The worst thing about being in an abusive relationship with a bully, abuser or narcissist is the long-term damage it does to your self-esteem – the way it changes how you feel about, see and interact with the world.
1. You take the blame for everything
Whether it’s you blaming yourself or others blaming you, you feel guilty all the time, because you believe you deserve to have all the blame lumped onto you.
This causes you to become apologetic or defensive and over time can really make you feel that the whole world hates you. I mean, why wouldn’t they when everything that goes wrong in the world is so obviously your fault?
2. You feel obligated to do what people want
Maybe it’s because you feel responsible for everything that goes wrong in the world and want to make up for it, and maybe it’s because you think doing what people want will make them value you – whatever the reason, you will become a passive or active people pleaser.
At the worst end of the scale, you’ll become a passive-aggressive people pleaser, doing things to please them and then resenting them for it.
3. You never express your needs
You never ask for what you want or communicate your needs in relationships and situations.
You’ve been told and shown and for so long that your needs don’t matter that you actually start to believe it after a while – so really, what’s the point of asking for what you want? You clearly don’t deserve it.
4. You believe nobody will ever want you
With repeated abuse and bullying your self-esteem is worn down to almost nothing.
As a result you stay in the situation because you become to believe that no one else would ever want you. In the worst cases, people will begin to mistake the bullying and narcissistic behaviour traits for love.
5. You settle for less than you want
When security and stability are unmet life needs, you become desperate to hang onto any semblance of security and stability you can find.
As a result, you stay in relationships where only one or two of your needs are met, for fear that you won’t find anything better out there.
After all, you don’t deserve to, do you?