If you are a person that suffers from anxiety, or chronic bouts of nervousness, fear, sweating, trembling, sleeping issues, and more, you need to know you are not the only one. In fact, anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses in the USA, with 18,1% of adults suffering from different types of it.
There has been some research that has acknowledged that anxiety can come from different causes, like brain chemistry, anxiety-causing foods, personality disorders, and traumatic life events.
Nevertheless, there is still one cause of anxiety that is rarely discussed among people and that one is narcissistic abuse.
Narcissistic Abuse Might Cause Anxiety Disorders
Narcissistic abuse usually refers to the mental and physical harm inflicted by self-centered people. The definition for narcissists are people who think of themselves highly and that want admiration from other people. However, they do not care about others. Thus, they can seem very charming at the beginning because they want your admiration, but later, they become very demanding and manipulative when you turn your attention to other stuff in life. However, you need to know that narcissists only return feelings back when it serves them well. So, people that are surrounded by narcissists, might feel neglected, full of guilt, unworthy of love or very anxious.
Furthermore, some studies have connected abuse in childhood like domestic violence and abuse from a narcissistic partner and physical and mental health issues, like anxiety.
Narcissistic Abuse From Childhood
There have been some studies recently that have shown that narcissistic abuse from childhood can contribute immensely to the appearance of anxiety disorders even later in life. In fact, narcissistic abuse in childhood can severely impact the physical and mental health of a person. Thus, bullying and systematic abuse of power, like verbal abuse and threats from narcissistic parents or traumatic physical abuse can make the child internalize their hurt feelings.
Therefore, children can develop low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and PTSD, both short-term and long-term. Physically, the child can act out, have bad behavior, experience anxiety, deal with substance abuse, and aggression.
So, as you can see, narcissistic abuse in childhood and adulthood can contribute to the development and exacerbation of anxiety disorders.
How to Recognize Narcissistic Abuse
One of the problems that people face when it comes to abuse is that symptoms are extremely difficult to spot due to denial, self-victimization or emotional manipulation.
Therefore, you need to have some time and check out the signs of narcissistic abuse below.
- Abuse and manipulation– this is when the abuser verbally or physically belittled or bullied you. This means that they were always right and they made you feel like you were to blame for their unhappiness.
- Blackmail– this is when the abuser criticised you for the ways that you were acting that they did not like. In this situation, they usually withhold their love or friendship so that they can control your behavior.
- Gaslighting– the abuser makes you question everything about yourself so then you feel very incompetent if you compare yourself to people who are much more successful then you are.
- Exploitation and Isolation– this is when the abuser takes advantage of your feelings or generosity for personal gain. They instead ignore your personal boundaries and keep you isolated from your family or friends.
- Lying and cheating– if the abuser cheats and lies to you in order to avoid responsibility, stroke the ego or achieve selfish goals it is bad. Especially, if the abuser spreads gossip and lies about you.
- Neglect– the abuser is only supportive when they feel like it. They do not actually give friendship, love, and respect back when you need them.
- Projection (in the case of a narcissistic parent)– in this case, the abuser wants to live vicariously through you and love you only according to their own wished. They depend on you emotionally, or mentally and they want you to be dependent on them.
How to Deal With Narcissistic Abuse and Anxiety
If you have experienced some of the symptoms or situations in childhood, this is what you can do now:
- Seek professional help– if you are in physical or emotional danger, or just in a situation where you cannot get away from the abuser, then you need to contact the police, a medical professional, a helpline or a local shelter for victims of abuse. If you are not in that much of danger, you can always contact a psychotherapy professional to discuss mental traumas from the past or present.
- Cut ties with the abuser– most of the time it is best to ignore the abuser or just cut ties with them. Try to minimize the time you spend with them and connect with people that are positive and supportive.
- Keep a positive outlook– you need to realize that the abuse is never your fault and that you are worthy. This is how you can overcome the abuse.
- Learn more about narcissistic abuse.
As far as anxiety goes, you need to contact a doctor or professional if it is severe and does not improve with time. In fact, you can easily treat anxiety just by talking and psychotherapy with medication.
Alternative Treatment Options
- Eat healthier– get rid of all the sugary, processed foods you have been consuming and turn to fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, and good fats. If you have a regular diet of healthy fats with little sugar, it might reduce your anxiety. Additionally, try these naturally anxiety-reducing foods.
- Cut down on alcohol and drugs– substance abuse is associated with the development of anxiety disorders, so you need to cut down.
- Stay active 30 minutes a day– exercise and physical activity can always help with anxiety. Even something like chair stretches or walking to take the bus can help.
- Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night– sleeping difficulties have been connected to anxiety disorders as well. Just consult a medical professional to help you sleep.
- Practice meditation– try to practice mindfulness exercises, like yoga stretches as much as you can. This can reduce anxiety as well.
- Seek social support– also try to spend more time with some supportive friends and family members. If you have strong social networks it can aid in reducing anxiety and increasing resiliency to stress due to anxiety.
- Learn to manage your time effectively– if you follow a certain schedule to add some structure to your life, then you can have time to practice mindfulness.
It is true that it can be quite hard to deal with anxiety. This is especially if it is connected to your past and narcissistic abuse from people you have trusted, respected and loved. However, as soon as you recognize it and realize you need help, you can move on with living a better life!