20 Symptoms of Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

20 symptoms of narcissistic victim syndrome

20 symptoms of narcissistic victim syndrome

The complex mental health problem, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), typically involves symptoms such as the excessive need for attention or demand, among other symptoms.

NPD or narcissistic tendencies are considered a set of dominating, manipulative conduct that includes verbal abuse and emotional manipulation.

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, you naturally tend to concentrate more on your partner and the reasons behind their acts rather than their behavior’s effects on you. You could experience narcissistic abuse syndrome as a result of narcissistic abuse, which can have a severe long-term impact on your emotional well-being.

Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

If you are a victim of abuse by a person with narcissistic personality disorder, you are likely to develop narcissistic abuse syndrome.

Because it is discrete and narcissists are masters of disguise, gaslighting, manipulating, and controlling their victims for their gain, narcissistic abuse, mainly when a partner is emotionally abusive, can be very challenging for the victim to identify.

You could feel distant from the emotional pain and confused from the abuse if you are around a selfish person. Instead, you spend time worrying about your alleged flaws and attempting to understand your abusive partner, which harms your emotional well-being.

Common examples of narcissistic manipulation are:


This strategy is used by someone who wants to involve a third party in your argument to support their point of view.


Someone trying to gaslight you will often twist facts or claim that events you remember didn’t actually happen to make you question your viewpoint and reality.


This strategy makes attempts to rekindle or lure you back into an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

Silent therapy.

When someone intentionally ignores you to exert control over you or make you feel alone, this conduct turns into manipulation.


One youngster may be seen as the scapegoat by narcissistic, manipulative parents who make them feel better about themselves.

Passive aggression.

Sarcastic tone, sabotage, and indirect blame-shifting are all signs of hidden narcissistic manipulation.

These strategies can confuse you, cause you to doubt reality, and lower your self-esteem.

The specific and frequently severe effects of narcissistic manipulation are called “narcissistic victim syndrome.” Even though narcissistic abuse is not a recognized mental health disease, many specialists agree that it can have a substantial, long-lasting effect on mental health.

20 symptoms of narcissistic victim syndrome

Remember that narcissism and abuse aren’t usually related. Many abusers do not have NPD, and a diagnosis of NPD does not necessarily indicate abusive conduct.

Narcissistic abuse appears like this.

Here are 15 symptoms that you may have been the victim of narcissistic abuse.

  • Walking on eggshells all the time.

Humans tend to avoid situations that bring back painful memories. As a result, you take care of how you behave and speak to the abuser to deal with the consequences of narcissistic abuse. You do this to prevent physical abuse, domestic violence, and running into one other.

It is a common trauma symptom to avoid anything that indicates experiencing the trauma, whether it be people, places, or activities that pose that hazard.

Avoiding something or someone, however, will not make it go away. You will continue to serve as the abuser’s easy emotional target. You avoid trouble and never create boundaries with your abuser because you don’t want to upset them, giving them more freedom to continue the behavior.

  • At first, they seem perfect.

Regardless of the kind of relationship, narcissistic abuse typically follows a predictable pattern, but this pattern may take on somewhat different forms.

According to 2019 research, this violence usually starts in a  relationship after falling hard and fast with the abuser.

It’s understandable why you did. They appeared to be friendly, polite, and generous while love bombing. They showered you with extravagant compliments, romantic gestures, and expensive presents to make you feel loved and special.

It’s possible that you felt so passionate and overwhelmed during this initial phase that you didn’t stop to think whether they might be too unique. Then, gradually, the presents and vows of love started to be replaced with nagging or other manipulative methods.

As long as you don’t do anything to offend them and lose their favor, narcissistic parents may also provide you with love, admiration, praise, and financial assistance. Then they frequently use methods like gaslighting, silent treatment, and nagging.

  • People don’t believe the abuse happened.

Narcissistic abuse and manipulation are often hidden. These actions may be so well-masked in public that those who hear or see them fail to recognize them as abusive.

Even then, you might not understand what is going on. You become aware of your confusion, annoyance, or guilt about your “mistakes.”

This confusion may be very damaging. It can cause you to lose hope in your loved ones and question whether the abuse even happened. Perhaps you misread what they said or just imagined their expression.

  • They begin a smear campaign.

Narcissistic people commonly need to keep their image of perfection to continue receiving praise from others. They might try to discredit you to do this.

  • They could lash out by openly directing their anger toward you with threats and insults if you start pointing out issues or raising concerns about their behavior.
  • Include others in criticizing you.

The narcissist tries to discredit you by creating tales about your “destructive” or “unstable” behavior to mislead your loved ones. And to make matters worse, when you lash out in anger, they can exploit your response to support their lies. Narcissists frequently have the skill of charming others.

They often succeed in gaining the support of your loved ones by strongly claiming that they only have your best interests at heart. Your loved ones may disagree with you if you try to explain the abuse.

  • You run away from being successful.

Many narcissistic abusers get jealous of their partners’ success and achievements and sometimes punish them for their achievements. Due to this toxic behavior, many abuse victims tend to finish and destroy their goals, career, achievements, and skills to satisfy the abuser. They became afraid of becoming successful or pursuing their career.

Victims stop taking credit, experience depression and low self-worth, and may even run away from the spotlight to please their toxic partners or parents. In such situations, the abuser is not degrading you just because they think they are better than you; instead, they do this not to lose the power to dominate you.

  • Codependency.

Some people in a narcissistic relationship show an unusual need for codependency on one another. In simpler words, they support each other’s actions because, according to them, it works for them.

