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Narcissistic Abuse: Signs, Effects, & Treatments

The Dynamics of Narcissistic Abuse: Identifying, Addressing, and Recovering

Narcissistic Abuse: Signs, Effects, & Treatments by Som Dutt

Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional abuse that often comes from someone who has narcissistic personality disorder. This type of abuse can occur in both romantic relationships and friendships, though it’s more common among intimate partners. 

While there are many different types of emotional abuse (such as physical, verbal, financial, and sexual), narcissistic abuse tends to operate in a very specific way that targets your self-esteem and sense of identity. 

You may experience this kind of abuse if you’re in or have been involved with someone who exhibits certain behaviors like extreme selfishness and lack of empathy for others’ feelings; these characteristics often stem from underlying low self-esteem that has manifested as outward arrogance instead (or in addition).

Because the symptoms are so complex, it can be difficult to recognize whether or not you’re being abused by someone with a personality disorder — especially if you’re already dealing with other stressful situations like job loss or an illness. 

However, once you learn about these warning signs for narcissistic abuse, you’ll find yourself better equipped to handle them should they arise again in the future!

Why It Is Important To Raise Awareness About Narcissistic Abuse?

Narcissistic abuse is not a one-time incident. It is a pattern of behavior that occurs over time, usually beginning in childhood and continuing into adulthood if left untreated. 

The abuser uses various methods to control their victim, often manipulating them into believing they are the abuser’s only source of support or love.

“A narcissist, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of an empath. Emotionally, narcissists are like brick walls who see and hear others but fail to understand or relate to them. As a result of their emotional shallowness, narcissists are essentially devoid of all empathy or compassion for other people. Lacking empathy, a narcissist is a very destructive and dangerous person to be around.”
― Mateo Sol

Narcissistic abusers often have other mental health conditions such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), sociopathy, or psychopathy; however, this should not be used as an excuse for what they do because there are many people with these disorders who do not engage in narcissistic abuse behaviors at all.

As we will discuss later on in this article, there are several signs that can help you identify whether someone might be suffering from NPD — but first, let’s take a look at some statistics regarding narcissism.

Narcissism And Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a need for admiration.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. 

Photo by Sander Sammy on Unsplash

Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re better than everyone else and are more talented, intelligent, or attractive than they really are. 

They may also be envious of other people or believe that other people are envious of them. People with this condition may be rude to the people around them because they think they’re superior to everyone else (and therefore don’t have to put up with anything less than perfection).

How Narcissists Use Manipulation Tactics To Exert Control

As a therapist, I’ve worked with many people who have been in relationships with narcissists. It’s important for you to know that these relationships aren’t always easy to recognize, even after you’ve been in them for a while. 

“The deal with dating conceited men like him was that she’d hoped some of his excess self-esteem would rub off. Women always secretly hoped this: that dating a narcissist would give them confidence by osmosis. It never worked.”
― Chuck Palahniuk

Narcissists can be charming and charismatic on the outside; they may appear confident and self-assured, even as they exert control over your life and make you feel like less of a person than they are.

The first step toward taking back control of your life is recognizing when someone is using manipulation tactics against you — and understanding how these tactics work so that when one of them comes up again (and it will), it’s easier for us not to fall victim again!

Types Of Abuse Commonly Associated With Narcissistic Individuals

The types of abuse commonly associated with narcissistic individuals include:

  • Psychological abuse. This includes manipulating and controlling someone’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It can also be the result of verbal abuse that causes the victim to feel worthless or inferior.
  • Verbal abuse. This involves name-calling or putting down another person through words alone (e.g., “I hate you!”).
  • Emotional abuse. This type of mistreatment may include making threats toward someone else in order to control them; using guilt trips against another person so that they feel obligated to do something for you; withholding affection/love as punishment; constantly criticizing someone else’s appearance or behavior without providing any positive feedback about their work performance; refusing help when needed at home because it makes them look bad among friends/family members who might see such acts committed by others around town without offering assistance out of fear they’ll be seen as weak if they ask too much from somebody else instead

Red Flags And Signs Of Narcissistic Abuse

The following is a list of red flags and signs of narcissistic abuse. This is not an exhaustive list, but it can help you identify whether or not you are being abused by a narcissist.

  • Emotional Abuse:
  • Constant criticism and blaming
  • Uses threats, intimidation, and/or blackmail to get what they want
  • Is jealous or envious of other people’s success or happiness
  • Sends angry emails or texts late at night when frustrated with something else (this usually indicates that the person has trouble sleeping)

A. Behavioral Patterns And Traits To Watch Out For In A Narcissistic Abuser

A narcissistic abuser is often charming, charismatic, and manipulative. They can be very persuasive. In fact, they tend to be attracted to people who are compassionate and empathetic because they can use these qualities as leverage against their victims.

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In addition to being persuasive and charming, narcissists also have a tendency to be very critical of others — especially those who disagree with them or don’t meet their standards for excellence in some way (e.g., if someone doesn’t make enough money). 

