I was swimming in a wave-pool when I decided I wanted to get out. Looking around, the narrow end was a lot further away than the sides of the pool, so I swam for the side. I was not the best of swimmers, but I could swim enough to get by. As I swam toward the side of the pool to what I perceived to be safety, I suddenly was hit with a horrible realization. The closer I got to the side of the pool, the higher the waves and the deeper the water. I got to the side of the pool but the waves were pelting me so hard that it was difficult to boost myself up the side of the pool. I treaded water trying to catch a breath when I could. Finally I managed to have the strength to yell for help as the water threatened my very existence. Almost immediately hands reached down to pull me up out of the waves to safety. I had survived but not without learning a valuable lesson.
Sometimes danger came cleverly disguised as an instrument of safety.
That is the way it is with starting a relationship with a narcissist. Narcissism is defined as a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. It is characterized as a unrealistic sense of superiority, They are often obsessed with power, attractiveness, intelligence, etc., perceiving themselves to be superior or associated with those of high status. They often will attempt to achieve these powers at the expense of others. Narcissists seem unwilling or unable to emphasize with other’s needs and desires. They are extremely envious of other’s and need constant admiration and are often self-centered and domineering.
Narcissistic abuse will present itself in many ways often starting out as belittling, bullying and blaming. They are master manipulators often utilizing emotional blackmail to control and intimidate. They will be so sly that you will question what is true and what is not. Narcissists will be extremely neglectful of your needs and will be quick to spread lies about you to others, especially if the relationship is going south.
They will ignore your boundaries by snooping through your texts, phone calls, etc, denying the privacy your requested.
Narcissists with use emotional black mail to control you or to cause emotional instability. They will intentionally make you question your perceptions of reality or cause you to believe that you’re mentally incompetent. They will exploit you and deceive you. They will ignore the needs of a child often placing them in danger.
They will spread malicious lies about you to other people especially if they feel they are losing control. They will isolate you from family and friends. They often will not take responsibility for their actions and will often cast blame on you or others.
There are some narcissists who will take it one step further by becoming hostile and take pleasure in inflicting pain. They become paranoid and engage in anti-social behavior. This is known as Malignant Narcissism can resemble sociopathy. However narcissists and sociopaths differ in the way that the narcissist does not wish to be abandoned whereas the sociopath does not care.
There are several ways to tell if you have been emotionally abused by a narcissist.
- You don’t know who you are any more. You feel worthless.
- You are unable to feel joy about anything. You feel numb and hopeless.
- You feel like you are going crazy.
- You can’t make your partner happy no matter how hard you try.
- You have difficulty confiding in your partner and others.
- You feel like you are walking on eggshells all the time as you maneuver through life trying not to enrage your partner.
- You feel you are angry and constantly on edge.
- You find yourself telling lies to avoid angering your partner.
- You are afraid of your partner.
- You feel like you have no voice.
- You can’t concentrate and have difficulty remembering things.
- You cry a lot.
- You are overwhelmed by life.
- You dread going home after work.
- You let yourself go.
- He has turned you off to sex.
- You often google to figure out why you are feeling this way.
- You think a lot about having him/her out of your life.
- You may disappear from social life or a job or hobby for a great length of time because of the negative view you may have of yourself.
It is important to reach out to a counselor or trusted friend throughout your ordeal to perhaps find a way to make things better or to permanently remove yourself from the situation. Your sanity depends upon it. Your children’s sanity may depend upon it as well. It would be important for your children to know that this is not okay and to find ways to avoid a similar situation.
The following is a list of resources to help you!
“I think this is what we all want to hear: that we are not alone in hitting the bottom, and that it is possible to come out of that place courageous, beautiful, and strong.” Anna White