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If you’ve never been educated on narcissistic abuse, it can be hard to detect. The interesting (and disturbing) thing about narcissists, is how skilled they are at masking themselves and distorting their behaviors, even to their victims. 

For those who have endured narcissistic abuse, the effects can be devastating. In mild cases, you will end up with PTSD, however, in the worst-case scenario, you can end up destroyed. Needless to say, if you believe you are being abused by a narcissist, the best course to take is to cut ties. But, if you aren’t ready for that, you will have to decide what course to take that works best for you. Knowledge is power, so this article is a great start. 

Here are 9 signs you are dealing with a narcissist. 

1. They gaslight you. 

Put simply, gaslighting is when someone works to make you doubt your reality. When you say the sky is blue, they will say “No! See, I told you that you are crazy, it’s aquamarine.” It will start subtly. You may notice them calling you crazy in front of others, and you may even laugh and joke about it too. But, eventually, they will use this tactic to abuse you and then say it never happened. 

2. They cycle between treating you like a God/Goddess and tearing you apart. 

Narcissists come on strong at first. In most cases, they will love-bomb you at first, making you feel like you are their soulmate. But, as time goes on, their mask will slip off, and they will start slipping in little emotional punches and working their way to full out abuse. When you assert a boundary, they will insist they didn’t mean to, or that you made them do it. But, they will act on their best behavior again, at least for a little while. Be wary though, because they always cycle back to abuse, it’s in their nature and the tiger doesn’t change its stripes. 

3. They have isolated you. 

A narcissist will work to socially isolate and alienate their partner because it means they can have them all to themselves, and it also means then, they are less likely to leave them. If you notice that your partner is micromanaging all of your friends, and telling you who you can or cannot be around, it’s a VERY bad sign. 

4. They shift the blame. 

When a narcissist abuses, they rarely will admit to it. If they do, they won’t use the term abuse or even admit fault. Instead, they will find a way to shift blame. “You antagonized me!” They will scream. When, in reality, there was NO excuse for their behavior. 

5. You find yourself defending them to the people concerned about you. 

Your friends and family, perhaps even co-workers, will begin to notice the bad vibes coming from your narcissistic partner. And they will likely say something to you. Yet, for whatever reason (likely Stockholm syndrome) when you love a narcissist, you are likely loving them because you see the mask they presented to you (the fake persona). 

6. You feel like nothing you do is ever good enough. 

No matter what you do, it will never be up to standard to the narcissist. They will hold you to an impossible standard and the second you fail to reach it, prepare for the backlash. Sadly, this can destroy your self-worth. 

7. You don’t recognize yourself anymore. 

One of the hardest parts of being abused, is that likely, somewhere along the lines, you promised yourself you’d never let anyone hurt you like that. But, then you fell in love, and you promised yourself that they didn’t mean to talk to you that way. Or, they love you, and they are going to change. What happens with this, though, is that you stop recognizing yourself because the more you bend to the will of the narcissist, the more you may sense yourself slipping away. 

8. They play the victim. 

The narcissist is always the victim. No matter what they have done, they cannot see that. They can only see what they perceive as right or wrong, and it rarely is the reality. 

9. They ‘punish’ you. 

Narcissists will punish their partners by giving them silent treatment or withholding sex. They may even go as far as to physically punish their partners, and if this is the case, I urge you to get away from this abuse, because NO ONE deserves that.