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10 Signs You Are In A Narcissistic Abusive Relationship

Samantha Bachota is the owner of The Informed Healing Method. Somatic Trauma Informed Coach. She is known for her narcissistic abuse experience and education on social media platforms enabling others to feel validated and make sense of their experiences.

 
Executive Contributor Samantha Bachota

Before I get into it, let me say one thing. Abuse is abuse. Period. Whether it be emotional, psychological, physical, financial, and so forth. All abuse is abuse. It is all traumatic. It’s not that one is worse than the other. It is all abuse and none of it is acceptable


Bored husband hearing his wife talking during breakfast in the kitchen at home

“How did I not see it?” “How could I be so stupid?” Common phrases I hear from narcissistic abuse survivors. Narcissistic people are all about their image and only associate themselves with people and institutions that will make them look better. They are human chameleons.


Master manipulators

Even the most educated and worldly people can be sucked into a narcissist’s web of deception. Narcissistic people don’t choose “losers” so to speak. They choose people that will make them look good or feel better about themselves. They don’t seek out weak individuals and although they would rather be burned alive than ever admit it, oftentimes they choose individuals that they view as better than themselves. Someone who possesses qualities that they are seriously lacking but will mirror to reel you in. You didn’t see it because they didn’t come into your life abusing you. Believing that someone is a decent person with good intentions does not make you stupid, naive, or weak. If anything, it’s a reflection of your pure intentions and good-hearted nature.

 

When it comes to a relationship with a narcissistic person, even though every narcissist is different in their way, they are all very similar too, and why so often do people joke that they must have dated the same person.


Signs you could be in a narcissistic abusive relationship

 

1. The person you fell in love with is gone

Yes, the excitement of a new relationship aka “the honeymoon phase” doesn’t last forever but this is different. There was so much closeness early on and to be honest, probably too early. Red flag. They went above and beyond for you. They love bombed, proclaiming they loved you quickly. Saying you’re their soulmate, their “person” and they never met anyone like you. They made you feel safe, loved, understood, validated. They mirrored you and made you feel they understood you in ways nobody had before. Now, you don’t feel any of those things or if you do, it’s just a glimpse and nothing like it was in the beginning. Bread crumbs. Just enough to keep you hanging on and give you false hope.


2. You don’t have any support system

Something a narcissist does early on is consume your time. They isolate you. This is done to make you more vulnerable and dependent on them. Being dependent on them gives them that external validation they can’t live without. They might guilt you for spending too much time with friends and family and not them. They could claim you don’t love them as much as they love you or you would spend more time with them. They claim your friends and family don’t like them or don’t approve of your relationship or say your friends and family are trying to cause problems between the two of you. They say your friends and family don’t love you and are only using you. Or maybe they shame you by saying they don’t understand how you could be friends with certain people because they didn’t think you were like that (in a bad way). It’s all done to seem like they care and have your best interest at heart but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Furthermore, they might encourage relationships with people they see as beneficial or someone they could use in the future. Or someone they see they could manipulate to use against you later on.


3. They withhold from you

That affectionate attentive person you fell in love with now seems like a faint memory. It was all fake. There’s minimal affection, if any, and only if you’ve been behaving as they want you to. They might claim they just aren’t an affectionate person. This further shows how they were mirroring you in the beginning just to gain your trust. They leave out important information to keep you in the dark. They know they can’t be trusted because they know what they are capable of and assume everyone is like them. It’s different for everyone but early on they studied you and learned what mattered most or made you feel loved. That is what they will make sure to withhold.


4. You feel you are walking on eggshells

There’s no effective communication with them. Narcissistic people are overly sensitive to anything they perceive as criticism. It seems that whenever you bring up something they did that hurt or bothers you, no matter how nice you do so, it will turn into a fight leaving you feeling worse and like you shouldn't have said anything at all. And they will be fine. If at night, they will fall asleep with such ease while you’re left emotionally distraught wondering what in the heck happened and how that conversation turned into what it did, and somehow everything became your fault. This is intentional and done so to condition you to be quiet and accepting of their harmful, hurtful, and abusive ways. Speaking up just becomes too exhausting and for some, it gets more and more dangerous.


5. You feel like they resent or even hate you

Even if they can say some easy words here and there, their actions speak for themselves. They lack empathy and accountability. As stated above, you are made to feel that everything is your fault or caused by you. Their life failure and shortcomings are somehow blamed on you. You become their emotional and possibly physical punching bag for all their unhealed issues. They hurt you, lied, or cheated and take no responsibility for their actions and will blame you for catching them. You could be crying because of how much they hurt you and this is when they will be the most cold and callous towards you. They might even laugh at you for being hurt or upset.


