The look and feel of abuse

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How do you feel when you are around the other person?
  • Do you feel uncomfortable around this person, restless, edgy, muted?
  • After you have been open and sincere with a narcissist do you feel better or worse – do you feel vulnerable in some way and/or wish you hadn’t told them how you feel? Do you feel vulnerable because you were frank with them?
  • Are you the person you once were and knew? (If you are in an adult relationship with a narcissist). If you live with a narcissist do you have negative feelings around fear of explosive rage and a negative image of yourself.?
  • Is your dominant feeling in the relationship one of fear? Fear of doing things wrong, fear of rage, fear of being punished in some way, fear of being humiliated or sneered at?
  • Try to define how you feel around them to yourself.
  • Do they “dump” on you – make their problems your problems?
  • Do they try to provoke you in some way? Such as trying to make you feel excluded, jealous or zone in on your vulnerabilities?
  • Do you feel better or worse after you have spent time with them?
  • Do they talk about winning or losing where the narcissist is playing the role of both the hero and the victim?
  • Do they apologise if they have upset you in any way?
  • Does the apology sound sincere?
  • Do they put you down and simultaneously build themselves up?
  • Is it all about the other person?
  • Are your needs, wants and desires met (both emotional and physical)?
  • When you admit to yourself that there is a problem and that it needs to be dealt with, are they willing to listen or co-operate?
  • Do you feel physically or psychologically drained when you are around this person?
  • Does this person let you express your feelings, thoughts, dreams and emotions without trying to block your conversation with negative feedback?
  • Do you ever try to have conversations with this person and think “what is the point, this conversation isn’t going anywhere or making sense”, it feels like they are deliberately misunderstanding you or changing the subject to suit them?
  • Does this person tell you things like their job is better than yours, their family is better than yours, they have better friendships than you do? Or start a conversation with “the problem with you is…”
  • Do you find yourself playing the role of parent or guardian, even if it is with your own parents.
  • Do you feel compromised by the needs and demands of the other person and give in to them just for a quiet life?
  • How do you feel about having friends and family over to your house?
  • Do you trust this person?
  • If this person is your partner, do they participate in household jobs?
  • If something bad or unpleasant happens to the other person, do they take it out on you?
  • Do they listen to you if you are emotionally upset or are feeling physically unwell?
  • Does the other person constantly say unpleasant things about other people and always assume that they are jealous or envious of them?
  • Does the other person have fantasies about success, power, genius or beauty that doesn’t manifest itself in anything that they do or have achieved?
  • Do they tell you that they are fantastic a doing certain things, but there is little or no evidence to support their claim?
  • Do they constantly exaggerate their potential, without making any effort to realise it?
  • Does your relationship feel stable, or are you never quite sure “who is going to turn up”?

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