Lies, deception, secrecy, and an uneven power structure leads to betrayal or love trauma. It doesn’t matter if you enter the relationship feeling confident in yourself and proud of your accomplishments.
By systematically applying a medley of seduction, infuriating, and crazy-making techniques, a perpetrator — whether he’s a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath — can swiftly groom to disempower his victim.
This grooming leads to dramatic damage to your self-esteem, self-image, and sense of security.
A malignant narcissist or a psychopath does not share his power but rather dominates the girlfriend, wife, or partner and demands control. The victim’s reality is under the control of a person other than herself.
Emotional and psychological abuse is strategically used and underlies all abusive relationships.
The abuser’s best interest is to keep you feeling as worthless and powerless as possible by toying with your emotions. By not caring about your well-being or honoring your needs, by not offering his strength or protection, and by controlling further with the use of jealousy, the narcissist sends the message of “You are not good enough” and “You need me”.
Dr. Dina McMillan’s TED Talk on unmasking the abuser discusses ways to identify potential abusive behavior before it happens.
Feelings of worthlessness and powerlessness lead to low self-esteem, translating to a woman feeling ugly, stupid, fat, or lazy and even producing poor body image even when a woman knows intellectually, she is none of these things.
Shame, fear, and ambivalence overwhelm the victim. This leads to a combination of disorders — addiction, depression, rage, eating disorders, anxiety, and suicide — all of which make you more vulnerable to the manipulative tactics of the abuser.
After an abusive relationship, your natural love and compassion will transform into overwhelming confusion, panic, and anxiety. Whether you were discarded, found the courage to leave, or finally ran away from the abuser you must remember that it will take time to release the narcissist’s control over your heart.
It’s important to keep safe and prepare for a journey of healing your heart’s wound. Part of the work is to accept the truth about the abuse and tragic loss of love. The other part is to say goodbye to the lies, deception, debilitating shame, desperation, and fear manufactured by your narcissist.
Here are 11 sad-but-true signs you’re suffering from love trauma:
1. You can’t sleep through the night and/or have bad dreams.
2. You can’t eat or you’re eating too much.
3. You’re tired, fatigued, and tense.
4. You cry more than you ever have, you’ve become reactive, apologetic, and suspicious of everything, and you lack trust in even your “safe” people.
5. You have intrusive thoughts and images, memory problems, and problems communicating and concentrating.
6. You experience a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
7. You feel insane, shocked, ashamed, humiliated, and empty.
8. You dip into feeling hopeless, helpless, overwhelmed, alone, and isolated.
9. Your mood moves from anxious, depressed, feeling dirty or unattractive, to feeling afraid, irritable, outraged, and enraged.
10. You become self-doubting, self-loathing, and/or self-destructive.
11. You obsess looking for clues about the relationship and the truth about the person you loved.
In the midst of great pain and suffering, our greatest challenge can become our greatest opportunity for transformational healing and change. Fear transforms into faith and love eventually regenerates.
Jianny Adamo, LMHC, founder of Fearless Love Coaching & Counseling supports singles & couples breaking through fears and limitations to create safe & intimate marriages and relationships.