Narcissistic abusers may also exhibit some antisocial behaviors such as criminal activity or substance abuse problems; however, this isn’t always the case (and even when it is true doesn’t mean that everyone who has these issues will become abusive towards others).

B. The Subtle Signs Of Emotional, Psychological, And Verbal Abuse

Emotional abuse is a pattern of destructive behavior that can take many forms, including belittling, threatening, and blaming. It can also include withholding affection, isolating the victim from family and friends, or humiliating them publicly.

Psychological abuse is the manipulation of another person through verbal assaults and body language. The abuser may say things like “You’re crazy” or “No one else would want you.” 

They might also use guilt trips as a way to control their partner’s behavior by making them believe they are responsible for everything bad that happens between them (even if it wasn’t their fault).

C. Physical Abuse And Its Connection To Narcissism

Physical abuse is not the only form of abuse, but it is a sign of narcissism. It can be a symptom of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). 

Narcissists who suffer from NPD are known to be physically abusive; this type of person will use violence as a way to control their partner’s behavior, especially if they feel threatened in any way by them.

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Physical abuse has been found to be one of the most common forms of intimate partner violence (IPV) among couples with children where both parents have NPD. One study found that 65% percent had experienced physical aggression from their spouse at least once over an eight-year period.

This can include kicking, hitting, or pushing someone; throwing things at them; burning them with cigarettes or hot liquids; strangling them; threatening rape or murder while wielding weapons such as guns/knives/other objects used for intimidation purposes only (not necessarily used); forcing sex acts upon unwilling partners without consenting verbally beforehand etc…

Effects Of Narcissistic Abuse

As a victim of narcissistic abuse, you may be wondering what the effects of narcissistic abuse are. The list below includes the physical, emotional, and psychological effects that can occur in victims of narcissism:

  • Self-esteem issues
  • Identity issues (feeling like you don’t know who you are anymore)
  • Self-doubt about your own worthiness as a person

These are just some examples of how this type of behavior can impact your life. Narcissistic abuse can also lead to long-term mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. 

In some cases, it could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If any of these symptoms sound familiar then it’s important that you seek support from professionals so they can help guide you through this difficult time!

A. Emotional And Psychological Consequences On The Victim

Emotional abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse, and it can have a long-term impact on mental health. Victims of narcissistic abuse may experience anxiety, depression, and PTSD. 

It’s important to seek support from professionals if you are experiencing any of these symptoms after being involved with a narcissist. Therapeutic interventions for healing from narcissistic abuse include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) — This therapy can help you identify negative thoughts that lead to feelings of low self-worth or shame
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) — This type of therapy focuses on mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga; it also helps people develop better coping skills so they can manage intense emotions

B. Impact On Self-esteem, Identity, And Self-worth

When you’re dealing with a narcissist, it can feel as though your entire self-worth is wrapped up in their opinion of you. 

You might feel like they’re judging everything about you — from the way you look to what clothes you wear or how much money is in your bank account. If they are critical of these things, it can be devastating for your self-esteem and identity.

What’s more, narcissists often act as though they are superior beings who deserve special treatment because of their superior qualities (e.g., intelligence or attractiveness). 

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As such, they may expect others to treat them accordingly — and when those expectations aren’t met (e.g. when someone doesn’t give them special treatment), this can lead to anger issues on behalf of the narcissist as well as feelings of worthlessness on behalf of their victims’ part because these individuals have failed at meeting those high standards set forth by their abuser(s).

C. Long-term Effects On Mental Health, Including Anxiety, Depression, And Ptsd

  • Long-term effects on mental health, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
  • Effects on self-esteem.
  • Effects on identity.
  • Effects on self-worth.

A. Importance Of Seeking Support From Professionals

If you are in a situation where you feel like you need help, do not hesitate to seek out professional support. A therapist will be able to help you understand what is happening and why, as well as provide guidance on how best to deal with the situation. 

“Most of the narcissists are geniuses and masters of Psychology. But they are using their knowledge to eradicate, rather than to help humanity.”
― Mwanandeke Kindembo

They can also assist in developing a plan for the future so that these types of situations do not occur again in your life.

B. Therapeutic Interventions For Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Psychoeducation: This is a type of therapy that aims to help you understand the symptoms caused by narcissistic abuse, as well as how these symptoms affect your life.
  • Meditation and mindfulness practices: These practices help you gain control over your thoughts and feelings, which can be difficult when you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse. They also give you space away from the abuser so that they don’t have as much power over your emotions or behaviors.
  • Emotion regulation: This method involves learning how to manage intense emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety, shame and guilt in healthy ways instead of letting them get out of control — which often happens after being abused by someone who has an NPD or BPD diagnosis because they’ve learned over time not only how much better it feels when someone else is responsible for our feelings but also because we may struggle with self-esteem issues ourselves due to childhood trauma (or perhaps even genetics).

