The word narcissist is often used for people who spend a bit too much time loving or caring only about themselves. However, narcissism at its core is much more than an obsession with selfies or the mirror. Narcissistic abuse is a type of emotional abuse where the abuser only cares about themselves, and may also use words and actions to manipulate their victims behavior and emotional state. Effects of narcissistic abuse can differ and they mainly depend on how long an individual can endure these types of relationships. The effects may range from mild to severe, with some survivors recovering while many sustain lifelong damage. Here are some attributes that narcissistic people have that affect people
- Overwhelming lack of empathy: One biggest thing in a narcissist is their lack of empathy. You may be dating them and they would still not feel any remorse for you if you’re sad. Initially they would make you feel special and validate all your emotions but once you are attached to them they invalidate how you feel and have no compassion towards you. Everyone else gets treated merely as an object and they own them.
- Projection: If you ever get into a fight with them, they will most definitely project what they have done and who they are onto you. They lack any respect for others and solely believe they are in the right hence if you listen closely they will project all their mistakes and make it sound like it’s your fault.
- Envious: They feel like life is harder for them and are often very envious of other people. They genuinely believe everyone, but them, is effortlessly and easily making it through life. Accomplished people and narcissists can never get along because narcissists will never allow that.
- Juvenile :Immature. A simple word which speaks volumes. Narcissists very often blurt out things in any small fights such as, “Yeah? Well, no one likes you anyways “ ”I HATE YOU” “YOU ARE UGLY”. Messing with your head might be something they enjoy doing.They never really heal their inner child and often quickly get defensive when things don’t go their way.
- Extreme manipulation: If you often wonder why you’re at a party you never wanted to go to, why you’re wearing a shirt you hate or why you’re buying a car you don’t even like, that may be because you’re being manipulated. These keen observers manipulate you into liking things you hate and get you into situations you are not a fan of. They often gaslight you.
- Superficial charm: Many narcissists have wonderful qualities like power, intelligence, a good sense of humour, charm and liveliness. Their personalities may be intoxicating and when you feel like that person “picked you ” you may feel wanted, special or chosen. When you meet them for the first time it may feel like you have a lot in common or maybe that “it is meant to be” .
Table of Contents
- 1. Effects of Narcissistic Abuse on your Mental Health
- 2. Damage it Causes to the Brain:
- 3. Coping strategies to adopt:
- 4. Healing From Narcissistic Abuse
Effects of Narcissistic Abuse on your Mental Health
Emotional abuse is directly related to the thinning of certain functionaries of the brain that help you manage emotions, feelings and be self aware – mainly the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobe. As an effect of narcissistic abuse anxiety and depression often get developed. The significant stress you face can trigger persistent feelings of fear, worry, and nervousness especially when you do not know what to expect from their behavior. You could also be at risk of developing mental health problems such as PTSD, anxiety disorders, or depression.You might become fearful in situations that remind you of your traumatic experiences.
- Loss of Sense of Self and Self Worth Feeling of completely losing yourself is something that springs up. You may no longer feel like the person you were before all this began.You may also have trust issues with other people (especially those closest to you), and constantly find yourself doubting or second-guessing yourself.It may start feeling like you are not good enough and you did something to deserve this abuse. This can lead to shame and embarrassment, which may often stop you from reaching out for help.You may also start being indecisive.
- Self harming habits Victims of narcissistic abuse experience problems with addiction like drinking, smoking, and even food addiction or overspending. These addictions are the simplest way to numb emotional pain. When the validation and a spotlight is pulled away after distancing themselves from the abuser, the victims often suffer from withdrawals. They feel physically sick and seek dopamine hits by binge eating sugary foods. This causes harm to them in the long term as they gain weight and may suffer from body dysmorphic disorders.
- Emotional Liability After going through this abuse, it’s common to suffer sudden mood swings and irritability. you’ll feel emotionless and like a robot. you may experience depersonalisation where it feels as if everything around you isn’t real or accurate.