6. You’re not as healthy as you once were

While in a relationship with a narcissistic person, your body remains in a trauma response. Fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. This means that the hormones adrenaline and cortisol are pumping through your system regularly. Trauma responses are great and intended to help us when needed to survive. But we are not intended to be in a state of survival for extended periods. Along with the mental effects such as anxiety and depression, there’s a multitude of physical effects; sickness, disease, weakened immune system, chronic pain and so much more as a result of the continued increase in survival hormones. It is why narcissistic abuse is also physical abuse along with all the other forms of abuse. This will destroy you from the inside out.


7. Your relationship revolves around them

Initially, they were supportive of your autonomy. Your individuality. They admired your ambition and encouraged your hobbies and passions. Now, it’s all about them. Narcissistic people have an excessive need for admiration and recognition. It’s expected you sacrifice yourself for their sake. This might not be as obvious as it sounds. Your existence is to benefit and serve them and their agenda. They slowly minimize and belittle your achievements, career, hobbies, or anything that brings you joy.


8. They are controlling and manipulating

From finances to monitoring your phone and whereabouts for “your safety”. Everything they do has a plan and they have a way of making you feel like they are truly trying to help you or do what’s best for you. This could mean taking over the finances, limiting access to money, insisting you not work anymore, tracking/monitoring your phone, etc. Given their impulsive and addictive nature, most Narcissistic people are not very smart when it comes to money but it’s what drives a lot of them. They will put you in bad situations and more than likely ruin you financially. There are also narcissistic types that expect you to work and do everything, and support them in every way while they still belittle and devalue everything that you do. In those cases, even though you’re the sole provider, they have beat you down enough to make you feel as though you don’t have any other options but to stay. Or have you believing while telling you often that you are so lucky to have someone like them that is willing to tolerate you.


9. They are a different person when there are witnesses

They are chameleons and know how to put on a performance when need be. After all, it’s how they got you. They will emotionally and verbally abuse and neglect their own family or partner but will happily run down the street to help a neighbor, someone at work, or even a stranger. However, if they are needed by you and there are witnesses, they will put on an act and be the most caring person towards you imaginable. Again, it is all about their image. When there aren’t witnesses, they view your needs as an inconvenience. They will neglect and abandon their loved ones when they are needed the most.


10. You start to wonder if you are crazy

It’s them projecting their issues. It’s them gaslighting you into questioning your reality. And at times, it’s you mirroring some of their toxic behaviors you’ve picked up as part of a survival mechanism. It’s you reacting to them when they intentionally push you and push you just to get a reaction out of you so they can say you’re the abusive one in the relationship. That’s called reactive abuse and it doesn’t make you the abuser. You don’t recognize the person you’ve become and are almost an empty shell of yourself. That is how insidious and mentally damaging this abuse is.

 

The thing is, I could go on and on and some of this I will go further into details with future articles. So often when you’re in it, you start to believe that abusive and toxic behaviors are normal. You can think it’s just how things are but it’s not. It’s not uncommon to not recognize what’s going on and the severity until you are away from them. You know something isn’t right and you’re not happy but their manipulative ways can lead you to believe it is all brought on by you or it’s all in your head. As part of your survival mechanism, you tend to focus on the good. So much so that you forget or block out certain events that can resurface when you’re out and doing the inner work to heal. That’s brain fog. It’s real.


Narcissistic abuse is real

Narcissistic abuse is real and more prevalent than ever. And it is not limited to romantic relationships. It is something that needs more awareness, more understanding, and less judgment for those who finally speak up about their experiences. Please know, you are not alone and so many of us do get it. No matter what you’ve been told, you are worthy and lovable just as you are. Love is given freely by the right people. You shouldn’t be given “love” for behaving, be made to feel you have to earn it, or constantly prove yourself. That’s not love and you deserve the love you give. Period. For more support, please join my private Facebook group, Narcissistic Abuse Support.

 

Read more from Samantha Bachota

 

Samantha Bachota, Certified ICF and CPD Accredited Somatic Trauma Informed Coach

Samantha Bachota is a Narcissistic Abuse survivor with over a decades experience with narcissists and their manipulative toxic ways. She knows how life changing and traumatic this kind of abuse is and wants others to know they are not alone, she gets it and you can heal and thrive after abuse. Trauma informed coaching is the key to making a positive impact on those she serves.

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