C. Self-care Strategies And Rebuilding Self-esteem

In order to heal from narcissistic abuse, it’s important to build your self-esteem and learn how to care for yourself. As you do this, you will start feeling more confident and secure in your own skin.

Here are some strategies that may help:

  • Set realistic goals for yourself by creating a plan that includes short-term and long-term goals. You may want to write down what you want out of life, how much money or time you need each day/week/month etc., what kind of person would be ideal for me? How much freedom would I like? What kind of job should I have? These are all questions that will help us put together an action plan so we can achieve success in our lives!
  • Be patient with yourself when making changes because change takes time! Don’t expect everything overnight because nothing happens overnight but instead focus on small steps towards those bigger goals — one day at a time!

Breaking The Cycle From A Narcissist

The first step in breaking the cycle is to set boundaries and maintain them. This can be very difficult if you’ve been in an abusive relationship for a long time, but it’s crucial that you learn how to set boundaries before trying anything else.

Once you have established your own limits, it’s important that you stick by those limits even when your partner tries to push back against them (and trust me: they will). 

“Narcissists often feign oppression because narcissists always feel entitled.”
― Criss Jami

Do not allow yourself to be manipulated or guilt-tripped into doing something that goes against what feels right for YOU. If they try playing on your feelings of responsibility or obligation towards them, remind yourself that these feelings are THEIRS — not yours! 

You don’t owe anyone else anything except kindness and respect; everything else must come from within YOURSELF first before being given away freely without coercion or manipulation involved whatsoever!

Once we understand this truth about ourselves as well as others around us then there becomes nothing left inside ourselves except love which is often times referred to as “the greatest power there ever was.” 

This means no more fear because fear comes from lack while love comes from abundance; therefore making sure not only our physical needs are met but also our spiritual ones too since both play equally important roles when living life fully.

Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

A. The Concept Of Breaking Free From The Abusive Cycle

Breaking free from the abusive cycle is not an easy task. It requires a great deal of strength and courage, but it can be done.

You need to recognize that the abuse is not your fault and that no one deserves to be treated in such a way. You also need to find ways to cope with the trauma that you have experienced so far — including talking about it with friends or family members who care about you, as well as seeking professional help if necessary.

“Maybe, the lesson we can all learn from the inner sadness of a Narcissist is to see through our own fabrications, our own illusions so that we can be set free to be real once more.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Once you’ve decided on what steps are best for recovering from narcissistic abuse (which could include therapy), there are several things that survivors should do in order to break free from this toxic relationship:

Set boundaries with the narcissist so they know where they stand without having their feelings hurt; this way there won’t be any confusion between what constitutes healthy behavior versus unhealthy behavior anymore!

B. The Importance Of Setting Boundaries And Maintaining Them

If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s important to set boundaries and maintain them. Setting boundaries helps protect your mental and physical health, as well as maintaining your self-esteem. 

“Speaking to narcissists and imagining having a normal human interaction is called delusion.”
Alice Little

It also prevents future abuse by setting limits on what is acceptable behavior in the relationship. In addition, maintaining healthy boundaries can help repair damage done by previous abusive relationships or traumatic experiences by giving you back control over your life.

C. Empowering Victims To Recognize Their Worth And Regain Control Of Their Lives

  • Self-care is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for those who have been in abusive relationships. The reason for this is simple: if you don’t take care of yourself, then how can you expect to keep your mental health intact?
  • The best way to start practicing self-care is by finding activities that are enjoyable and relaxing. You might even want to ask a friend or family member what they think would be good options for you! Some common examples include going on walks around town (or even just around the block), taking classes at local colleges/universities, or spending time with loved ones who will listen when needed most.

A. Identifying Supportive Friends, Family, Or Communities

When you’re suffering from Narcissistic Abuse, it can be difficult to determine what is and isn’t a sign of narcissistic abuse. In this section, we will discuss some of the most common signs and symptoms of narcissistic abuse.

“Kindness from a narcissist is called an illusion.”
Alice Little”
― Alice Little

If you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, it’s important that you reach out for help. The first step in getting better is identifying your support network; this could include family members, friends, or even a professional therapist or counselor who can help guide you through this difficult time in your life.


If you have been experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, it is important to seek help immediately. The first step in healing from narcissistic abuse is recognizing the presence of a problem and accepting that it exists within yourself. 

As difficult as this may be for victims who have been isolated by their abusers, there are many resources available to help survivors get back on their feet again.

There are also organizations such as ours here at Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Center (NARC) that can provide support through counseling services or group therapy sessions where individuals can connect with others who have experienced similar situations while learning how best to protect themselves from future harm

About the Author :

Som Dutt, Top writer in Philosophy & Psychology on I make people Think, Relate, Feel & Move. Let's Embrace Inner Chaos and Appreciate Deep, Novel & Heavy Thoughts.

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