What are the hallmarks of Narcissistic Abuse? 12 You Need to Know!
I have new people joining my groups every day who are very NEW to this whole horrible world of narcissistic abuse, and they don’t even know if they are dealing with a narcissist, or what narcissistic abuse really looks like. So, I’m going to highlight a 'dirty dozen' that you need to know if you’re trying to understand it. Narcissists are nothing if not predictable. In the romantic narcissistic scenario, the 'Trifecta' is typically, 'love bombing', 'devaluing' and 'discarding'. Often followed by 'hoovering', and then the whole cycle starts again.
Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional and psychological abuse, although it can and does often involve a combination of abuse, including financial, sexual, spiritual and physical. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental illness and those who have it must abuse their ‘target’ or ‘victim’ – it’s how their warped minds function and they can’t, won’t or don’t want to, control or change their behaviour and, studies suggest they’re addicted to dopamine, one of the brain’s ‘happy’ or ‘feel-good’ chemicals.
When the narcissist gets to the devaluing stage, which usually happens after the love-bombing stage - when everything was rosy in the garden - that’s when the ‘nasty’ really begins, and that’s when the hallmarks of narcissistic abuse start showing up. The narcissist will start by doing any or all of the following – and these are just some examples:
Criticize you – your clothes, the way you walk, talk, eat, think… nothing about you is ok anymore at this stage.
Discredit you – nothing you’ve achieved will be of any value. They will constantly play up their achievements, and play yours down.
Belittle you – they’ll make you feel small, inferior and worthless, by ignoring anything you say, rolling their eyes, or butting in with their own glory-story because what you have to say is of no interest to them.
Mock you – they’ll do their best to make you think you are stupid, unattractive, unsexy, fat, and any other derogatory thing they can think of to make you feel inadequate.
Betray your trust - by bringing up intimate or personal things you’ve shared with them – for example, one client I worked with had shared details with her narc about sexual abuse when she was a child. He threw this into her face several times, saying ‘It’s your own fault. You asked for it! You’ve always been a whore!' Nothing is sacred and your secrets are NEVER safe with a narcissist.
Lie to you – about everything and anything. They’ll tell you lies your friends and family have said about you, they lie about where they were, who they were with, what they’ve been doing. Frankly, they can’t tell the truth without lying.
Control you – they will try to isolate you from family, friends, and anyone who is important to you. They’ll try to stop you going anywhere without them or without their permission, they’ll check your phone and your emails. They don’t believe you have a right to any personal space or privacy.
Control the finances – they honestly believe that what’s yours is theirs, and they have no conscience about bleeding you financially dry. They will steal, lie and cheat you out of every cent they can get their hands on, and leave you financially and emotionally broken.
Projection – they’ll take all their own nasty characteristics and accuse you of doing/being these things. They have no conscience about this whatsoever. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so bloody tragic!
Withhold affection / sex – back in the beginning, you felt loved, cherished, sexy, and had amazing sex. Now, there is no physical contact at all and you feel unattractive and rejected. If you try to initiate sex or even a cuddle, they’ll brush you off and tell you you’re a nymphomaniac or that you’re disgusting, or that you repulse them. Being physically rejected in this way cuts to the core of your being.
Cheat on you – in their constant quest for more narcissistic supply, the narc is never satisfied with one relationship. He (or she) is usually a serial cheater, with often several relationships running at the same time. If you catch them out, they’ll blame you. It will be totally your fault and you made them do it.
Gaslight you – which is a form of psychological manipulation that makes you constantly second-guess yourself and you can end up feeling as if you’re going crazy.
That’s not the end of the list by any means, there are many more, such as smear campaigns, flying monkeys, triangulation, discarding, hovering, silent treatment, and more. The list of tools in the narcissist’s arsenal is vast. You’re up against a formidable opponent and if you want to get your life, your confidence and everything you’ve lost about yourself back again, you must but find the path to healing for you.
How many of these have you experienced? Most people I’ve talked to recognize ALL of them and have experienced them at some stage of the relationship… so if you’re going through this type of abuse too, ask yourself how long have you been putting up with this kind of treatment, and if you really want to remain in the relationship? What is it going to take for you to finally wake up and realize this is NOT how you want to live your life? I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again. The cycle of abuse will stop the moment you decide enough is enough. And when you can say that, and really FEEL it inside, that’s when you’ll be ready to start your journey to healing.
There IS a way out. Healing IS possible. And it does NOT have to take years, as the mainstream narrative would have you believe. I’ve written a whole book about why and you can check that out here: Narcissistic Abuse Healing: The No-B.S. Guide to Healing in Weeks, Not Years, to learn how it’s possible to heal much faster than you might think. A loving healthy relationship is one of mutual respect, give and take, some ups and downs, but overall, it should always make you feel safe and cherished. If you are not getting that in your relationship, then you are denying yourself your right to be loved and appreciated for who you are.
If you have left the relationship, bravo! That’s the single best decision you could ever have made in your life. It may not be easy, but you will get stronger with every day you maintain no contact. If you are struggling however, and need more help and support, click here to see how I can help you to heal from narcissistic abuse – in a matter of weeks, not years, with my No-B.S. Healing Method.
Post updated 01.02.2022