Why Do Narcissists Make You Feel Like You’re Not Enough?

Why Do Narcissists Make You Feel Like You’re Not Enough?

If you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, you might already know how adept they can be at making you feel completely worthless. If that rings true for you, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, one of the most underrated ways a narcissist can devastate you is by making you feel inferior, or like you’re just not good enough.

How does this kind of long-term narcissistic abuse affect you?

The impact of this kind of ongoing psychological abuse is so significant that most victims of long-term narcissistic abuse find themselves struggling with symptoms of C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder). We become so damaged that we end up becoming codependent. This ongoing invalidation of a person’s self leads to a lack of self-esteem and self worth, and it can lead us to becoming ideal prey for other narcissists.

Does psychological abuse at the hands of a narcissist change you permanently?

You lose yourself, in so many ways, when you become enmeshed with a narcissist in any kind of relationship, and the closer the relationship, the more damage it can cause for you, psychologically, emotionally, and physically. The good news is that it does not have to be that way, as victims of narcissistic abuse can recover through intentional healing and learning how to avoid getting entangled with other toxic people in future relationships. Making yourself aware of the red flags to look for in new potential relationships can help as well.

Why do narcissists make you feel like you’re not enough?

This leads to the point of this post: why do narcissists make you feel like you’re not enough, or like you’re completely worthless? Sometimes in narcissistic abuse recovery, knowledge is power, and this is one of those times. Let’s talk about it.

Narcissists Lack Self-Esteem, And It Makes Them Feel Better To Put You Down

It is a known fact that many narcissists, despite appearing to be the opposite, have a major lack of self-esteem. This leads them to bolster their fragile egos with a façade of false confidence, and at the same time, they do anything they can to make you feel terrible about yourself. Covert narcissists are less likely to pretend to be confident, so they’ll act more self-hating, but they will also do anything possible to make you feel inferior. So, when a covert a narcissist begins to show their true colors; you immediately think how out of character it is for them since they initially showed you a vulnerable side.

Worse, narcissists will put you down in unimaginable ways – they dig deep to hurt you. They put you down regarding your appearance, intelligence, habits, and anything else that comes to their minds.

Narcissists Use Gaslighting to Make You Doubt Yourself

Narcissists need to find ways to bolster their fragile egos, and if their abuse towards you is making you doubt yourself, they are getting exactly what they want.  Gaslighting is the ideal manipulation tactic for this outcome, and narcissists use it to push you further into submission. They find your weak points and exploit them. For instance, they will make you believe that you are losing your memory by telling you things that you did that you never did or vise versa. When they see you doubt yourself further because of their manipulation and gaslighting tactics, they feel good about themselves.

Narcissists Get a Thrill From Invalidating You

Narcissists are known to invalidate your feelings by saying things such as “you’re way too sensitive” when you react to their abusive behaviors, for example. They invalidate your feelings to make you doubt yourself so they can get you in control. When you believe you’re worthless or not enough, the narcissist figures you’re not going to go find out you can do better than them. The way they see it, their feelings are very important – but their marked lack of emotional and compassionate empathy means they literally do not care how you feel at all. This is a dangerous combination for anyone involved with a malignant narcissist.

Narcissists Feel Entitled

Narcissists live in a constant fear of missing out (FOMO!). This is often developed early in childhood, at the same time as the development of their trademark entitlement complex. Their sense of entitlement also means they feel compelled to do anything they want, and they will do it at your expense without concern for the impact it has on you, your feelings, or your life. They lie and cheat on you, too, because they feel entitled to do so. They feel that they need to have access to other sources of narcissistic supply as “backup” because they cannot stand the idea of ending up alone.

Remember that healthy, secure people will never tear you down to hurt you on purpose. This is a toxic, malignant behavior and it’s one you don’t deserve. Need help recovering from narcissistic abuse?

Watch this video to learn more about why narcissists have to hurt you.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support & Resources

If you feel you need additional help and support in your narcissistic abuse recovery, look for a trauma-informed professional who is trained in helping people who are dealing with overcoming narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships. Depending on your particular situation, you might benefit from Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching, or you might do better with a therapist. You have to decide what to do from here – if you’re not sure, start with my free Narcissistic Abuse Recovery quiz. With your results will come recommended resources for your situation. It’s totally free.

