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

    • Reply
      Sommer Tiffany

      AGREED! I’m also in so. Cal & searching for help for narcissistic abuse for myself & my children. Did you get a response? Thank you

  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.

    • Reply
      Susan M Taylor

      Wish mine would leave good luck to you , you deserve the best

  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

    • Reply

      I saw your post and I had to comment. I also found out that my whole life has been a lie. I have been married to a narcissist for 31 years. I didn’t know until a few years ago. It was like a huge slap in the face. I caught him cheating on me with a woman that lived close to us. I thought it was a fling for a few months(this one was) and he stopped we went into counseling , but it never felt like he was really there and trying. He gave me passwords to everything. Broke it off with her. Something was just off. Every night when he would go to bed. I would go over and over his work emails and text messages. At first looking for anything from the affair I caught him in. I began to see a pattern with someone else. I didn’t think it was possible, she was older, 7 years, and we had been on a few trips with her and her husband. I confronted him and he denied. I kept on and he broke. He had been having an affair with her for 10 years. I thought I was going to die. All this time I thought his traveling mon-friday he was working. There were no receipts for me to find because they worked together and wined and dined and stayed in hotels all on the company. He was literally with her M-F and me and our 3 kids on sat and sun. Unless they took a weekend vacation which was often. They used cash and hotel points and airline points.
      Its been several years and i’m still devastated by it , but my mind set is different because now I know he is a narcissistic sociopath. He eventually admitted to at least 10 other woman from the time we first got married until the night I caught him. There is a lot more but I won’t bore you. All I can say is I wish I was lucky enough to be 43. I’m 58. My whole life has been taken from me. He has never shed one tear. So, you have a lot of life to live. I wish you only the best. If you need tips feel free to reply

    • Reply

      Hi Kim. My heart goes out to you. Quickly find a therapist that knows about this or that specializes in trauma. Do you have somebody you can talk to that you can trust? Go out into Nature. Talk to yourself away from people if you can. It is very healing. It is not going to be easy. Keep reminding yourself that you are Worthy of all the good and abundance in life.
      Wishing you Peace and Blessings

    • Reply
      Sommer Tiffany

      Oh my! How this resonated!!! 26 year relationship & every man I’ve been involved with since divorcing has shown strong narcissistic traits & two extreme. Also was not aware of how abusive my ex husband had been. Just thought it was a really one-sided crummy relationship until I started educating myself after escaping #2 who was extreme both physically & emotionally. Financially devastated additionally currently homeless despite wealth prior to divorce & back in court fighting for rights. Desperate for help. Zero support & losing motivation

    • Reply
      Divina Pappas

      I am 51 and I too have had a long 27 years of being with a Narcissists Psychopath and have been trying to get free. I filed divorce in 2015,…but he keeps it going. His controlling behavior continues. I don’t feel like I fit either. I too feel like I’m trapped in a 51 yr old body but still 17. That’s when we started dating. I saw so many red flags but ignored them all. I was naive and believed he would get better; wrong–it got worse and the abuse did too.
      I wish they had a facility here in Orange County California

    • Reply

      I COMPLETELY RELATE, only after 32 years of marriage, I just learned of this malignant covert passive aggressive narcissistic abuse…mother, father and husband all equally severe cases!!! I spent my entire life sine the age of 8 not understanding anything around me. My covert husband STILL has everyone who has ever met him fooled.

      • Reply

        How are you doing now Debi? I am 1 year out of a 37 year marriage to a covert nacissistic abuser. Just today my son said he didn’t want to hear about the drama of the divorce…..that he was trying to stay ‘neutral’. I thought neutral have flown out of the window when his dad wanted to beat the crap out of him in the front yard last summer! He’s 25, not a kid, and still has blinders on. All this last year i thought he was my confidant and ‘got it’. What is life like on the other side? 🙂

    • Reply

      Hi Kim,
      I am also 58 like the other woman who responded to you. Trust us , 43 is still young enough to find your self and the right person to be with. I am still hopeful, since I truly regret not getting out sooner, instead of waiting till there was literally nothing left of myself, my self worth, my career, friends and family all gone, and I am in a million dollars worth of debt. From trying to be the sole provider, and give him anything to make him happy.

      The only person we need to make happy in life , is ourselves and our children. Outside of that , no one.

