Maybe it’s a result of the greed and ego focus of the world we live in, but many of us are, or have been in relationship with narcissists and psychopaths.
How do narcissists and psychopaths break down your self-esteem in abusive relationships?
1. Your deepest fears
Psychopaths, narcissists and abusers are often brilliant at communication in the beginning of a relationship, getting you open to open up and confide in them, telling them the darkest parts of you that you’ve so been longing to share.
Once you’ve handed over this information however, psychopaths and narcissists love to turn it against you, using it when you’re weak and vulnerable to further weaken you and put you under their spell.
2. Doubting yourself and your abilities
In a world that values productivity and contribution, it hurts really badly to doubt the things that you can do – especially if your work is a passion or release for you.
Psychopaths and narcissists love to make you feel insecure about your abilities and talents, because when you take the messaging on you’ll begin doubting yourself on a regular basis – taking over the hard work of brainwashing yourself into thinking the way the psychopath or narcissist wants you think.
Over time you will also begin to reference the only other person there giving you advice in your mind – the psychopath or narcissist.
This way you’ll not only be breaking down your belief in yourself, but you’ll begin doing things the way the psychopath or narcissist would have you do them.
3. Threatening your security
By threatening your security the psychopath makes you feel vulnerable.
At the worst levels of this you have the boss who arranges disciplinary hearings if you dare to disagree with them, or the parent that threatens to kick you out of the house if you disobey a rule they’ve implemented.
Another way that they may undermine your emotional security is by pointing out ways that people don’t love you, for example. Or they may attack you mentally by making you feel stupid intellectually.
4. Making you feel worthless and unwanted
Psychopaths and narcissists love to make you believe that you are worthless and lucky to have their love, because nobody could or would ever love you or want to have you around.
This is a really clever tactic because it prevents you from reaching out to other people in the first place. If you just reached out to a few people, you’d probably quickly find that this is totally wrong and that there are other people who love and want you around.
5. Making you feel confused and stupid
You think you’ve just started to get a handle on life and why people do things the way they do, and along comes a psychopath or narcissist and turns it on its head.
Nothing about the way psychopaths and narcissists live their lives makes sense to us, because we have a conscience and they don’t.
Because we live our lives from our own internal point of view, we often ascribe characteristics that we have onto the person we’re thinking about – in this case ascribing a conscience to a psychopath or narcissist.
When you look at many of the decisions psychopaths and narcissists make from the point of view of a person with a conscience, you get stuck on the why did they do it question a lot.
It just doesn’t make sense - and you’re not crazy to think that.
Often though, the psychopath or narcissist has effectively isolated you, making you a captive audience to their craziness, and leaving you without an external mirror to reflect your sanity and clarity back to you.
Being a reasonable, compassionate and empathic person, it only stands to reason that you will hear – and eventually believe – the only other point of view you are hearing: that of the psychopath or narcissist.
After continued exposure to this way of thinking and approach to life, you’ll sadly come to take it on as gospel truth.