More Free, Helpful Information & Resources to Help 

Related Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

What is internalized gaslighting?

What is internalized gaslighting?

(See video on YouTube) A longtime member of my narcissistic abuse recovery community used to tell me that he was really good at gaslighting himself. It amused me at first, but when I really started to think about it, I realized that he wasn’t off-base in his assessment of his situation.

What is gaslighting?

Just in case you’re not familiar with the term, gaslighting is a psychological manipulation technique often used by narcissists to make you doubt your thoughts, your ideas, your own judgment, your ability to understand, and even your own perception of the world around you.

How can you gaslight yourSELF?

See, we really CAN gaslight ourselves – and it’s a phenomenon that isn’t just seen in people who have been in toxic relationships with narcissists. Of course, it’s probably most prominent among this particular population. But it doesn’t have to be the story of your life. There are ways to identify self-gaslighting and ways to overcome it. So, let’s talk about self-gaslighting.

What is self-gaslighting?

Self-gaslighting, sometimes referred to as “internalized gaslighting,” is what you’re doing when you’re suppressing your own thoughts and emotions, and when you’re actively telling yourself that your own thoughts, ideas, feelings, and perceptions are inaccurate or invalid.

So, it really is a sort of internalized version of the verbal and psychological abuse the narcissist has subjected you to over the years.

An easier way to understand self-gaslighting might be to see it as a sort of remnant of the narcissist’s voice in your own head, in which you sort of “do the dirty work” on the narcissist’s behalf. In other words, you minimize and invalidate yourself and your own thoughts, rather than waiting for someone else to do it. This is often a result of years or decades of conditioning by the narcissist.

Why is self-gaslighting a problem in narcissistic abuse recovery?

When you’re going through narcissistic abuse, you may have developed the self-gaslighting habit as an attempt to pre-screen your conversations with the narcissist in order to reduce stress on yourself and the relationship. It might have been safer for you to sort of censor yourself before speaking.

This mindset isn’t uncommon with survivors, but it’s problematic for you because it causes you to be overly cautious and not trust yourself and your decisions. This keeps you emotionally and psychologically stuck in the toxic relationship, even if you’ve physically left it. It makes moving forward and creating a life that makes you feel happy and fulfilled nearly impossible.

It keeps you stuck in victim mode and never allows you to evolve beyond the role of “survivor,” even if you do manage to remove yourself from the direct influence of the narcissist. It makes you feel not good enough, not smart enough, not “enough” in general. You become a disconnected, fragmented shell of your former self.

What are the signs you’re self-gaslighting?

1. You don’t trust yourself.

Whenever you have to make a decision or a change in your life, you worry that you’ll make the wrong choice. This can be debilitating, especially if you don’t have anyone you can trust to discuss your choices with. In reality, you might even prefer that someone else just tells you what to do – otherwise, you worry you’ll ruin everything, and that you’ll only have yourself to blame.

2. You don’t know who you are these days.

You don’t know how to talk about yourself, and if someone asks you to do so, you’re quick to change the subject. You find yourself feeling numb, or lost, or like you aren’t even sure who you really are anymore. You might not know what you like or what you want, and even if someone directly asks you, you can’t explain who you are in any meaningful way. After spending years or decades focused on the narcissist’s needs, wants, and whims, you have lost the ability to talk about yourself. You’re far more comfortable letting other people talk about themselves, and will quickly change the subject if it turns to you.

3. You’re quick to assign blame…to yourself.

If you’re being honest, you don’t even really like yourself, and your self-confidence is practically non-existent. You’re comfortable in the role of scapegoat, it seems. No matter who’s really at fault, if things go wrong, you instantly assume that you’re wrong and that no one else is responsible. Even with the evidence of someone else being responsible laid out in front of you, you’ll figure out a way to make it your fault. You might imagine that you could have said or done something differently to affect the outcome, or that maybe if you’d just offered the right kind of support, it would never have happened.

