What Does Narcissistic Abuse Feel Like? 10 Signs You Are A Victim Of It

Narcissistic abuse is truly one of the most crushing and soul-destroying trials anyone can go through. When we are subjected to such intense emotional manipulation at the hands of someone we believe cares for us, our mental health certainly takes a hit, and we can even lose our sense of reality and end up thinking that we are the problem. Abusive relationships come in all forms; whether they are romantic, friendship based or occur in a professional setting, they are all equally damaging and agonizing. As someone who has experienced this type of abuse first hand with my ex-boyfriend, I want to share with you what it feels like.

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My own personal experience of the abuse and what it did to me

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and now fortunately, a few years down the line from walking out on my emotionally abusive partner, I can now finally accept that I’d fallen victim to a manipulating and controlling boyfriend. Being able to pen that last sentence down makes my eyes well up with tears of pride because for years, I was in denial with regard to suffering from narcissistic abuse syndrome. I constantly used to make excuses for my ex and all the cruel things he’d do to me. No matter how many times he’d make me feel worthless and about an inch tall, I’d always find it in me to forgive him and would systematically convince myself that he’d change whilst he ripped my heart out. A relationship with a narcissist is no walk in the park, but my past relationships, although they were less toxic, were difficult too, meaning it was tough for me to realize that I was in fact a victim of narcissistic abuse. Here are the signs you need to look out for that you too are a victim.

>>> Read; How a narcissistic relationship changed me

10 Signs you are being subjected to narcissistic abuse

1) You feel humiliated

If you constantly feel awkward and made to feel small in the presence of your partner, for example, then you need to start doing some serious thinking. In my experience, whenever I spent time with our mutual friends, my ex would always make inappropriate jokes and comments about me and my appearance in order to put me down. If you feel like verbal abuse is a factor when you are with them in public, then this is also a huge red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.

2) Your opinion doesn’t matter

Someone with a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) will never take your opinion into consideration, no matter how much of an expert you are in a certain field. These individuals always believe they know best and will therefore do everything in their power to ignore and shut down other people’s opinions and inputs.

3) Your feelings are cast aside

It’s a well known fact that these folks lack empathy and struggle to understand other people’s feelings. All healthy relationships are based on the basis of being able to talk about things you are going through and sharing your emotions. If this isn’t the case, and you feel like you are walking on eggshells every time you feel upset, then questions need to be asked, and fast!

4) You feel controlled

Narcissistic partners love being in the driving seat and controlling everything in their lives, including YOU! If you can’t plan anything with friends without your partner trying to talk you out of it, then you have a problem on your hands. Alternatively, if your partner demands to see your phone and check your messages, whilst agreeing who you can see and talk to, then you definitely need to walk away because this is an accident waiting to happen.

5) You are constantly feeling inexplicably guilty

Many victims of this devious abuse feel guilty for what they are being subjected to, and some even fully believe that it is their fault. Indeed, abuser are so good at manipulating our feelings that they often succeed in making us believe that we are to blame when arguments flare up. The same principle applies to cases where physical abuse surfaces; if your abuser lost their cool, it is obviously your fault for winding them up...

6) Your stress and anxiety are off the charts

The narcissist abuse syndrome often means that victims suffer from intense bouts of anxiety and stress, which they struggle to manage effectively. The heartache and constant attacks means they are particularly vulnerable to feeling like a prisoner to their emotions.

>>> Discover the 5 symptoms of anxiety

7) Outsiders notice you have changed

Believe it or not, anyone can fall victim to narcissistic abuse, and it is so relentless that it can turn even the most sociable of people into empty shells of themselves. When people remark that you seem to have changed, it is definitely not without reason and is a worrying sign that the abuse is taking its toll.

8) You are scared of your partner/friend/abuser

Here, a raised voice, a simple disagreement or a silly throwaway comment are enough to put you on edge and make you worry about your safety.

9) You feel dependent

Yet, despite everything your abuser puts you through, you still feel indebted to them, because after all, everyone has some saving points right? Perhaps you even feel like they saved you and that no one else could love you in the same way that they do?

10) Your confidence is at rock bottom

Narcissistic partners and abusers are very talented in the art of putting us down and destroying our confidence. For them, wrecking our self-esteem is essential to keeping us onside and ensuring that we won’t leave them and expose the horrors that they inflict.

>>> Who narcissists target

Editor’s opinion - The effects of narcissistic abuse are unforgivable

Recognizing you are in a toxic situation and having the strength to walk away from it is certainly commendable. Having the force of character to break the cycle of abuse whilst holding your head high may seem unsurmountable, but with the right support system in place, anything is possible. Although, the scars of the abuse will remain, they will fade over time and victims, just like me, will eventually get their lives and personalities back. There is light at the end of this gloomy tunnel!

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