There are so many people who think growing up abused by a narcissistic parent isn’t a big deal, we need to get over it, stop wallowing in the past & feeling sorry for ourselves. Today’s post is for them.
And, Dear Reader, if this post doesn’t describe you, feel free to show this to those in your life it describes if you think it will help them to understand just how destructive & evil it is.
Below are some of the problems that narcissistic abuse can cause. If you have not been the victim of narcissistic abuse, I hope you thank God at the end of this list that you don’t have to live with these problems. I live with every single one, & it is extremely hard.
— Constant self doubt. Narcissists are experts at gaslighting (distorting reality) which leads victims to doubt themselves constantly. Narcissists state what they say as if it was the gospel truth, & when a person hears something, especially something said so confidently, over & over, they tend to believe it. Even if it is something they can see clearly & plenty of evidence points to what they see is right, they learn to doubt their perception of reality & believe the narcissist. Even once away from the narcissist, they tend to believe other people over themselves due to not trusting their own perceptions & feelings.
— Low self-esteem. Since insecurity is at the root of narcissism, narcissists love to make others feel as badly about themselves as they do. No matter how beautiful, talented, compassionate or intelligent you are, by the time a narcissist is done with you, you’ll be convinced you are the ugliest, most selfish, useless & stupid person ever to live. Any shred of self-esteem is destroyed, & done so in such as way as not to be obvious. Narcissists rarely tell you outright you’re stupid, for example. Instead they prefer to imply it. ( “A smart person would’ve known that!”) That way, if you confront them, they can reply with something like, “I never said you were stupid!”
“I don’t know where you get these ideas of yours.” ” You’re reading into things!” or something similar. Gaslighting at its finest…
— Anger. It’s only natural that after living through narcissistic abuse, you’ll be angry. It’s unfair, destructive & hurtful. Then those who you tell often invalidate your pain or don’t believe you, because they are fooled by the narcissist’s “good guy” act. Anger is very normal under the circumstances.
— Self destructive or self harming behaviors. Many people who survive abuse do things that are self-destructive. They can make poor choices such as choosing abusive romantic partners, or they can engage in binge eating or cutting.
— Dissociation. Dissociation is a survival skill that many people use to get through traumatic events. Women who were raped often describe it as feeling as if they left their body while the attack was happening. When you are abused, you often dissociate. I thought I was just day dreaming all my life, but I later learned I’ve been dissociating all this time. Sometimes I just get lost in my own mind & emotionally pull away from those around me. It often happens during traumatic situations, but sometimes it does not. It just happens out of the blue.
— Depression. Depression is very common as well. It’s hard to be happy when you feel like an utter failure, when you are certain everything you do/feel/think is wrong & when all you hear about is your faults. Sometimes, the depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts. Yes, it really can be that bad. I spent much of my life suicidal as a result of narcissistic abuse.
— Guilt. Even knowing a lot about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there are still times that I feel guilty for disappointing my narcissistic mother. She is obviously disappointed I’m an author, she hates my house, car & that I haven’t “given her grandchildren”, & is even embarrassed by the fact I don’t speak to my in-laws (narcissistic mother in-law- I can’t deal with her verbal abuse). In spite of the fact I know these things are all right for me, occasionally, I feel guilty for disappointing my mother. This is typical. Children raised by narcissists feel responsible for everything, & that includes the happiness of their narcissistic mother. If they disappoint her, not only do they face her rage, but also the guilt for “failing”. Unfortunately this means they carry the guilt into their adult lives, so even when they know better, sometimes they still can feel guilty when they shouldn’t.
— Attracting abusive people. Once you have been abused, it seems like other abusers seek you out. Being beaten down so badly by a narcissist is no exception. Other narcissists will see you as a potential victim. Thankfully, the more you heal, the less this happens, but it still happens periodically even when you have been focused on your healing for a long time. You end up being on your guard when meeting new people or else you fall back into old, dysfunctional habits.
— Aches, pains & illnesses. Have you ever noticed that most narcissists are quite healthy, yet their victims are often sick? I believe this is because of stress. Narcissists rarely feel stressed, as they put everything unpleasant on others. Their victims, however, are under constant stress because they must appease the narcissist & anticipate her needs 24/7 at any personal cost or else face her volatile rage. Ongoing extreme stress causes a multitude of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease or even diabetes. And, depression can cause aches & pains with no physical cause.
— C-PTSD. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is very common among victims of narcissistic abuse. The ongoing, constant trauma of gaslighting, verbal abuse & the rest of the evil that is narcissistic abuse can cause physical changes in the brain which results in C-PTSD. Basically, this means your body is in a constant state of fear. Pete Walker, author of “Complex PTSD: From Surviving To Thriving” states that we have a fear reflex of fight, flight, freeze or faun. Living in a constant state of fear means you will have one of those responses, like it or not, when fear is triggered. For example, when my mother tries to control me as she did when I was a child, my natural reaction is faun- I do as she says & ignore my own anger at this unfair treatment. It takes conscious effort on my part not to behave this way. Plus, C-PTSD includes extreme anxiety, depression, flashbacks, damaged short term memory, sleep problems, nightmares & hyper-vigilance (an extreme awareness of your surroundings & potential danger). I have had C-PTSD since 2012, & frankly, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Living with the symptoms every day is sheer torture.
I would hope after reading this that your eyes are now opened to the truth about narcissistic abuse. It *is* a big deal. It *does* change your life. It has nothing to do with not getting over things or self-pity. The symptoms are a normal result to very abnormal circumstances.