4. You’re always apologizing.

You find yourself saying “I’m sorry” so much that healthier people in your life tell you to stop apologizing so much. You are sorry when someone bumps into you, or when you state an opinion or thought – even if no one around you objects. You can’t stop apologizing, and when someone calls you on it, you apologize for that too.

5. You feel like a fraud.

You often worry that people will discover you’re not “enough” or that you’re not even a whole person. Maybe you even have full-blown imposter syndrome. Everything you do leaves you feeling like you’re pretending. You assume everyone around you is more qualified or effective than you, and you are either terrified that people will find out, or you’re already assuming that everyone knows it.

How do you overcome self-gaslighting?

Once you’ve recognized that you’re using self-gaslighting, you’ve already taken the first step toward resolving it. But what comes next? How do you stop gaslighting yourself so you can continue to heal and move forward in your life?

Remember that these aren’t your own thoughts.

As I explained earlier, very often, self-gaslighting feels a lot like a remnant of the narcissist’s voice in your head. So, ask yourself: where do these thoughts really come from and why am I thinking them? Take some time and really think about it. Ask yourself:

  • Are these thoughts accurate?
  • When and where did I first think this way?
  • Who taught me to think this way about myself?
  • How does thinking this way affect me long-term?

Try this healing list exercise.

One exercise I do with my narcissistic abuse recovery clients to help them create some awareness around this kind of thing is to have them write a list of all of the negative self-perceptions they have picked up along the way. Then, during a session, we go down the list and first identify where they got these ideas from initially. When that’s done, the client will go down the list and cross off these negative self-perceptions and replace them with their truth (or what they want to be the truth). These truths then become new affirmations the clients can use to help them grow forward in their narcissistic abuse recovery.

Think about how you’d talk to your child or another person you love unconditionally.

Survivors often have a really difficult time figuring out how to appropriately treat and speak to themselves. Not only have their parents and other people in their lives not given them the skills they need to love themselves, but they’ve actually worked against the idea of independent thought and autonomy. In order to work through this and speak to yourself in a way that is appropriate and self-validating, think about how you’d speak to your child or someone else who you love unconditionally – and speak to yourself that way. I have found this to be an incredibly effective way to shift my own self-talk.

Use pattern interrupts.

Pattern interrupts are highly effective for so many different aspects of narcissistic abuse recovery, and this is one more way they can be used. When you have been self-gaslighting for so long, it almost becomes an automatic behavior – a pattern – that you fall into without thought. So, when you begin to work on letting go of self-gaslighting, you can use mindfulness to pay attention to your thoughts and ideas, and then you can choose to use a pattern-interrupt to change it.

Easy-to-Implement Pattern Interrupt Ideas

Pattern interrupts are part of NLP (Neurolinguistic programming). Sounds complicated, right? But it’s so simple. Here are some quick and easy-to-implement pattern interrupt ideas for you.

  • Try a simple affirmation you repeat to yourself in the moment.
  • Try standing up and moving into a different room of the house.
  • Try taking a quick shower.
  • You can brush your teeth or hair or wash your hands.
  • Try to count all of the items in a room that are a certain color.

There are so many other options to interrupt these toxic patterns in your own mind. Here’s a quick video where I explain pattern interrupts in more detail.

5. Work on understanding yourself and your own emotions better.

We become so disconnected from ourselves when we’re involved with a narcissist that we can’t even remember who we are. So one of the best ways to push through self-gaslighting is to take a deep breath and dive into the emotions when we can.

So, if you’re feeling sad, allow yourself to cry if you need to. Then explore the tears: what do they mean? Why are you crying? What is making you sad?

Validate your own emotions and figure out how to resolve them. Take the time to find out what you really want and need, and work on developing more connection to your own intuition. Journaling can help a lot with this because it lets you process and understand your thoughts and emotions.

Ultimately, you can stop gaslighting yourself with a little self-compassion, intention, and mindful action.

Question of the Day – This brings me to the question of the day: Have you ever experienced self-gaslighting, or are you going through it now? Have you found ways to cope? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video – and let’s talk about it.

Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery, right now.

 

 

Why does a narcissist move on so quickly after the discard?

Why does a narcissist move on so quickly after the discard?

Have you been discarded by a narcissist, only to learn that they’ve already moved on to another partner days, weeks, or even hours after your relationship ended? Or, have you learned the hard way that your ex (or soon-to-be-ex) is already involved with someone else even before your relationship ended? Sadly, it’s all about narcissistic supply. Let me explain.

What is narcissistic supply?

Narcissistic supply is what makes the narcissist sort of an “energy vampire.” In other words, they get a certain amount of attention, validation, admiration – basically your energy, from people in their lives. While a narcissist’s main source of narcissistic supply usually comes from one or more people, it can also involve pets, groups of people, and more. The so-called “supply” is the food for the narcissist’s ego. Many narcissists have a whole circle of supply or “narcissistic harem.”

Why do narcissists move on so quickly after they discard you?

Why does it always seem like narcissists need a new source of narcissistic supply almost immediately when your relationship ends – and that’s assuming they haven’t secured it ahead of time? The narcissist most often moves on quickly after a relationship. Many narcissists will be already involved with new supply before discarding you and so the new supply is well in place before they lose your supply.

This is one really devastating part of the narcissistic pattern that hurts and leaves survivors with no sense of closure.

Many survivors deeply internalize the final blow from this as if they have no worth, and never meant anything to the narcissist. They worry they must be at fault, that they are not good enough. They wonder if they should have done more, if they are less beautiful/handsome, that they are inadequate…are you feeling me here?

I’m hoping that by seeing this is a toxic pattern of the narcissistic person and some reasons they do this you may feel validation or even a sense of relief that you are indeed not the problem and never were. 

Narcissists Take No Accountability

One thing to understand and really, to me it’s one of the main indications of a toxic person, is that a narcissist will not accept accountability for their actions or emotions.  They have a constant need to protect the delusional personality they set up.

What they think is who they are, they reason. So, when seeing any issue they may cause that does not align with the delusional belief of “self,” they push it away and start to blame shift or deny.

One big way a narcissist uses denial is to use a new person to bolster the ego and delusional created self. After all, how hard is it to convince a stranger through love bombing and overt attention that you are an amazing person? This is the lie they are telling their new supply. They are shirking all responsibility both to the old relationship, yours, as well as to their own healing from a breakup. They need others to give and boost their sense of self so badly they do not care who they use to get there. It’s like if they have someone new to mirror back all the love-bombing they can prove to the world how astoundingly perfect they are and thus continue the delusion they live in. Couple all of this with zero empathy for others and you have a selfish drive for attention and the use of another to regain the sense of their own inflated ego. 

You were once the new source of narcissistic supply.

If you find yourself asking why or doubting your worth because the narcissist has a new supply, remember that you too were a new supply once. Remember that narcissists use all others in their life to feed their egos in one way or another. While it can hurt a lot and it can seem like the person who is new supply is at fault, oftentimes they are as much a victim as you were.

Of course, there are cases where the new supply seems to be as toxic as the narcissist – but then you might ask yourself do you really want any attention or association going to those people? New supply is simply that, a new person to be used by the narcissist for supply and you, too, were in the position of being that new person once. You were told lies about their exes and were made to feel like you were different and needed by the narcissist. 

The narcissist is the common denominator.

The most important thing to realize is this is not because of you. You are not the problem and you are certainly deserving of being treated way better than any narcissist will treat you. You are no less valid or important because a toxic narcissist has found a new supply. You deserve the healing and amazing things life outside of narcissistic abuse can give you. Moving on fast is a narcissist’s weakness not because of you or who/how you are. The narcissist is a perpetual liar with the most significant lie being who they present themselves as. They are seeking the supply they need and taking and using another person. You deserve a better life and to be loved for who you are. Love yourself, find the truth of your amazing truth, and do not compare yourself to the new supply. New supply is the new victim, you have survived and can move past the abuse into a thriving life. 

