Signs & Symptoms Lists

Was I Raised by a Narcissist?

Characteristics of Narcissistic Parents & Guardians

They…

  • Frequently ignore you unless they want something from you
  • Doesn’t respect your need for space and privacy  
  • Try to “get even” for perceived wrongs against them
  • Change how they relate to you when other people are around
  • Make it very difficult to live your own life and have your own thoughts and goals
  • Frequently use guilt messages ( “If you loved me…”  “If you really were a caring person…”)
  • Shame you to get you to do what they want
  • Make love or provision of your needs dependent on your doing what they want
  • Take the credit for your accomplishments
  • Are obsessively involved in your life
  • Compete with you 
  • Constantly lie to you
  • Don’t really listen to you or take an interest in your feelings
  • Tell you that you are crazy, confused, a liar, or have a poor memory
  • Give compliments that are really put-downs
  • Put you in a parental role
  • Have a favorite child
  • React intensely to criticism
  • Project their own bad behavior onto you
  • Lack of genuine empathy
  • Fake empathy to manipulate
  • Insist on being right
  • Are incredibly likable in new relationships, but end up with all sorts of misunderstandings and failed relationships
  • You give more to the relationship than they do
  • Need attention all the time
  • Make holidays and birthdays miserable
  • Give gifts you don’t want or they attach strings to them
  • Are resentful when you are hurt or sick
  • Silently or passive-aggressively express rage
  • Conveniently forget on purpose
  • Pit people against each other
  • Triangulate
  • Confide in other people about you as a way to make other people think badly of you
  • Suck the life out of you
  • Initiate conversations and situations that make you feel crazy
  • Make conversations always come back around to them
  • End up the victim, no matter what 
  • Rage when something good happens to you or for you
  • Inadequately protected you from harmful people, situations, or things

Am I in a Toxic Relationship?

Behaviors that Indicate You are in a Relationship with a Toxic or Narcissistic Individual

They….

  • Act resentful when you are hurt or sick
  • Don’t respect your need for space and privacy
  • Make it very difficult to live your own life and have your own thoughts and goals
  • Don’t really listen to you or take an interest in your feelings
  • Insist on being right
  • Make conversations always come back around to them
  • Don’t give as much effort to the relationship as you do 
  • Need attention all the time and want your life to completely revolve around them and their needs, and if doesn’t, they get angry or pout
  • Frequently make you feel unimportant by constantly being late, changing plans, not responding to your attempts to reach them, or not keeping promises
  • Claim to know what you are thinking or what is best for you
  • Give back-handed compliments and smug remarks
  • Have to “one-up” you or give insults disguised as compliments
  • Minimize accomplishments by comparing them to their own
  • Cause you to lose your self-respect for your own time and your needs
  • Ignores you unless they want something from you
  • Send guilt messages ( “If you loved me…”  “If you really were a caring person…”)
  • Shame you 
  • Tell you that you are crazy, confused, a liar, or have a poor memory
  • Tell you messages like you’re too sensitive or dramatic and just need to get over it
  • Project their own bad behavior onto you
  • Lack of genuine empathy
  • Blame you for nearly everything bad that happens 
  • Change how they relate to you when other people are around
  • Pit people against each other
  • Triangulate
  • Confide in other people about you as a way to make other people think badly of you
  • Gaslight when it comes to sex
  • Give you the silent treatment
  • Make you beg and plead for them to talk to you or care about you   
  • Believe the rules don’t apply to them
  • Try to get even for a perceived wrong against them
  • Conveniently forget on purpose
  • Fake empathy to manipulate
  • React intensely to criticism
  • Suck the life out of you
  • Call you a narcissist or tell you that you are always making it all about you
  • Cause a breakdown in your own self-respect for your time and your needs
  • Are hot and then cold, or nice and then nasty
  • Express silent or passive-aggressive anger
  • Are generous and altruistic only to manipulate people’s perceptions that they are a good, caring person, but they never do those things for you if someone isn’t watching
  • Constantly make you feel on-edge around them
  • Give gifts that you don’t want or attach strings to them  
  • Frequently give threats or dramatic ultimatums
  • Give praise and compliments only when they are trying to manipulate you
  • Forget about your requests on purpose
  • Rage when something good happens to you or for you
  • Want you to focus so much on them that over time you have lost yourself
  • Constantly have a condescending and patronizing undertone  (Example: using your name excessively. “OK! Rebekah! I heard you the first time, Rebekah.  You know, Rebekah…”)
  • Initiate conversations and situations that constantly make you feel confused or crazy
  • Consistently give less to the relationship than you do
  • Demonstrate they don’t actually want to get to know you
  • Create many situations where they end up the victim
  • Are incredibly likable in new relationships, but end up with all sorts of misunderstandings and failed relationships

Do I Have Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome?

