Narcissistic Abuse

Many people believe that a narcissist is anyone who loves themselves, to the extreme, but this is just not true. Essentially narcissism involves someone either diagnosed with Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) or someone displaying narcissistic traits and behaviours who has never actually been diagnosed with the personality disorder. Just like many other mental health conditions, the associated behaviours fall on a spectrum.

Healthy Narcissism v. Unhealthy Narcissism...

At the lower end of the spectrum we find ‘healthy narcissism’… things like feeling proud of ourselves, recognising our strengths and talents and liking what we see in the mirror. But at the higher end of the spectrum we find more ‘pathological narcissism’ which includes excessive vanity and an over inflated sense of self. It is normal for those displaying behaviours at this end of the spectrum to live with an idealised or fantasied version of themselves which they present to the world in order to escape their painful reality. Essentially the are in love with a grandiose version of themself. This ‘alternate’ identity is created to help them escape their insecurities and sometimes, even their deep-seated self-hatred. Unhealthy narcissism involves repetitive patterns of self-centered and arrogant thinking and behaviour, a lack of any empathy for others and an excessive need for external validation and admiration.

The Narcissistic 'Mask'...

This persona that is presented to the world is often described as the narcissistic ‘mask’ and for some, but not all, this mask can be put on and taken off on demand based on the company the narcissist is keeping. This theory explains why, for example, a friend sees one version of the person but behind closed doors, the partner sees a totally different version of the same person. As you can imagine, keeping up this façade takes a lot of work. Propping up their delusions is exhausting and so that is where the dysfunctional behaviour and interpersonal abuse comes in. Many people report narcissists as being cocky, selfish, childlike, patronising and highly manipulative. I know from first-hand experience that that description is spot on.

Narcissistic behaviours often include;

Gaslighting (manipulation and brainwashing) • The use of isolation tactics • Character assassinations and smear campaigns • Physical, emotional, financial or spiritual abuse • Sexual control and dominance • Tantrums, mood swings and sulking • Constant lying, even when presented with otherwise unquestionable evidence • Blame shifting and projection (transferring their issues and behaviours onto you) • Threats • Lying, hiding or distorting the truth • Power plays, verbal aggression and excessive confrontations • Rule and boundary violations • Sarcasm, sick humour, public shaming and humiliation tactics • Triangulation (involving a third party to either make you ‘fight’ for them or to destabilise you if this this party is blindsided by their manipulations) • Showing off, bragging, nit-picking and constant criticism of others • Deliberate instigation of arguments • Frequent and intimidating oppression of those who dare challenge them • Excuses, justifications, denial, avoidance, deflection and downplaying of issues raised • Judgements, double standards and ever moving goal posts • Using their body as a weapon (eg. blocking, standing over or otherwise using their physical size to intimidate)

Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse...

For many survivors of this abuse the hardest concept to grasp is the fact that narcissists are resistant to change because they believe everyone else to be the problem. Very few people are ever diagnosed with NPD because they simply will not put themselves in a therapist’s chair for diagnosis.

This form of toxic abuse is soul destroying to say the least. It erodes a person’s sense of self, slowly and mercilessly. In severe cases it can cause anxiety, depression, self-hate, suicidal ideations and attempts… and more. It ruins careers, families and lives in general. Here at She Counselling we are committed to education and empowerment. We believe that survivors of this horrific psychological warfare should be seen and heard so as to enable them to break free of the chains.

If you or someone you love is living with this abuse, please reach out for support. Validation and education will change your life. Feel free to book a session or, alternatively, if you have any questions about how therapy at She can help you, please get in touch. You may also like to visit the article library for some tips and trips related to narcissism.

A word on Narcissistic Abuse…
N
You are NOT crazy
N
This is NOT your fault
N
It's not about YOU, it's about THEM
N
Abuse is NOT normal
N
You do NOT have to live in chaos
A word on Narcissistic Abuse…
N
You are NOT crazy
N
This is NOT your fault
N
It's not about YOU, it's about THEM
N
Abuse is NOT normal
N
You do NOT have to live in chaos

Many people believe that a narcissist is anyone who loves themselves, to the extreme, but this is just not true. Essentially narcissism involves someone either diagnosed with Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) or someone displaying narcissistic traits and behaviours who has never actually been diagnosed with the personality disorder. Just like many other mental health conditions, the associated behaviours fall on a spectrum.

