Number 1: You’re an approval seeker and people pleaser.
In other words, you are operating from an outside-in perspective, rather than from an inside-out perspective, meaning you’re far more concerned with other people’s opinions and comfort than your own. You go through life sacrificing your own comfort, wants, needs, wishes, and desires in the hopes of winning the approval of others, and usually others who do not have those things to give.
Let’s not forget that narcissistic abuse is emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse, right? So it goes without saying that perpetual exposure to narcissistic abusers can and will seriously chip away at our self-esteem. From that place of not knowing, understanding, or owning our own worth and value, we spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy looking for approval and validation from the outside world.
Recommended: Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse.
Now, the problem with this is, as I said, we often are seeking approval and validation from people who really don’t have it to give, not least of which includes the narcissist, but also otherwise empathy-impaired and emotionally unavailable people. And this approval-seeking and people-pleasing behavior shows up in your inability to set boundaries, exercise extreme self-care, and advocate for your own well-being and best interest. You can’t say no even when you know you need to, and needless to say, this is a really big problem.
Number 2: You suffer from high anxiety.
You’re highly reactive and rarely, if ever, at ease or at peace. You don’t feel good in your own skin, and you’re nervous and on edge a lot of the time. Now, here’s the thing. Narcissistic abuse violates us on many levels. When our emotions, wants, feelings, and needs are exploited for someone else’s comfort, preferences, or ego trip, we’re going to lose our personal sense of safety. We end up operating from a deep-seated, underlying, fear-based perspective on high alert and in survival mode.
Personally, it wasn’t until I was well into my own recovery process when I finally healed to the point of not being anxiety-ridden that I realized, wow, that feeling I had had my whole entire life, that was anxiety. It had so been my norm and constant companion really as far back as I can remember, that it wasn’t until I experienced the absence of anxiety that I realized just how anxious I had been my whole life. And looking back, knowing what I know today, it’s no wonder. Thank God I don’t have to live that way anymore.
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