Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

Narcissists are masters of manipulation. They are charming, intelligent, and highly adept at using emotional tactics to gain control over their partner’s thoughts, will, and agency. Narcissists view loved ones as possessions to be used how they see fit and for the purposes they deem most beneficial to them. Children of narcissistic parents often report having low self-worth and difficulty trusting others. These victims tend to be extremely critical of themselves and without therapy, may go on to choose a narcissistic partner or become a narcissist themselves. Whether a friend, family member, or partner, the narcissist will use language designed to get their victim to:

  • Doubt their own decision-making ability
  • Be overly critical of their own failures or mistakes
  • Question their own sanity
  • Feel worthless or lazy
  • Make excuses for the narcissist’s behavior
  • Idealize the narcissist
  • Feel overly responsible for the negative dynamics of the relationship
  • Focus obsessively on how to make the narcissist happy
  • Lose touch with their own personal opinions, needs, goals, and aspirations

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome, or Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome, is a constellation of symptoms experienced by the victim of a narcissistic loved one. In Narcissistic Victim Syndrome, the victim is conditioned to feel about herself, life, and the narcissist, the way the narcissist has “programmed” the victim to feel. The narcissist also uses emotional abuse to form attachment or“trauma” bonds with the partner. By being emotionally cruel for a period of time followed by being a savior or rescuer for period of time, the narcissist successfully creates an addictive cycle of trauma bonding for the victim. These bonds persist long after the relationship is over, creating a sense of longing on the part of the victim to have the narcissist return, regardless of how emotionally cruel he or she may have been. The victim often becomes codependent on the narcissist and works tirelessly trying to recreate the initial “honeymoon phase” of the relationship. Simultaneously, the narcissist continues to devalue the victim, slowly chipping away at the victim’s self-esteem. Over time, the victim’s personal opinions, convictions, and sense of self are replaced by the narcissist’s preferences.

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome also has elements that overlap with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, including:

  • Repetitive thoughts or ruminations
  • Dreams and nightmares
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating

If you can relate to any of the traits listed above, please know that there is help for Narcissistic Victim Syndrome. Recovery is a process and takes time, but emerging from the “fog” of control is worth it. Narcissists exhibit power over their victims even after the relationship is over, but you don’t have to let a narcissist take your power any longer. It is possible to regain your sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and personal agency. Please call me to see if I can help.

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