What is Narcissistic Abuse?
Narcissistic abuse is a toxic mix of relational abuse that can include: emotional abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and spiritual abuse.
This form of abuse is committed by an abusive person who also exhibits narcissistic traits. Whether or not the abuser has been medically diagnosed as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder, victims are still experiencing narcissistic abuse if they are experiencing the cycle of narcissistic abuse.
The Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse
- Love-bombing: The period of time when an abusive person makes his victim feel like she is deeply valued and loved by him. Often this includes near-constant communication, a showering of whatever makes her feel loved, early and intense relational commitment and physical intimacy.
- Devaluation: The abuser will begin to distance himself from the victim whether through overt or covert forms of abuse, often emotional and/or psychological abuse. The victim becomes confused because the love-bombing has been the norm until now.
- Discard: The abuser will abandon the victim either by physically leaving, abusing her so deeply that she feels completely betrayed, or committing infidelity.
- Hoovering: The process through which the abuser sucks the victim back in, because he understands her vulnerabilities he is able to apologize in just the right way and convince her that he is trying to change, etc. The cycle starts back at love-bombing from here.
Victims of narcissistic abuse experience severe trauma and distorted self-awareness.
Healing From Narcissistic Abuse
Victims of narcissistic abuse must not lose hope; though they cannot control the actions of the abuser, they are absolutely in control of choosing to protect themselves from abuse.
Here are four ways that women can protect themselves and heal from narcissistic abuse.
Set and maintain appropriate boundaries: boundaries are not statements, requests, or ultimatums: they are actions that a woman takes to protect herself and her children from further abuse. In most cases, the only way to protect yourself from narcissistic abuse is to invoke a strong no-contact boundary.
Seek help from a trauma-sensitive professional. BTR coaches understand narcissistic abuse and the women who suffer from trauma associated with it. BTR coaches help women set and maintain boundaries and learn appropriate forms of self-care to help them begin their journeys to healing and peace. Schedule your session today.
Find safe people to support you. While narcissistic abusers are incredibly deft at creating a wall of supporters through manipulation, victims should not allow themselves to believe the lie that no one will believe them: there are many, many survivors of abuse who want to offer support and community to women like you. Find them and let them help you.
Empower yourself through learning about trauma. Often, women are told that they are crazy or overreacting to the abuse that they have experienced. When they come to the understanding that they are experiencing trauma, they are able to begin their journey to healing.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Narcissistic Abuse
And remember, you are not alone.