Self Esteem Can Keep You Safe From Emotional Abuse
There is a hidden and insidious type abuse that lurk within our culture today. Sometimes this abuse does not leave physical signs or bruises, but it causes lasting scars that can damage a person’s self-worth. This abuse causes effects that allow it to thrive, essentially removing the victim’s self-esteem, causing them to feel perpetually broken and worthless.
It is narcissistic abuse. It is real. It is damaging.
According to The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders, “Narcissistic abuse can happen in a variety of forms.”
For example, “one person might give you the silent treatment, while another might subject their partner to emotional blackmail, or to physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse. Generally narcissistic abuse consists of unloving actions such as manipulation, criticizing, belittling, withholding love or emotional support, jealousy, ordering you around, or lying to you. It is the gradual dismantling of your self-esteem by the abuser” (The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders).
Narcissistic Personality Disorder Involves A Lack Of Empathy
Sufferers who have experienced narcissistic abuse speak of the feeling of losing touch with reality and a profound loss of self-efficacy. Anne, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery, states, “
Empowerment coaches and founders of She Honours Herself, Michelle Martin and Laura Kelly passionately believe that all women should live a fulfilling life and reach their full potential. Michelle and Laura conducted extensive research. The research proved that Women with low self-esteem – who feel poorly about themselves and judge themselves to be inferior to others – are at risk, then, of not fulfilling their true potential in life.
“Narcissistic Personality Disorder involves arrogant behavior, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration-all of which must be consistently evident at work and in relationships. People who are narcissistic are frequently described as cocky, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding” (Narcissistic Abuse Support).
Living With Narcissistic Abuse Is Difficult
Laura and Michelle offer their experience with narcissistic abuse in their program to increase self-esteem and empower women who have also been victims of narcissistic abuse. Their organization, She Honours Herself, describes effects of this type of abuse in saying, “Continuous narcissist abuse affects your self-esteem and self-worth, you can start to believe that you are not good enough because to a narcissist no one is good enough. You can end up losing your own voice and echo the behavior of the narcissist to please them. You can slowly lose your own identity and become dependent on the one person that is making your life hell.”
They expound on the issues of having low self-esteem, “When we have low self-esteem and things go wrong in our lives we can automatically go into self-destructive mode by not look after ourselves, entering unhealthy relationships, eating disorders and wanting to change the way we look through cosmetic surgery. We try to look for the validation outside of ourselves anyway possible and when it doesn’t help we can start to feel worthless and desperate.”
The Warning Signs Of Narcissistic Abuse
5 Warning Signs of Narcissistic Abuse
- Being gaslighted to question reality
- Using coercion as means of control
- Avoiding attachment in as means of punishment
- Blaming and shaming everyone else
- Walking on eggshells
How Healthy Self-Esteem Can Aid in Addressing Narcissistic Abuse
“If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s important to seek professional help and support to rebuild your confidence and restore your self-esteem,” advises The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders.
Empowerment is key in setting and maintaining boundaries, which is an important part of healing from damaging narcissistic abuse. Part of developing this empowerment is addressing the core self-esteem and beliefs surrounding self-worth that exist within the foundation of each individual.