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Have I Experienced Narcissistic Abuse?

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a cluster B personality disorder that can cause harm when left untreated. When you’re in a relationship with someone who has untreated NPD, you could experience narcissistic abuse. This emotional abuse involves manipulation, control, and demeaning behavior. It’s essential to recognize narcissistic abuse so that you can get the help you need.

Signs of Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic abuse can prove difficult to identify. Though serious, the symptoms can look subtle. Many of them present internally instead of externally. The following four symptoms combined indicate that you most likely previously went through narcissistic abuse.

Questioning Your Memory and Perceptions

One of the most recognizable symptoms of narcissistic abuse is confusion about your own experiences. Commonly, narcissistic people employ a tactic called gaslighting. Gaslighting intentionally manipulates you into doubting your reality. The person may tell you phrases like, “that never happened,” or “it’s your own fault.” Over time, you may internalize the gaslighting enough that you start telling yourself these things as well.

Walking On Eggshells

When a narcissist abuses you, they may act calm or even kind when you act the way they want. Any small indiscretion can set them off, though. Consequently, you’ll try to tone control yourself and mold your behaviors into what they like. You’ll begin tiptoeing around them. You may find yourself constantly on edge. As a result, you’ll hyperfocus on your action and words, self-criticizing any time your abuser blows up.

Dissociating During Stress

Narcissistic abuse causes the fight, flight, fawn, and freeze (4F) response in the same way other traumas do. As you go through prolonged trauma, you may start dissociating. Dissociation falls into the freeze portion of the 4F response. You can’t physically flee from the situation, so dissociation pulls your consciousness out of the present. Consequently, you might feel like you aren’t attached to your body. Some people who dissociate disconnect from their surroundings. Over time, if you possess a strong disposition towards dissociating, it can become your way of coping with any stress.


When an abuser blames you for everything, you might feel that apologizing is the only way to appease them. After you do this for long enough, it may extend to other parts of your life. You may say “sorry” two dozen times a day just because you believe everything is your fault. Sadly, this can disrupt your sense of self. If you can’t fix problems, you might feel like a failure or a disappointment. In reality, you are taking on issues or situations that aren’t your responsibility to solve.

Aftereffects of Trauma

Emotional abuse, especially the narcissistic subtype, causes trauma. It floods your nervous system with cortisol and adrenaline. After you leave the situation, you might find yourself still feeling anxious, depressed, or hypervigilant. You could still self-gaslight. Additionally, you might experience flashbacks or nightmares. Dissociation may start as a life-preserving action, but it could turn into damaging behavior. If you’re experiencing these trauma aftereffects, there’s help available to put you on track to a healthier life.

If you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, you likely exhibit mental scars from the trauma. You didn’t deserve the abuse you received. Sadly, you can’t change it; all you can do is move forward. There are many treatment options available to treat your trauma symptoms. At The Guest House, we can help you re-learn self-confidence and healthy boundaries. We can help you deconstruct any self-destructive behaviors or addictions caused by untreated trauma. You deserve a happy life, and we want to help you get there. Start healing today. Call The Guest House at (855) 483-7800.