What is Narcissistic Abuse?
Narcissistic abuse can be hard to notice because the good times are often so good. You can be showered in grand loving gestures known as “love bombs” which can obscure the bad times that came before. However, even in these love bombs, the narcissist needs excessive praise, and you are caught in the dance of providing it.
It is this dynamic of power and control that is narcissistic abuse. Narcissists want to know that they can press a button and get the response from others that they desire, whether that response is praise or anything else that they need. A narcissist is always focused on fulfilling their own needs, and their control over you can also be subtle, increasing slowly over time.
You may be suffering from Narcissistic Abuse if:
- Your loved one makes everything about them, nearly all the time (i.e., dysfunctional selfishness)
- Your needs don’t seem to matter unless you point them out
- Your concerns may be met with cognitive empathy, with emotional empathy lacking, or worse..
- No remorse or accountability for certain things
- You feel drained and anxious from trying to keep them happy and read their mind to prevent upsetting them
- They forbid you to do certain things or be around certain people
- They control everything from the family finances to the remote control
How can therapy help survivors of Narcissistic Abuse?
Over time, and through repeated gaslighting or manipulation, you can start to become very confused about what is “normal” or appropriate treatment. Therapy can help you to recognize what was abusive in nature, so that you can start to heal. You can learn how to identify, set, and enforce limits and boundaries so that you feel respected and liberated.
Therapy can help you to better understand what you are getting out of the relationship, so that you can navigate ways to stay in it, or to leave safely. If you’ve already left the relationship, therapy can help you to process the trauma and grief associated with what you’ve been through.