Woman Holding Smart Phone In hand In Front of Her Face - Recognise It! What You Should Know About Narcissistic Abuse [Infographic] - Sandra Harewood Counselling

Recognise It! What You Should Know About Narcissistic Abuse [Infographic]


How do you know if your relationship is abusive?

Are you simply two people who get triggered and can’t figure it out sometimes?  That wouldn’t be uncommon.  Maybe you feel guilty because you’ve not shown up as you best self.  And we all do things at times we regret.

Conflict and challenges are a part of life.

Just because you argue and disagree, it does not mean that your relationship is abusive.  We are human, and sometimes we’re not kind and loving.  We do things which cause unhappiness to those we care about.

And there’s a difference between disagreement and abuse.

There is also a difference between anger and abuse.   So it is crucial to know the difference.

Feeling Triggered & Walking On Eggshells

It’s also true that you’ll get triggered at times.  We are triggered when we are pulled into a reaction. Often this is based on an earlier childhood experience.  You might find yourself crying, placating, freezing, attacking or feeling that you’re falling apart.

What you should know about narcissistic abuse victims is that they often find themselves navigating a double-edged sword.  First of all, maybe they don’t recognise the behaviour as abusive.  But even when something does feel icky, they feel guilty about their response, especially if the reaction is anger or setting boundaries; not realising that both are an appropriate reaction to abuse.

What You Should Know About Narcissistic Abuse: The Importance of Patterns

If you’re noticing a consistent pattern of relating, you should know that potentially it is a sign of domestic abuse which includes narcissistic abuse.  The infographic below takes you through a common pattern in abusive relationships.  It’s a circular pattern because you do find yourself going around in familiar circles, namely:

  1. Tension building (Devaluing)
  2. Conflict (Discard)
  3. Reconciliation
  4. Calm (Honeymoon)

Infographic Describing The 5 Stages In The Cycle of Abuse -Walking On Eggshells? What You Should Know About Domestic Abuse - Sandra Harewood Counselling

Patterns in Abusive Relationships

Does anything feel familiar?

To help you figure things out, you can also think about these 3 things:

  1. Your feelings are a useful source of information.  How do you feel?  Are you walking on eggshells?   Is there underlying anxiety which you experience as a tightening of the chest when you’re getting closer to the front door.
  2. Your partner’s behaviour.  What are they doing, and can you notice a familiar pattern.  Abusive behaviour is usually about power and control.  We can all feel out of control and powerless at times BUT it how we behave in those moments in order to regain control.
  3. Notice your behaviour.  Do you find yourself crying, placating, freezing, attacking or feeling that you’re falling apart?

Abuse isn’t always about physical violence, so if you’re walking on eggshells and noticing particular patterns, then it might be a sign of another form of abuse.

If you do feel unsafe, self-isolating with a controlling partner reach out for support.

If you are worried about self-isolating because of your relationship dynamic,  please call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or contact the Helpline via Refuge’s contact form at www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk. To ensure your safety, you can let us know how to contact you and what time to contact you.  You can also contact Women’s Aid who have advice on self-isolating.

In an emergency, always be ready to call 999 if you are in danger.

Over To You

Do you find yourself walking on eggshells?   If you want a safe space to talk and find out more about what you should know about narcissistic abuse, get in touch and book your first counselling appointment.  I offer video sessions online via a secure platform.  Coronavirus (COVID-19) doesn’t need to put your therapy sessions on pause.  

Or call me today on 07535 864836.

Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear from you.


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© Sandra Harewood 2020

About Sandra

Soul Centred couples counsellor Sandra Harewood specialises in working with couples and women with childhood wounding that impacts their adult relationships. Sandra provides a soulful space for her clients to explore and discover creative solutions to their difficulties and create a great relationship.