Healthy Narcissism v. Unhealthy Narcissism...

At the lower end of the spectrum we find ‘healthy narcissism’… things like feeling proud of ourselves, recognising our strengths and talents and liking what we see in the mirror. But at the higher end of the spectrum we find more ‘pathological narcissism’ which includes excessive vanity and an over inflated sense of self. It is normal for those displaying behaviours at this end of the spectrum to live with an idealised or fantasied version of themselves which they present to the world in order to escape their painful reality. Essentially the are in love with a grandiose version of themself. This ‘alternate’ identity is created to help them escape their insecurities and sometimes, even their deep-seated self-hatred. Unhealthy narcissism involves repetitive patterns of self-centered and arrogant thinking and behaviour, a lack of any empathy for others and an excessive need for external validation and admiration.

The Narcissistic 'Mask'...

This persona that is presented to the world is often described as the narcissistic ‘mask’ and for some, but not all, this mask can be put on and taken off on demand based on the company the narcissist is keeping. This theory explains why, for example, a friend sees one version of the person but behind closed doors, the partner sees a totally different version of the same person. As you can imagine, keeping up this façade takes a lot of work. Propping up their delusions is exhausting and so that is where the dysfunctional behaviour and interpersonal abuse comes in. Many people report narcissists as being cocky, selfish, childlike, patronising and highly manipulative. I know from first-hand experience that that description is spot on.

Narcissistic behaviours often include;

Gaslighting (manipulation and brainwashing) • The use of isolation tactics • Character assassinations and smear campaigns • Physical, emotional, financial or spiritual abuse • Sexual control and dominance • Tantrums, mood swings and sulking • Constant lying, even when presented with otherwise unquestionable evidence • Blame shifting and projection (transferring their issues and behaviours onto you) • Threats • Lying, hiding or distorting the truth • Power plays, verbal aggression and excessive confrontations • Rule and boundary violations • Sarcasm, sick humour, public shaming and humiliation tactics • Triangulation (involving a third party to either make you ‘fight’ for them or to destabilise you if this this party is blindsided by their manipulations) • Showing off, bragging, nit-picking and constant criticism of others • Deliberate instigation of arguments • Frequent and intimidating oppression of those who dare challenge them • Excuses, justifications, denial, avoidance, deflection and downplaying of issues raised • Judgements, double standards and ever moving goal posts • Using their body as a weapon (eg. blocking, standing over or otherwise using their physical size to intimidate)

Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse...

For many survivors of this abuse the hardest concept to grasp is the fact that narcissists are resistant to change because they believe everyone else to be the problem. Very few people are ever diagnosed with NPD because they simply will not put themselves in a therapist’s chair for diagnosis.

This form of toxic abuse is soul destroying to say the least. It erodes a person’s sense of self, slowly and mercilessly. In severe cases it can cause anxiety, depression, self-hate, suicidal ideations and attempts… and more. It ruins careers, families and lives in general. Here at She Counselling we are committed to education and empowerment. We believe that survivors of this horrific psychological warfare should be seen and heard so as to enable them to break free of the chains.

If you or someone you love is living with this abuse, please reach out for support. Validation and education will change your life. Feel free to book a session or, alternatively, if you have any questions about how therapy at She can help you, please get in touch. You may also like to visit the article library for some tips and trips related to narcissism.

What we do

N
Provide a safe place for you to RELAX and unwind
N
Validate your experience and meet you where you are at in the moment
N
Provide education around narcissistic personality disorder
N
Help you identify narcissistic behaviours
N
Redefine what healthy and unhealthy relationships look and feel like
N
Teach you about the importance of personal boundaries (and how to set them)
N
Help you identify personal strengths and resources
N
Connect you with other services where necessary
N
Help you to come to conclusions as to what the best way forward may be for you
N
Allow YOU to be the expert on YOU!

Join the Community

Subscribe to our mailing list to receive mental health tips and tricks, inspiration, She news AND MORE!

You have Successfully Subscribed!