If you’ve been in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, then you’ve probably changed. Without sugarcoating, it was tough and it left you in pain. You went through a lot and you were constantly on a roller coaster of emotions. Maybe you still are.
Being in an abusive relationship makes you develop triggers you probably never knew existed. You somehow missed all the red flags and your friends’ concerns sounded more like overreacting. Surely he wasn’t that bad, was he?
He was always there for you when none of them were, especially in those moments you felt abandoned. Of course, there were some problems, but that’s inevitable in a romantic relationship. If one of the sentences that you often used was “He’s not like that, I know the real him,” then keep on reading.
You probably weren’t even aware of what was going on. Perhaps you still can’t admit it to yourself. He seemed like the perfect guy, so how could he possibly have abused you?
What is narcissistic abuse?
A narcissist has a way of abusing you in a way that you don’t even realize. He feeds you a story about how things are supposed to be, and you have to act accordingly. You rarely get a chance to finish your sentences and when you do, the conversation strays far from what you wanted to say.
Narcissistic abuse ranges from controlling you and your relationships with other people, to manipulating and gaslighting. Many times, the victim is not even aware of the abuse because they get used to the behavior since it starts happening gradually from the beginning of the relationship.
I mean, why would you go out with your friends when you have him? Nobody’s going to understand you better than him and you don’t need affection from others. He’s the only one who knows how to take care of you; others have no clue.
After some time of gaslighting, you may feel disoriented (well, that’s the main purpose), your self-esteem will be shot, and you’ll end up questioning your sanity. He’ll convince you that some things didn’t happen even though you were completely sure of the opposite – or were you?
If he pushes you or behaves a bit aggressively towards you, he’ll make sure he also showers you with love, care and gifts as soon as he realizes he’s crossed the line (if there is one at all). You may develop anxiety, depression, and other health issues after going through narcissistic abuse.
Also, you’re likely to acquire some triggers as a result of this toxic relationship.
5 inevitable triggers you’ll develop from being in an abusive relationship with a narcissist
The problem with these triggers is that nobody is aware you have them if you don’t open up. There are plenty of everyday situations that can easily make you shudder. But perhaps you’re not aware of them yet either.
If you feel uncomfortable in any situation mentioned below, unfortunately, you were in a relationship with a narcissist long enough to develop these triggers. There’s no medication for these, rather you have to help yourself get over it.
In case you’re not capable of doing so on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for help, either from your personal support system or a professional. That’s the only way to heal.
1. When someone talks too much about themselves
One of the main personality traits narcissists have is that they are self-centered. They will endlessly talk about themselves and they won’t let you say a single word. Only their success is important and they want to be held up on a pedestal.
Because your narcissistic ex-boyfriend would talk constantly about his day, his ambition, and his goals, you tend to shut off now when someone wants to be in the center of attention. He used to manipulate you into fulfilling his needs and you’re afraid that the same may happen again.
2. When someone interrupts you while you’re talking
How many times did he interrupt you while you were enthusiastically talking about your day? I understand why you hate it now when someone cuts you in the middle of a sentence, and why you refuse to continue where you left off.
You may feel extremely upset and unimportant because your self-esteem is already low. Even though the person said sorry and asked you to continue, you won’t. You interpret the action as a form of them not respecting you enough, and you feel anxious in their company.
If you notice some physical symptoms like hands shaking, sweating, nausea, or your whole body trembling, make sure you seek help. This is your body telling you that you need to do something in order to fully heal after your toxic relationship.
3. When someone shows signs of affection
When someone constantly buys you small gifts or shows affection towards you, you run for the hills. The problem is not this giving person, but your narcissistic ex-boyfriend. During your relationship, he’d get affectionate only around storms.
Love bombing would happen from time to time, almost constantly at the start of your relationship, and nothing good came out of it. He would shower you with lavish gifts, compliment you all the time, and try to stay in touch with you almost the whole day.
Initially, you figured he was simply interested in you and that he missed you as soon as you parted. Girl, how wrong were you… This was actually his way of keeping you under his thumb and manipulating you into the relationship.
Now, after this abusive relationship, when someone shows they care, you have a hard time believing it. You’ve changed now – you cannot trust people completely just yet.
4. When someone calls you sensitive
How many times did he tell you that you were sensitive, or even worse – oversensitive? Did he tell you how you were always overthinking things and worrying about trivial stuff? Oh, one of the worst things someone can tell you is to “relax.”
Thank you, Captain Obvious. We couldn’t figure that out without your help.
All of these things will make you pull back because that was something your narcissistic ex used to tell you on a daily basis. It’s triggering you constantly, even if it comes from the people you love most.
You would constantly question yourself and your emotions while you were with him, and you can’t do it anymore. Enough is enough.
5. When you hear loud noises
Doors slamming, glass breaking, and even sudden loud music will send shivers down your spine. People may question it, but you’re the only one reliving the abuse in your head yet again. When he’d get angry, he’d slam the door on his way out.
Sometimes, plates would fly around, even those expensive wine glasses your mother bought when you got married. He’d scream at you for no obvious reason and now every time someone raises their voice even a little bit, you instinctively go into defense mode.
Nobody’s picking up that this may be reactive abuse caused by the trauma you went through. But, take it easy, baby girl. You’ll help yourself heal and you’ll be good.
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