Until the last decade or so, I rarely felt super happy. My life seemed to alternate between feeling stressed and anxious and feeling depressed. Sure, there were occasional bouts of feeling ALMOST happy, and there were a few high points I could share. But in general, my resting state was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t focus.
Dissociation as a Symptom of Narcissistic Abuse
I was so dissociated that I struggled to even feel like a real person. But when I learned about how my toxic relationships with narcissists had affected me on some fairly profound levels, I also learned how to choose my own perception and eventually managed to switch it up. These days, my resting state is usually at the very least calm, if not actually happy.
And while my life wasn’t so great back then, it turns out that I’m not unusual in this way. See, living with constant anxiety, depression and stress is a common problem for people who are or who have been involved in longterm relationships with narcissists – whether they’re your spouse, partner, parent or someone else. And, according to a study I’m going to share with you today, we’ve been right all along: narcissistic behavior in toxic relationships literally causes anxiety and depression – even after the relationship ends.
In this video, I’ll explain all of that and give you tips on how you can manage and resolve it in your own life.
You might already know that the feeling of being anxious is something we’ve inherited from our ancestors, but did you know that anxiety developed early in our evolution in order to help prehistoric humans survive in their unstable and dangerous environment? It’s true!
Defined as an overall feeling or sense of nervousness, worry and general unease, humans of today are still plagued with anxiety, though it isn’t necessary in our current world since, for the most part, we’re not fighting to stay alive every day.
So then why is it that we still struggle with it to the point that there are a number of officially diagnosed anxiety disorders? And how is it that going through a toxic relationship and dealing with common narcissistic behaviors causes these disorders, along with clinical depression and various forms of PTSD? Well, this is where that study I mentioned comes in.
But just to summarize it for you, the study collects a number of academic psychology reports and scientific research papers that point to the issue: the anxiety orders of today all seem to indicate that any sort of psychological or emotional trauma in childhood is the culprit.
How Narcissistic Abuse Leads to Anxiety and Depression
It turns out that going through what the study authors termed “early life stress” can profoundly affect the central nervous system (CNS). In layman’s terms, that means that your nervous system becomes almost disabled, compared to that of someone who didn’t experience such traumas. That’s because these kinds of traumas and the levels of stress you experience during narcissistic abuse will lead to high amounts of inflammatory hormones being dumped into our systems. And even when we’re not actively being traumatized – and this is the worst part – our bodies begin to release these same hormones even at the memory of these traumas. Essentially, we become overloaded with emotional stress.
Study Confirms That Narcissistic Abuse Causes Lifelong Mental Health Issues
The study confirms what I’ve been saying for years: going through narcissistic abuse, whether as a child or as an adult, is now considered a major risk factor that can contribute to anxiety disorders, depression and PTSD. And, going through psychological abuse can be equally and even more profound on its effects on your mental health when compared to experiencing physical abuse and aggression.
Surviving Trauma in Childhood Doesn’t Doom Your Mental Health, BUT…
On the plus side, psychologists say, going through this as a kid doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll absolutely develop anxiety in your lifetime. Still, traumatic events in childhood – especially while your brain is still developing – can definitely contribute to the supersensitivity seen in the neuroendocrine and stress response systems. That means that going through additional emotional and/or psychological traumas as you get older can trigger anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders.
Because of the increased stress and the fact that in time, most sufferers of narcissistic abuse experience adrenal fatigue, this can be the most dangerous kind of abuse.
When the adrenal fatigue hits, you’re going to be dealing with several possible outcomes – again, including an anxiety disorder, clinical depression, or both.
What Makes You More Susceptible to Narcissistic Abuse?
Worse, feeling anxious and depressed means you’re more susceptible to narcissistic abuse and therefore less likely to be able to extricate yourself from a toxic relationship, which explains why so many of us struggle to leave or go no contact with the narcissists in our lives.
Narcissists tend to target sensitive, empathic and compassionate people. People who are wired to always see the best in other people and who by nature are helpers or fixers. People who make an effort to understand the narcissist, and who often see their glaring flaws and choose to love them anyway. People who will put the narcissist’s needs above their own at nearly any cost.
