Narcissistic Abuse 101 – What Is It & Why Don’t More People Know About It (2022)

Narcissistic Abuse 101 – What Is It & Why Don’t More People Know About It (1)

In our October 16th post entitled “What The Heck Is A ‘Narcissist’?” we defined what a narcissist is and covered eight key characteristics of their narcissistic personality. I even shared specific, real life examples from my own relationship.

This post is going to pick up where we left off and dive deeper into what “narcissistic abuse” is in a relationship. While most people have heard the word “narcissist,” it still amazes me how few have heard the term “narcissistic abuse.” I think you’d be surprised at how many people this affects in the United States alone!

According to PsychCentral®, Narcissistic abuse affects over 158 million people in the United States. It defines narcissistic abuse as “a form of emotional and psychological abuse, primarily inflicted by people who have either narcissistic personality disorder (NPD, characterized by a lack of empathy), or antisocial personality disorder (ASPD, also known as sociopaths or psychopaths), and is associated with the absence of conscience.” The numbers are actually even more staggering in the article, but what’s crazy is that narcissistic abuse negatively affects more people than depression (approximately 80.8 million people). Yet, the public awareness about it is virtually non-existent and as invisible as the wounds of those abused.

(Video) Understanding the Narcissist: Why Do They Treat You This Way?

So why hasn’t narcissistic abuse received the public attention, education and funding that it so deserves? Well, that’s easy…for one it’s INVISIBLE to the naked eye! Unlike physical abuse, it doesn’t leave any visible marks, bruises or lead to broken bones. It’s also the reason why so many people don’t even realize that they are actually being abused—and that it has an actual name (“Narcissistic Abuse”)—until the abuse has done its damage. Another possible reason is since it’s invisible it’s hard to prove what you can’t see. The emotional damage caused by narcissistic abuse is also cumulative – it happens in small, innocent-looking instances over a long period of time. The lack of public awareness and education blinds us from seeing pieces of our self-esteem and identity slowing being destroyed by a narcissist. This very reason sparked an awareness campaign recently by the hashtag #IfMyWoundsWereVisible.

Narcissistic Abuse 101 – What Is It & Why Don’t More People Know About It (2)

Narcissistic abuse is covert and usually disguised by lots of charm, charisma, love and care. It’s not a single act of cruelty. It’s a treacherous, gradual and intentional erosion of a person’s self-worth. It’s both emotional and psychological abuse focused on undermining a person’s identity for the sole purpose of obtaining control for personal gain. It can involve patterns and cycles of dominance, manipulation, intimidation, emotional bullying, withholding, dishonesty, extreme selfishness, guilt mongering, rejection, abandonment, silent treatment, stonewalling, gaslighting, financial abuse, jealously, and possessiveness – just to name a few. Narcissistic abuse can even happen WITHOUT the use of anger, yelling, or name calling. HOW can that be, you ask?

Lundy Bancroft, author of Why Does He Do That?, provides an unsettling description of how abuse can be inflicted. His example shows it can cause great psychological harm, without the use of anger, yelling, or name calling: ‘’He (or she) can assault his partner psychologically without even raising his voice. He tends to stay calm in arguments, using his own evenness as a weapon to push her over the edge. He often has a superior or contemptuous grin on his face, smug and self-assured. He uses a repertoire of aggressive conversational tactics at low volume, including sarcasm, derision—such as openly laughing at her—mimicking her voice, and cruel cutting remarks. Like Mr. Right, he tends to take things she has said and twist them beyond recognition to make her appear absurd, perhaps, especially in front of other people. He gets to his partner through a slow but steady stream of low level assaults…”

(Video) The 5 Signs Someone Has Suffered Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic Abuse 101 – What Is It & Why Don’t More People Know About It (3)

Another factor in the public awareness crusade is the fact that it’s challenging enough to describe what narcissistic abuse is, much less get people who’ve never experienced it to pay attention and care about it. Like I did at one time, many feel that they are too smart and too strong to ever be a victim of narcissistic abuse, or be impacted by it in any way. One commonly held misconception is the belief that only weak-minded, fragile, co-dependent types are vulnerable to being abused.

Why should YOU care about narcissistic abuse even if you’ve never experienced it? The damage it causes is not just limited to the individual victim. Whether you know it or now, its effects impact ALL of us! I’m positive you know someone in your family, friends or professional network who is directly affected by this form of abuse. Please don’t look the other way or stick your head in the sand because you think or feel it’s not your problem. It’s ALL of our problem! Sometimes a victim just needs to vent. Sometimes they need help – a place to stay, knowing local resources to go to, a good referral to a professional (therapist, lawyer, etc.), or just affirmation and encouragement. You could be their lifeline of “hope” that they can survive.

