As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, I sometimes feel destroyed by a negative comment. How do you tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy criticism?
Mark Maginn, Psychotherapist, poet, memoirist, blogger, (2012-present)
Answered just now
I’m pleased you reached out here, Trish.
I think being able to tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy criticism difficult under normal circumstances. But for you, now, after a period of abuse, the distinction between the 2 was probably erased for you by the person responsible for harming you.
Though I’m not sure what you mean by “narcissistic abuse,” I can guess, and on that flimsy platform of an informed( I have treated many people with varying degrees of damage to their normal narcissism) guess
Any time any one is abused, their orientation to reality has been damaged and that damage by the perpetrator was inflicted for all manner of horrible motivations but chief among them, & mostly unconscious to the abuser, is the sadistic desire to drive the victim mad. The abuser wants to “fuck” with the victim’s sense and hold on reality. He wants to drive the victim into the veryyyy madness that captured the perpetrator long ago.
This, Trish, is my way of laying the groundwork for writing to you about the possible lingering damage from the abuse. I suspect your abuser was, in part, unconsciously motivated to destroy that part of your healthy narcissism we know as well established self-esteem that allowed you to recognize harmful, deceitful criticism from healthy, and yes, helpful criticism.
That is the damage that comes with possible PTSD resulting from your abuse. It is the aftermath of the abuse that you will, with good help, need to work through. From that work you have regained your confidence and the firm self-regard that will protect you once again from those who wish to harm your self-esteem.