People very often ask how they can be sure a person they are in a relationship with is a narcissist. The struggle to not only understand but to accept what they see and feel can cause so much confusion to survivors of narcissistic abuse. One thing that is asked for is a checklist of abuse, a way to check and see if what is being experienced is really abuse and not the fault of the survivor.
Toxic Relationship? Ask Yourself These Questions
Are you struggling to understand what is going on in your relationship?
Have you questioned things then later second-guessed if it was you that was at fault?
Breaking Trauma Bonds and Healing
In this video, I talk about 40 ways you might experience narcissistic abuse. The things described in this video are meant to help you understand and be aware of signs of toxic abuse in relationships. The more you understand about narcissism the easier it is to accept a narcissist is a narcissist and will abuse. Acceptance helps you to break those horrible trauma bonds that tie you to an abusive person. Know the signs, ask questions, get informed!
Additional Resources for People in Toxic Relationships
Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships is both confusing and debilitating for the victim of the narcissist. But what is interesting is that nearly everyone who has experienced it can relate to certain issues that come up. In fact, you might be surprised to learn how often we hear the same questions, again and again.
For people who are surviving narcissistic abuse, some of the most common questions I hear from my coaching clients are the following.
Questions like these are asked so often that you might be shocked. But I get it because I’ve been there personally – as have all of our narcissistic abuse recovery coaches and counselors here at QueenBeing. In fact, that’s exactly why we do what we do! We’re here to provide the validation a survivor seeks to help with moving forward. The truth is that getting out of toxic relationships often feels impossible without some validation that the relationship is indeed as bad as you think it is.
The thing is that, quite frankly, a label does not matter. What matters is how you are treated in the relationship – and how you feel when you spend time with that person.
Toxic is toxic.
The struggle to even know if your relationship is toxic is totally normal with emotional abuse. Many of the mistreatments and abuse can be covert and almost impossible to describe. Check out this list of signs that your relationship may be toxic if you need support and validation. Hopefully, this will help you see some common ways people know things are unhealthy and can help you make the decision that is right for your healing and life.
You are confused by any conflict because it feels like your reality is being twisted (gaslighting).
You are required to check-in and it feels like your every move is monitored. You have anxiety if you do not check-in or check-in late.
You feel sad when your partner jokes with you because the jokes feel like hidden criticism or emotional attacks. This is especially true for those who normally find joking to be a fun way to enjoy communication with others.
Let’s dig into the psychology of what happens between a narcissist and a codependent in a toxic relationship. The typical toxic relationship involves trauma bonding. Learn why and how trauma bonding happens in a toxic relationship, plus the psychology of the narcissist as well as the psychology of the codependent during the relationship. And finally, we’ll touch on what it takes to heal after such a relationship.
Trauma bonding is a common condition among narcissistic abuse survivors and their abusers. Thanks to an ongoing cycle of intermittent reinforcement, many survivors of toxic relationships go through this, much like kidnapping victims and hostages do. Trauma bonding is often a bigger issue for people who also grew up in toxic and abusive homes, partially just because it feels like “normal” to them.
A narcissist, in general, is someone with a high opinion of him/herself, but when we’re talking about narcissistic abuse, we’re talking about the type of person who is toxic, verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive. They may or may not also be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. For the record, while it is not considered to be a “mental illness,” but a personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder manifests in an inflated sense of importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.
What is Codependency?
Codependency is complex, but a general definition is that it is a toxic emotional and behavioral condition that makes it nearly impossible to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form and stay in relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive, and/or abusive. The term originates from Alcoholics Anonymous but fits toxic relationships surprisingly well.
How do you let go of the narcissist when you’re dealing with trauma bonding?
How can you make recovering from narcissistic abuse less painful?
I always say that when you “think like a scientist,” you can significantly reduce the pain – that’s how it worked for me! In this video, I’ll fill you in on exactly what I mean, as well as how you can do it too!
What stage of narcissistic abuse recovery healing are you in?
Do you think you’re being abused by a narcissist in a toxic relationship? Have you dealt with narcissistic abuse in the past? Are you working on narcissistic abuse recovery? If so, you’ll want to know about these resources.
Letting go of toxic people is an act of self-care. – Karen Salmansohn
Are you in a relationship that involves someone who emotionally, mentally or physically damages you? Do you feel like a shell of your former self since becoming involved with this person? After you spend time with this person, do you feel energized and refreshed, or do you feel drained and exhausted?
While toxic relationships are both damaging and devastating to those who are involved in them, they have a much deeper effect than most people realize. Despite popular opinion, most victims of toxic relationships are far from your standard “victim-type” personality; in fact, most are intelligent, attractive and capable. This is part of what attracts the toxic partner.
Are you in a relationship with someone who is making you miserable?
Do you ever feel drained when you spend time with that person?
Do you often find yourself feeling tired and unmotivated or even sort of paralyzed?
Do you find yourself putting that person’s needs before your own?
Do you often feel shocked by someone’s disrespectful behavior?
Does someone in your life make you feel like you don’t matter or like you’re not as important as they are?
Have you ever described the way you feel as emotionally “dead” or numb (or something similar)?
Have you ever found yourself questioning your own sanity?
Have you started to think you’re just not good enough?
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is similar to a dysfunctional relationship but less repairable, often due to at least one partner being unable or unwilling to change and/or take responsibility for their wrongdoings. When you’re in a toxic relationship, you’ll find that it involves more negativity than positivity. Most importantly, a toxic relationship does not emotionally support one or both of the people involved. A toxic relationship will also often involve resentment, contempt, communication problems and varying forms of physical, emotional and psychological abuse.
Being involved with a toxic person (or a narcissist) in a toxic relationship will lead to a serious loss of self and a significantly reduced ability to be happy, healthy and fulfilled in your life. These relationships often feel empty or one-sided and leave one or both partners feeling codependent and miserable.
Can a toxic relationship be fixed?
While dysfunctional relationships can often be repaired, toxic ones are less likely to be worth the trouble of trying. That’s because while it does theoretically seem that narcissists and toxic people are capable of personal growth and change, it is rarely seen. So, while most narcissists COULD change, they most often will not, at least not long-term.
In this video, the QueenBeeing coaches share their advice on how to find out if your relationship has become toxic. Are you with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder? You can find out, right here.
What causes toxic relationships?
I know, you’re probably asking yourself, “How did I end up in a toxic relationship?” I get it. It’s almost always a shock when you realize you’re in a toxic relationship, and this may be due to the fact that you’re a strong, intelligent and attractive person who generally reads people like a book. But in many cases, you also had a difficult or traumatic childhood, whether it was a result of abuse, neglect or some other sort of situational trauma.