How do you help a friend or loved one going through hell in an emotionally, verbally, psychologically, abusive relationship with a narcissist?
First, let me say you are amazing! Many victims do not have support during their abusive relationship. What a gift you are to your friend or loved one for asking this powerful question.
I decided to write about this topic because many victims of abuse are isolated during the relationship with the abuser. This can either be by choice due to the shame, embarrassment and confusion about the relationship or most often the abuser has helped push away our support system, so they can have more control over their victim.
It can be incredibly hard for someone who has never endured this type of abuse to fully understand it, however, you can empathize with their heartbreaking and how it must feel to be devalued, lied to, dismissed and abused by someone you believe is the love of your life.
Often, even the best of intentions can push the victim further into the arms of their abuser.
You are in a position to help someone that is not able to help themselves at this point.
This guide will help you understand how you can provide the support your friend or loved one desperately needs right now.
The Victim’s Experience
The victim is going through soul-crushing pain incomparable to a normal, healthy relationship. It’s the type of mind screw that you truly can’t understand unless you have been through it.
Some emotional and behavior signs you may notice are:
Fearful and on edge
Lack of sleep
Lost interest in activities they enjoyed
Withdrawn and distant
Canceling at the last minute
Excessive privacy concerning personal life
Isolated from friends and family and other support
The victim’s reaction to being mentally abused is often what outsiders will see. They will not notice the abuse itself and the victim can appear crazy, unstable, depressed and even abusive.
Victims can be re-traumatized by friends, family, judges, law enforcement, therapists and other professionals simply because they are not trained to recognize the signs, and they don’t know how to help someone being mentally abused. Instead, they provide logical advice which can actually push the victim away and make them feel more shame.
Narcissists are often charming, charismatic, friendly and generous. People would have a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that the same person could be so cruel and abusive, including the victim.
Narcissists can change their whole personality depending on whom they are trying to impress. From the way they walk, talk and their body language.
The narcissist chooses their victim just as a predator chooses their prey. The narc has a keen sense to find people who can benefit them in several ways. These are usually good people with forgiving ways and big hearts.
Narcissists get away with so much for four reasons. One, they are experienced at deceit and play a credible role in public. Two, most people underestimate their skill, including the victim. Three, they don’t abuse everyone, only a few selected targets. This is true even within the same household. Four, their mental abuse turns the victim into appearing like the problem while they are cool and collected. The victim doesn’t understand what they are going through and often blames themselves.
When you are being abused psychologically and emotionally, fear can consume you and you can be plagued with symptoms, both mental and physical.
You may have a hard time understanding why a beautiful, intelligent, sensible and good person would stay in such a relationship that appears to destroy them. You must understand this has nothing to do with their intellectual intelligence and more to do with their tolerance to toxic behaviors, conditioning and emotional intelligence.
The narcissist skillfully mirrored the victim’s dream relationship in the beginning, hooking them into their illusion early on. They will also mirror this when they feel they are losing control over the victim as a tactic to pull them back in and make them believe the narcissist is a good person, and they truly have some problems that they are terribly sorry for.
To learn how you can help a victim of narcissistic abuse, download your free copy of this guide.