Abuse takes three main forms: physical, emotional and verbal; These three types of abuse can be broken down further into numerous subcategories. One of the most impactful subcategories of abuse is narcissistic abuse, which commonly occurs under the umbrella of emotional abuse.
Personally, I have had my run-ins with a couple of narcissists in my 21 years of life so far. My mom was also subjected to the same narcissistic behavior.
Watching psychologists’ videos on YouTube, such as Dr. Ramani, who is a clinical psychologist specializing in narcissistic personalities, helped me gain clarity about what happened to me and my mom. I finally had a label for what happened to us. I also got my mom to watch Ramani’s videos and they made her realize how manipulative the situation was; it had previously been hard for her to accept what actually happened.
As someone who isn’t able to see a therapist, these videos really helped me. I felt the ongoing months of gaslighting, even while having no contact with the narcissists, lift off my shoulders. It’s a shame that hindsight is so clear after the fact of dealing with abuse; when you’re invested in the relationship, it’s rose-tinted glasses and blurred vision.
According to sane.org, 0.5 to 1 percent of the general population suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). This makes it a rare personality disorder, but a lot of its traits appear in people who don’t have the disorder, or who aren’t ever diagnosed. “Narcissist” is a word that gets thrown around a lot today without knowing its true meaning. Just because a person has self-confidence doesn’t mean they are a narcissist. Narcissism is much deeper and scarier than just having confidence in yourself.
The one thing that connected the narcissists in my mom and I’s lives together were manipulation tactics, such as gaslighting and love bombing, which, according to Ramani, are key traits of someone dealing with NPD. Gaslighting is when the abuser manipulates their victim by making the victim question their sanity, and accuses the victim of lying or being a narcissist themself. Love bombing is the overwhelming load of affection the narcissist will give their victim in the beginning. Then, the discarding and smear campaigns start when you begin to see through the narcissist’s hypocrisies. Narcissists want control and when they lose control, they go to other methods of controlling how people view you.
Being involved in a narcissistic relationship can reveal a lot about the abuser, but also things about yourself. The right thing to do can also be the hardest decision, such as stepping away from an abusive relationship; many repercussions can follow afterwards, especially when dealing with a narcissist. When I left my situation, I realized how codependent I was, then started taking steps to create healthy boundaries with people.
Learning from your mistakes and identifying the abusive relationship early on is a big step in achieving happiness. It’s extremely important to follow your gut and recognize when things don’t feel right, because they usually aren’t. Don’t feel guilty for stepping away if the situation is toxic, as your personal well-being should be a top priority.
Narcissists come and go from our lives; we are all bound to encounter them at some point. However, it’s important to expose narcissists’ characteristics, so people can have a lesser chance of getting wrapped up in a manipulative relationship.
Here is a list of YouTube channels that focus on narcissism and narcissistic personalities: