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.
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 the 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.
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 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.
Want more? Gain insight into your own recovery with one of our narcissistic abuse recovery quizzes and assessments.
Written by: Angela Atkinson
Originally appeared on: Queenbeeing.com