- Trust issues and other people pleasing After experiencing narcissistic abuse, your trust levels are going to be very low. While you’ll start feeling that this can be an honest thing (in some ways), it could also hinder your future relationships. you’ll end up constantly wondering whether people are being truthful with you or if they’re just manipulating your emotions to induce what they need. you will become hypervigilant and overly sensitive to criticism or judgment from others due to the fear of being betrayed another time. You’ll become overly accommodating to urge approval from others after having had to steer on eggshells for so long.
- Stuck in a Cycle Many abusers still contact them even after the victim has set boundaries. Abusers act nice in an effort to induce you back or issue threats. Sometimes they try to manipulate you by making you feel sorry for them. this is often a vicious circle which makes you overstimulated and develop another effect : self destructive habits.
- Risk of PTSD If you have got children who witnessed narcissistic abuse, they might even be in danger of developing psychological state problems like PTSD, anxiety disorders, or depression.2 they could become fearful in situations that remind them of their traumatic experiences. they may also feel angry at your spouse or the world, feel disconnected from others, or have low self-esteem or confidence issues.
- Depression and Anxiety Many people who have experienced narcissistic abuse also develop depression. Survivors often struggle with feelings of worthlessness after months or years of being told how useless and stupid they’re by their abuser. Many narcissistic abuse survivors abide anxiety. After experiencing narcissistic abuse, you will experience extreme fear or anxiety in relationships with new people.
Damage it Causes to the Brain:
Researchers claim that stress caused by abuse by narcissists affects the three major parts of the brain – the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and amygdal
- Hippocampus is the part of your brain which stores short term memories before they become long run memories. Hence it decides how and in what way learn new things. Continuous stress thanks to abuse can damage the brain cells within the hippocampus, making it gradually shrink in size. As a result, the person starts to forget things easily and finds it difficult to find out new stuff.
- The prefrontal cortex is a region of the brain that’s located right behind the eyes. This region controls attention, memory, decision-making, and planning. similar to the hippocampus, this region is observed to shrink in traumatic stress. People stricken by narcissistic abuse find it difficult to form decisions and have a tendency to have a shorter span. They also tend to be depressed and present with an absence of self-care.
- Finally, amygdala the fear centre of the brain — gets activated each time you are feeling anxious or scared. It stores all the memories of the abuse and gets activated each time someone talks about it. Traumatic stress increases the dimensions of the amygdala. This manifests as increased anxiety and mood disorders.
Coping strategies to adopt:
- No Contact Rule: Therapists and abuse recovery specialists recommend alienating and avoiding narcissists completely. Leave that friend, partner, co-worker and maintain a distance. this might be hard if the person is in your family who you reside with and see everyday. So, during this case, state clear boundaries- “I can speak about this with you, but if you begin shouting, swearing or calling me names I’m going to leave this room.”
- Prepare for complex emotions: separating or setting boundaries with someone who has dwindled and confused your mind into thinking they’re important to you, causes you to feel complex emotions. So be ready to go through a roller coaster of emotions.
A therapist can support you to navigate these feelings.
- Reclaim your identity: Narcissists often change parts of you that they don’t perceive to be as important. This might be anyone, a partner, a sibling, a parent, a friend, a toddler or anyone. they’ll say things like – “No, don’t wear glasses it makes you seem like a nerd” “You know i prefer you better after you don’t talk a lot” “Your laugh is cute, you must change it though.” “Why are you not confident? Just speak up.” all these comments hurt and affect your brain. Heal your inner child and prioritize finding who you truly are.
- Join a support group:There are many communities on the net and in world for folks that have had similar experiences. you’ll find it therapeutic to interact with others who understand exactly what you are going through and may offer tips and advice to assist you cope.
Infiheal will provide you with 24/7 mental state support.
Healing From Narcissistic Abuse
Healing From Narcissistic Abuse
Healing itself takes a lot of time and narcissistic abuse victims develop many mental disorders which require months or even years to heal so you will have to be patient but it’s all worth the time and effort, you can and will move on to better people and make healthier connections. Moving on can be hard, especially if it’s from someone you genuinely liked but remember emotional abuse is destroying your mind and body. No parent, no partner, no friend and no-coworker is worth destroying your mental health for. Initially it may be hard to step away but in the long run your mind and body will be grateful.