“The waterdrop hollows the stone not by force, but by falling often.” -Ovid
Narcissistic abuse can easily fall into the worst category of abuse, as it is a long-term, psychological manipulation that is meant to shatter your personality and your self-esteem.
And while people think that they’re immune to this kind of manipulation, narcissistic abuse can be so subtle, that you may not even notice that you’re the victim.
In fact, it’s the narcissist’s job to make sure that you see yourself as an abuser whenever you try to stand up for yourself and when you try to point to the actions or inactions which are slowly tearing your relationship down.
But what happens to you if you’re subjected to this kind of abuse? Here are 8 symptoms that may develop if you have been under a narcissist’s influence for a longer period.
1. YOU DEVELOP A LOW SELF-ESTEEM
Perhaps one of the main aims for a narcissist is to lower their victim’s self-esteem. They do this by constant unpleasant surprises which they later attribute to their partner’s ‘incompetence,’ or ‘lack of love.’ Their goal is to create a lifeless husk of what used to be a person.
2. YOU BEGIN TO THINK THAT YOU ARE GOING INSANE
Narcissistic abuse mainly consists of gaslighting techniques that are meant to distort your perception of reality and make you think that you’re imagining things, that you’re going insane, and that you’re being too emotional and unstable.
3. YOU SUDDENLY SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
Even if you had a perfect mental health history before meeting this person, this will eventually change, being under constant psychological pressure and abuse. Developing symptoms of depression and (especially) anxiety are an expected outcome of this kind of abuse.
4. YOU FEEL AS IF YOU ARE DOING ALL YOU CAN TO MAKE THINGS WORK BUT NOTHING YOU DO SEEMS TO BE APPRECIATED
The fact that you’re constantly working on the relationship and on yourself is real, but so is the fact that the narcissist uses the excuse that you’re ‘not doing enough’ in order to have you do everything. Your perception of the situation is absolutely valid, but it’s not you who is not doing enough.
5. YOU CONSTANTLY BATTLE FEELING INVISIBLE AND IGNORED
Once the narcissist gets comfortable with you, don’t be surprised that they will eagerly direct their attention to other things and they will only throw breadcrumbs at you so that you don’t run away.
6. YOUR SUCCESS IS NEVER ACKNOWLEDGED BY THEM
It’s because your success means their lack of success in the same thing – which cannot be allowed. It’s because the narcissist holds a grandiose image of themselves and in their self-perception, nobody can be better at something, and it has to be that you had just a stroke of luck at something.
7. YOU’RE AFRAID TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF AND FOR THE RELATIONSHIP
Even the slightest dose of constructive criticism is met by high walls and counter attacks. Your imagination of how a relationship should be will never add up to the narcissist’s perception of reality. And whenever you’re trying to point at something that is damaging for you and/or the relationship, they will instantly toss the blame on you, or at least make you feel like you’re abusing them.
8. YOU START LOSING ENJOYMENT IN THE THINGS THAT USED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
Eventually, every activity that brought joy to you becomes a torment to think of, and whenever you get to do these things, it looks like they’ve somehow lost their charm. It’s because you’ve become so alienated from yourself that you’re not the same person anymore. Enjoyment is not intended for martyrs, and you’ve become just that.
Image: greg pths