I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother and it took me nearly six decades to understand narcissism and the full implications on me and my life. I also had my share of narcissistic partners. For some reason, I attracted them or was attracted to them and I didn’t know what healthy love looked like.
Abuse translated for me into a kind of love. How about the boyfriend who called me ‘dummy’? While I was the academic who attended university and he didn’t get the grades to even apply. Or the one who promised me for over three years to take me away for a weekend and never did.
In this article, I want to present you with the seven signs which you could recognise in yourself, as a response to your partner, which might indicate you are the victim of abuse. Most likely narcissistic abuse.
1. You feel uncomfortable in their presence
Your discomfort is fed by confusion. You are not sure what to do or how to behave to get the approval of your partner. One time you talk about your work, they seem interested and engaging. The next time, when you talk about the ‘follow-up’ of the situation you discussed earlier, they seem to have lost total interest.
They might laugh at a joke you tell, next time they tell you off for telling the same type of joke.
It feels as if you can’t relax when they are around, because you can’t predict their reactions.
2. Your confidence has gone down since you are with them
You were always bubbly and enthusiastic. You had no problem doing something spontaneously and you felt happy in your own skin. Since you are in the relationship your confidence has reduced to such a low level that you don’t recognize yourself anymore. There seem to be problems and challenges that didn’t exist in the past. You are nervous about making choices now. But you used to have no issue with decisions.
3. You know something isn’t right but can’t put your finger on it
You feel that discomfort and try to find rational reasons for it. But your mind can’t come up with decent explanations. You tell yourself you are making things up and are overreacting. But who is telling you that? That might be your partner.
4. You make up excuses for their behaviour
They give you the cold shoulder and you tell yourself it is because they are tired. They put you down and you tell yourself it is because they are stressed. They blame you for something they did wrong and you tell yourself it doesn’t matter. What you are doing is called ‘cognitive dissonance’. It refers to situations involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviours. You experience discomfort and in order to restore the balance, you change your attitude, belief, or behaviour. You become untrue to yourself.
5. You sacrifice what is important to you to please them
As it happened you are less close to your friends and family. Your partner keeps on throwing critical remarks about them. Or refuses to spend time with them so you have to go by yourself. You start to feel a bit lonely and alone and where you had strong and close connections in the past, these have all subsided. Who could you go to these days if you wanted to confide?