You feel like nothing you ever do is good enough, no matter how hard you try. Your sense of self-worth depends on what you do, instead of who you are.
Sometimes this means that you give up and just stop trying, asking yourself, “what’s the point?” Sometimes this means that you try even harder, going out of your way to please others at the expense of yourself. You achieve great things, yet you cannot give yourself credit. You feel guilty, ashamed, and empty. Your thoughts, opinions, experiences, and feelings are trumped every time, so much so that you start to believe that you don’t matter. You might even start to question your own reality, and feel like you’re going crazy – but you are not crazy! Narcissistic abusers depend on you feeling crazy, and do everything they can to make sure that you question your sense of yourself and your reality. When you try to question them, they become defensive, angry, and sometimes violent, trying to convince you that you are the one with the problem. The results can devastate you, leaving you anxious, hyper-vigilant, unable to sleep, angry, depressed, dissociated (feeling disconnected from yourself or the world), or suicidal.
Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents
Narcissistic parents thrive on either living through their children, or being cared for by their children (parentification). They might tell you that you should be grateful to have opportunities that they did not have. They might make you feel as though, having brought you into the world, you now owe them (a debt that you are never quite able to repay as far as they’re concerned). They seem to take every opportunity to put you in your place, ensuring that you never feel you are good enough, or that there is something wrong with you. Narcissistic parents often criticize, belittle, invalidate, manipulate, reject, humiliate, and control you. To the outside world they might seem like the perfect parent and project the image of the perfect family. On the other hand, they might tell everyone they know how difficult a child you are.
Adult Relationships with a Narcissist
Narcissists are experts at making you feel important and special… at first. Once they have charmed you, things slowly start to change. They begin to isolate you from friends and family, making themselves the center of your world and demanding all of your attention. They will say something, then deny ever having said it. They will accuse you of cheating or lying, but they themselves will lie. They will judge, criticize, threaten, belittle, and manipulate you. They are emotionally volatile, and can become physically abusive. They control your every move through emotional abuse or verbal abuse, creating confusion, difficulty making decisions, and an inability to trust yourself. You can never be "good enough" in the eyes of the narcissist.
Reclaiming Your Life
Narcissistic abuse is devastating, whether you were raised by a narcissist, or found yourself in a relationship with one. You might tell yourself that things weren’t that bad… other people have it worse. You have been well trained to minimize your own experiences and pain! However, when you buy into all of these lies that you’ve been told, you can never find your own truth, identity, or freedom. You deserve to be heard, to be validated, to feel what you feel, to think what you think, and to live your life on your terms. You are SO worth it!
Are you ready reclaim to your life, and looking for counseling for narcissistic abuse in Austin? Set up a free consultation to see how I can help.