Surviving Narcissistic Abuse
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We’ve all been gaslighted at one time or another by narcissistic egotists. Narcissistic abuse is one of the most toxic and destructive forms of emotional abuse; it’s malicious and deliberate. Narcissists often have over-inflated egos; they victimize and psychologically manipulate victims into questioning our own reality. They have a constant desire to prove their own self-importance— even if it comes at the cost of others’ peace of mind. Victims are often left hurt, broken down, and insecure because narcissists have a way of lifting themselves up by cutting others down. There’s also confusion and even shame, because regardless of the abuse, victims will often continue to seek out the aggressor hoping for the situation to change.

Over time, the constant emotional abuse incapacitates victims with fear when faced with their aggressor. This fear opens the door for victims to be manipulated further into doing whatever the narcissist wants, effectively taking away their autonomy again and again.

Because of their ego and sense of superiority, a narcissist lacks healthy communication skills. Instead, they slowly chip away at a victim’s confidence, energy, and mental well-being. They instill so much fear and self-doubt that they’re able to steer situations to their own benefit and liking. Narcissists deny reality and can even make victims doubt things they’ve have experienced and/or know for a fact to be true. These egotistical aggressors are never wrong and they have the capacity to turn things around by playing the victim. They also feel threatened when the attention or praise shifts— even slightly, away from them. They brush off victims when called out and accuse them being too emotional and/or overly sensitive.

When a narcissist is held accountable for their problematic and harmful behavior, they have the tendency to get defensive and confrontational. Aggressors get angry and will bully their victims into accepting their version of reality. When challenged further, they may even resort to small acts of violence and/or throwing temper tantrums when things don’t go their way.

Reasons for their behavior often don’t make sense to anyone because they hold themselves above everyone else. As long as they’re content, a victim’s mental health doesn’t matter.

So how does one navigate a relationship with this dynamic? It’s very difficult.

The first thing to do is to stop trying to understand actions and behaviors of an egotistical narcissist. Then, realize that if they can’t do the minimum and show enough respect to begin a simple, civil conversation, it’s not worth having it at that moment. Instead, save yourself frustration and emotional labor by not engaging.

Don’t try to change an egotistical narcissist. Some try to call out their behavior and try to talk sense into them, but they don’t care what anyone has to say. That’s why they’re narcissists. It’s also not the victim’s responsibility to “fix” them. Providing this type of emotional labor will often backfire and seriously compromises our mental health. Narcissists will view this as a weakness and use it as fuel to further gaslight their victims into self-doubt. It’s not worth the emotional labor or compromising our mental health.

A narcissist is always right and believe they know more than anyone else. They don’t have regards for their victims’ emotional well-being, so it’s healthy and important to know when to disengage. No one can change an aggressor’s actions and behavior. Victims can however,  change the way they respond to them. Setting boundaries is more important that ever in a toxic situation like this. An egotistical narcissist will most likely cross them— it’s what they do. They are also not likely to change, so it’s up to the victim to continue enforcing those boundaries. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s best to step away from a toxic relationship and environment. Those who step away may feel guilty, but that’s only because they’ve been conditioned and manipulated into centering themselves around the narcissist. Guilt is normal, especially when you care about the aggressor. Ultimately, you’re not rejecting them as a person, you’re rejecting their harmful behavior. No one deserves the emotional abuse and trauma that a narcissist with an inflated ego can inflict.