One very common sign of narcissism in adults is isolating their victims.
Narcissistic parents can come across as over protective. The truth though is that many forbid their children to spend time with or even speak to other people, even people within their own family. If the children disobey, they are severely punished. My mother raged terribly when I spent time with my now ex husband when we were in high school. She also kept me close to her side when we visited family, not allowing me much time alone with my cousins or grandparents.
When children of narcissistic parents grow up, their parents often do their best to start trouble in their child’s friendships & even their marriage. They often treat friends as if they are unworthy to speak to. Some narcissistic parents tell their adult children outright that their spouse isn’t good enough while others demonstrate this is how they feel without saying the words by behaviors such as refusing to acknowledge the spouse’s birthday. Other narcissistic parents will outright lie to their adult child about the spouse, such as claiming that spouse has been unfaithful or abuses their children. From my observations, the majority of narcissistic parents do as my in-laws have done, & treat the spouse poorly behind the adult child’s back yet are nice to the spouse only when the adult child is around. By doing this, when the spouse complains, the adult child doesn’t believe them because they only saw their parent being nice to them. This causes a great deal of friction in a marriage & many marriages fail because of this behavior. That of course is the goal.
While some use obviously controlling behaviors such as threats, most narcissistic spouses are more subtle in how they isolate their victims. They plant seeds of doubt in their spouse’s minds about people they want out of their spouse’s life. My ex husband told me my best friend wasn’t a good friend to me & didn’t really care about me. He said the same about my wonderful grandparents. He obviously disapproved of me having people in my life who could see through his toxic behavior. My best friend & I went our separate ways for years & I stepped out of my grandparents’ life for years too because of him. On a side note, I’m happy to say he is out of my life, & my best friend is back in it. My grandmother died not long after I left my grandparents’ life, unfortunately. I did reconnect with my grandfather though & had 3 good years with him before he passed away.
The reason narcissists isolate their victims is because an isolated victim is easy to control. Isolated people don’t have good people in their lives who will tell them that the way they are being treated is wrong, they deserve better or that they don’t have to tolerate such behavior which means they’ll tolerate the abuse. They don’t have good people who will help them to escape the abuse or to help them heal which often leaves them in the position of feeling that they have no way to escape. Without such good people in a person’s life, it can be very easy to accept abuse. A person often even loses the desire to leave the abusive relationship, because they are so beaten down by their abuser either physically or emotionally or both.
If this describes your situation, know that you are NOT alone! I would dare say almost every victim of narcissistic abuse has been in this situation. Don’t let that be a reason to stay in the situation though. Reach out however you can. Online forums are a great way to meet others who understand. I have a Facebook group full of caring, understanding & supportive people. There are many others as well, & not just on Facebook.
If the narcissist monitors your online activities, then talk to someone else, such as your doctor or pastor. Call a crisis hotline, preferably a domestic violence one. They should be able to help or at the very least point you in the direction of help available to you in your area either to help you escape the narcissist or at least find safe people to talk to. Isolation is a form of abuse, & you deserve better than to be abused!