  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

    • Reply

      I was involved with a narcissistic relationship for 6 years. I am now trying to separate myself and keep him away from me. Course everything is always my fault. Never good enough. My self-esteem was eroded. I moved to a new place he’s the first person I met and he manipulated me with unfulfilled promises and lies. Of course it was always my fault that nothing ever worked out. He can take no criticism. I can’t be better at anything then him without being devalued belittled or ignored. He has no joy and watching me succeed at anything. I have isolated myself from my family and Life to please him. I have done things that were against my grain. I suffer from panic attacks depression and an inability to form a relationship with anybody else at this time. My self-confidence is decreased due to the feelings of never feeling perfect. It is left me questioning my own judgment and trusting my own gut…. Unfortunately my insurance does not pay for any counseling. So I’m going to research this do the best that I can. First putting space between me and him. And recognizing but it’s not my fault, I am smart, and I am truly worth the effort

      • Reply

        Going through the same thing. 8 years later and I have tried to leave so many times. I’m thinking ghosting and running away is my only option but I still am afraid and feel bad. The thought of getting yelled at again makes me terrified.

      • Reply

        I’m not sure if you’ve found a place to go to counseling yet, but I wanted to tell you to check with universities in your area. Most offer counseling services through their psychology department. I know in my area, there are multiple. The amount you pay is on a sliding scale and is based on your income and number of people in the home. There are some great ones out there!

    • Reply

      Have you tried no contact? Try blocking him or getting a restraining order. I’m in process of a divorce with a narcissist. I don’t reply to his calls and messages.

  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.

    • Reply

      Hi T,
      I grew up with a Narcissistic parent, as well. Mine was my step-dad. I am 34 years old now and he continued the abuse until about a year ago, when I stopped responding to it. I am still dealing with the effects of having such a malitious and controlling person in my life for so long.

      Hope things got easier for you.

  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

    • Reply

      HI Michelle,
      I feel for what you are going through. My mantra that I say in my head and sometimes out loud everyday is “I am a worthy child of God, Universe, Source” or whatever you believe and that you are worthy to be loved, appreciated and respected. I get what you are going through. We have to stick together. Keep reaching out.
      I go for walks in the park. Get out in Nature she can help and talk out loud the stuff you are going through. Write down your feelings.
      Wishing you Peace and Blessings.

  19. Reply
    Marthalawsson withney

    People are really sensitive to cheating when they don’t get closer to their spouse, to know if you partner is cheating you need a special method to find out solutions to that contact a professional helped me spy into my cheating spouse iphone and that really saved my marriage, you can contact him H A C K S E C R E T E AT G M A I L DOT C O M; call or text+1(617) 402-2260 tell him i referred you

  20. Reply

    Where are your facilities and what is the cost? I’m not doing very well financially after the split (go figure), but I need some help.. I’m losing it, and quite frankly do not want to be here anymore….. I’m in serious need of some help..

  21. Reply
    Christina Marie Johnson

    I need help surviving my husband who’s narsisstically abusing myself and his step children he lives with. The chaos here is unbelievable and now I’m shutting down while trying to heal the damage he’s caused and at the moment we are unable to leave and disappear since he’s brainwashed the family against me so I have been researching having him committed so it could not only save us victims of his abuse and save him from himself and even heal him from himself is there a facility in New York preferably in the money county area or nearest to this area since we are in Greece New York. We need help and fast please email me with”NARCSISST” in the subject box of the email… Please you will be saving a soon to be 9yr old 12 yr old and 16 yes old daughters of mine from further damage.
    Mrs. Johnson

  22. Reply

    I was emotionally tortured for 6 months isolated in a foreign country by a particularly cruel sociopath called Sayalay Anuttara. She showed one face to the outside world which was based on religion and conservatism, and her true self to me and her sister through constant narcissistic abuse. Her sister was both a victim of her abuse, and abuser too, it was a depressing cycle. These evil people should not get away with it!

  23. Reply

    Are there any therapists who treat narcissistic abuse in the Springfield Massachusetts area? Help!

  24. Reply

    Gosh I need therapy so bad. I was in a narcissistic relationship for 4 years and went back to him at least 20 times. Last week he was arrested for DV and strangulation and suffocation. We have NO CONTACT order. My heart is broken. My head is a mess. I have zero confidence in myself. I NEED HELP BADLY!! My email is

  25. Reply
    Susan M Taylor

    Do you anything in NY for help for myself it’s so bad I’m getting ill alot and I’m mentally and emotionally drained and damaged

