to your ‘unstable’ past.
And the list goes on and ON! You feel like your head is spinning and the frustration, pain and trauma is beyond intense.
The Truth About This
Please get VERY clear about this – when you are enmeshed with a sick person, you get sick.
If you are experiencing these type of instances in your relationship, it is time to pull away, get away and heal. You may not realise it, but what you are doing is granting what this person wants – the drama and significance of knowing they can hook you in and affect you so much. It’s called narcissistic supply. You need to cut this off to have any chance of getting your soul and life back.
Number 4: You Find Yourself Trying To Prove That You Are A Good Person
Because the narcissist is regularly accusing you of all the things that they are and do, such as lacking integrity and love and care for people, being unfaithful, lying, making it all about yourself, wanting to use people for your own gain, etc., naturally you will be incensed and try extremely hard to prove and convince them otherwise.
You will be shocked at the allegations regarding things that you don’t do and aren’t capable of doing, which, in actual fact, you know are what the narcissist does.
You may have said in total shock and horror to the narcissist, ‘Do you have a mirror?’ or ‘You have no idea who I am’ or ‘If you really think that about me, why are you with me?’
The Truth About This
This is another deadly hook that narcissists can get us enmeshed with them on. If we believe that our integrity, character, wellbeing and safety is dependent on what other people think of us, then we are really susceptible to this narcissistic behaviour.
To truly heal we need to detach from other people who have warped versions of us and then heal inside to get to the solid place of knowing. It’s only our version of ourselves that is vital. And when we are true to our ‘self’, who and what is healthy will follow, and those that don’t we will easily leave alone.
Number 5: You Are Mopping Up the Messes
Being connected with a narcissist has lots of drama, rough edges and quite frankly means that disasters are always looming.
Narcissists usually aren’t good with detail, accountability or sensibility. They fly high, seeking narcissistic supply and acclaim with not much thought for ‘doing the right thing’. It’s normal to have all sorts of things pop up as a result of the narcissist’s loose and non-accountable behaviour, which of course is always someone else’s fault.
If your life is connected with one of these people, it is usual that you will be paying their fines, sorting out their messes and dramas, and even lying for them to cover their tracks.
It’s like this analogy – as you are watering their back lawn trying to keep it green, yours gets parched, turns brown and dies.
The Truth About This
This is how narcissists roll, and this is what happens to the sensible, well-meaning, responsible people who narcissists like to recruit into their lives.
Know that when you are emptied out you will be discarded and the narcissist will then find some other good, responsible person to take on the mopping-up task for them.
One of the greatest gifts of our recovery, when we walk away from people like this and do the inner work, is we learn how to be responsible for ourselves and generate lives with people who take responsibility, and we stop enabling people who don’t.
By walking away, healing and re-starting our life with self-responsibility – being left to ‘mop up messes’ won’t happen to us again.
Number 6 – Your Boundaries Are Being Disintegrated
In a relationship with a narcissist you will find it difficult to speak up, stand up for yourself or hold boundaries. And when you try to do so, you are criticised, rejected, abandoned or punished.
To try to minimalise the trauma and mayhem that breaks out – you start to give up on trying to assert your needs.
Or maybe, because you have dissolved into so many feelings of powerlessness, helplessness and despair, you find yourself begging or pleading for your boundaries to be respected. Discovering that the narcissist has zero empathy for you and won’t comply, takes you down into an even deeper place of helplessness.
The Truth About This
It’s extremely common for people with poor boundaries to get involved with narcissists. When we get away and start healing and recovering our True Selves, we can become someone who has a healthy boundary function.
Then we know going forward that it isn’t about other people getting our boundaries, rather it is about us knowing our values, limits and truths; and if people can’t respect that, then these people can’t be in our life – no matter who they are.
For most of us this is our most important recovery work – because when we were young we weren’t able to establish and develop our inner truth, values and needs.
Number 7: You Feel Addicted, Disjointed and Manic
A perverse addiction happens with narcissists. There are many reasons we get trauma-bonded to them, and I’m sharing these resources on trauma bonding and peptide addiction to help you understand what it is all about.
Suffice to say, before you understand what is going on with you physiologically – meaning within the cells in your literal body, which is hijacking 95% of your feelings, thoughts and your nervous system – you may feel manic and unable to stop trying to contact or hook back up with the narcissist, even when you know how much you continually get hurt by doing so.
We can be horrified with how addicted we are to someone who treats us so terribly. It just doesn’t make logical sense, hence why you really need to look at these resources above that I have provided you with.
I have had ex-heroin addicts tell me that getting off a narcissist is ten times harder than getting off heroin. After going through the horrifying narcissistic addiction myself, which nearly claimed my life, I can see what they mean.
The Truth About This
It is of course very serious when it gets to a stage where we simply can’t talk ourselves out of doing the actions that we know are putting ourselves back into the fire to get burnt again.
Deep inner healing in our subconscious is so necessary to start shifting out the trauma; to be able to be in our inner beings with ourselves, self-soothing, looking after ourselves and no longer handing power away in ways that are dangerous and possibly even tragically self-disintegrating.
Number 8: You Are Suffering Abuse Symptoms
Things are now very serious. When our emotional Inner Being has been screaming out for our attention and we haven’t as yet pulled away and turned inwards to heal and tend to our own soul and life-force, then physically we start breaking down for our soul to fully get our attention.
It is likely that anxiety and depression, and even greater issues like fibromyalgia, adrenal issues, PTSD and agoraphobia, start to develop. You lose interest in the activities, people and self-care, which used to grant you energy, as the toxic person in your life takes up more and more of your energy and focus.
As we get stripped away more and more, and keep handing our power, energy and attention away only to become less and less, the shame and pain becomes so great that we may start hiding out from the world, lying to people, covering up and feel even more isolated in our traumatic feelings and symptoms.
The Truth About This
How bad does it have to get before we awaken to the truth?
If we stay things get worse. And if we leave and don’t attend to our inner healing, things get worse.
We may lose a lot by leaving, as many of us have, however, by leaving we can achieve the greatest gain – finally turning inwards to integrate with ourselves so that we are in a position of wholeness and can be in control of our choices and have the power to look after ourselves and create a healthy, happy and truly loving life.
Okay, please know this – there are varying degrees of narcissism and there also are people who can just be clueless and selfish but not necessarily afflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
If someone in your life does not share your values and doesn’t care for your feelings, then this is not a healthy relationship for you. As soon as we try changing other people, it’s time to pull away and say to ourselves and them, ‘This is who I am and what I need for us to continue.’
The person then either steps up, because they wish to change and meet us there or doesn’t – and if they don’t, we care and love people enough, regardless of who they are, to let them have their version of life for themselves – even if it is not what we want.
But the real question is: Are YOU whole enough to walk away if they don’t or can’t meet you where you are at?
That’s the Thriver development that we all need to do if we are to be whole and safe and powerful regardless of what other people are or aren’t doing.
That’s my favourite personal inner work, and I love to help others get there too – hence why I’m inviting you now to join me in my 16-day free course, which you can access immediately by clicking this link.
Or if you think you are ready to truly ready to heal for real from abuse, I’d love to guide you every step of the way in the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program.
Please share this article with your communities so that we can help people awaken to these truths.
As always I am greatly looking forward to answering your comments and questions below.