17+ Signs of narcissistic abuse Find out now!

Abused By A Narcissist

The signs of narcissistic abuse can starts so slyly that it can be incredibly hard to be sure if that is what you are going through. When you are the victim your entire reality has been manipulated, warped, and distorted. You are a victim, you have been abused by a narcissist.

Slowly in this relationship they have broken you.

You have been manipulated, violated, demeaned, lied to, gaslighted, devalued, and called crazy.

Your entire sence of self is gone, and you are left wondering who you even are.

SIGNS OF NARCISSISTIC ABUSE

Through all of this, you have no cool battle scars to help tell your story. Your wounds and broken pieces are only visible to you and your fractured memories.

If this is your first time dealing with narcissist abuse, you probably don’t even realize that you are exhibiting many of these signs of serious emotional abuse.

Becoming aware of your current reality is one of the first steps back towards the light. This article outlines the common signs that you’ve been abused by a narcissist in your life.

17+ SIGNS OF NARCISSISTIC ABUSE

SIGNS OF NARCISSISTIC ABUSE

1. They provoke you and then blame you for reacting.

This is the text book sign of narcissistic abuse – gaslighting.

Gaslighting is one of the most dangerous and insidious forms of emotional abuse. 

Gaslighters love to provoke others. They take inventory of the things that upset you, and then do more of those things.

You will likely react calmly the first three or four times, thinking you resolved the issue.

But then they do it again. And again. And again.

You think: “How in the world could someone be this dense?”.

Eventually you react less calmly.

This is when the gas-lighter jumps on you and accuses you of being hysterical, crazy, sensitive, negative, paranoid, bipolar, or mentally ill.

They tell you to calm down and make you feel ashamed of your (normal) reaction to their unacceptable behavior.

They use your reaction to show others how unstable you are. They make you feel ashamed for your own reaction.

Read an in-depth post about gaslighting here.

2. You experience constant overwhelming self doubt.

Victims of narcissistic abuse experience a constant overwhelming feeling of self doubt. Feeling uncertain about things and constantly seeking validation about if doing the right thing is common. 

Actually, this is learned reactive adaptation that victims develop to cope with how the narcissistic abuser is constantly blaming, finger pointing, and accusing them of things they did not do. 

Victims are forced to accept responsibility for things they didn’t do or say. This is how the narcissist humiliates and induces shame in their victims.

SIGNS OF NARCISSISTIC ABUSE

3. You have nonexistent Boundaries.

When you are in a relationship with a narcissist you find it hard to speak up, say what you truly think, and stand your ground on what is important to you.

When you do these things you are rejected, criticized, punished, or even abandoned. 

To minimize this you don’t speak up, don’t say what you think, and let your boundaries fall away.

It becomes more important to keep the peace with the narcissist than to express our opinions and feelings.

Read an in-depth post about the importance of boundaries here.

4. You have a constant sense of mistrust.

Victims of narcissistic abuse have been conditioned to believe that everyone around them is a threat and they cannot be trusted.

You even lack trust in yourself.

Victims experience anxiety and hypervigilance about the intention of others.

This is a sign of narcissitic abuse and gaslighting. They have convinced you that this mistrust is valid.

Abused By A Narcissist

5. You dissociation From Emotions and Experiences

Victims of narcissistic abuse feel emotionally and even physically detached from their emotions and experiences which disrupts self perceptions and memory formation.

Narcissist abusers use intimidation; emotional, physical and mental abuse; isolation, economic abuse, sexual abuse, coercion, control  and dissociation is an automatic coping mechanism against overwhelming stresses of this abuse.

Your brain finds ways to emotionally block out the impact of your pain so you do not have to deal with the full terror of your circumstances.

Dr. Van der Kolk (2015) writes in his book, The Body Keeps the Score,

“Dissociation is the essence of trauma. The overwhelming experience is split off and fragmented, so that the emotions, sounds, images, thoughts and physical sensations take on a life of their own.”

Symptoms of dissociation resulting from trauma may include depersonalization, (disconnecting your body awareness from your physical self) psychological numbing, disengaged from life and passions, or complete memory loss regarding the events of the abuse.