This of course leads to the narcissist’s initial recognition that this is someone they want to keep around – so they begin to create the web of crazy that we end up stuck in during these toxic relationships. They begin to try to make you emotionally, physically and/or financially dependent on them. And they do it by whatever means necessary.
But how do they accomplish it?
How do narcissists take control of you?
They start by devaluing you – at first, maybe with little jabs and undercutting comments. Later, it becomes more direct and aggressive, and before you know it, they’re deep into gaslighting. That’s where they intentionally and willfully psychologically “game” you by making you doubt your reality and question your own perception.
They start to make you feel crazy, and while some part of you KNOWS that you’re perfectly sane, deep down, the constant repetition eventually wears you down and you find yourself wondering if you really ARE crazy.
Adrenal fatigue and its effects in narcissistic abuse
This part is exactly where you begin to experience adrenal fatigue. You start to feel foggy and confused, and you question your very sanity. You doubt your morals and your ethics and honestly; you don’t even know who you are anymore.
You are living in a constant state of stress and a complete lack of self=confidence. This, of course, leaves you feeling lost, confused and alone in your relationship and in your life. You avoid your friends and extended family members. You start to feel uncomfortable in any social situation. You forget how to talk about yourself. You start to dissociate.
You might even get physically sick. It’s like you’re not even there sometimes.
This makes it feel impossible to free yourself sometimes, and many unfortunate people find themselves feeling completely stuck with literally no options.
Narcissistic abuse isn’t your fault
You might blame yourself for being in this situation. But you shouldn’t – instead, you should recognize that while the narcissist dragged you down, and while a coach, therapist or support group can help, only YOU can ultimately pull yourself out of it.
The question of the day is: are you as unshocked by this study as me? Have you experienced this kind of relationship? Share your thoughts, share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments below this video, and let’s talk about it.
Today, we’re going to talk about narcissists and gaslighting and whether or not it can be intentional. If you’ve ever had a friend, family member or co-worker who is a narcissist or who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), chances are you have been the victim of gaslighting, which is a manipulation technique they often employ to get what they want.
In case you’re new around here, let me define gaslighting for you. Used by most narcissists, gaslighting is a pervasive and highly-effective tactic meant to manipulate you by psychological means into questioning your own sanity. Or, in layman’s terms, gaslighting is when a toxic person intentionally messes with your head to make you doubt your reality and your sanity. And, if you haven’t already guessed, gaslighters make you feel crazy because they act like your reactions to their abuse are not rational.
But is it intentional? Are narcissists and other toxic people using gaslighting on purpose? Do they think about it first, or is it just in their nature? Do people who are utilizing gaslighting tactics even know they are doing that?
Can gaslighting be unintentional?
In the examples I gave, do you think that the gaslighting was done on purpose or by nature? Were the narcissists I talked about calculating or was this just the way their minds work? Well, let’s discuss that. It could go one of two ways.
In some cases yes, a narcissist can be well-aware of what they’re doing. Maybe they don’t call it “gaslighting,” but they have studied you and long-practiced the strategy and how it works in order to manipulate others. It is all about gaining control. The ones who intentionally manipulate and do so in a calculated, focused way tend to be more intelligent as well as higher on the cluster B spectrum. They’re more likely to qualify as sociopaths and psychopaths.
However, in other cases, there are abusers and narcissists who utilize gaslighting tactics without even realizing it as well.
In those instances, they are still wanting to gain control to manipulate others, and when that happens, gaslighting is one of those tactics they use. But that does not mean the gaslighting is intentional. It just comes with the territory. In many cases, children who were raised by narcissistic parents or one narcissistic parent would have learned those tactics along the way by watching what the parent does. It can just be their nature, or a learned behavior. It might look like a bad habit.
For example, if the parent had an addiction and they did not want the children to tell anyone about it, they would use gaslighting tactics to keep the child quiet. This would involve some form of manipulation by the parent. Another common gaslighting tactic that toxic parents use is that they do what they can to alienate the child from the other parent. Especially when the parents are separated or divorced as they will depict the other parent as the ‘deadbeat’ even if that is far from the truth.
