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Finding Freedom from the “Narcissist”

Narcissism, a term we hear but what exactly does it mean? The definition of a narcissist is “a person who has excessive interest or pleasure, or admiration of themselves.” In other words, someone who is self-centered, unwilling to admit fault, lacks empathy, and struggles to make emotional connections. How one develops this personality trait stems from several different factors including childhood trauma, being raised by a narcissistic parent, feeling the need to manipulate situations to meet their own needs, just to name a few. When dealing with a narcissist, there are certain behavioral patterns that they exhibit that can be abusive and toxic to a relationship, also known as the “Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse”.

Here are 4 characteristics of the narcissistic abuse cycle: 

  1. Feels threatened: an upsetting event occurs the narcissist feels threatened, the abused becomes nervous and begins to walk on “eggshells”
  2. Abuses Others: in order to intimidate, the narcissist will engage in some sort of abuse (mental, physical, verbal, physical, sexual, financial) to intimidate. The abused will eventually get tired and fight back.
  3. Becomes the victim: the narcissist will bring up abused defense behaviors as a form of abuse to create this image of self-victimization causing the abused to feel remorse and guilt.
  4. Feels empowered: the victim’s feelings of remorse and guilt, enables the narcissist behavior, causing them to feel superior. This cycle is a very toxic and emotionally/mentally draining one. It is very important to develop boundary setting skills to begin to break free from this cycle. 

 

If you find yourself identifying with this cycle of abuse, there is still hope to break free from this toxic relationship cycle. Connecting with a therapist can help you to identify these patterns of behaviors and learn to develop the necessary tools to set boundaries, find your voice, and build the confidence to break free. 

 

– Written by Jessica Sagastume. LMHC, NCC, FL Family Mediator

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