How Narcissistic Abuse Changes You

 / 

, ,
How Narcissistic Abuse Changes You

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist and suffering abuse but unable to let go of the relationship, then you must read this post to know how narcissistic abuse causes brain damage and changes you.

If you were raised in a healthy home with loving parents, then chances are you would have been well-rounded and balanced. If your parents were neglectful, abusive, or absent, you might be struggling to find yourself, at the very least. You might also be living with a form of post-traumatic stress disorder that significantly affects your everyday reality.

In either case, if you happened to end up in a relationship with someone who turned out to be a toxic narcissist, or even who had been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, then you would have had to endure their abuse.

And if you were in that relationship for a long time, then you might feel like you’ve lost yourself – or like you’ve never really known your true self at all.

That is due to the fact that narcissistic abuse changes you. It changes who you become. It changes what might have been a happy, confident, secure person into someone who doubts their worth and their value every day. It takes away your ability to have a healthy, full life and causes you to hyper-focus on it as you try in vain to resolve it, repeatedly, over and over again.

What happens during a relationship with a toxic narcissist to lead to these changes?

You’re probably wondering exactly which parts of this kind of relationship will lead to this metamorphosis. I’m going to walk you through some of the most common feelings and experiences that lead to the loss of self in a toxic relationship.

You go through these ups and downs. One week, you might be feeling elated because you’ve finally figured out the exact right thing to say to this person. You rehearse it in the mirror. You go over and over it in your head.

Related: Anxiety Disorders Could Be Caused By Being Exposed To Narcissistic Abuse

You know that THIS TIME, it’s going to work. THIS TIME, the narcissist will finally see the light and become the amazing person you know they can be – or at least, see you for the decent person you are.

When the conversation happens, you are ready and on point. You say all the right things and you think you might see a spark of understanding that will ignite a firestorm of positive change in the relationship.

You finish up what you’ve got to say and you pause, looking expectantly at the narcissist, hoping that look on their face is one of comprehension and realization. The pause feels like a full minute before the narcissist begins to speak.

And when they do, you feel yourself utterly deflating. You hear the same old responses. The same narcissistic rage, and when you don’t respond to that, because you’ve learned the gray rock method and you understand that reacting emotionally will only further encourage them to act out? They pull out the old narcissistic injury card. You know, the “poor me” act? Yep.

And it is at this very moment when you realize, for the 547-thousandth time, that this person will not change. That there’s nothing you could possibly do or say to be enough for them, to get them to wake up and see this person standing in front of them, just asking them to love them. And you mentally resign yourself to one of two things. Either you realize that you’ve got to leave, or you realize that this is now your life.

Related: 24 Terms Of Narcissistic Abuse That You Should Know About

So, how does a relationship with a toxic narcissist change you?

Well, it’s simple. 

Narcissistic abuse causes brain damage and brain damage of any type changes you.

There are three significant parts of the brain, including the amygdala, hippocampus, and cortex.

The amygdala is the area of the brain that is known as the ‘fear center’. Each time you become scared or anxious, that area is activated. It also keeps the memories of the abuse in it and each time anyone talks about it, that activates the amygdala. The abuse you had endured is what caused the fear center to keep activating. And the constant activation of the fear center will cause it to increase. This can lead to mood disorders and anxiety disorders.

Related: Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome: 10 Signs You’ve Experienced Narcissistic Abuse

Then there is the hippocampus which is the area of the brain that stores short-term memories (which it then converts into long-term memories). The hippocampus dictates how and when you can learn anything new.

However, uncontrolled stress will shrink the hippocampus. So, as you might imagine, the constant stress you’re dealing with when you’re in a toxic relationship with a narcissist will cause it to shrink. This leads you to struggle more with learning new things in addition to being extra forgetful.

And finally, there is the cortex of the brain. This is the area of the brain that is located right behind the eyes. This is the area that is in charge of planning, making decisions, attention, and memory. The cortex also shrinks the same way the hippocampus does when you are under too much-uncontrolled stress.

This causes decision-making to become a challenge. Your attention span gets shorter. You’re far more likely to deal with depression. You might be dealing with apathy, meaning you just don’t feel like you can do anything at all – that feeling of being just stuck. And you stop caring about yourself. You might even stop showering or brushing your teeth. Self-care becomes a thing of the past.

So, now you know why you might have previously been successful, and took good care of yourself, and wanted to contribute something to society – but after enduring narcissistic abuse and brain damage, you found yourself being a shadow of what you used to be. And now you know that there is a scientific explanation of how the abuse changed you.

But the good news is that the brain can be retrained. And there are things you can do on your own at home to actually start to sort of “rewire your brain.” That is thanks to neuroplasticity.