Signs & Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome & C-PTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

When C-PTSD is caused by Narcissistic Abuse it is called Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome.  C-PTSD includes the symptoms of PTSD plus the following:

Difficulties with Emotional Regulation

  • Excessively intense emotions 
  • Unable to feel anything in situations that normally would stimulate an emotional response
  • Difficulty labeling or understanding emotions
  • Avoidance of emotions
  • Persistent sadness
  • Explosive or inaccessible anger
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Chronically numb
  • Lack of appropriate emotional response in certain situations
  • Unable to manage sudden changes in emotions
  • Struggle to calm after high or low emotions are experienced
  • Emotional reactions disproportionate to the present situation (emotional flashbacks)

Difficult with self-perception

  • Believe they are all bad or fundamentally flawed
  • Take personal responsibility for what happened to them
  • Believe they did this to themselves, so they are unworthy of kindness, love, or help
  • Think they are nothing more than what happened to them
  • Think they are in the way or are a burden to those around them
  • Believe they differ completely from other people
  • Believe that the person they were before the abuse occurred is gone forever

Interruptions in Consciousness and Dissociation

  • Poor memory of traumatic events (even ones previously recalled)
  • Remember traumatic events in an order different than they occurred
  • Feel disconnected from their own body or thoughts
  • Feel unreal or that everything has suddenly changed (Example:  things seem brighter in color, larger, farther away, or like a movie)
  • Lose chunks of time
  • Chronic but often intermittent difficulties with memory
  • Emotional flashbacks
  • Body memories

Difficulty with Relationships

  • Profound feelings of isolation and difficulties knowing how to relate to others
  • Difficulty trusting anyone or knowing who can be trusted
  • Trust too easily and indiscriminately
  • Constantly search for someone to rescue them
  • Unintentionally seek out people who are hurtful or abusive
  • Abruptly abandon relationships that are going well
  • Continue relationships that are hurtful or abusive

Misperception of One’s Perpetrators

  • Surrender control to one’s abuser
  • Believe they will always be under the abuser’s control
  • Believe the abuser knows better than they do what is best for them
  • Experience deep sadness or profound guilt after having left the abuser or even thinking about leaving
  • Deep attachment to the abuser’s charming or public persona
  • Believe that since everyone else likes the abuser, they must be the problem
  • Believe is it shameful to think badly of the abuser or that it will make something bad happen
  • Incessantly longing for the abuser to love them
  • Excessively working for the abuser’s love and approval
  • Persistent anger or hatred for the abuser
  • Recurring thoughts of revenge
  • Incongruent feelings toward the abuser (feeling that dramatically shift and can be polar opposites like love and hate)

Disrupted World View and System of Perceiving the World

  • Difficulty believing (or even hoping) that justice will ever be served
  • Doubt there is any genuine goodness or kindness in anyone
  • Believe that all goodness has selfish motivations
  • Believe they must have come into this world to be one of the ones that are only meant to be hurt
  • Profound level of despair
  • Inability to assign meaning to suffering
  • Inability to believe life can get better
  • Dramatic shifts in beliefs about life (there is reason and meaning to one’s existence vs. life is pointless)

Those who suffer from Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome often feel alone, misunderstood, and trapped even if the relationship has ended.

Did you find out what you thought was real wasn’t?

Do you constantly feel confused?

Do you have pain so deep there are just no words to describe it?

Do you feel lost, alone, and devastated to your core?

If so, these are all normal reactions to the trauma you have experienced.  Being in a close relationship (family member, co-worker, spiritual leader, friend, etc.) with a toxic or narcissistic individual is devastating.  I have experienced this to be true for myself.  The good news is that there is a path to healing, and you don’t have to figure it out all on your own.  You can feel better and enjoy living a deeply fulfilling purpose-filled life even after the horror you have been through. 

Let’s get started, together!