If you have ever found yourself dealing with a narcissist, you know they’ll go to great lengths to hide their own emotional shortcomings while they belittle you. Being in a relationship with a narcissist is exasperating, as these individuals refuse to acknowledge or apologize for their cruel and insensitive actions. Over time, the emotional abuse you experience can leave deep and painful scars. To learn more about the long-term effects of narcissistic abuse, read on.
What is narcissism?
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health disorder that stems from an unhealthy and inflated view of self. All of their behaviors are driven by a need to pump themselves up in the own eyes of others.
Individuals with NPD tend to seek out partners who possess certain traits. They look for someone who is compassionate and sensitive but who may be needy and struggle with low self-esteem. Like a leech that latches to a blood source, the narcissist latches onto their partner and creates an unhealthy bond.
Over time, the narcissist slowly chips away at the victim’s sense of self-worth, and through constant gaslighting, they cause them to doubt themselves. Through this emotional abuse, they are able to control the victim, and since the narcissist has no conscience, they never feel regret, guilt or remorse for mistreating their partner.
What are the common traits of a narcissist?
Someone with NPD is obsessed with control. They use various tactics in order to gain control over their victim, basically using intimidation to elicit fear or insecurity.
The traits of a narcissist include:
- Concerned only with self
- Is highly critical, bullies the victim
- A grandiose opinion of self, oversized ego, sense of entitlement
- Exploits others’ weakness
- Assumes others are jealous of their prowess
- Mood swings
- Unpredictable and explosive fits of rage
- Highly sensitive to criticism, lashes out when corrected
- Condescending, boastful and arrogant
- Torments their victim by purposely causing them to be fearful
- Does not admit blame for actions, does not apologize
- Lacks empathy and compassion
- Manipulates others to achieve their objectives
- Attempts to isolates the victim from family and friends
- Expects to be highly praised for any accomplishments
What are the long-term effects of narcissistic abuse?
If you have been involved with a narcissist, you are probably psychologically damaged from the experience. Being in a relationship with a narcissist can literally break your spirit. Being a victim trapped in the abuse cycle with a narcissist, you were literally supplying the fuel that drove their illness.
Some of the possible long-term effects of narcissistic abuse include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): After long-term exposure to the narcissist’s cruelty, always being on edge or in fear may result in PTSD.
- Anxiety: It is common to experience separation anxiety once you break it off with the narcissist, as you at first may feel disoriented without the abuser.
- Depression: The emotional abuse inflicted by the narcissist, such as constantly criticizing you or telling you how worthless you are, may cause you to develop depression.
- Feelings of inadequacy, low self-worth: If you were in a long-term relationship with a narcissist, you may feel utterly broken. You may have low self-esteem and lack confidence as a result.
- Moodiness: It is not uncommon to experience feelings of anger toward the abuser. Anger is a powerful emotion, and is often accompanied by mood swings, irritability, flat affect or the sense of feeling emotionless.
The only option for someone who is tangled up with a narcissist is to break away from the person. Distancing yourself and ignoring the narcissist is the most effective way to sever ties, although that can be difficult.
The narcissist goes to great extremes to reel their victim back in, but the key is to not respond to any of their tactics. If the narcissist has violent tendencies, you must seek professional guidance and support to break free safely.