Anxiety has its roots back in the earliest beginnings of human evolution. It was the brain’s survival mechanism which warned our ancestors of any potential dangers in the harsh environment we have learned to conquer.
And this anxiety is also present among modern humans, triggering a warning sign whenever there is a potential danger, be it physical or psychological. However, if this feeling persists for a longer time and is triggered by seemingly non-existent situations, it is better known as an anxiety disorder, and it affects millions around the world.
There is a lot of literature which pinpoints the root cause of anxiety disorders in psychological abuse and trauma spanning all the way from childhood. One study has found that early-life stress has a profound effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and that the same effect can happen in adults.
Psychological abuse is now discussed as a major factor in the development of anxiety disorders, major depression, and PTSD. In fact, it has been established that psychological abuse is more detrimental than physical aggression and that the long-term effects of the first are ones that can be totally disabling.
Of course, mental resilience allows some people to endure psychological abuse better than others, getting away with just a few scratch marks. However, such traumatic events in times when their brains are still developing lead to supersensitivity in the neuroendocrine stress response systems, making them more sensitive and irritable to external stimuli.
Whatever the case, though, even the adult mind can develop anxiety and depression disorders as a response to the harsh environment it’s subjected to, leaving us to only imagine what effect this same abuse has on children.
Narcissistic abuse is definitely one of the most harmful types of psychological abuse, rendering the victim with low self-esteem and a completely distorted perception of oneself and the environment.
Anxiety and depression are the brain’s response to this environment: in efforts to adapt one’s mind to the unfavorable reality, it starts developing different neuroses and disorders which ultimately show as disabilities.
The most common targets for a narcissist are people who are empathetic, compassionate, and who choose to see the best in others. This sensitive type of people will choose to trust and try to understand the narcissist.
And this is what they need to start weaving their web around their good-willing victims. In the process of their flawless manipulation, they will use whatever means necessary to make their victim feel smaller and more dependent on them.
While you may think that no sane person would put up with this kind of narcissistic abuse, the truth is that the techniques used by the narcissist are designed in such way that the victim will either feel responsible for and deserving of the state they’re in, or they won’t notice that they’re being manipulated at all.
This unfavorable circumstance forces the victim to develop irrational fears and a high dose of insecurity which rewire the brain to negative thought patterns and reasoning.
From the perspective of the victim, this lowered state will eventually lead to adrenal fatigue and a constant fear that they may be doing something wrong. In certain cases, the victims start avoiding people, feel unable to function properly, and are generally in a disabled state.
In this state, the victim is very likely to develop social anxiety, depression, and any other related disorders related to the pervasive stress and the complete disassociation from oneself.
Finding yourself in such situation would require professional help, as narcissistic abuse is designed to disable you from taking proper action.
Psychological abuse is far more dangerous than physical abuse, as it leaves terrible consequences on the mental health of the victim and it renders them unable to tell right from wrong.
If this description reminds you of yourself, you should know that it has never been your fault and that you have very little to do with how things turned out. Manipulation is a serious thing and we can all fall into its grip.
Narcissists live in a darkened reality filled with insecurity and constant inner struggles. While this needs proper professional attention, you should know that you can’t change anyone unless they want to change, and a narcissist isn’t likely to want such a thing.
Image: greg pths
Thank you so much for posting about psychological/narcissistic abuse and the traumatic mental health issues it causes.
I can barely bring myself to write the word “victim” but as hard as it is for me to believe and admit… I was a victim of domestic violence. I was abused emotionally, financially, socially, verbally and even physically at times but it was the psychological / narcissistic abuse that broke me mentally and stole my spirit. The PTSD is horrible, the abuse gets worse when you leave and to divorce a narcissist is horrific at best. Divorce court is just a perfect platform for the abuser to legally abuse the victim through the court and proceedings. Most people don’t understand the results of that kind of silent abuse and your posts spread awareness and were so on point…Thanks Again
Article is so correct and wish it was obvious to the victim sooner. Wasted so many years in abuse!!
It’s gut wrenching to read my reality of all my adult life written down. I agree how divorcing led to more gaslighting and I have PTSD and anxiety disorder to recover from. It’s so unfair for us to be victims for being kind.
Is taken so much out of me that I wonder if I will have positive feelings without fear and anxiety overshadowing it.
You are not alone. We have to believe that we cN make it through. Narcissist exes will want us to stay stuck and not move forward.
We have focussed di much on them over the years. Now it’s time to take our power back.
I am determined to finding a way out.