Worried the narcissist will be better for the new source of narcissistic supply?

Does the new supply end up with a better version of the narcissist? Absolutely not, says Angie Atkinson, who shares her thoughts on why you shouldn’t be jealous of the narcissist’s new source of supply in this video.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Did you know? Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

 

Setting Boundaries Makes Narcissists Take Responsibility for Their Behavior

Setting Boundaries Makes Narcissists Take Responsibility for Their Behavior

One of the most commonly shared qualities among victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse is the inability to comfortably set boundaries with other people. This is a primary reason that a narcissist may have targeted you in the first place. Plus, since a large number of narcissistic abuse survivors report they also had a traumatic childhood, they were nearly raised to accept people who actively overstep their boundaries. And, to further complicate the situation, most survivors weren’t even taught they were allowed to set boundaries in the first place.

How do you set boundaries with narcissists? 

To establish healthy boundaries, you need to be clear with your partner who you are, what you want, your beliefs and values, and specifically what your limits are. Narcissists do not allow this. They are known for pushing and stepping on boundaries in order to manipulate and control you more easily. Whether you’re trying to set boundaries with narcissists or with other “healthier” people, you might find yourself struggling. Here is some help with how to set boundaries with narcissists and other difficult people. And here’s a little more advice on how to set boundaries with narcissists.

How do narcissists react when you set boundaries?

Something you’ll notice when you’re setting boundaries for yourself with a narcissist is that it can easily make them uncomfortable. In a lot of ways, due to your typical conflict-avoidant behavior when you’ve been involved with a narcissist, people in your life have become used to no real resistance when it comes to offhanded comments or using others for their advantage. Sadly, even the “non-narcissists” in your life can end up taking advantage of you unintentionally.

But when it comes to narcissists, there’s a whole other side of the coin. When you set boundaries and enforce them, it makes the narcissist take responsibility for their abusive behavior, something that most narcissists absolutely refuse to do. And since your desire to hold firm in your boundaries is very likely new and scary for them, it’ll be very off-putting for them, to put it mildly. This is one of the reasons that boundaries can come off as aggressive at first, even with the non-narcissists around you.

But while you’re only being vaguely defensive, narcissists will take your desire and ability to set boundaries as a personal threat that you’re making them have some actual responsibility for thinking about what they say and do before they do it.

As uncomfortable as it may be for them, though, the non-narcissists in their lives will most definitely get over it and start to learn how to act and treat people with respect. Taking responsibility for your behavior means that you can no longer just do things mindlessly. Narcissists, of course, will never move past it and will either abandon the relationship or do whatever is necessary to mentally push their partners into conforming to their own controlling ways.

Why is it so important to set boundaries in narcissistic abuse recovery?

When you go through narcissistic abuse, you’ll find that your boundaries are actively and aggressively pushed back. Narcissists are notoriously disrespectful of boundaries. While a narcissist seems charming in the beginning, you’ll quickly learn that while you’re expected to fully respect their own boundaries, they will never respect your own.

After all, to respect a boundary would mean that you’d acually have to take people’s feelings and desires into account. This is a pretty realistic expectation for someone to have, and it’s in no way difficult if you just decide to be kind and treat others with respect. But narcissists are known for their lack of empathy and lack of remorse, not to mention that they have famously double standards.

Is it too much to ask someone to respect your boundaries?

To put it briefly: no. Literally anyone and everyone has the basic human right to set their own boundaries, and pretty much everyone has the right to expect their boundaries to be respected.

What happens if I cross someone else’s boundaries? 

It’s very seldom that others have boundaries that you would accidentally cross just by being nice, but if you do, apologize and keep that in mind. These boundaries aren’t just for others to be responsible, though.

Some boundaries also force you to take responsibility and act in a certain way that either benefits you and helps you towards success or helps others. For example, if you set boundaries on yourself for finances, you’re holding yourself accountable for being responsible when it comes to the money you’re spending and how you’re spending it.

It can be uncomfortable for you to hold yourself responsible, but it needs to be done. In the short term, others will be uncomfortable with having to be responsible like this. However, it’s better in the long run for everyone.

