Jane had been married to Mark for over 10 years when she realized that she was in an emotionally abusive relationship. Mark had always been charming and confident, but as time went on, Jane started to notice that he was becoming increasingly controlling and manipulative.
Mark would frequently gaslight Jane, making her doubt her memory and perception of reality. He would also belittle her in front of their friends and family, often making her the butt of his jokes. He would even go so far as to blame Jane for his own mistakes and shortcomings, making her feel like she was constantly walking on eggshells around him.
Despite the constant emotional abuse, Jane stayed in the relationship, hoping that things would improve. She tried to placate Mark and make him happy, but nothing seemed to work. She found herself becoming more and more isolated, as Mark didn't like her spending time with her friends or family.
It wasn't until Jane started seeing a therapist that she realized what was going on. Her therapist helped her recognize the signs of narcissistic abuse and gave her the tools to start setting boundaries with Mark. Jane started standing up for herself and telling Mark that she wouldn't tolerate his behavior anymore.
At first, Mark seemed to take the change in stride. He apologized and promised to change, but it wasn't long before he fell back into his old patterns. He became increasingly aggressive and started making threats, telling Jane that she would never be able to leave him and that he would ruin her life if she tried.
Jane then realized that she needed to get out of the relationship as soon as possible. She started making a plan, reaching out to friends and family for support. She eventually filed for divorce and was able to move on with her life, although the scars of the emotional abuse lingered for years.
Consider the story of Sarah, a woman in a relationship with a man named David who exhibited narcissistic traits. At first, Sarah was swept off her feet by David's charming personality and extravagant gestures, but as their relationship progressed, she began to notice a darker side to his behavior.
David would often belittle Sarah in public and make her feel inferior to him. He would manipulate her into doing things she didn't want to do and make her feel guilty for not complying with his demands. He would also frequently gaslight her by denying things he had said or done, making her question her own sanity.
Sarah forbore leaving and stayed in the relationship for years, even as these things were unraveling. She held on the hope that things would improve. However, things only got worse over time, and Sarah's mental health suffered as a result. She felt like she couldn't trust anyone, and her self-esteem and sense of self-worth were eroded by David's constant criticism.
It wasn't until Sarah researched and learned about narcissistic abuse that she realized what had been happening to her.
She then knew that if she wanted to stay sane, she had to end the toxic relationship with David. And she did.
Her life became so much better afterwards.
Samantha had always been drawn to men who were confident and self-assured, so when she met Tom, she was immediately taken in by his dashing personality. However, as their relationship progressed, Samantha began to notice that there was something off about Tom's behavior.
Tom would often talk about himself and his accomplishments, ignoring Samantha's needs and interests. He would frequently interrupt her and talk over her, making her feel invisible and unimportant. He would also manipulate her into doing things she didn't want to do and make her feel guilty for not complying with his demands.
Samantha ignored these red flags and stayed in the relationship for years. She thought maybe if she improved her role as a partner, things will be better. She tried to make Tom happy, but nothing seemed to work. She found herself becoming more and more isolated, as Tom didn't like her spending time with her friends or family.
Things came to a head one night when Tom became physically violent with Samantha. She realized that she needed to get out of the relationship as soon as possible. She reached out to a friend who helped her make a plan to leave, and she eventually filed for a restraining order against Tom.
These stories are, unfortunately, all too common, and they highlight the devastating effects that narcissistic abuse can have on a person's mental health and well-being. In many cases, it takes a long time for victims of narcissists to rebuild their sense of self-worth and trust in others. Even long after ending their toxic relationships, most victims find themselves still struggling with residual anxiety and depression from their experience.
If you or someone you know is experiencing similar behavior from a narcissist, seeking help and support is important. A mental health professional can provide valuable tools and resources to help navigate the difficult road to healing and recovery.
Many cases of spousal abuse and toxic relationships involve not only narcissists but narcissistic sociopaths."Narcissistic sociopath" is not a formal diagnosis in the field of psychology, but it is a term that is sometimes used to describe someone who exhibits traits of both narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder, also known as sociopathy.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration and attention, a lack of empathy, and a sense of entitlement. People with this disorder often have an inflated sense of self-importance and a preoccupation with their success, beauty, or brilliance. They may also exploit others for their gain and lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
Antisocial personality disorder, on the other hand, is characterized by a pattern of disregard for the rights of others, a lack of remorse or guilt, impulsivity, and a tendency to engage in criminal or impulsive behavior. People with this disorder may engage in deceitful or manipulative behavior, violate the law, and disregard the safety of themselves or others.
When someone displays traits of both narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder, they may be described as a narcissistic sociopath. These individuals may have a grandiose sense of self-importance, lack empathy for others, exploit others for their gain, and engage in impulsive or criminal behavior. They may also be charming and manipulative, and they may use their charisma to manipulate and control others for their benefit.
It's important to note that only a licensed mental health professional can diagnose a mental health condition, and people with these disorders are not necessarily violent or dangerous. However, if you are in a relationship with someone who displays these traits, seeking help from a mental health professional is a good course of action, to protect yourself and address any negative consequences of the relationship.
