It’s not always easy to spot the signs of a narcissistic relationship. That’s because being with a narcissistic partner can distort your sense of reality, making it difficult to recognise the abuse. The behaviour isn’t always obvious, and the impact it has can be very subtle, leaving you unsure of what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
This week, we’re taking a look at five signs that could indicate you’re suffering from narcissistic abuse.
You’re always walking on eggshells
If you’re constantly second-guessing yourself or worrying about saying or doing the wrong thing, you might be suffering from narcissistic abuse. Disagreements are normal in a healthy relationship, and you should be comfortable enough to talk about differences of opinion, or to challenge unacceptable behaviour without fearing the consequences.
Always walking on eggshells to appease your partner can cause constant anxiety and stress. You’ll always be wondering what might provoke your partner, and you might make unfair compromises as a result.
You’re sacrificing too much
For most relationships to work, there’ll be times when both parties need to compromise. But it’s also important to set clear boundaries here. If you find yourself solely prioritising the needs of your partner at the expense of your own, this could be a red flag. A healthy relationship shouldn’t mean sacrificing your goals, dreams and feelings for the sake of your partner.
Narcissistic partners are clever in the way that they operate. At the start of your relationship, it may have seemed as though their entire life seemed to revolve around you; now your entire life revolves around them.
This can be extremely damaging to your self esteem and self worth. Because no matter how much you sacrifice, it will never be enough for a narcissist.
You isolate yourself from family and friends
A narcissist will try to isolate you as much as possible from family and friends. The reason for this is that they want to be the sole focus in your life. You may find yourself withdrawing from your social circle in order to hide the abusive behaviour from friends and family. It’s not uncommon for victims to blame themselves and feel ashamed of the abuse they’re experiencing. If you find yourself lying, hiding or isolating yourself to avoid being truthful about the realities of your relationship, this is often a sign of narcissistic abuse.
Victims may also worry that people won’t believe them, especially if there’s no physical evidence of abuse taking place. And in some cases, victims may even fear what their narcissistic partner will do if they tell someone what’s happening.
You lose your sense of self-worth
Narcissistic partners will continually put down their victims, causing significant damage to their self esteem. Narcissists can also be incredibly jealous of others, which means they might punish you for succeeding in any area of your life.
If someone you love is repeatedly reminding you that you’re worthless, it won’t take long before you start to believe what they’re telling you. Ultimately, you may find yourself avoiding any chances for success in your life, be that personal or professional.
You defend abusive behaviour
If you’re receiving abuse from someone you love, that can be a very difficult thing to process and accept. One way in which you might try and cope with that, is to defend the very behaviour that’s causing you harm. This can take a number of forms, from justifying the abuse, to denying it altogether.
Remember that an intense trauma bond is often formed between victim and abuser. That’s because victims come to rely on their narcissistic partner for approval and as a result, will often go to great lengths to defend them.
If any of this resonates with you, or you recognise these signs in someone you know, Harrogate Family Law is here to help. Get in touch with us today for the expert legal advice you need.