The worst part is that oftentimes children who are abused and manipulated sadly repeat history. Some realize that they need to break the cycle so they don’t do that to their children. This can ensure that the toxic legacy doesn’t continue. But those who do pick up those tactics will be more likely to be manipulative towards others even if they are unintentionally gaslighting. They still are doing it to get what they want. And whether or not the manipulator is aware of gaslighting, they both are a pathological way of cruelly manipulating the mind to get what they want. They don’t care if you get hurt in the end.
Bottom line: it is true that gaslighting can be unintentional. But remember this: that does not make it any less problematic than those who are intentionally doing it to you.
Narcissistic mothers are the queens of manipulation. They are experts at getting their own way. Their most powerful tool is your guilt. Your narcissistic mother will guilt-trip you with the memory of how difficult she had it when she brought you into this world, or how much she sacrificed to ensure that you had, what she thinks that you have – a good life.
Narcissistic Mothers Are Verbally and Emotionally Abusive.
A narcissistic mother is a (generally) female parent who may have either narcissistic personality disorder or pathological narcissist traits. She is neglectful, controlling, abusive, or otherwise toxic to her children. Narcissistic mothers are known to be toxic, or disordered, or malignant. They are genuinely different from ordinary mothers in some very specific ways. Narcissistic mothers have so little capacity for empathy that they don’t recognize the needs and feelings of other people as having any validity or relevance. Many of their adult children become one of two things: a narcissist themselves, or a victim of one.
A narcissistic mother will do anything to get her own needs met, without regard for anyone else’s.
Her children are just objects to be used to satisfy her desires, no different than objects she might purchase or collect. She doesn’t really see them as people, and she certainly doesn’t see them as equals.
Her goal is to make her children meet her emotional needs rather than the other way around. She wants what she wants; it’s irrelevant whether her children want the same thing.
Her children are not people with feelings and needs of their own; they are extensions of her. They exist only to make her look good or feel good about herself. She may love them, but only in the sense that she “loves” things that serve her; they are not allowed to have an existence separate from hers, nor a future that does not involve being a part of hers.
The children learn quickly that their role is to satisfy their mother’s needs and desires, and that they exist only as extensions of her. Many grow up into adults who have a hard time making decisions or going after what they want because they have been trained to think primarily of others’ feelings rather than their own.
What are the signs of narcissistic abuse by your mother?
Sometimes, she liked you. Other times, someone else got to be her golden child. Narcissist mothers will often shower affection and praise on others only to withdraw it when you fail to meet their standards.
The child of a narcissist can be hurt in many different ways because of the manipulations and expectations set upon him or her.
You might feel guilty for not meeting expectations or become overly reliant on the parent for approval and acceptance. It is important for these individuals to seek help through therapy so they can learn to cope with their feelings and move forward.
Narcissistic mothers tend to see their daughters both as threats and as annexed to their own egos. Through direction and criticism, they try to shape their daughter into a version of themselves or their idealized self. At the same time, they project onto their daughter not only unwanted aspects of themselves, such as self-centeredness, obstinance, selfishness, and coldness, but also disliked traits of their own mothers. They may prefer their son, although they can harm him in other ways, such as through emotional incest.”
63 Things Narcissistic Mothers Say
While you might want to believe that your parents love you, the sad truth is they might not. Narcissistic mothers say hurtful and insensitive things because they’re narcissists and they even consider your feelings. They’re selfish and only care about themselves and their needs.
Narcissistic mothers say hurtful and insensitive things because they’re narcissists and they don’t care about you. They’re selfish and only care about themselves and their needs. It is an unfortunate fact that most narcissistic moms manipulate their children in order to meet their own personal needs. They use guilt trips to get what they want from you which is sad because children should be able to depend on their parents for unconditional love.
How many times have you heard these hurtful statements from your mother?
Things narcissistic mothers say when you’ve made a choice they don’t agree with
You only did that to hurt me!
You’re so ungrateful.
You never stop to think.
You are SO selfish!
This is never going to work.
Things narcissistic mothers say when you’re upset or crying about something and they are annoyed by your emotions, which they feel are not real or relevant.
Get over it.
You’re so dramatic.
I’ll give you something to cry about.
I told you so.
Why do things always affect you more than other people?
These are the choices that you have made.
Things narcissistic mothers say when you attempt to confront them about anything
What is wrong with you? You’re making too much out of nothing.
I never did that, you are just sensitive, I don’t remember it that way.