By being more conscious and willing to think about what you’re actually doing, everyone will be able to communicate and interact with you in a more satisfying manner. Those who refuse to adapt will be looked down upon, but everyone else will be a lot happier with one another, since this kind of behavior transfers from person to person.

Never Apologize for Having Boundaries in Your Life

The reason most people set boundaries is in order to have a happier and more successful life. But you may end up second-guessing your decision afterward, thinking you were being too harsh and overreacted.

You might find yourself in such a situation, feeling the need to apologize for some reason after setting a boundary, as if it’s your fault that you feel as if you’re not being respected.

That isn’t really the truth. Your feelings are simply a reaction to the situation you’re in, and you have every right to feel the way you do. You should feel good about having boundaries because it’s a very healthy thing to do for yourself.

It’ll be uncomfortable for you at first if you’re used to being passive in your engagements with others, but it’s a change that needs to happen. You’ll have to force yourself to stay firm with these boundaries and be unapologetic in doing so.

It’s important not to seem apologetic about having these boundaries, because otherwise people will keep prodding at you until you break under pressure, and your boundaries collapse.

Never apologizing means that you won’t fold on your boundaries and you won’t even be remotely upset about adhering to them. It goes a lot deeper than just presenting others with a strong demeanor.

You need to genuinely believe that there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the boundaries that you had set in order to improve your life. One thing to avoid when being unapologetic is being aggressive or abrasive.

It’s easy to get carried away in trying to be strong with your boundaries that you actually end up being overly confrontational, and in doing so, you’ll push people away a lot more than you might like – particularly your friends and other loved ones.

If you’re super aggressive about not being apologetic, it can actually undermine your efforts and leave you with less support and more people that don’t like you. Not apologizing is very important so that others won’t look at your boundaries as obstacles they need to overcome.

If you don’t firmly believe in your own boundaries, you can’t expect others to give them the respect that they deserve. Instead, they’ll find ways around it and any effort you made in putting that barrier up will be for nothing.

When it comes to boundaries, people are often surprised at first simply because they don’t expect you to set them. If you encounter someone who really demands that you apologize for having simple things in life like boundaries, chances are that it’s in your best interest to cut off that person as soon as you can.

Get Support in Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

 

Narcissistic Abuse Takes You Away…From You (Here’s How)

Narcissistic Abuse Takes You Away…From You (Here’s How)

There was a time in my life when, if you asked me a question about myself, I might not even know WHAT to say, or even if I did, I’d feel awkward saying it and wanted to get the attention off me as soon as possible. And while I feel much more confident about myself these days, I still find myself struggling to say much of anything about myself in conversations – and I feel weird when people try to offer too much praise. And still, when people ask me what I do for a living or anything else about myself, I tend to be brief and quickly change the subject. Can you relate?

What does narcissistic abuse feel like?

If you’ve ever been involved with a narcissist, there’s a point at which you go so deep into your own head that you sort of see the world a little differently than everyone else. It’s that feeling you get when you’re so oppressed in your relationship that most of your dialogue is now internal, so much so that you start to see through it all, and everyone around you seems artificial. When you look at people who aren’t being actively manipulated and controlled by a narcissist, their life problems seem unreal. You almost feel like you’re the narcissist because you’re so deep in your head that you almost can’t find your empathy anymore.
This is the point at which you might find that you’ve forgotten how to even talk about yourself or your interests. And it might be so significant that you actually don’t even know what your interests ARE. This is when you know that the narcissist’s manipulation and control have shut you down – silenced you completely. You only speak as much as absolutely necessary and rarely, if ever, does your conversation involve yourself.
You sit there, still looking perfect on the outside, and you act like nothing is wrong. You keep smiling and pretending that your life is as good as you make it look on social media. You feel like a bit of a fraud as you try to project the image of the life you wish you had, rather than the private hell you’re actually living in.
Meanwhile, you live with constant threats of abandonment, either physically or emotionally. The narcissist says they’ll leave you, or they threaten to stop loving you, or they say if you keep doing (or not doing) whatever they’re complaining about, they’ll just stop caring about you entirely. Or they say you can just move out and go live a separate life.
“See how you like that,” they say.
You might be emotionally drained, exhausted, and pretty much numb at this point, and who could blame you? But you’re asking yourself: how did I get here?

