Part of learning how to have healthy relationships is also being able to recognize signs of abuse in your current relationships. To begin with, I would like to review some information about narcissism; this is because I believe that narcissism is one of the most subtle, hidden forms of abuse out there.My daddy was a narcissist, and I suffered under his hand for 24 years of my life. Please consider this information as lessons learned from my pain, so that you don’t have to suffer unnecessarily in yours. Consider this my gift to you, one that I suffered to give:
Narcissism creates an atmosphere of codependency. This means that in a relationship with a narcissist, you will often find yourself thinking thoughts like, “I just can’t do this without them”, or, “I’m totally incapable without this person’s help”.
Now, those don’t immediately sound like bad thoughts, but let me expose the truth: true love doesn’t create codependency. True love recognizes its strengths and weaknesses and resolves to improve both, not become stagnant and placing responsibility on another. True love says things like, “I flourish with this person’s help, but I know if I just keep going, I can get through this”, or, “This person’s love inspires me to push myself harder”.
Narcissism wants you to be dependent and incapable of moving or making decisions without it. In a relationship with a narcissist, that person will often become upset if they think that you’re doing things without their permission, or if they think that you think you’re better off without them. That’s because in order to operate, narcissism needs prey it can feed on; feeding on the host itself is never enough. Narcissism works overtime to create victims that don’t even know they are victims.
“He said he loved her without counting the cost. She thought without his love, she would be lost.”
The narcissist will say and do anything to entrap their prey. They will say they love you, yet deeply down, they haven’t truly counted the cost of what those words will mean to the other person. The narcissist only has perception and vision for themselves.
The victim of narcissism will take those words, bury them deeply within their hearts, and believe that without that love, they are nothing. Victims of narcissism often believe they are damaged goods and simply “lucky” enough to be loved by the abuser. Victims of narcissism will often have a low opinion of themselves, therefore it is extremely easy for them to become codependent on the narcissist. Why? Narcissists are very often confident and charismatic, having a charm that draws the unsuspecting victim inward.
Here are some warning signs of codependency and narcissistic abuse in relationships”
1. You feel helpless without the other person.
2. Your self-confidence is low and you feel as though you need the other person to lift you up.
3. You feel like you’re walking on eggshells constantly.
4. You’re afraid to make choices without the other person.
5. You feel like you don’t know what to do unless the other person is directing you.
6. You second guess yourself constantly because you believe the other person is smarter and more capable than you.
7. Your finances are pooled together, yet you never have free access to your own money.
8. The other person gets their way all the time and you find yourself frequently giving up your own will, without reciprocation.
9. The atmosphere is dominated by the other person.
10. The other person always decides what you eat when you’re together.
11. The other person always chooses the music you listen to when you’re together.
12. The other person is controlling over what your appearance is like, how you talk, and who you hang with.
13. You have trouble identifying your own feelings and often rely on the other person for emotional direction.
14. These are only but a few of the warning signs of codependency in relationships. Do any of them sound familiar to you? Maybe you’re not the one suffering, but the one causing the suffering?
15. Narcissism can be healed, but only after it is revealed.
If any of these warning signs resound with you, then take some major reflection time and reassess the health of your relationships. Remember, narcissists are dangerous and feel easily threatened. If you don’t feel safe in your relationship, then it’s a good sign that it’s time to either put some renovation into it, seek counsel, or, if the danger level is too high, GET OUT. If you have any questions, I’m always here to help. Getting out of a narcissistic relationship can be one of the toughest things you ever accomplish, but you don’t have to do it alone. I don’t want you to be like the old me, feeling trapped, scared, and unsure of yourself and your worth.-Gavi, Your Advocate for Healthy Relationships