  26. Reply
    Mary kirkendoll

    I’m in the dead center of a narcissistic relationship. I feel like theres no way out. He moved into my home. I tried to protect myself with a cohabiyation/prenuptial agreement that I felt pretty good about a year ago. But since then, I had a TPO order tKen out on him, which he encouraged me to drop and recently he has threatenedd me with a felony….becaauce our agreement was that I would handle his money due to the fact heS A 59 year old maaan with no money no savings no job…and I have worked very hard at 3my career to buy a home and not have any debt. So once we opened a joint account( seperate thaaan all my account s) I did exactly what I told him we were going to do. I have charged him 125 week rent but also put 250 week into an account he cant touch. I told him the only way I felt secure is if I could save this money for our future because as long as any money is in the jointly accessible account, he spends it all weekly on friolous stuff. Now that thingd arw so bad between us…he wants all the money Ive saved for us. This whole time..Ive given up all my healthful hobbies such as biking…kust to take care of all his needs. For 125 week, he has a fulltime maid, housecleaner, yardman, grocery shopper, clothesshopper, bill payer, accountant, chef…..everything anyone could want. So he knew his time was running out so he asked me to marry him with a 450.00 ring. At tje same time I bought a wedding ban that he wears. I told him to expect a really long engagement…but he says it feels like we arw mareied. I have made it clear I wont marry him until he can show me how he plans to have a future and be responsible. Hes 59 and smokes pot every day…has started me smoking cigarettes again, after I quit for 13 years…doesnt show any love to our beautiful dog, disreapects me and my house…has has a porn addiction…etc. Etc…. Yet he talks down to me treats me horribly never helps with hoise qork never buys me little things like flowers never takes me out…basically lives here for cheapnrent and treats me like a dog. Anyway..I hope to get into a counswlor very soon. I am losing my core happy being. I def know what narcissistic abuse is. Its real.

  27. Reply
    Dana O'Briant

    i desperately need some advise. I am at the end of my rope and ready to walk out the door.
    Sad thing is I am in love with my BF but can not take the abuse any longer.

  28. Reply
    Pamela Pannell

    I was abused for over 20 years. I need to find a therapist near me that accepts Medicaid.

  29. Reply
    Pamela Pannell

    I am in Dayton, Ohio

  30. Reply
    Thomas Peterson

    I like that you mentioned that narcissistic parents make their children feel emotionally abandoned. I’ve got a sister who has narcissistic tendencies and I’ve seen some of the effects of that on her kids. I would love to get her into a Narcissist Victim Counseling Online program to help her get better and be more in touch with her kids.

  31. In reading the messages above, I thought I was reading my own experience! Raised by narcissistic father, and recently left a narcissistic relationship! Never thought I would have been victimized in this way, it took several years of working through the recovery on my own. We can thrive and rebuild. Cheryl

  32. Reply

    I have married to a narcissist for a year (3 1/2 year relationship all together). I was so blinded by love this long because I didn’t want to lose him. My friends and family were trying to warn me but I didn’t listen. But thanks to his ex-wife (who has been with him for 10 years) told me everything about their marriage. She has shown me the light and I decided to divorce him. I have been doing no contact with him. Sometimes I get so depressed that I cry because I should’ve broken up with him before we got engaged. He never physically harmed me but he did verbally. I’m a sensitive woman and get emotional really quick.

  33. Reply
    Shari Ash

    Unfortunately until in recent years narcissistic abuse has not been recognized as real. Finding a therapist who understands CPTSD is difficult to find because the education wasn’t available when they were trained. People who are susseptible to this abuse were abused as children. When the world of the abused implodes and they need help the most there is often no money. The only free support I know of is finding a local Codependent (CODA) group. In my opinion people who are susseptible to abuse are codependent or have codependent tendencies.
    It’s so difficult to shift from victim to survivor when the abuse leaves you so emotionally and often financially shattered. Recovery is a on going journey with no quick fix. Utube and the public library and Google are good resources to help the abused become aware; however, not a substitute for a real trained therapist. Another person to validate the abused experiences is vital for processing emotions till resolution, self reflection and emotional growth. Make your self a priority because self love is the path.

  34. Pingback: Narcissistic abuse recovery – Battered Men Support Services

  35. Reply

    I’m a young woman with no financial, familial or generic ties to these CN’s but I continue to find myself in situations with screaming narcs. I am successful, attractive, Independent yada yada… but it’s like I am irresistible to these awful humans, then find myself thinking what?!? WIt a minute?!?! I’m here again…. I’d love someone to talk to… 😞

    • Reply
      Dr. Andrew Rosen

      Hi Jenny,

      Please contact us through the contact page to learn more about the options and support available.

  36. Reply
    Heather Tosch

    I could use someone to reach out. My 6 year old was sexually abused by her narcissitic step gpa. could use a litle help.

    • Reply
      Dr. Andrew Rosen

      Hi Heather,

      Please contact us through the contact page to learn more about the options and support available for your child.

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