Navigating the waters of relationships is challenging, even for those "picture perfect" couples that never seem to fight. But things are not often what they appear at face value, especially in toxic relationships where we find ourselves questioning what’s real.
If a lack of empathy, need for excessive attention and a sense of entitlement sound like a ‘normal part’ of your relationships, you could be dating a narcissist. And in these extraordinary times where we are spending more hours in the home, the daily effects of abuse can impact every area of our lives. I’ve created this blog to recognize the signs of abusive partnerships and pave a path to wholeness through healing.
There are two critical elements in the cycle of narcissistic abuse that prey on our weaknesses, sustaining us in a manipulative pattern that keeps us under their spell. The first is the love-bombing. If you have ever enjoyed a passionate, whirlwind romance where you were showered with constant affection, gifts and praise, it’s likely you were love-bombed. It’s natural to want to spend all of your time with that partner as you become addicted to the ‘feel-good’ sensations of such ‘amazing love.’ The narcissist uses this behaviour to hook you in, leaving you wanting more.
Once you are hooked, the devaluation stage starts as abusers greet with criticism, degradation, and the silent treatment, among other techniques. Suddenly, it will feel as if you are doing everything wrong as you begin to question your self-worth and sanity. The method behind the madness is the intention to keep you small, ensuring that power is retained over you. This is otherwise known as gaslighting, a psychological manipulation tool that creates doubt and destruction. But it isn’t you. This process is used to maintain your love and attention, as you are constantly striving for their adoration once again. This is when the cycle repeats and the pattern is reinforced, over and over again.
HOW WE CAN HEAL?
The damaging cycle of abuse can leave deep-rooted scars on self-worth that permeate into all aspects of our lives. It’s common for victims to feel isolated from others, as we carry guilt and shame that acts as a barrier. After all, we don’t want to spend time with others when we are feeling flawed, defective, or unloveable. Anxiety and depression are even more common, as we question our everyday existence and trust in ourselves.
Fortunately, the path to healing is within reach, starting with uncovering unhealed childhood wounds. Looking back, were our fundamental needs for love, support, and acceptance unmet? Did we experience abandonment in relationships closest to us? These are some of the most significant determinants of damaged self-esteem, as we feel unworthy of love throughout our lives as we accept unhealthy relationships. After all, abuse can feel normal and almost comfortable if it reinforces a familiar pattern. The important thing to remember is that awareness and understanding of traumas that keep us trapped will pave the path to wholeness.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW?
Lately, I've learned that quarantine has led to a dramatic increase in cases of abuse and violence worldwide. While it can be challenging to leave an abusive partnership (especially right now), when we recognize toxic behaviours, identify ways to self-care and take steps to keep safe, we are protecting our most vulnerable self from future harm: our inner-child.
We often accept the love we have been taught we ‘deserve’ throughout our life cycle, starting from childhood. It is the unresolved pain of our inner-child that leads us to maintain poisonous relationships. But this same child that has gone through so much trauma already needs nurturing and it starts with recognizing the signs of narcissistic abuse, and learning how to eradicate them.
Not to mention, once we understand the cycle that narcissists use to control is, it is less powerful. Healing the traumas that come from both present-day degradation and past childhood neglect will help us to emerge stronger, unaffected from the abuse used to minimize our power. When we are no longer triggered by the manipulation of those within our lives, it will help us emerge stronger than ever before to create our best lives. In turn, we will form healthier, longer-lasting relationships in the future because we are no longer reinforcing those unconscious toxic patterns of the past.
With many of us in isolation or quarantine with others, I have created a BREAKING FREE FROM THE SHACKLES: GASLIGHTING NO MORE webinar series. Narcissists often use gaslighting techniques to gain influence, power, and control over our lives. While you might feel like change is impossible, the tools I use work on a quantum level to free ourselves from old, stagnant patterns that prevent radical change. The end result will change that offers us freedom and expansion, more than we have experienced before.
If you are interested, I encourage you to register now. There are only a few spots left!
Looking forward to helping you to BREAK FREE!