How To Heal From Narcissistic Abuse & Social Anxiety

How To Heal From Narcissistic Abuse & Social Anxiety

I was inspired to write this article as I feel this is a topic that lots of men are afraid to talk about. Having personally experienced narcissistic abuse growing up from my parents I know the damaging effects this can have on a person later on in adulthood. I was abused by my Dad all throughout my teens which lead me to suffering severe social anxiety as a result. At the time I was too afraid to report the abuse to the police or to seek professional help. The abuse left me traumatized and terrified of people. I never realized at the time that my social anxiety was linked with the abuse that I underwent from my Dad. I found it very hard to trust people and open up which gave me depression and panic attacks. I ended up blaming myself for the abuse as a way of coping with my self-hate and deep shame. The biggest problem with narcissistic abuse is not the actual abuse itself although it is, of course damaging. It’s the after effects of the abuse that can continue to harm you mentally. For years after the physical abuse stopped, I continued to suffer a lot of anxiety especially around people. I had a tremendous amount of fear going into social situations because my anxiety was very noticeable. This always made me feel really self-conscious around other people because I thought they were judging me.

I had so much unresolved anger towards my mom and dad for how they treated me. During my early twenties, I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions which lead me to get into violent fights with people. I always seemed to attract bullies because I was always nervous around men.  The feeling I would experience around men was exactly the same around my Dad. It felt so intense the anxiety would be in the pit of my stomach and work its way up to my chest. I found it really difficult to speak around people without stuttering. This fear of talking to people made me feel completely worthless and shattered my self-confidence with women. My Dad used to call me horrible names which I believe were true. I literally felt dirty and unlovable to women which really frightened me. At age 25 I was having severe bouts of depression and even contemplated suicide because I was so unhappy with my life. I was struggling to get back into full-time employment due to my depression and social anxiety. I remember not wanting to leave my room to go outside because I felt so paranoid that people were going to attack me. My mind would go into all kinds of fantasies around people trying to abuse me. The negative thoughts would make me feel exhausted. This became a recurring cycle over a period of weeks then it would pass for a short while and come back again.

I never realized that I was suffering from a psychological abandonment from myself, family, people due to the abuse. I could never be my true self around my Family, friends, people and this made me feel like a complete fraud. I never really enjoyed social interaction unless it was with a close friend. I often struggled to read social signs because I was always stuck in my head when people were talking to me. I was constantly worried about saying something stupid and getting into an argument with the person. I feared social confrontation which is why I was always people pleasing as a way to keep people happy and protect myself. All these behaviors were what Sigmund Freud called defense mechanisms. When children experience emotional abuse from parents they will automatically develop ways of copying in order to keep their parents from abandoning them. This is why my relationship with my parents growing up never felt right. I could build an emotional connection with them because unconsciously I didn’t fully trust them after the abuse. I was also petrified that they would completely abandon me which is why I did everything to please them.

My defense was to keep quiet especially when my Dad was around which reduced the risk of him being abusive towards me. I never felt settled growing up in my parents home because it was always dysfunctional. My parents were always fighting with one and other which made the atmosphere hostile. There were, of course, occasions where they would be happy and kind but it would never last and always be back to the violent outbursts. I never hugged with my Dad we hardly had any emotional connection never told him I loved him. It always felt awkward especially when it was just me and him in the room I would feel really nervous. My Dad was very manipulative and controlling to the point of forcing me to listen to his angry outburst about the world and politics which I completely hated. I felt like a verbal punch back having to listen to hours of negativity which in truth was really a projection of his unhappinesses and low self-esteem. Luckily for me, I did have a really good relationship with my Nan and my brother which really helped me get through some difficult periods. My Nan was really lovely not a bad bone in her body which magnified my Mum and Dads dysfunctional behavior towards one another. We never really communicated as a family never went out to restaurants together to eat. This made me feel really embarrassed and ashamed.

I had many conflicting emotions one of which was guilt for how the family dynamics were between us. It was not honest everyone was wearing a mask and playing a role which I intuitively felt was not right. Intimacy was seriously missing within our relationships although my mom showed much more affection than my Dad. I never beloved my Mom when she told me she loved me because I felt she betrayed me in allowing my Dad to bully me. It’s sad to say but I was afraid of my Mum because I thought she would stop living me if I challenged her. My frustration grew every year with the lack of honest communication in our household. My Dad treated my mom terrible which she threatened to leave him on many occasions but never did. They were both afraid of leaving one another which is what kept them together. Fear was keeping us all together but also holding us to ransom. Unhappiness became the constant mood of everybody in the house.