They Mess With Your Mind
Narcissists can mess up your mind in several ways. Here are some common tactics they use:
Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where the narcissist tries to make you doubt your perception of reality. They may deny things that happened or tell you that you are overreacting to something that is bothering you. This can cause you to question your sanity and make it difficult to trust your judgment.
Blaming and shaming: Narcissists often blame others for their own mistakes and shortcomings. They may also shame you for things that are not your fault or try to make you feel guilty for things that you have no control over. This can cause you to feel constantly anxious and stressed and can erode your sense of self-worth.
Isolation: Narcissists often try to isolate their victims from their support systems, such as family and friends. They may do this by telling you that your loved ones are not good for you, or by demanding all of your attention and time. This can leave you feeling lonely and isolated, with no one to turn to for help or support.
Love bombing and devaluation: As mentioned earlier, narcissists often use love bombing to win over their victims. They enthrall their victims, shower them with attention, compliments, and gifts, and make them feel like they are the most important person in the world. However, once narcissist has secured their victim's attention and admiration, they may begin to devalue them and treat them poorly. This can cause you to feel confused, hurt, and unsure of what you did wrong.
Manipulation and control: Narcissists are often skilled at manipulating and controlling others. They may use tactics such as guilt-tripping, withholding affection or attention, or threatening you to get what they want. This can make you feel like you have no control over your own life and can lead to feelings of helplessness and despair.
A narcissist can pretend to be in love even when they are not. Narcissists are skilled at manipulating and deceiving others to get what they want, including attention, admiration, and control. They often engage in what is known as love bombing, which is a tactic where they shower their romantic partner with attention, compliments, and gifts in the early stages of a relationship to create a sense of intense connection and devotion.
However, this display of affection is often not genuine and is intended to manipulate and control the other person. Once the narcissist feels they have secured the other person's attention and admiration, they may lose interest and begin to withdraw or engage in other manipulative behaviors. This is because the narcissist's primary focus is on themselves and their own needs, rather than on the needs and feelings of their partner.
Not all narcissists are the same, and some may genuinely believe that they are in love or may be capable of experiencing genuine feelings of affection. However, in general, narcissists tend to prioritize their own needs and desires over the needs and desires of others, including their romantic partners, which can lead to a lack of empathy and an inability to truly connect with others on a deep emotional level.
They Think They Own You
Narcissists may believe that they still own you, even if you no longer have contact with them. This is because they often see others as objects to be controlled and manipulated, rather than as individuals with their thoughts, feelings, and autonomy.
If a narcissist has had a close relationship with you in the past, they may see you as an extension of themselves and may have difficulty accepting that you have your own life and can make your own decisions. They may feel entitled to your attention and loyalty, even if they have mistreated you in the past.
Sometimes, a narcissist may continue to try to contact you or monitor your activities, even if you have cut off contact with them. They may use various tactics, such as sending messages through mutual friends or social media or showing up at places where they know you will be. This is known as "hoovering" and is a common tactic used by narcissists to try to regain control over their victims.
They Keep Coming Back
Narcissists may come back into your life again and again for a variety of reasons, including:
Need for attention: Narcissists thrive on attention and admiration from others and may return to their life to regain the attention they crave.
Control: Narcissists may return to your life to try to reassert control over you. They may use various tactics, such as love bombing, gaslighting, or manipulation, to try to get you to do what they want.
As mentioned earlier, hoovering is a common tactic used by narcissists to regain control over their victims. They may use various means, such as sending messages through mutual friends or social media or showing up at places where they know you will be.
Narcissistic supply: Narcissists may return to your life to obtain what is known as "narcissistic supply" - that is, attention, admiration, or validation. They may see you as an easy source of this supply, especially if you have had a close relationship with them in the past.
Lack of empathy: Narcissists often lack empathy and may not understand or care about the impact their actions have on others. They may return to your life without considering how it might affect you or without any regard for your feelings or well-being.
They Can Never Be Happy
Narcissists often struggle to find happiness because their primary focus is on themselves and their own needs and desires, rather than on the needs and feelings of others. They may have an inflated sense of self-importance and believe that they are entitled to special treatment, admiration, and attention from others.
This constant need for validation and attention can be exhausting and unsatisfying. Narcissists may feel a sense of emptiness or dissatisfaction even when they are receiving attention and admiration from others, as it is never enough to fill the void they feel inside.
They often struggle to form deep and meaningful relationships with others, as their focus on themselves can make it difficult for them to truly connect with others on an emotional level. A deep turbulence inside them, fueled by envy and jealousy towards others, further contribute to their unhappiness.
Even when narcissists try to pretend they are happy, their underlying feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction may persist. They may use external markers of success, such as wealth, status, or physical appearance, to try to fill the void they feel inside, but these things often provide only temporary satisfaction.
When dealing with someone afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder, it is essential to keep in mind that it is a mental health condition that can be difficult to treat. People with this disorder often lack insight into their behavior and may not see the need for treatment. This means, not only their victims, but the narcissists themselves need to be treated psychologically.
Narcissistic sociopaths aren’t simply scoundrels or reprobates that people should avoid being with. They are sick people, and they need treatment in order to cure, or least manage, the disorder. In fact, more than their victims, they, ultimately are the ones who need help.