Narcissistic Abuse Treatment and Recovery in Decatur, GA, and online FL
Enduring a relationship with a narcissist may lead to anxiety and/or depression. Depending on the extent of the abuse, it may even present as PTSD.
It may seem like the “N” word, narcissism, has been trending over the past few years. Still, little is understood about narcissism. Exactly what is it and how is it abusive within interpersonal relationships?
What is narcissism?
As per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) consists of:
* a pervasive pattern of grandiosity,
* need for admiration,
* a lack of empathy,
* variable and vulnerable self-esteem,
* attempts at regulation through attention
Characteristics of NPD include:
* a belief in being special/unique,
* interpersonal exploitation,
* low insight,
* and superficial close relationships.
According to Dr. Ramani Durvasula in her book “Should I stay or should I go?: Surviving a relationship with a Narcissist” (2015), narcissism is a disorder of superficiality and a disorder of self-esteem. Narcissists have self-esteem deficits. Those deficits manifest as grandiosity, entitlement, lack of empathy, and admiration-seeking. Narcissists cannot regulate their feelings. They have profound vulnerability and are prone to shame.
Narcissistic abuse is the result of interpersonal exploitation, entitlement, and lack of empathy. Being in a relationship with a narcissist is like an emotional roller coaster. The ride has you feeling disoriented, overwhelmed by self-doubt, unheard, isolated, ashamed, and disconnected from self.
Still unsure? Let me tell you a story.
Simone’s sister Sulamami was their idol growing up. Five years older, Simone thought Sulamami hung the stars and the moon each night and made the sunrise each morning.
Sulamami, Sula affectionately called by family and friends, laid on her stomach across her bed reading a book. Her room was a minimalist dream. There appeared to be only 5 pieces of furniture in the room, a long dresser across from the full-sized bed that had an end table on either side. The final piece was Sula’s pride and joy- a wall-to-wall bookcase that was six feet tall and filled with books. All the furniture was stark white and the walls were a pale sky blue.
Sula was about to turn 25 and completed her doctoral program when she met Raj, a new Post-Doc in the lab down the hall. Raj was everything her mother dreamed of for her, from a good family, educated, handsome, and extremely charming.
Raj swept Sula off her feet, luxury dinners, gifts (for her and her mother), tons of quality time, and affection. He genuinely was interested in getting to know her. The relationship moved very fast and was very intense. Sula told Simone “I feel like I can’t think when I’m around him, the world is spinning.”
A year into the relationship, Sula and Raj are planning a wedding. The couple seems perfectly happy to family and friends.
Over the course of the year, Sula had begun to notice changes in Raj. He was far less attentive and available. He would make promises and not keep them. He was secretive and stopped taking her around his friend group. When he did, he would accuse her of flirting with his friends and say “stop acting so slutty with men, no one wants you but me.”
Raj had once rained praise and compliments on Sula, now he was hypercritical and belittling. She could do nothing right in his eyes. “I thought you were smart, they must have given you that Ph.D. out of pity.” When Sula would defend herself or try to engage him in conversation about how she felt, Raj would fly into a rage and mock her for being too sensitive.
Simone watched Sula go from being a confident, self-reliant independent woman. To now be a shell of herself, riddled with self-doubt, and indecisiveness. She had difficulty concentrating and completing tasks, she even moved slower.
“Sula, what’s going on with you? You look tired. I never get to see you anymore.” Simone asked, very concerned. Sula, without making eye contact, stated “Since the wedding, I have been very busy. Raj likes the house to look a certain way when he gets home and I keep messing things up.” Simone got between Sula and the kitchen counter she had been anxiously wiping down for the past ten minutes and said “Sula I am concerned. You should talk to someone. I know a therapist that can help.”