Narcissistic Abuse – Healing and Recovery

Are you in a relationship with a person who thinks they are far superior to you and to everyone around them? Or maybe your parent ran your life, expecting nothing less than excellence from you and being envious of your achievements – so much so that they found a way to make your triumphs all about them. Perhaps you are married to someone who is “difficult” – they demand all your attention, have an inflated ego, and are frequently critical of you because things are always “your fault.” If you have a difficult, selfish, and unemotionally available loved one and feel like you have less self-confidence, have less independence, or have given up your family, friends, hobbies, or a career for this person, you may be dealing with narcissistic abuse.

Signs of a Narcissist

Everyone has some narcissistic qualities – they can help make you a stronger person, give you a healthy dose of confidence, and allow you to set boundaries for how others treat you. Some people, however, take these traits to an extreme.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, they will expect constant admiration from you, they’ll seek to control you, they will separate you from your support system, and they’ll tolerate nothing less than lowering your self-esteem in order to boost theirs. This controlling person may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

A mental health professional is the only one who can make a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, however there are signs of a narcissist that you can look for, which will give you a good idea of whether your loved one has NPD. They include:

  • Putting you down or criticizing you to make themselves feel good or superior
  • Isolating you from others, such as your friends and family
  • Getting angry if you disagree with them
  • An exaggerated sense of self-importance. These people inflate their accomplishments, making a simple success into a monumental achievement when they tell people about it
  • Believing they are superior to everyone else, despite the fact they have no special talent or haven’t accomplished anything noteworthy
  • Lacking empathy for others, intolerance of other people’s needs and feelings
  • Expecting admiration and accolades that are out of proportion to their accomplishment (example: they got a standard cost of living raise, but expect you to treat them as if they got a huge promotion)
  • Thinking they are too special to associate with people they feel are “beneath” them
  • Arrogance
  • Being envious of others or believing that other people are jealous of them
  • Manipulating others to get what they want. They have unreasonable expectations that they should be given special treatment or that others should go to great lengths to fulfill their needs and wishes
  • Taking advantage of others and exploiting people for their own gain
  • Telling you everything is your fault (example: they say things like, “if you would only be smarter/prettier/stop pushing my buttons/do things the “right” way/dress better, etc., I wouldn’t act this way.”)
  • Are only willing to work on the relationship when you are walking out the door. Once you give in and stay, they revert to their old behavior
  • Preoccupation with finding the “ideal” love, or with beauty, power, or success

Narcissistic parents make their children feel emotionally abandoned, keep their children from learning to trust, and cause them to worry about making any type of mistake, no matter how trivial. In a relationship, the narcissist will break down their partner’s self-esteem over time, will frequently withhold their love until the partner does what they want them to, and often bullies the partner into giving things up so they get their way and there is less conflict.

Narcissistic abuse can happen in a variety of forms. One person might give you the silent treatment, while another might subject their partner to emotional blackmail, or to physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse. Generally narcissistic abuse consists of unloving actions such as manipulation, criticizing, belittling, withholding love or emotional support, jealousy, ordering you around, or lying to you. It is the gradual dismantling of your self-esteem by the abuser.

In truth, the narcissist does not like themselves, so they abuse you in order to feel better. The person with NPD lacks empathy and compassion for others. Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional and, sometimes, physical abuse.

As with anything, individuals who have NPD display traits that can range from mild to extreme and genuinely malicious. People with NPD don’t realize or don’t care how hurtful their behavior is because they are hyper-focused on trying to get their own needs met – they are only concerned with themselves.

Healing from Narcissistic Abuse

Most narcissists won’t go into therapy – after all, they don’t think there is anything wrong with them. Therefore, narcissistic abuse recovery is most often for the benefit of the partner, child, or loved one who is being abused.

If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s important to seek professional help and support to rebuild your confidence and restore your self-esteem. Keep in mind that you are better than you think you are – the NPD person’s constant badgering has broken down your self-confidence and made you feel unworthy, but you aren’t – you are a victim of abuse.

Find a mental health professional who is specially trained in trauma recovery to aid in healing from narcissistic abuse. If you are unable to leave the relationship, a therapist can help you learn to communicate effectively and set boundaries so the narcissist can no longer take advantage of you.

Our Trauma Institute Is Here for You

The skilled professionals at The Center for Anxiety and Mood Disorder’s Trauma Institute have specialized training to help you heal if you’ve been the victim of narcissistic abuse. For more information, contact us or call us today at 561-496- 1094.

  1. Reply
    Angie Samuels

    Do you offer therapy by video? I’m in Charlotte NC
    What do you offer for Narcissistic Abuse.
    Thank you

  2. Reply

    Hi ! I wish you were in Southern California.
    Any suggestions for over here

  3. Reply

    I wanted more information about how you could help me. My husband moved out about a month ago. I believe him to be a narcissist and I am looking to find myself and finally heal.

  4. Reply

    Thank you I’ve been in a Narcissistic relationship for 23 years I didn’t know until 2months ago. My whole life was a lie now I’m mentally 17 in a 43 year old body. I don’t fit in the world

  5. Reply

    I believe that ive been involved with a narcissist who convinced me to leave my family and he could give me so much more. Ive escaped but he wont leave me alone

  6. Reply

    i am adult but i grew up in a home where my mother was narcissistically abusive. I still suffer to this day and I realize that the trauma is still there. I would like to get help from someone who truly understands the complexity of this type of abuse and can help me sort through the issues of my past.

