First Impressions Aren't Always As They Seem...
Are you in an abusive relationship with a narcissist or have you been the lucky one to escape?
Abusive relationships leave you feeling empty, helpless, hopeless and with lower than low self esteem. If you’re in the depths of dealing with a narcissist, you may be doubting yourself and your reality, feeling less than worthy, and only staying because you were told (and you believe) that any problems are your fault. They’re not. The abuser struggles with their own low self esteem and is thrashing internally to possess you 100% of the time.
You are most likely warm and sensitive, easily groomed to meet their needs and this can happen subtly over the years until you don’t recognize yourself. Having full control and manipulation over you until you’re the shell of the person you once were is their goal. This is trauma and with trauma, the road that lays ahead should not be walked alone.
Narcissist will blame you for their bad behavior citing ‘if you had just listened, I wouldn’t be getting so upset.’ Never taking responsibility for their actions or words, they’ll ensure you know you were in the wrong and should be crawling back for forgiveness. Their quick frustration causes them to explode and become verbally and emotionally abusive causing criticism daily whether it’s about your abilities, appearance, what you say, how you feel, etc. You’ll start to question if what the narcissist says about you is true even when others are telling you the opposite. Slowly, you are taken from your friends/family to better serve the narcissist’s needs but, the narc will make this seem like it was your idea, manipulating you into making the choice that better serves him.
There are a few forms of narcissists. One being overt (totally obvious, taking the selfies, spreading lies, playing the victim and acting mightier than thou) and covert (doing good deeds for others in anticipation of praise, charming, gaslighting, emotional and psychological abuse, acting out behind closed doors where they cannot be called out, and slowly using manipulation and control over a long period of time to get the talons in and cause you to wake up one day wondering how you got to where you are). Some narcissists sway between being overt and covert. Underneath it all, they exhibit a deep sense of insecurity and low self esteem.
‘Confidence is quiet, while insecurities are loud.’ Does your narc make grandiose gestures such as taking care of a sick friend but totally ignores you when you’re down with the flu? Does your narc show the tip to the waiter rather than subtly slide it under the plate? Does your narc let everyone know how great they are with their gestures and attention when you, the victim, are horrified because you’ve never received the same treatment? Again, ‘confidence is quiet, while insecurities are loud.’
As much as you may love the abuser and want to seek help for your relationship, know that the narcissist will either refuse therapy because ‘they don’t need it’ or lie their way through it coming out the other end as ‘having no issues’ and it still comes back to being your fault so you’re the one that needs help. They don’t know they’re narcissists and often, psychologists refuse to work with them. One of the worst parts is, you’re afraid to even talk about your abusive partner because you worry no one will believe you, even your psychologist. Their behavior is the total opposite of how the outside world views them so you keep your mouth shut and endure the private world you live in. Victims suffer PTSD in relation to narcissistic relationships. Getting help for yourself is imperative and, despite worrying who will believe you, you’ll be amazed how many are well versed in the antics of a narcissist.
What is our goal here?
- is recognizing this isn’t your fault. Despite what you’ve been told, this isn’t your fault. In fact, it has nothing to do with you. You were just the vessel for the narcissist to live out their needs.
- is being strong enough to move on and heal. Learning to trust yourself again after years of gaslighting. Working backwards. Some do make a full recovery while others remain at the halfway mark but any movement forward is a movement away from your abuser.