2. No one believes you’re abused
Narcissists often use subtle and hidden strategies to manipulate and control their victims. Emotional abuse is often hard to identify and even harder to prove to others. The abuse can be so effectively disguised by your narcissist, that your friends and family may fail to notice it, even when it occurs in front of them. Although your family and friends may not doubt your claims of abuse, they may feel that you are misunderstanding the situation or may ask you to change your perceptions. This can leave you feeling more confused, disappointed, guilty and filled with further self-doubt.
Read also: How Narcissistic Abuse Changes You
3. You feel isolated
Most narcissists often tend to isolate their partners as it can make you more vulnerable to emotional manipulation. However, you may also isolate yourself due to shame and self-doubt as well. Moreover, as others may not believe that you are being abused, you may feel alone and withdraw from social interactions. Various other factors like misconceptions about abuse, victim-blaming and lack of social support may push you further towards isolation. Bestselling Author Shahida Arabi explains that people with Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome “fear no one will understand or believe them, so instead of reaching out for help, they decide to withdraw from others as a way to avoid judgment and retaliation from their abuser.”
4. Your narcissist discredits you
The narcissists smear campaign can not only make you look bad in front of others, it can also make others criticize you and make them appear perfect. They can distort the truth to earn admiration from others and disprove you and your claims of being abused. What’s worse, they can use your reactions against you to gain sympathy from others. Hence, they can charm and win over your friends and loved ones making you look like the abuser.
5. You experience dissociation
Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome can often lead to feelings of dissociation which you may use as a survival mechanism. You may experience physical or emotional detachment from the environment leading to disruptions in consciousness, perceptions, memories and your sense of self. Dissociation allows your brain to prevent the emotional impact of your pain from affecting you excessively and result in emotional numbing. This can especially happen when you are unable to cope with the terror and trauma of the existing circumstances. Shahida adds “Mind-numbing activities, obsessions, addictions and repression may become a way of life because they give you an escape from your current reality.”
6. You will do anything to please them
The effects of narcissistic abuse can make you sacrifice your own physical and emotional needs, safety and desires to please your narcissistic abuser. Although you may have been a confident and ambitious person when you met them, now you only aspire to fulfill their needs and desires. As your whole life revolves around your abuser, your career, goals, relationships and even safety take a backseat. Your primary objective is to make sure that your narcissist is satisfied with you and the relationship. This can go to such an extent that you end up protecting your abuser and criticizing yourself. “Rationalizing, minimizing and denying the abuse are often survival mechanisms for victims in an abusive relationship,” explains Shahida.