How do narcissists change your personality?

You might have previously been warm, friendly – even extroverted. But after being in this toxic relationship, you’re nowhere near the person you used to be. Is it really possible that the narcissist has changed you so much? What led to you losing yourself and becoming a shell of who you once were?

Narcissists Make Effective Communication Impossible

Communication is incredibly important in any relationship, but when we’ve been involved with narcissists, even the most skilled communicators can feel helpless and handicapped when it comes to being understood – narcissists will inevitably refuse to understand us, especially when what we’re saying is not something like “OMG, you’re so amazing.”

For example, try telling a narcissist exactly how you feel about the way they belittle and invalidate you – and watch how they twist the conversation around. In some of the most extreme cases, you will end up apologizing for not thinking they’re perfect and for having the nerve to even suggest otherwise. I like to call that the “narcissistic flip,” but you might know it as “deflection.”

Either way, when we go through years of this, not to mention that narcissists often isolate their victims from others who might actually offer some support, we sort of forget HOW to communicate – in a way. We stop feeling like we can (or even should) talk about OURSELVES, and we stop trying to make valuable contributions to conversations, in part because we’ve been conditioned to believe that we have nothing of value to say and nothing to offer.

Narcissists Condition You to Believe You Have Nothing of Value to Contribute

You know how I mentioned that I don’t really feel comfortable telling people about myself, and how during my toxic relationship, it was nearly impossible for me? That was the case because the narcissists in my life, starting in childhood, had made it very clear to me that no one wanted to hear about me. In other words, I had been conditioned to think that nothing about me was interesting or even worth hearing about.

This situation is very common for survivors of narcissistic abuse. We believe that we’re not good enough and that no one wants to hear what we have to say anyway. When we do speak up, we tend to keep it short and to the point when it relates to ourselves or our own opinions or beliefs – if we say anything at all.

Narcissistic Abuse Leads to Mental Health Issues

When we go through narcissistic abuse, we might find ourselves dealing with depression. We might also develop other issues – various compulsive behaviors, or an eating disorder, or a substance abuse problem – because sometimes, we try to sort of  ‘self-medicate” to deal with our issues.

We could have flashbacks or panic attacks, and we will most definitely deal with a certain amount of self-doubt. Some of us experience suicidal thoughts – and in the worst cases, some people find themselves seeking or even carrying out the abuse they experienced as a child. On the flip side of that, you may go so far in the other direction that you are a different kind of unhealthy – for example, an abused child who grows up to be a doormat parent (as in, allowing your kids to become spoiled and run the show). It’s a fine line, isn’t it?

Narcissists Actively Trigger Your Trauma Response

The narcissist’s goal is to be in control, and they have no limits to which they will not stoop to get what they want. And since most people who get involved with narcissists report that they’ve had some form of trauma in childhood, whether that’s related to abusive parents or some other kind of trauma, In fact, it’s your history of trauma in relationships that opens you up to being triggered when they start playing their typical mind games.

When you’re actively dealing with the abuse, you might notice that you have heightened reactions to various common relationship issues. That means that you might be triggered over something small, such as an innocently used phrase that used to mean something awful.

For example, as one of my clients explained: her narcissistic mother would always say “Who are you trying to impress?” So when she was later in a relatively healthy relationship, this same phrase uttered by her partner triggered her and caused her to revert for a moment to that little girl who never felt good enough.

We may also withdraw and become unresponsive when triggered by our old issues, which obviously affects our ability to communicate, and we almost always feel a serious aversion to conflict. This can lead to an inability to talk through our issues especially if we feel judged or like the person we’re communicating with is somehow not on our side.