  7. Reply
    Deanna S Hollinger

    I need 1 on 1 therapy for narcissistic victim syndrome and victim narcissist recovery please

  8. Reply
    Sally Schillizzi

    I am seeking a skilled professional in Narcissistic Abuse and Recovery in Vero Beach, FL. 32968, Indian River County. Can you recommend someone in this area?

  9. Reply
    Josephine Kreuger

    Is there anyone in Missouri near Kansas city?

  10. Reply

    Any resources for inpatient treatment?
    I have fallen ill and can’t keep going in nonsensical circles
    I believe it stems from 9 years with a narcissist

  11. Reply
    Darla Berg

    I was in a relationship with someone who displayed almost all of the characteristics listed above. I left him in July and went back twice for a few days. I moved 2 hours away in November. I am unable to move on even though I have educated myself and know what I should do. I am more depressed and have symptoms of CPTSD. I am isolated and he left me financially in an extremely dire place.
    Do you have any charity programs. I need help but cannot afford anything. My ultilites will be shut off soon. I have no vehicle and am 20 miles from the nearest town so I can’t even find a job. I have sold anything of value I own to make it this far.

  12. Reply
    Myree Weyrauch

    I desperately need assistance because we moved across the country to Texas so I am now 2.5 hours from my nearest relative and have made one friend. I’m an adult child of a Narcissist and am now finally discovering that my husband is a covert passive aggressive Narcissist. We are both medically retired and he has 90% of the income so I feel absolutely trapped and my health is being affected finally. I broke out in shingles this year followed with a severe cellulitis infection because of unclean conditions because he wouldn’t clean or take care of the animals while I was sick. I have been really sick this last year and every time I get sick I get passive aggressively punished by him locking himself in another room and ignoring the animals which forces me to have to care for them because I won’t let them go without attention etc. I haven’t been able to fully recover from a single illness so it’s been one thing right after another and just as I was preparing to go see an attorney he fell and severely broke his ankle so now I’m having to take care of him and all the animals and I’m exhausted. I have insisted on marital therapy of which he thinks is a waste of time and money. I need help because I won’t leave my animals because he won’t hesitate to use them to hurt me. I can’t afford our house without his income so I don’t know what to do.

  13. Reply
    Lisa starrett

    I left in then other with my pets after 13 years of narrissitic abusive with a friend who.i was going to be support and wasn’t. I need to go to an inpatient program in Riverside county or San Bernardino county can any one help with information. I’m not doing well in crowds.
    Please help. 9093018701
    Or people I am living with are tripping on my behavior and I don’t communicate well. . I am having anxiety attacks and and going over the deep end.

  14. Reply

    Hello my name is Dianne (DI). Everything I’ve just read I’m experiencing and more, I’m very sick physically to the point where I can’t shake it. All this started after July 18, 2015, I had a very positive idea of what I wanted to do now in my mid fifties, but was side track by the needs of my grown children (son and daughter) they really needed but I ended up giving everything, not intentional, it creeped up in a very smooth way. I gave all my Love, emotions, monies and my time, with doing that I LOSTED my job, my all of my retirement, my 401K I became very sick haven’t recooperated still fighting, but there’s no money coming from anywhere for me to make moves, NO SUPPORT OF ANY KIND from my son or daughter, it’s like watching myself in a movie of two non caring unempathetic people torchering and loving every minute. I don’t know why I’m in this space with no one to help me now. I’m REALLY trying to FIND ME!! It’s like I am running in slow motion knocking on doors but none are opening it has been 4 years. Help!

  15. Reply

    I was raised by Narcissts father and recently left a Narcissts who I was in a relationship for 12 years. I’m looking for a therapist who is knowledgable in that field for Recovery. I live in Fairbanks, AK, 99707. Would you have info in my area of professional treatment therapists or support groups who know how to deal with victims?

  16. Reply
    Corey Piechotta

    I’m 47 a man who has bin abused mentally physically spiritually I’m on SSI for years I’m seeking help I was 220 down to 167 at 6.2 . The none stop abuse has taken a toll on me mentally that I don’t even eat she’s choked me a few times after her abuse plays victim as I’m broken as people don’t hear of this much happening to a man I now are in need of help . I drink very little and use no drugs . And hopefully your facility may help. Me get better I have Medicare Medicaid sincerely appreciate any help .

  17. Reply
    Alexandra Weber

    Hi, I’m looking to get connected to a narcissistic abuse counselor. I already meet with another counselor but with also like help from someone well versed in narcissistic abuse.

  18. Reply

    I dont know where to leave this question that it is going to get heard and understood. How do I begin to try to recover from hell I am in when I do not have any support system. I mean I literally have zero. I had a life…owned business’s, homes, cars, could take vacations etc. I had a very large network of friends, was on town council, pta etc.

    I am homeless with no family, friends or aquaintences. I am unemployed and struggle for food. My health issues are many. Again I have nobody. Can someone please give me advise on how I keep going, because I dont think that I am able to any longer.

    Thank you

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