There is a strong link between psychological and emotional stress and its relationship to increased risk of illness and disease. The prolonged, chronic stress of narcissistic abuse gradually wears our bodies over time. It wreaks havoc on our bodies’ stress response systems, physiology and overall well-being. Some common illnesses associated with the chronic stress are (but not limited to): heart attack, adrenal fatigue, weight gain or loss, hair loss, insomnia, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, PTSD, autoimmune disorders, digestive problems, asthma, migraines, epilepsy, cancer, arthritis, slower wound healing, Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and increased dependency on alcohol or other substances.

(Video) EVERYTHING You Need To Know About the Narcissist [MedCircle Masterclass]

Again, how does this affect you and impact society? Well, many victims of narcissistic abuse end up missing work, have to go on disability or even laid off from their jobs because of missing a lot of work due to their physical, mental and emotional challenges. Some victims are forced to turn to taxpayer funded government and state programs for assistance. The financial costs of narcissistic abuse places on society would be spent more wisely and effectively if it went towards public awareness and education.

As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, I will say this: I NEVER thought in my entire life I would ever be in this type of relationship. I was in denial that it was “abuse” for about half of the 8 years I was in it. I would NEVER have survived had it not been for my amazing support network of close friends. They may not have understand the specifics of narcissistic abuse, but they understood that I was in a toxic, unhealthy, abusive marriage. They saw the roller coaster I was on for 8 years and what it was doing to me. My support network, yoga, journaling and God saved my life!

Narcissistic Abuse 101 – What Is It & Why Don’t More People Know About It (4)

While I’m still in my healing and recovery journey, my poor body is one big mess of health challenges. I will forever be affected by my experience, but I refuse to be defined by it which is why I’m such a passionate advocate on this subject. It is also the impetus for why I created “SpunkyDiva Diaries” because I wanted an online platform where women could feel comfortable sharing their real life stories. I’m committed to education and bringing awareness to Narcissistic Abuse.I wanted to create a virtual sisterhood where we can affirm, support, encourage and inspire one another…in life, in business and as great warrior divas who’ve survived the impossible.

(Video) When You See THIS, It's Narcissism, Guaranteed

Lorena Moreno Davis

Full article:

Narcissistic Abuse 101 – What Is It & Why Don’t More People Know About It (5)

(Video) The #1 Thing Narcissists FEAR The Most And Don't Want YOU To Know! - Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse

Author: thelastchardonnay

www.deborahgalvin.comCounseling individuals, families, and couples, EFT relationship specialist, clinical researcher, Supreme Court certified family mediator, qualified parenting coordinator, adjunct professor, and medical/healthcare marketer.Join me as I blog through compilations of key descriptions, components, professional and personal accounts, articles, shared experiences, clinical criteria, victimizations, and behavior patterns in persons with high-functioning alcoholism, substance addictions, complex and covert Cluster B personality disorders, and the subsequent emotional abuse of those close to them. My goal and purpose is to create awareness, share knowledge, information, and education. I hope to provide clarity to anyone who may be feeling baffled and confused, or who may not understand what it is they’re seeing or experiencing in their life, or in the lives of someone close to them. Most importantly as a counselor, therapist and abuse survivor, my hope is for those readers to know they are not alone in their journey of discovery and the process of learning, identifying, and healing from the trauma of emotional and psychological abuse. Instagram: @galvindebbieFacebook: Deborah Galvin, MSW @deborahgalvincounselingTwitter: @galvindebbiewww.deborahgalvin.comLinkedIn: Deborah Galvin, MSWView all posts by thelastchardonnay


What narcissistic abuse does to a person? ›

Loss of Sense of Self and Self-Worth. You may feel as if you have completely lost yourself. Narcissistic abuse is a form of brainwashing, and as such, it can destroy your sense of self-worth. You may no longer feel like the person you were before all this began.

What happens to the brain during narcissistic abuse? ›

Continuous stress due to abuse can damage the brain cells in the hippocampus, making it gradually shrink in size. As a result, the person starts to forget things easily and finds it difficult to learn new stuff. The prefrontal cortex is the region of the brain that is located right behind the eyes.

What are typical behaviors of narcissistic abuse survivors? ›

The aftermath of narcissistic abuse can include depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, a pervasive sense of toxic shame, emotional flashbacks that regress the victim back to the abusive incidents, and overwhelming feelings of helplessness and worthlessness.

What are the signs that someone has suffered from narcissistic abuse? ›

Victims of narcissistic abuse have been reported to experience symptoms similar to PTSD, known informally as narcissistic abuse syndrome. Symptoms include intrusive, invasive, or unwanted thoughts, flashbacks, avoidance, feelings of loneliness, isolation, and feeling extremely alert.

What happens to a narcissist in the end? ›

In general, it may involve intense emotional reactions and a tendency toward vindictive behaviors, but it could also lead to depression and withdrawal. Narcissistic collapse isn't a permanent occurrence once it happens. Typically, the emotional pain will decrease and the person may return to feeling their usual.

What part of the brain is damaged in a narcissist? ›

Narcissistic traits have been linked to structural and functional brain networks, including the insular cortex, however, with inconsistent findings. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that subclinical narcissism is associated with variations in regional brain volumes in insular and prefrontal areas.