Written by Angela Atkinson
Originally appeared on Queenbeeing
narcissistic abuse changes you pin
How Narcissistic Abuse Changes You pin
How Narcissistic Abuse Changes pin one

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

Breaking Free: The Ultimate Checklist for Ending a Relationship With a Narcissist

Point Checklist For Ending A Relationship With A Narcissist

Ending a relationship with a narcissist is not a very easy thing to do, to be honest. However, ending a narcissistic relationship is important if you want to live a happy and sane life.

In order to achieve this goal, it's crucial to know the steps for leaving an abusive relationship. Let's find out how to end an abusive relationship and how to leave a narcissistic relationship.

Key Points

Leaving an abusive relationship is often the most dangerous time for a victim, as it is when the abuser fears they are losing control.

While not all people with NPD are abusive, if your abuser has narcissistic traits, they could be capable of post separation abuse.


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

Coping with Dysfunction: Understanding the 10 Unspoken Rules of Dysfunctional Families

Hidden Dynamics Unspoken Rules of Dysfunctional Families

Have you ever noticed certain patterns in your family that have made you think, "Maybe my family is dysfunctional"? This post delves deep into the signs your family is dysfunctional and the unspoken rules of dysfunctional families. Let's find out more about how to tell if your family is dysfunctional or not.

Key Points

All families, as with all social systems, have some level of dysfunction. It does not mean they are all unhealthy or abusive, but some are.

Growing up in unhealthy environments can set children up for unhealthy or unsafe relationships down the line.

Developing and maintaining boundaries can help decrease trauma

READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

6 Stages Of Healing For Survivors Of Childhood Family Trauma

Childhood Family Trauma Stages Of Healing For Survivors

Experiencing childhood family trauma is without a doubt, one of the most painful things a human being can go through. However, overcoming family trauma and healing from family trauma is also possible.

KEY POINTS

Due to their history of normalizing unhealthy behaviors, trauma survivors often do not realize their families were dysfunctional.

Unmet needs in childhood may manifest in adulthood as shame, causing many survivors to blame themselves for their trauma history.

If we do not do the work of growth, these behavior patterns can continue long into adulthood. But healing is possible.


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

The Impact of Family Trauma: 20 Common Personality Traits Among Survivors

Common Personality Traits Of Family Trauma Survivors

Experiencing childhood trauma and family trauma are two of the hardest things a person can go through. This post is all about childhood trauma in adults, the signs of family trauma, and some of the most common personality traits found in family trauma survivors.

In childhood, children lack the tools to understand when something bad or dysfunctional is happening, only that they have to endure the trauma.

As a result, they develop coping skills and mechanisms to deal with it, which leads to adult pathology. “Childhood experiences literally impact the biology of the brain.” (Perry, 2021). More therapists now are aware of the link between childhood trauma and adult personality traits.

<


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

What Is An Exhibitionist Narcissist? Breaking Down The Anatomy Of The Attention-Seeking Narcissist

What Is An Exhibitionist Narcissist Traits and Behaviors

Ah yes, narcissists! What a fun bunch of people who abuse you and ruin your relationships and life. While narcissists are horrible to be with as they are, it can be even more difficult to be around an exhibitionist narcissist. But what is an exhibitionist narcissist? 

Let’s take a deep dive and learn how to spot one and protect yourself from their dastardly mind games.

What is an exhibitionist narcissist?

Narcissism is a personality trait and it can manifest in different ways such as the vulnerable narcissist, the closet narcissist, the toxic narcissist, the exhibitionist narcissist and many others. So exactly what is an exhibitionist narcissist?


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

Breaking the Cycle: 7 Strategies To Avoid Falling Into A Narcissistic Relationship Pattern

Narcissistic Relationship Pattern Tips To Break The Cycle

Have you ever been in a relationship with a narcissist? If your answer is yes, then you know how toxic, unhealthy, and emotionally draining it really is. And if you find yourself falling into a narcissistic relationship pattern every time you open up your heart to someone, then this article might be able to help you.

Falling into a narcissistic relationship pattern can be a devastating experience, leaving you feeling depleted, anxious, and helpless. Narcissistic relationships are characterized by an imbalance of power, with one partner seeking constant validation and attention, while the other is left feeling unheard and unimportant.

Dating someone with narcissistic personality disorder is probably one of the most traumatic things you ca


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

What I Learned From Living With A Narcissist 

What I Learned From Living With A Narcissist

Are you in a relationship with a narcissist? Well there can be long term effects of living with a narcissist, can be emotionally depleting. Read to know more.

Relationships with narcissists revolve around them – their needs, their entitlement, their vanity, and their moods. Partners are not seen as separate, whole human beings with their own feelings and needs.

Because they lack empathy and think of only of themselves, narcissists feel entitled to control, belittle, and exploit family members in order to boost their impaired self-esteem and maintain their control.

Maintaining power is their primary objectiv


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