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Narcissistic Abuse

A narcissistic personality disorder is one of the several types of personality disorders. It is a mental condition in which the person with narcissistic traits carries an inflated sense of own importance and a lack of empathy for others. They seem to be overconfident and demand constant admiration. However, the extreme confidence that people with narcissistic personality traits have is a mask of fragile self-esteem and vulnerability to the slightest criticism. To boost their low self-esteem, people with narcissistic personality traits often resort to abuse and manipulation in their relationships, referred to as narcissistic abuse.

Narcissistic abuse may be physical, emotional, sexual or financial. It may happen between family members, friends, colleagues or in romantic relationships. People with narcissistic traits attempt to manipulate their partner through constant criticism, threats and accusations, which lead to their partner becoming confused, vulnerable and helpless.

Some of the behaviour in relationships involving narcissistic abuse include:

  • Blackmail

  • Withholding (including money or affection)

  • Gaslighting

  • Lying or twisting words

  • Denying things that have happened

  • Projecting their feelings or issues on you

The relationships with narcissistic abuse often causes the survivors to feel confused, embarrassed and doubtful, leading to diminishing self-confidence. The survivors can also live with anxiety and extreme fear of offending the abusers, constantly second-guessing the abusers and their thoughts, feelings or actions. As the abusers often dismissed the survivors' feelings and experiences, the survivors then began to doubt their memory or recollection of events. They also can have a fear meeting new people for fear of saying the wrong things and have trouble concentrating on their tasks.

Survivors of narcissistic abuse often feel unworthy and ashamed of themselves after being subjected to prolong belittling and shaming. Some may develop physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches, have difficulty falling or staying asleep, and have nightmares of making mistakes or being scolded by abusers. Usually, they do not realise that they are in an abusive relationship until much later.

If you believe you are experiencing narcissistic abuse, seeking help from a trusted family member or friend is vital to process your thoughts. If you have difficulty sleeping, finding yourself anxious, depressed, confused, losing your confidence or traumatised by the experience, you may benefit from professional help. A professional counsellor or psychotherapist can help you to process your experiences, develop coping strategies and rebuild your self-confidence.

Restoring Peace Counselling and Consultancy offers counselling and psychotherapy for relationship issues and other mental health challenges. For more information, please visit or WhatsApp us at 8889 1848.

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