Narcissistic Abuse and Signs of a Toxic Relationship

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition where a person has an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive admiration and attention, and a lack of empathy for others. Many of a narcissistic person's coping mechanisms can be abusive, and typically they do not take responsibility for their behaviour and shift the blame to others.

The abuse can be emotional, mental, physical, financial, spiritual, or sexual, and can include:

  • Verbal abuse: bellitleling, bullying, accusing, blaming, shaming, demanding, ordering, and more

  • Manipulation: indirect influence on someone to behave in a way that furthers the goals of the manipulator

  • Gaslighting: making you believe you're mentally incompetent

  • Sabotage: disruptive interference with your endeavours or relationships for the purpose of revenge or personal advantage

Someone with more narcissistic traits who behaves in a malicious, hostile manner is considered to have "malignant narcissism". Malignant narcissists are not bothered by guilt, they can be sadistic and take pleasure in inflicting pain. Paranoia puts them in a defensive-attack mode as a means of self-protection.

If you are in a relationship with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder, it is important to get outside support to understand clearly what is going on.

Signs of a Toxic Relationship

A toxic relationship is defined as any relationship between people who don't support each other, where there's conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there's competition, where there's disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness. While all relationships go through ups and downs, a toxic relationship is consistently draining and unpleasant for the people in it, to the point where the negative moments outweigh the positive ones. Toxic relationships don't have to be romantic relationships, they can be friendly, familial, and professional relationships as well. Not all toxic relationships are easy to leave but knowing the signs of a toxic relationship will make it easier to try to start setting boundaries. Here are some signs of a toxic relationship:

  • it feels bad, all the time

  • you avoid saying what you need, because there's no point

  • there's no effort

  • jealousy

  • controlling behaviours

  • 'no' is a dirty word

  • nothing gets resolved

  • no privacy

If you think you are in a toxic relationship, then it might be time to leave or work on setting clear boundaries. If you feel that you're in physical danger then it would be best to contact the authorities. If the harm is emotional or mental then you'll have to decide if it's possible to work through the issues.

It is important to remember that some relationships are toxic from the start, while others may start out great and eventually become toxic, and anyone can end up in a toxic relationship.

Written By: Sydney