Are you wondering about the signs of narcissistic abuse? You may need help from a psychologist.

Narcissistic abuse refers to the a pattern of abuse that occurs in a relationship with a person who has a narcissistic personality style. Narcissistic abuse is common in children, siblings, employees, partners or loved ones of narcissistic people.

So how do you identify a narcissist? This term is widely used to describe somebody who is attention-seeking and self-involved. Narcissism exists on a spectrum from healthy to pathological, so a certain level of narcissism is actually normal and required for the development of our self-esteem. However, pathological narcissism (or narcissistic personality disorder) is far more extreme and less common. The key features of narcissistic personality disorder include grandiosity or a sense of self-importance, lack of empathy, an excessive need for admiration, and an attitude of arrogance. Narcissists tend to exploit others for their own personal gain and their behaviours cause significant damage to those around them. Underneath the fa├žade of self-importance lies a deeply insecure person who has developed a firewall of defences to keep their shame at bay. These defences cause a great deal of harm.

At Mindwell Psychology, we frequently treat people who have difficulties dealing with employers, parents, or siblings that are on the mild, moderate and severe end of the narcissistic spectrum. It is a very common reason for seeking out therapy and psychologists are well placed to help. Narcissistic partners can be toxic, abusive and cause significant emotional damage, children of narcissists carry a deep sense of inadequacy, abandonment, and feel unlovable, while employees are left with a depleted sense of confidence and self-worth. They cause conflict, pain, drama, and lasting trauma. The abuse can be emotional, physical and mental. People who have been affected often suffer from clinical anxiety or depression and need help to repair through therapy or counselling.

To help you identify narcissistic abuse, here are the key signs:

  1. Verbal abuse – belittling, criticising, shaming or blocking
  2. Violence – physical abuse, destruction of property
  3. Financial abuse – controlling finances, accruing debts in your name
  4. Manipulation
  5. Emotional blackmail – threats or intimidation
  6. Gaslighting – intentionally undermining your perception of reality so that you end up doubting the truth
  7. Sabotage – interfering with your life, your work or your relationships
  8. Exploitation – taking advantage of you without any regard for your needs or feelings
  9. Lying -often to cover up their own shame
  10. Withholding – withholding money or affection as a form of punishment
  11. Competition – always trying to win or get one up, often cheating to win
  12. Neglect of children
  13. Invading privacy and overstepping personal boundaries
  14. Spreading lies or slandering
  15. Isolating you from friends and family

If you have experienced narcissistic abuse, you may be feeling anxious, depressed in mood, have low self-esteem, experience a lot of self-doubt, indecisiveness, or shame. You may feel cut off from your other relationships, or even disconnected from who you are. You may no longer be the confident or happy person you once were.

If you are experiencing any of these behaviours, then you may find talking to a psychologist helpful. Psychologists can assist you to recognise these signs, take practical steps to deal with this person and heal from the pain that they have caused. Please call Mindwell Psychology to make an appointment today.