Love shouldn’t hurt – ever

Signs You Are Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse
You may have heard the word “narcissist” tossed around and used as a catch-all term to describe anyone who may have wronged us, however, a person with narcissistic personality disorder is quite different. Awareness of the signs of narcissistic abuse and solutions can help empower you to get out of these toxic relationships. Here are 8 signs you are dealing with narcissistic abuse:

1. There is no kindness, compassion, or sanity in your relationship: Toxic people will spin things around on you, blame you, and will not take accountability for their actions. If someone hurts you and is incapable of being genuinely apologetic, they will only continue to hurt you for the duration of your relationship.

2. Immature behavior and giving up pieces of yourself: A narcissistic person will get bent out of shape over the smallest inconvenience that any mature adult wouldn’t get upset about. They believe they are entitled to and expect preferential treatment and can be nasty, demeaning, and even explosive if they don’t get their way. They may even threaten to abandon you or leave you, leading you to do things outside of your comfort zone or value system just to keep them from going.

3. You feel angry, disjointed, and behave in ways you normally don’t: If you know you have integrity, empathy, and are capable of having sane conversations and getting along with most people, yet, with this person you become the worst version of yourself this is generally because your boundaries are being violated. The circular arguments make your head spin because they go around and round on unrelated tangents that make no sense. The absurdity of it all makes you feel frustrated, angry, and unbalanced.

4. Trying to prove you are a good person: Narcissists will regularly accuse you of all the things that they themselves do. For example, they will accuse you of being untrustworthy, uncaring, and unfaithful. They will complain that you make everything about yourself and that you use people. Naturally, this rubs you the wrong way and you find yourself going above and beyond to prove them wrong.

5. Cleaning up their messes: Being connected with a narcissist comes with lots of drama and disaster seems to be constantly looming. Narcissists seek attention, admiration, and acclaim with little to no thought about the feelings, opinions or preferences of other people. It’s not uncommon to find yourself sorting out their messes and drama, even lying for them or covering their tracks. You can heal and restart your life with self-respect by walking away.

6. Disintegrated boundaries: It can be difficult to speak up, stand up for yourself, or hold boundaries when dealing with a narcissist. When you do so you are often criticized, rejected, or punished. As a result, you try to minimize the trauma and mayhem by giving up on trying to assert your needs. Begging or pleading for your boundaries to be respected only to find zero empathy from the narcissist can lead to feelings of powerlessness, helplessness, and despair.

7. You feel addicted and manic: Perverse addiction or trauma bonding happens often when dealing with a narcissist. Even when you know they will continually hurt you, do you feel unable to stop trying to contact or hook back up with them? We can feel horrified by how addicted we’ve become to someone who treats us so terribly. It is time to get help when it gets to the point where we simply can’t talk ourselves out of doing the things that put us back into the fire to get burnt again.

8. Suffering from abuse symptoms: Victims of abuse often develop symptoms such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, agoraphobia, fibromyalgia, and adrenal issues. The activities, people, and self-care that used to give you energy fades as the toxic person takes up more and more of your focus. Feelings of shame and emotional distress can become so great that we start hiding from the world, lying to people, and becoming isolated in our traumatic feelings and symptoms.

There are varying degrees of narcissism and there are some people who are just clueless and selfish but not necessarily narcissistic. If someone in your life does not share your values or care for your feelings, then this is not a healthy relationship. By leaving you can achieve the greatest gain – becoming whole and in control of your choices and the power to create a happy, healthy and truly loving life. Do you recognize any of these signs? If so, please talk to a trusted friend, family member, or advocate. Please contact us locally at 256-574-5826, on our 24/7 HELPline at 256-716-1000, or on our website at csna.org. Advocates provide free, confidential support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

-Rebecca Hieronymi

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