Confusion, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, anger, sadness, Isolation, low self-esteem, and PTSD? Victims of narcissistic abuse often experience a wide range of intense emotions due to the manipulative and damaging nature of the abuse. It can be shocking if you are experiencing any of these feelings, especially over an extended period of time and trying to move through and past the abuse. Are You Feeling This Way? The Emotions of Narcissistic Abuse
Some common emotions that individuals may deal with include:
- Confusion: Victims may feel confused about the mixed messages and inconsistent behavior they receive from the narcissistic abuser. They struggle to understand the manipulative tactics and find it challenging to make sense of the situation.
- Anxiety: Narcissistic abuse can create a constant state of anxiety in victims. They may constantly worry about saying or doing something wrong, fear the abuser’s unpredictable reactions, or feel on edge due to the emotional volatility of the relationship. (Walking on eggshells feeling)
- Fear: Victims of narcissistic abuse often experience fear, both during the abusive relationship and even after leaving. They may fear the abuser’s retaliation, the consequences of asserting themselves or leaving, or worry about their safety and well-being. (The fight-flight-freeze-fawn response in overdrive)
- Guilt: The manipulative tactics of narcissists often leave victims feeling guilty, even when they are not at fault. The abuser may manipulate and blame them for the problems in the relationship, causing them to question their own actions and feel a sense of responsibility for the abuse.
- Shame: Narcissistic abusers often employ tactics that demean and humiliate their victims, leading to feelings of shame. Victims may internalize these negative beliefs about themselves, feeling unworthy, defective, or fundamentally flawed.
- Anger: Victims of narcissistic abuse may experience anger towards the abuser for their manipulative and hurtful behavior. They may also feel anger towards themselves for allowing the abuse to happen or for not recognizing the signs earlier.
- Sadness: The emotional and psychological abuse inflicted by narcissists can leave victims feeling deeply saddened. They may mourn the loss of the relationship they thought they had, as well as the loss of their own sense of self and well-being.
- Isolation: Narcissistic abusers often isolate their victims from friends, family, and support networks. As a result, victims may experience feelings of loneliness and social isolation, exacerbating their emotional struggles.
- Low self-esteem: Narcissistic abuse can significantly impact a victim’s self-esteem. The constant criticism, gaslighting, and devaluation from the abuser can lead to feelings of worthlessness, self-doubt, and a diminished sense of self-worth.
- Post-Traumatic Stress: In severe cases, victims of narcissistic abuse may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, and intrusive thoughts related to the abuse can persist even after leaving the abusive relationship.
It’s so important to acknowledge that everyone’s experience with narcissistic abuse is unique, and individuals may have different emotional responses. Seeking support from a divorce coach or counselors, or joining a support group specializing in narcissistic abuse can be beneficial in processing these emotions and beginning the healing process.
Post-divorce abuse is something that might be shocking and so very tiring. Let’s work together to create a system of emotional healing and care for before, during, and post narcissistic abuse divorce.