Individuals with personality disorders – narcissistic, borderline, histrionic and antisocial – can truly wreak havoc on the emotional well being of people closest to them. Whether you were raised by one, are divorcing one, or you work with one, it may seem impossible to keep an optimistic attitude and outlook with such a toxic force in your life. They use emotional manipulation and psychological abuse to control others for their own personal gain. They cause so much worry, anxiety and fear. Even worse, they can ruin your life in very tangible ways – destroy your career and/or reputation, clean out your bank accounts, turn your children against you, etc.
Even after a break-up, divorce or simply going no contact, the personality disordered can still cause further damage to you down the line. For instance, if you have shared offspring, they will implement parental alienation to cause you pain by teaching your child(ren) to hate you. Or they may use the limited contact they have with you (through coordinating visitation with minor children and the subsequent drops offs/pick ups) to falsely accuse you of stalking or some other type of abuse in order to file for restraining orders or attempt to have you arrested.
If you’ve gone no contact with your psychopath, and you have no shared offspring, they may still try to harm you by starting a smear campaign against you which involves telling vicious lies to any shared friends or co-workers. It’s not uncommon for them to attempt to sabotage your career by any means they can think of. If possible, they will even try to maintain ties with your family members in order to spread rumors and damage your relationships with your kin. These creatures truly have no shame.
Boundaries are Essential
If you cannot, or will not, go no contact with the emotional vampire in your life, you must establish personal boundaries and learn how to maintain them at all costs. A common trait of victims of abusers is that they are “people pleasers”. These types of folks have trouble saying no when asked to do something, even if they really don’t have time or simply don’t want to. Also, they typically avoid confrontations and tend to have difficulty standing up for themselves when they are being treated unfairly. People pleasers fear being seen as selfish, disagreeable or unfriendly.
Lasting Emotional Damage
It’s important to take into account the emotional scars survivors of psychological abuse carry, especially for those coming out of a romantic relationship or anyone who was raised by at least one disordered parent. Common problems are low self-esteem, weak or non-existent boundaries, anxiety, depression, feelings of worthlessness, and all manner of mental anguish. For some, it can seem impossible to go on with your life and responsibilities. The length of your recovery will depend on your own resilience, the length of time you spent with your abuser, the extent of the abuse, and other factors. If possible, it is a good idea to find a qualified therapist or counselor whom you can trust and feel comfortable talking to.
Personality disordered individuals are also referred to as emotional vampires, which is a very apt description of them. They are very much like movie monsters in that they feed off of your fear, anxiety and despair, so do not let them deprive you of your hopes and dreams. Keep going, no matter how difficult it gets. This nightmare will not go on forever; nothing is permanent. It may take more time and effort than you want to devote, but know that it will work out eventually; there is always light at the end of the tunnel.