Narcissistic Emotional Abuse


Narcissistic emotional abuse is a form of emotional abuse committed against children by narcissistic parents when they force them to the abandon their dreams and follow the wishes of the parents (Beck et al., 2015). Narcissistic emotional abuse also happens in adult relationships where a narcissist takes advantage of the relationship and force the other partner to follow his or her wants (Talmon & Ginzburg, 2018). Narcissistic emotional abuse has consequences on the victims which include codependency (Bjorklund & Causey 2017). Codependency is over-reliance on another person on decision making, sense of identity and approval (Wardecker et al., 2017). Codependency also results to one person getting addicted to certain behaviors and the other becoming over-dependent on the behavior (Beck et al., 2015). A continuous exposure to narcissistic emotional abuse may affect one’s long-term memory (Wardecker et al., 2017).

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According to Gabbard, (2017) everything we learn, read, do, understand and experience helps hippocampus to function correctly. For the memory to be retained continuously, a significant amount of neuron activity is required. When the body undergoes narcissistic emotional abuse, the rate at which the neurons are subtracted or added to the hippocampus is affect (Cherry, 2017). Therefore, the long-term memory of the victim is harmed as the victim will be forced to remember the emotional stress he or she is facing (Bjorklund & Causey 2017). However, the victim cannot learn new ideas. Piaget (1936) cognitive theory states how a child makes a model of the world mentally (Meadows, 2017). By studying the stages of cognitive development, when a child undergoes narcissistic emotional abuse, the child may not think logically and critically because the child will wholly depend on the narcissist parents for advice (Cherry, 2017).

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  1. Beck, A. T., Davis, D. D., & Freeman, A. (Eds.).(2015). Cognitive therapy of personalitydisorders.Guilford Publications.
  2. Bjorklund, D. F., & Causey, K. B. (2017). Children’s thinking: Cognitive development and individual differences. SAGE Publications.
  3. Cherry, K. (2017). Piaget’s Theory: The 4 Stages of Cognitive Development. Retrieved from.
  4. Gabbard, G. O. (2017). Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy: A basic text. American Psychiatric Pub.
  5. Meadows, S. (2017). An assessment of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.In Developing Thinking (pp. 7-25).Routledge.
  6. Talmon, A., &Ginzburg, K. (2018). “Body self” in the shadow of childhood sexual abuse: The      long-term implications of sexual abuse for male and female adult survivors. Child abuse & neglect, 76, 416-425.
  7. Wardecker, B. M., Edelstein, R. S., Quas, J. A., Cordón, I. M., & Goodman, G. S. (2017).Emotion Language in Trauma Narratives Is Associated With Better Psychological Adjustment Among Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Journal of language and social psychology, 36(6), 628-653.
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