Other symptoms sometimes found along with dissociation in victims of traumatic abuse include anxiety, PTSD, low self-esteem, somatization, depression, chronic pain, interpersonal dysfunction, substance abuse, self-mutilation and suicidal ideation or actions. 

Often these symptoms lead the victim to believe that the resulting symptoms as the source of the problem.

SIGNS OF NARCISSISTIC ABUSE

6. You live life walking on eggshells. 

A common sign of narcissistic abuse or trauma is for you to constantly try to avoid anything that may trigger a trauma memory. 

You find yourself constantly watching what you say or do around this person so you don’t trigger and outburst or punishment.

In turn, when the abuser does have an outburst you feel as though you caused it to happen and it is your fault. 

You become perpetually anxious about ‘provoking’ your abuser in any way and may avoid confrontation or setting boundaries as a result.

You may also extend your people-pleasing behavior outside of the abusive relationship, losing your ability to be spontaneous or assertive while navigating the outside world, especially with people who resemble or are associated with your abuser and the abuse.

Abused By A Narcissist

7. You isolate yourself. 

It is common for narcissists to slowly push away the friends and family of their victim. Victims also will begin to isolate themselves on purpose because they feel ashamed about the situation they are in. 

It is common in our society for have misconceptions and blame the victim for the emotional and psychological abuse.

They fear no one will understand or believe them, so instead of reaching out for help, they decide to withdraw from others as a way to avoid judgment and retaliation from their abuser.

8. You have unexplainable physical symptoms.

When victims have been in their situation for extended periods of time, the mental and psychological abuse can begin to exhibit physical symptoms.

These symptoms seem to be completely unrelated and can range in complexity from person to person.  

Some physical symptoms that my develop can include: insomnia, nightmares, eating difficulties and nightmares, irritability, hyper-vigilance, easily startled, flashbacks, hopelessness, psychosomatic illnesses, self-harming, and thoughts of suicide. 

It is common for anxiety and depression, and even greater issues like fibromyalgia, adrenal issues, PTSD and agoraphobia, start to develop. 

9. You protect your abuser.

Victims form an intense trauma bond between victim and abuser because the victim is ‘trained’ to rely on the abuser for his or her survival (Carnes, 2015).

Victims may protect their abusers from legal consequences, portray a happy image of the relationship on social media or overcompensate by ‘sharing the blame’ of the abuse.

10. You set aside your needs to please your abuser. 

How many of your dreams and goal have you set aside because your boyfriend, husband, wife, or parent did not agree with them?

You feel as if you are living just to fulfill the needs and goals of that other person. You once felt like the narcissist’s entire life revolved around you; now your entire life revolves around them.

You may have placed your goals, hobbies, friendships and personal safety on the back burner just to ensure that your abuser feels content in the relationship.

11. You develop self harming tendencies or suicidal ideation.

Victims of emotional abuse experience depression and anxiety along with feelings of hopelessness in their situation. They feel like no matter what they do they will never be able to escape and there is nothing they can do to change their situation.

This sort of learned helplessness can cause them to engage in self harming behaviors as a way to cope with the pain they are feeling.  

Victims of intimate partner violence are twice as likely to attempt suicide multiple times.

Abusers can essentially commit murder without ever being held responsible for it. .

Abused By A Narcissist

12. You are in a constant state of confusion.

Narcissists are masters at changing expectations and rules halfway through something. This in turn keeps you guessing how to please them. Keeping their victim in a constant state of confusion is key for their tactic to work for them.

When the expectations and rules change daily, it can start to wear their victims down and you no longer know what is right and what is wrong. 

It’s confusing to logically KNOW that you aren’t responsible for someone else’s behavior, thinking and feeling but to be REPRIMANDED for the other persons actions as if you could control them.

It’s crazy-making and a narcissist purposefully causes this confusion. They know that a divided and conquered mind is their most vulnerable and susceptible target who won’t be able to identify that their confusion is caused by an abusive technique called ‘gaslighting’.

Gaslighting typically happens very gradually in a relationship; in fact, the abusive partner’s actions may seem harmless at first. Over time, however, these abusive patterns continue, and a victim can become confused, anxious, isolated, and depressed, and they can lose all sense of what is happening.