Narcissists Foster Your Self-Doubt

Narcissists have a way of digging deep to find the most painful issues you have, and then they poke at them. This is only part of the reason that most of us end up living with lingering doubt about how people in our lives feel about us. It’s also part of the reason that many of us end up doubting people’s authenticity, especially when the narcissists in our lives include romantic partners in the past. And thanks to the fact that many of us have never felt loved unconditionally, we often find ourselves having difficulty accepting any love at all – we are suspicious of people who try to offer it to us and we often need repeated reassurance of the fact that someone cares about us. This of course can push people away from us and isolate us even further, which will make it even harder to talk about yourself with any confidence.

The narcissist leaves you feeling constantly scattered and confused. This sort of fog you’re living in means that you are easier to control and manipulate. See, due to the stress and the sort of primal mode you are in during the depths of the abuse, you start to feel crazy and begin to doubt your perception once the full effect of the gaslighting kicks in. You might even feel dependent on the narcissist to tell you what you see and think in some cases, and now not only are they controlling your actions but also your thoughts and feelings.

Narcissists Use Your Fears Against You

The narcissist knows what you’re afraid of and they use your fears to maintain full control. They established that you can and will be moved by your fear of losing them or of being alone. Not only is that the most common human fear, but narcissists actively exploit this in most of their romantic relationships. This works especially well on people who also experienced childhood trauma, as we tend to hold on to anyone who claims to love us for dear life.

And, if you’re anything like I was, one of your biggest fears might be that you’ll be the last one to know your relationship is over. You are afraid of being humiliated in a situation where you’re the only one who doesn’t know what’s happening in your own relationship.

What if the narcissist is right about you?

For a lot of us, we also worry that some toxic person in our life was right about us, and we’re actually the complete piece of trash we’ve done our best to avoid being for our whole lives. We wonder if we are doomed to being not good enough (or otherwise deficient) forever.

This leads to something that, if you don’t recognize it, could pretty much keep you stuck forever:

You get deeper and deeper into the trauma bond. You become fully enmeshed with the narcissist. They control you through the active infliction of their own perception. They teach you (and make sure you don’t forget) that their needs are always more important than your own. They make you feel like you’re not a real person and that your feelings and thoughts and ideas aren’t relevant or worth expressing – not to mention worth actually hearing or implementing. That prevents you from ever reaching your true potential as you lose yourself a little more each day.it changes you and could limit you forever if you allow it.

So, how do you find yourself again? How do you remember who you are? Well, I’ve previously covered this in detail, so I’m attaching a portion of a previous video for you here. (I’m sharing a link with you in the description below and the pinned comment to help you do exactly that!).

Question of the Day

Can you relate to the feeling of losing yourself and your voice during a toxic relationship with a narcissist? Did you forget how to talk about yourself, too? Share your thoughts, ideas, and experience in the comments section.

No Closure At the End of Your Relationship? What Now?

No Closure At the End of Your Relationship? What Now?

Why do narcissists refuse to give you closure in a relationship?

Are you desperate for closure after the ending of a relationship with a narcissist?  Rarely is the need for relief from the discard allowed by the narcissist – and being able to speak your mind and discuss the issues you lived with if you have gone no contact is practically a foreign concept.

Lack of Closure After a Toxic Relationship Leaves You Reeling

Feeling the need for closure in order to move on and heal can perhaps be one of the more frustrating things survivors of narcissistic abuse go through after a discard. I know that for me personally, it left me feeling like it was impossible to stop thinking about the narcissist and I even struggled to forgive myself for having been with them in the first place. Can you relate?

What can you expect from the narcissist at the end of a relationship?

With a narcissist, if you get closure then you are one of the rare few. The narcissistic person will not allow you to get the closure you need. Instead of closure you get the silent treatment, smear campaigns, gaslighting, blame-shifting, the narcissist playing victim, hoovering, and repeated abuse. In other words, anything but closure.

They might even call you the abuser. Of all the people I have spoken to about the abuse they have suffered, not one has said they have had closure directly from the narcissist.

Can you create your own closure so you can move forward with your healing after narcissist abuse?

Absolutely you can! This video talks about why a narcissist won’t give you closure as well as ideas for how to move forward with your own life to create the closure you seek.

Get Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Now

Additional Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Resources

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