I don’t care.
Things narcissistic mothers say when you have proved them wrong or have a different opinion than they do
You think you’re SO smart!
I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Who told you that? You’re so gullible; you can’t believe everything people say.
Things narcissistic mothers say when you question their authority
Don’t you dare look at me like that.
Get that look off your face before I slap it off.
Who do you think you are?
How DARE you question me?
Things narcissistic mothers say when they’re guilt-tripping you
I will die without you.
You’re breaking my heart.
You are the reason your father and I divorced.
You only care about yourself.
I’ve given up my whole life for you!
You owe me this (because I gave you life)
I’m the only one who will ever really love you.
Things narcissistic mothers say when they are tearing you down and devaluing you
You were a mistake. Everything in my life is your fault, because you were born.
You’re just like (insert awful individual here)!
You’re never going to amount to anything. I don’t know whose child you are.
I’m so ashamed of you. You should be ashamed of yourself.
No one will ever love you. No one will ever want you.
You are worthless.
You don’t deserve to be happy.
Just wait till your father gets home!
It’s a shame you don’t have any friends. People would like you more if you weren’t so ______.
Everyone else agrees that you’re horrible/lazy/stupid/otherwise unsavory.
Things narcissistic mothers say when they are jealous of you
You’re such a Polly Anna, always with your rose-colored glasses on!
You think you’re so pretty/smart/good
You’re a (insert rude term here) and you are only trying to get attention!
Guys only like you because you’re a (insert rude term here), or girls only like you for your money.
People always used to tell me I was pretty.
You’re ugly on the inside.
Things narcissistic mothers say when they are issuing back-handed compliments
You’re so smart but you have zero common sense
You would be so pretty if you just lost a few pounds
Your house is so clean! No wonder your two-year-old can’t read yet.
That dress is so pretty! It would look great on your sister.
I’m so proud of your accomplishment – obviously, you get it from me.
Things narcissistic mothers say when they are having delusions of grandeur
I am not capable of lying! How dare you accuse me of that?
Everyone wishes they could have a mother like me.
Calm down! You’re being irrational!
I’ll never understand how I gave birth to a horrible child like you.
I can’t believe you’re no good at ______. You should be successful at _______ because you’re MY child!
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support & Resources for Adult Children of Narcissistic Mothers
If you feel you need additional help and support in your narcissistic abuse recovery, look for a trauma-informed professional trained in helping people who are dealing with overcoming narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
My narcissistic mom was the kind of person who rationalized the decisions she made and the ones she forced on me with “if you don’t do this/if I do this, your father will kill him.”
She made me keep the secret of the neighbor who molested me at age 8. Truth was, I wanted my dad to kill him.
I remember when she told me she had an abortion, sometime after my younger brother was born in 1962 and before 1967 (that’s when they both got sober). She said she’d had the abortion because she became pregnant with a black man from the bar she hung out in and that she knew having a black baby would throw my dad over the edge.
I didn’t need to know that information and could have lived a lifetime without it.
I ended contact with my parents when my son was born in April of 2000. Their gambling addiction turned them into the same people they were when they were drinking and I had made a solemn vow to never live through that again.
Do you know how sometimes when someone gets sober, they start to see the light and start apologizing for their horrible treatment of the people around them?
Sadly, that wasn’t the case for her; sobriety didn’t cure my mom’s narcissism. She just chose to abandon us in a different way.
Grieving the Juiceman Juicer
And now, here I sit, grieving over the fact that I’m about to let go of a Juiceman juicer. I know, it’s weird – but I can’t seem to stop myself.
So why does letting go of the juicer cause me to grieve now? Because once upon a time in those 40 years of life, my mom actually rose to the occasion for eight weeks of my life and was a mom to me.
In hindsight, I realize that my dad most likely paid her to spend a 40 hour week to be my caregiver. But still, that is an unknown and she did help save my life administering the fairly grueling task of the Gerson Therapy. All I was able to do during those initial weeks of the treatment was lay on the couch and walk to the bathroom and do my own coffee treatments.
So the juicer that has been moved with me since 1991 and lived in eight different homes and garages was some sort of representation of having a real mom.
Today I am letting go of the juicer, and facing the reality of how very toxic my mother truly was.