Can you get PTSD from narcissistic abuse? ›

The emotional/psychological manipulation and abuse that are characteristic of Narcissistic Abuse can lead to the development of PTSD among survivors of this type of trauma (sometimes specified as post traumatic relationship syndrome).

How do narcissists treat their children? ›

A narcissistic parent will often abuse the normal parental role of guiding their children and being the primary decision maker in the child's life, becoming overly possessive and controlling. This possessiveness and excessive control disempowers the child; the parent sees the child simply as an extension of themselves.

What is narcissistic collapse? ›

Narcissistic collapse happens when a person with narcissistic personality disorder experiences a failure, humiliation, or other blow to their secretly fragile self-esteem. Depending on the type of narcissist, collapse may look different and happen more frequently.

How do you prove narcissistic abuse? ›

There are several things you can do to prove narcissistic abuse. You need to record every interaction, tell other people about the abuse, and have people witness it if possible. You can also use the narcissist's history against them and even trigger their narcissistic behavior to show other people.

Does the narcissist ever suffer? ›

Narcissistic Vulnerability

Despite having seemingly strong personalities, narcissists are actually very vulnerable. Psychotherapists consider them to be “fragile.” They suffer from profound alienation, emptiness, powerlessness, and lack of meaning.

Do narcissists feel the trauma bond? ›

Narcissists do feel the trauma bond, but not in the same way that the people that they abuse feel it. A trauma bond makes narcissists feel remarkably well because the dynamics of a trauma bonded relationship is designed to help them regulate the painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that they've suppressed.

How does narcissistic abuse start? ›

"Narcissistic abuse syndrome occurs when one is abused and demeaned so much by another that they believe they deserve the abuse," says Perlin. "They can no longer distinguish their thoughts from the abuser's. At times they cannot recognize when their abuser is lying to them, even when they have evidence of the lie.

How does living with a narcissist affect you? ›

Living or working with a narcissistic person can be incredibly challenging, often leading to feelings of inadequacy, self doubt, and anxiety. In more extreme cases, exposure to a narcissist can lead to clinical depression from the emotional abuse and torment a person has had to endure.

What does narcissistic rage look like? ›

Examples of narcissistic rage range from intense outbursts and sudden fits of anger, to passive-aggressive acts such as simmering resentment, icy silence, deliberate neglect, or cutting sarcasm.

Does narcissism worsen with age? ›

Unlike fine wine or cheese, narcissists don't get better with age. They don't mellow, become wise, or develop late-onset self-awareness. Their personalities intensify, and without their ability to control others, they become bitter, defensive, and bossy.

What is the best way to outsmart a narcissist? ›

How to Outsmart a Narcissist
  1. Separate yourself to cut off their narcissistic supply.
  2. Take time to heal.
  3. Take responsibility for your part in a conflict.
  4. React with empathy and respect.
  5. Act unresponsive around them.
  6. Disengage from their conversations.
  7. Set and enforce clear boundaries.

What should you not say to a narcissist? ›

8 Things You Should Never Say to a Narcissist
  • Don't say, "It's not about you." ...
  • Don't say, "You're not listening." ...
  • Don't say, "Ina Garten did not get her lasagna recipe from you." ...
  • Don't say, "Do you think it might be your fault?" ...
  • Don't say, "You're being a bully." ...
  • Don't say, "Stop playing the victim."
15 Dec 2017

Can you get PTSD from narcissistic abuse? ›

The emotional/psychological manipulation and abuse that are characteristic of Narcissistic Abuse can lead to the development of PTSD among survivors of this type of trauma (sometimes specified as post traumatic relationship syndrome).

How serious is narcissistic abuse? ›

Narcissistic victim syndrome is a term that collectively describes the specific and often severe effects of narcissistic manipulation. While this isn't a recognized mental health condition, many experts acknowledge narcissistic abuse can have a serious, long lasting impact on mental health.

How do narcissists abuse their partners? ›

If you have clients who are intentionally exploited by their spouses; endure regular insults and rejection, alternating with affirmation; and feel manipulated into doing or saying something out of character, then they might be experiencing abuse.

How does living with a narcissist affect you? ›

Living or working with a narcissistic person can be incredibly challenging, often leading to feelings of inadequacy, self doubt, and anxiety. In more extreme cases, exposure to a narcissist can lead to clinical depression from the emotional abuse and torment a person has had to endure.


1. 8 Questions A Narcissist Simply Cannot Answer
(Surviving Narcissism)
2. Narcissism 101 and Narcissistic Abuse 101 with Robert Stark
(Prof. Sam Vaknin)
3. Making NO Excuses for Narcissistic Abuse - They Know!!! #Tiktok Live session
(Narc Abuse Survival 101)
4. 8 Signs You Are Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse
5. Narcissistic Abuse 101
(Stand Up Survivor)
6. Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Financial Abuse 101
(Angie Atkinson)

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