Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a form of mental health issue that can damage relationships. When you suspect loved ones who have this disorder, you may be well aware of how it can wreak havoc in your psyche. What are some of the profound effects of having a narcissist in your life? Read to find out more.
Perhaps you have come across this page because you noticed that someone close to you has a narcissistic personality. Although narcissism is something that is typically diagnosed, there are a particular set of characteristics that qualify someone as having this disorder. These traits include:
- Grandiose sense of self: People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) often have a high view of themselves that goes beyond the confines of having a healthy self-confidence. They feel entitled over anything they wish.
- Exploits others without guilt: As they have a grandiose personality, they are prone to taking advantage of other people without feeling remorse. They may manipulate, convince or lie to people in order to get what they want.
- Needs a supply of praise and admiration: People with NPD often thrive in environments where people put them on a pedestal. When the supply is lost, they often create conflicts to get an emotional reaction towards others.
- Manipulative and controlling: Whether someone is a covert or overt narcissist, this is a common trait that most of them have. They would want to gain control of their supply in order to feed their egos. They can be sneakily manipulative with their words and actions, so much that the people they abuse may sometimes fail to notice.
If you have seen these traits with your loved one, it is possible that they may have a narcissistic personality. More so, they can also bring a negative impact on your well-being. Here are some of the common effects of narcissistic abuse.
Abused people often doubt their own thoughts.
Narcissists often engage in a manipulation tactic called gaslighting. Gaslighting is defined as a person using lies or half-truths to confuse the person they are talking to. Even if you clearly recalled the things they said, they will spur doubt in your mind by saying statements such as “I didn’t say that!”, “You’re imagining!” or even “You’re going crazy!”
As a result, the person being abused feels like they can’t trust their own thoughts. They don’t feel confident enough to make decisions anymore, and this gives the narcissist more control over their lives.
Abused people succumb to depression.
Another impact of NPD abuse is depression. Although depression can be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, they can also be triggered or attributed to external circumstances. When narcissists often use derogatory remarks, manipulation, or restricting the freedom of their supply, the supplier ends us feeling ‘spent’, and ultimately depressed. Those being abused often describe their experience as walking on eggshells, or feeling like they’re being suffocated in the relationship. As much as they want to get out, they feel trapped either because of their attachment towards the person, or they are being held against their will.
Some symptoms of depression include lack of interest in prior hobbies, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, the need for constant isolation, and sleep disturbances. Depression can have a tremendous effect not just on the brain but also to one’s overall wellness.
Abused people may have unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Hand in hand with depression comes unhealthy coping mechanisms for people who become a supply for narcissists. As they experience anxiety and mental breakdowns, they would find themselves engaging in self-harm, drinking, smoking, gambling or using drugs. This can cause a downward spiral into addictions that can make someone’s mental state even worse.
According to reputable dual diagnosis rehab centers, this can be defined as co-occurring disorders. One problem is caused by the other, and these issues affect each other in some way. The first step to get rid of co-occurring disorders is to treat the addictions first preferably in an in-patient setting, and addressing the environmental problems (such as narcissistic abuse) as a long-term goal.
Abused people have trust issues.
Once a person manages to get out of a narcissistic relationship, the effects may still be prominent. They may often suffer from trust issues brought about by the traumatic experience of NPD abuse. Abused people may have thoughts that they would see the same patterns in a new partner once again. They would tend to accuse, be oversensitive, or blame their partners for the lack of trust.
If you are someone has gone through narcissistic abuse, understand that healing takes time. It may not come as easily as you wish, but one of the ways to thrive after abuse is to change your perspective about people. Understanding yourself and the damage brought about by the trauma can help bring a right mindset towards building new and healthy relationships.