The victim then starts relying on the abusive partner more and more to define reality, which creates a very difficult situation to escape.

13. You have complex PTSD symptoms.

As a result of chronic emotional abuse, victims many struggle with complex PTSD symptoms. PTSD is extremely complex, so for the sake of this artice I’m going to keep things short and sweet.

PTSD is similar to a severe anxiety attack that runs throughout your entire body.

The rapid heart beat, the intrusive and spinning thoughts and fears – just like the abuse is CURRENTLY HAPPENING SEQUENTIALLY ALL OVER AGAIN.

This is called RE-LIVING.  It’s as if the traumatic abuse event is occurring in the present tense. All the emotions of fear, shame, shrinking, wincing, looking over your shoulder & walking on eggshells waiting to be attacked ruthlessly AGAIN.   

14. You feel addicted and manic.

Trauma Bond is a term that you will hear repeatedly on this journey because it has a major impact on our recovery. This trauma bond that we develop is what makes us addicted 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.

When we first became attached to the narcissist, we had the deep and powerful inner belief that this relationship was ‘the one’ – it felt so real and so true to us. It felt astoundingly ‘right’. We thought we had hit the jackpot.

Over time the cracks started appearing, yet we still experienced the glorious times (even if they became less and less) of this ‘delightful person’ who we wanted to believe was the partner of our dreams. Trauma bond has already formed and we are blind to the truth about our narcissist partner.

SIGNS OF NARCISSISTIC ABUSE

15. You blame yourself.

Victims of narcissistic abuse begin to compare themselves and their relationships to other people in healthy, happy relationships.

They start to wonder why their abuser appears to treat complete strangers with more respect. This can send them down the trapdoor of wondering, “why me?” and stuck in an abyss of self-blame.

The truth is, the abuser is the person who should be blamed – you are in no way responsible for being abused.

16. You feel like you are the crazy one.

If you don’t think that having a crazy person constantly blaming you for being “crazy” will make you crazy, a few minutes with a narcissist that will convince you otherwise.

17. You are always trying to avoid a crisis.

Constantly living in a war zone where all forms of power and control are used against you  the threat of abuse is always present.

Your everyday life becomes an ongoing traumatic event.

More Signs of Narcissitic Abuse…

You might be undergoing narcissistic abuse if:

  • You feel as if you’re always being tested
  • You never know for sure where you stand with your partner
  • Accusations of your failures come from out of nowhere, with little discernible correlation to your recollection of events
  • You’re hearing complaints about your flaws which sound strangely like your partner’s flaws
  • You feel as if you’d better watch your behavior in all interactions with this partner
  • You feel an ever-present whiff of power in this person’s presence
  • You feel a little bit bad all the time, as if your gut is trying to warn you

Now what?

In addition to all these symptoms the aftermath of narcissistic abuse can also include depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, a pervasive sense of toxic shame, emotional flashbacks that regress the victim back to the abusive incidents, and overwhelming feelings of helplessness and worthlessness.

When we are in the midst of an ongoing abuse cycle, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what we are experiencing because abusers are able to twist and turn reality to suit their own needs, engage in intense love-bombing after abusive incidents and convince their victims that they are the ones who are abusers.

If you are currently in an abusive relationship of any kind, know that you are not alone even if you feel like you are. There are millions of survivors all over the world who have experienced what you have.  

This form of psychological torment is not exclusive to any gender, culture, social class or religion. The first step is becoming aware of the reality of your situation and validating it – even if your abuser attempts to gaslight you into believing otherwise.



9 thoughts on “17+ Signs of narcissistic abuse Find out now!”

  1. I’m away from mine 4 weeks now and he is still trying everything there is to pull me back in . I was with him for 8 years I was very lucky to escape with my life . I don’t know were to go for help I’ve no family friends I’m so alone and broken . I’ve 2 children who I’m trying so hard to be strong for but I’m in so m6ch pain and confused as to how and why I even aloud this to happen to me I’m so ashamed of myself how am I going to heal or even just make it through the day even the hour .. Please help me

    1. I am so sorry you are going through this. I know exactly what you mean when you say you are ashamed you let this happen. That shame is something I still struggle with today. Healing is a long process and we are all a work in progress. Keep looking forward, not backwards. We are not going that way.