I was so ashamed to admit this but I felt really embarrassed about bringing friends over to the house in case my Dad would play up. I always worried about getting a girlfriend because I wouldn’t have wanted to bring her to my house. My whole identity was shattered by the verbal and psychical abuse from my parents. I couldn’t form relationships with people without worrying that they would somehow betray me in some way of another. Despite all my anxieties around trusting people I did manage to make friends fairly easy people liked me. However, I would always bee on edge about opening up in case it would leave me vulnerable and open for attack. This, of course, was irrational thinking on my part but this is what narcissistic abuse does to your psyche. The unconscious mind is working away in the background causing the body a lot of stress and negative emotions. The constant threat of danger became and ongoing story for me even when there was no logic reason to be fearful. This again is the result of childhood trauma which is why I wanted to bring this all to light in this article.

Today there seems to be this gray area as far as childhood abuse is concerned. People who get abused feel they are being weak if they speak out against their abuser and ask for help. I kept quiet for years which caused me a lot of pain. When I reached aged 30 I decided enough was enough I wanted to confront my childhood fears and bring everything to light. I was massively inspired to do so after discovering Geoff Thompson’s story during an interview on a show called London real where he spoke openly about how he overcame his abuse and went on to win a Bafta award for a short film called Brown paper bag. For me, it was so refreshing to see a former had man like Geoff be so honest and open about his story with abuse and how he confronted it. I had spent my whole life in complete denial and rationalization with chasing women and drinking alcohol and doing things that I shouldn’t be doing to get away from my pain. I had done everything to avoid dealing with my trauma which came in the form of becoming successful as a dating coach which kept the demons away for a few years only for them to return even stronger. After looking online for some help I decided to get help from Geoff as I loved his honesty and everything he said in his videos really resonated with me. It was the best designs I made working with him really helped me to heal and speed and the process having something to support me that I could trust and speak openly about my fears.

Something that kept me from talking about my abusive relationship withy Dad was not wanting to feel like I was betraying my family and seeking some kind of sympathy from people. This was not true and again very common for victims of abuse. It was, in fact, the opposite the more I spoke about what happen to me the better and stronger I felt. Following the healing process, I was able to gather the courage to confront my Dad in person which was a huge achievement for me considering I spent my whole life terrified of the man. This gave me massive psychological cleaning and really put may of the demons to bed that had been taunting me. I told my Dad pretty much everything that he did to me and how I felt. I told him I forgave him which I did as a way to forgive myself. I’m still in the process of further healing which is why I have dedicated my life to coaching other people that have also undergone abuse and as a result suffered from social anxiety disorder. My teaching is all about helping people to rebuild their self-esteem and confidence back through a both a practical and spiritual process. In, my opinion there are not too many ways to overcome abuse and social anxiety the main one is the practice of honest. Integrity is really where the source of true self-esteem and social confidence comes from. Like my mentor had once mentioned you cannot change what has happened to you but you can, however, change your perception of the bus by forgiving the person as a way to cleanse yourself and connect to your true authentic self.

Self-love is the key to all healing which every teacher, counselor, psychologist, must encourage otherwise they are not for the job. I strongly recommend anyone that has undergone abuse to get professional help to speed up the process of recovery. I don’t want to sound biased because I’m  a teacher and run coaching programs but ideally if you are going to seek help it should, in my opinion, be with someone who has actually also experienced abuse an shown proof that they have made positive progress in overcoming their trauma otherwise it’s just someone reading of a clip-board and asking you questions about your childhood does not work. I could live to regret this statement but I’m willing to risk it based on my personal experience with working through own, issue and helping hundreds of students to do the same.

Getting support to help guide you through facing your pain is not being a victim. The idea in some of the mainstream narratives that men cannot cry and show weakness is really stupid. Most men including myself were young kids when they experienced abuse which is not their fault. Like I mentioned the after effects of emotional abuse ca be really damaging of not treated. Social anxiety disorder comes from the irrational fear of being harshly judged by people. In many cases, this can lead to things like depression, addiction, suicidal, thoughts, and all kinds of personality disorders if not treated. I have uploaded over 1000 youtube videos and written hundreds of articles on my website all explaining the practical, psychological, spiritual, process I teach people on my 6-week transformation program to overcome anxiety and build self-confidence. This is all part of recovering from abuse and reconnecting with your true authentic self. I talk a lot in my videos about connecting to your true authentic self which is so important as many people would have fallen out of alignment with who they are as a defense mechanism.

Once you begin the healing process and you experience even a slight positive change you will be inspired to go further into your pain and heal more and more. This may sound kinda strange but you can find great power and life purpose through the journey of self-healing which has definitely been the case for me. This is about being venerable in admitting to your deepest fears then working towards working on them and finding that love within yourself. Everything is about love, in the end it has the strength and healing power to fix everything from a broken heart to a meaningless life that lacks purpose.

I wish you all the best with your healing and search for self-love

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Johnny Berba