What comes to mind when you hear the words narcissism or narcissistic? Do you think of self-love to the extreme? Or do you think back to Greek mythology where Narcissus fell in love with his image reflected in water?
According to Psychology today, narcissists don’t “love” themselves. Shame drives them in life. They admire an “idealized” image of themselves they’ve “convinced” themselves they embody.
Deep inside, there’s a gap between the person they show the world and their “shame-based self.” Intense, right? They do all they can to hide this mortified part of themselves. They don’t like feeling it either.
To fill this gap they portray to the world and the negative part they conceal; they resort to destructive defense mechanisms to cope. These devices harm those they love. They can destroy and damage relationships.
Let’s get one thing straight: Whether the abuser in a relationship has been diagnosed with a mental illness or not, abuse is wrong and unacceptable.
Recently, psychologists have found a connection between anxiety disorders and narcissistic abuse. Professionals are quite aware of the physical and emotional results of this mistreatment and how one’s long-term health could be affected.
If the abuse occurs in childhood, the results can be more severe. What’s most tragic about this where young ones are concerned is they are made to feel like the problem is their fault.
In narcissistic abuse, it’s all related to how the abuser makes you feel. It’s normal to disassociate oneself from this type of treatment. It can lead to other anxiety issues.
The Mayo Clinic has created a long list of anxiety disorders. These are the most common.
“– Anxiety associated with a medical condition that could lead to panic attacks.
– Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder associated with fear of public places.
– Numerous panic disorders associated with the fear of having a panic attack
– Generalized anxiety disorder, characterized by feeling overwhelmed by everyday events or activities.
– Separation anxiety disorder, commonly seen in children and associated with separation from others, including parents and those who have similar roles.
– Selective Mutism is common in children who are abused, and they may not speak about certain types of situations.
– Social anxiety disorder is a fear of social situations, typically due to the possibility of being embarrassed
– Substance-induced anxiety could be panic attacks or anxiety associated with substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms.
– Specific phobias associated with various situations of life
– Other anxiety disorders that are too numerous but are similarly as destructive as those listed above.”
[talan: I’ve just left the list as is.]
It’s alarming when you think about how damaging abuse is to a child. There aren’t only emotional effects but physical ones as well, which we’ll discuss soon.
Victims of this abuse tend to be more anxious. They can also be good at manipulating situations where they’ve misbehaved, talking themselves out of taking responsibility for their actions. Therefore, the cycle of abuse remains unbroken. Some youngsters might recognize there is a problem, but they don’t have the where with all to find a solution.
Those who experience narcissistic abuse tend to be empathetic and compassionate. They have a difficult time believing abusers are not good people.
A study conducted by Mohammed Madig of the Memorial University of Newfoundland found this frightening conclusion: “Verbal abuse can cause significant psychological problems in later years and brain damage, including anxiety, depression, anger-hostility, and dissociation.”
Read that again slowly. Dr. Douglas Fields wrote the following in Psychology Today: “When [an] environment is hostile or socially unhealthy, development of the brain is affected, and often it is impaired.
“Early childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, or even witnessing domestic violence, have been shown to cause abnormal physical changes in the brain of children, with lasting effects, that predisposes the child to develop psychological disorders.”
Though the results of abuse are negative and heartbreaking, those who’ve experienced this demeaning behavior can recover. What’s most important to understand is you ARE NOT TO BLAME. Take the time to allow yourself to heal; seek out professional help. Start a personal journal where you can record your feelings and emotions. There is a light in sight for you. Reach out for the peace and contentment you deserve.