  2. 29 years he is in control of everything… alienated my family and children as he has told everyone I’m crazy . My life is over … embarrassment, humiliation , belittlement. How do I escape ? Please help I’m so done . I have nothing I’m in a prison . My bedroom is behind a locked door so he can’t force his self on me…. I have on friends my parents have passed. I don’t know what to do ? I’m done!

    1. This is exactly what am passing through now. I have no say, I can’t go out, if I try to defend myself he will say I talk too much. If I tried to correct him he will say am too fast. He said negative things about me to his family. He curses and uses abusive words on me often time. We don’t resolve issues because he will always say “it’s past, I don’t dig out old things”. He always makes me feel I worth nothing which he even says it at times. I’m reading this articles with tears rolling down my cheek. Honestly I don’t know what to do, if I want to quit he will beg me to forgive him and so on. Please I need a help

  3. As I read the 17 signs of the abuser, my heart hurt because of how true they all are for me. I have been married to a narcissist for 26 years and she has completely broken me. I was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts. Thank you for the validation that I’m not alone.

  4. OMG that‘s all so true. i am with him for 5 years now and tomorrow is the day. i am MOVING OUT!
    i‘m afraid to go but i‘m also afraid to stay.
    life will be better. i feel it.
    you all can do it! you are strong! you can achieve everything you want!

  5. I’ve gotten out of a narsisistic 9 year relationship.been sent to jail 4 times for no reason..and kept returning to where I lived for 29vyears. .and she would find me tell me someone else called the cops etc.i lived in the garage for 3.5 years.( non insulated or heated )& I’m in canada.its a miracle I survived.alm9st died in 2014.ans was fine with my own death but IT(SHE) said she wanted me to survive ….stupid me being brainwashed all those years didn’t see it coming.so I not only survived I became a medical miracle.insteaad of a few operations that were going to be required,leaving me with half my face removed.i pulled a miracle out of my ass.wirh 26 emergency flaps.and imnediate 6 hour operation.i woke up to survive.to watch my then spouse ruin everything I’ve ever accomplished in my life.she manipulated me with crack cocaine till I told her I needed rehab.then I was given more money to feed my addiction .and I was called the narsisit.fir those years in the garage 27 days into my own recovery.( I told no one) I had a premonition of the garage years to come after a good night’s sleep.i went in that morning to use bathemroom but mainly to tell my spouse if what I dreamt.si I thought more abuse from her she thought I was up all night doing crack.yet she hadn’t given me a dime or come out to see how I was in mid November in the RV.so I asked if she could call me in.and denied so on my way to work she called my boss and told her false opinions to my boss.well my 35$ an hour job was done that day.andvi survived to watch my truck get repossessed.lost everything .started going to jail all because as she tried her bs I would leave and say ” anger management” on my way out the door and ended up in jail four times.although I’ve taken the course 7 times.one good thing I’ve done between visits to jail was put myself in rehab without her consent.and through the program.we were thought about human behaviors ei narsisistic.tyrant.victim and so on.interesting what you can learn in a sober frame of mind.but when she picked me up she brought me a treat.” for graduating” and so on .the forth time I was sent to jail I was coming out of my mental health appointment and 2 officers where waiting for me.ivsaid common I was in a meeting how can I be two places at once.but the law is no more about justice.i asked the officer I was in the car with in French as I noticed his accent.wtf is going on .in french.well.he paused the recording withing the vehicle and set me straight that’s it’s always been her calling.lposing her shit and they are forced to seperate us.so being I have no friends at this point and no family back to jail I go.well.i never went back.i left everything I owned behind reset my life from homeless to where I am today tough times.but well worth it being away from the mindf##k I was put into.life is getting better day by day.i have a sence of hope.ive accumulated a good life although in now on disability.and money is scarce.life is way BETTER THAB EVER.AND I THANK GOD FOR THE PREMONITION AND TOUCHING ME PERSONALLY IN THE JAIL CHAPEL.AMEN.
    AND HEY CHIN UP.IF I MANAGED TO DO IT THROUGH ALL OF THIS.YOU WILL DO JUST FINE.NEVER GIVE UP.GID DIES LOVE YOU

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