How Covert Narcissism Leads to Brain Trauma and Complex PTSDJan 27, 2021
Is it possible to never be hit, screamed at, verbally assaulted, attacked and STILL experience brain trauma and complex PTSD?
Some people have a hard time understanding the damage of covert abuse and manipulation. The word abuse alone, conjures up images of bruises, broken bones or individuals screaming at the top of their lungs that it often appears they are foaming at the mouth.
But abuse can be covert, hidden and be even more destructive than overt abuse. How is this possible?
Imagine if you broke your leg. The damage is obvious, therefore you get treatment for it.
Now imagine if you broke you leg but the x-ray machine is claiming your leg is fine - that the pain is in your imagination. Worse yet, imagine you are accused of making it up!!! The damage from the unacknowledged broken leg is worse because it is never treated and you are forced to carry on as if everything is fine - when it is far from it!
That's what it's like to live with a covert narcissist - whether it's a parent, family member or significant other.
I liken covert narcissism to Chinese water torture. One drop of water, while being restrained and unable to remove yourself from the situation - while having that drop of water begin and end randomly so that you can never predict when it will happen, has been known to lead a person to a psychotic break within 20 hours.
One drop of water!!!!!
It's something small that seems harmless, combined with helplessness, consistently taking place day after day yet with no predictability - that seemingly small and harmless drop becomes a source of psychological anguish.
It's the same thing with covert abuse. The silent treatment, the double bind, blame shifting, constant criticism that is given in an effort to 'help you be a better person', the refusal of allowing you to feel as if you please them - to mention a few covert abuse tactics that do not include violence, yelling, or any form of obvious abuse - yet they are just as destructive.
Then, when targets try to seek help and they explain to people that don't understand covert narcissistic abuse - they are told: 'That's not so bad.' 'S/he isn't doing that on purpose, I think you're being too sensitive.' And the invalidation runs deeper and deeper, leaving a person feeling even more alone in the reality that they are slowly losing grip of.
Just like Chinese water torture - one drop of water inflicted under certain combined circumstances can damage a person psychologically - so can covert abuse.
If you are dealing with covert manipulation by someone you feel is high on the scale of narcissism - you are not crazy, although the narcissist would love nothing more than for you to adopt that belief.
If you are reading this article, you have already begun educating yourself on narcissistic abuse - which is excellent, knowledge is power. Remember to combine with your education, information that teaches you to trust your gut instinct, to learn how to unmesh, how to stay in your reality when someone else is trying to warp it, how to increase self love. These topics and many more are what will help you to strengthen yourself within, in order to re-gain mental clarity so as to make decisions that will protect and help you.
If you need any help on the healing journey, The Thrivers School of Transformation is an excellent resource that allows you to learn, grow and heal within a community of other Thrivers. We all have to take that journey to heal - but we do not have to travel it alone!!!