Studies have shown that victims of narcissistic abuse are also likely to suffer from a range of mental and physical health issues. One study by a researcher from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Muhammad Gadit, showed that verbal abuse can lead to a host of psychological problems including anxiety disorders and depression. According to Gadit, verbal abuse in the form of “swear words, threats, critical comments [in a] harsh tone, shouting, yelling and screaming and passing nasty remarks,” can be classed as “emotional torture.” Escaping narcissistic abuse can sometimes prove challenging but is critical to preserving mental health, say experts. Read on to find out more about anxiety disorders and narcissistic abuse, as well as, and why leaving as soon as you can is the best thing you can do for yourself!
According to a number of studies, living under conditions in which you are mentally or emotionally abused can have a long-term impact on your health. Verbal abuse can affect your brain functions, say experts, and lead to a host of psychological problems, including anxiety disorders.
When you are in an abusive relationship, you begin to doubt your self-efficacy, says experts. You stop trusting your own feelings and even begin to doubt what you see and hear. This can have a damaging effect on your brain.
Victims of narcissistic abuse tend to be people who are highly sensitive, trusting, or have a high degree of emotional intelligence. Essentially these are people who are unlikely to fight back but in submitting to the abuse they experience decreased self-esteem and eventually poor health.
Narcissistic abusers enjoy belittling their victims. They often maintain the upper-hand in the relationship by reframing situations and assuming the stance of victim themselves, especially when confronted about their behavior.
Victims of narcissistic abuse have a sense that something is wrong but the situation often becomes a vicious cycle in which they are blamed for everything that goes wrong and the narcissist leaves them believing that they are in fact the abusive one. Despite confusion when faced with the irrational claims of the narcissist, victims of abuse dismiss their own feelings, something that experts say has a big impact later on.
The brains of people who have been abused actually change in response to the abuse. Researchers have proven that the brain rewires itself physically even when witnessing domestic abuse much less when the person is a victim themselves of physical or verbal abuse. The abnormal changes in the brain make you much more predisposed to the development of psychological disorders.
A study by a researcher from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Muhammad Gadit, showed that victims of verbal abuse – those who were criticized, belittled, blamed, insulted, demeaned or ridiculed on a regular basis – suffered psychological disorders including anxiety, depression, dissociation, and drug abuse.
Underlying physical problems can also be at the root of an anxiety disorder. Victims of abuse can suffer physical ill-health because of an extended period of feeling fearful. An overabundance of chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline which are produced when fearful can have an impact on organs, say experts, and undiagnosed organ damage can lead to intense anxiety or panic.
People who have been the victims of narcissistic abuse can also experience the development of social anxiety disorder. They become very self-conscious in social situations and become to feel fearful and panicky when with others. Some eventually avoid social interaction altogether fearing that they are being judged negatively by others.
Some victims of narcissistic abuse develop phobias to specific objects or situations. They begin to experience panic attacks when confronted by either and cope by avoiding them altogether.
Those who have been victims of continuous verbal abuse are also more likely to use drugs, say experts. The abuse of drugs can lead to substance-induced anxiety disorder, say experts, marked by intense anxiety and panic.
Seeking medical advice is the best way to go when you begin to experience any form of anxiety. This way you rule out any underlying physical conditions and prevent symptoms from becoming difficult to treat. If you are diagnosed with generalized anxiety (GAD), getting enough exercise, rest, and avoiding activities like smoking and drinking can make a real difference.
Leaving the abusive situation is, of course, the number one thing you can do, not only to prevent the worsening of symptoms but also to help you regain control over your life. Although it might feel like you are, you are not alone, say experts, and help is available. No relationship is worth your wellbeing or happiness, get help and get well.