In some rare situations, when the victim can lure their abuser into showing politeness, they feel valued and accomplished. In return, selfish people have their victim who is open to receiving their abuse and toxicity.

  • Hypervigilance.

Most narcissistic abuse victims have learned to be hypervigilant because of how narcissists can snap out at them and behave terribly towards them. They are always looking for signs of how their narcissistic partner will respond next, looking for even the most minor change in a conversational tone, body language, and energy.

If you’ve been involved in this behavior, you likely feel a sense of worry or fear when you notice a change in your energy.

They might respond harshly if you say or move in the “wrong” way, so you’re probably very careful of everything you say and do.

  • You feel isolated

You’ll likely feel pretty alone if your loved ones don’t understand, which makes you more vulnerable to further narcissistic manipulation. The abuser may try to persuade you with politeness, perhaps even an apology, or by acting as if nothing ever happened.

When you don’t have support, “hovering,” as frequently termed, usually works better. When you cannot discuss the abuse with anyone, you are more likely to start to mistrust your thoughts of the abuse.

You might decide to do so only to rebuild your connection with family and friends if your loved ones reach out to you and tell you that you made a mistake and push you to give the abusive relationship another chance.

  • You start to freeze

Different people react differently to trauma and other forms of abuse.

You might try to face the abusive person or run away from the circumstance (flight). You might respond by fawning or freezing if these strategies don’t work or if you don’t feel capable of using them.

When you feel helpless, you frequently experience a freeze reaction. Since emotionally separating yourself from the abuse might help reduce its severity, thus numbing some of the pain and misery you experience, it usually includes detachment.

In some situations, freezing can be helpful, but it isn’t always helpful when you have a way to escape danger. However, if you think there is no way out of the situation, you might decide to stay and possibly even react by gushing over or trying to please your partner.

  • You have difficulty making decisions.

You may have very low self-esteem and confidence if you constantly face criticism and humiliation.

Narcissistic manipulation often implies that you consistently make poor choices and are incapable of doing anything correctly. An abusive partner could outright refer to you as stupid or uninformed, frequently falsely politely.

You might begin to accept these slights over time and connect them with how you view yourself, which will cause you to doubt yourself constantly.

You may begin to doubt your decision-making ability if someone uses gaslighting methods.

You can continue questioning your view of events if someone tricks you into thinking you imagined things that happened. It may be difficult for you to make judgments in the future as a result of this confusion.

  • You constantly feel that you have done something wrong.

The inability to accept responsibility for any poor behavior or destructive conduct is a crucial trait of narcissism.

Abusive partners usually find a way to blame you. They might do this frequently by:

  • Arguing they said something you don’t remember them saying.
  • Getting so angry that you have to apologize and admit you were mistaken to help them calm down.

Let’s say you think they might be unfaithful. You describe the troubling actions you’ve seen and ask about the situation.

A partner who is involved in narcissistic manipulation may respond negatively. They might respond with their allegations, shift the blame, and say things meant to insult and degrade you.

You may feel helpless and dependent after these outbursts of anger and thankful that you are still eager to be with someone who keeps making mistakes.

You can think you can’t do anything properly after ending the relationship. You may begin to hold yourself responsible for issues in other aspects of your life.

  • Your health conditions are unexplained.

Abuse can cause restlessness and anxious feelings, sometimes leading to physical problems.

  • Changes in hunger could be noticed.
  • Nausea or stomach pain.
  • Additional gastrointestinal problems in addition to stomach aches.
  • Muscular pains and aches.
  • Insomnia.

It can occasionally seem like a good idea to use alcohol and other drugs to treat these symptoms, especially insomnia. In the end, you might eat unhealthily to cope with unpleasant emotions or physical stress.

  • You feel tension and discomfort.

Abuse by narcissists can often be unpredictable. They might criticize you or give you a gift you may not know.

If you constantly need to get ready for a fight because you never know what someone will do or say, you could become quite stressed out.

You can also feel on edge all of the time, worrying about the constant barrage of abuse and how to handle the abusive behaviors you’re starting to notice. Since you might no longer feel secure letting your guard down, you could no longer know how to rest.

  • You can’t recognize yourself.

Many people eventually change their personalities to satisfy an abusive relationship when exposed to violence.

You quit going out with your buddies because you only love your abusive partner.   Then you stop doing your hobbies, miss happy hours with your workers after work, and eventually stop going to see your sister every week. Your partner can tell you genuinely care since you take the time to do what they want.

These changes usually result in a loss of personality, leaving you confused and empty. You can find it difficult to enjoy life and lose track of your goals.

  • You have a hard time setting limits.

Narcissistic abusers usually have no regard for limits. When you try to set boundaries, they could fight them, entirely ignore them, or keep quiet until you meet their demands. You could eventually give up on setting boundaries entirely.

After you break up with or separate yourself from a narcissistic partner, you commit yourself that you won’t return their calls or texts or interact with them in any way.

  • You show signs of depression and anxiety.

Narcissistic abuse usually results in depression and anxiety.

The intense stress you experience, especially since you never know what to expect from their actions, can result in constant feelings of concern, anxiety, and fear.

You might experience feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, lose interest in activities that once made you happy, and struggle to picture a bright future.

  • Feeling of Mistrust

You would start to mistrust people as a protection strategy, mainly if you experienced severe narcissistic abuse. The abuser misleads you that your emotions and experiences are unreliable, and as a result, you rarely have trust in others or yourself.

  • You lose your self-worth.

As a victim of narcissistic abuse, people lose their self-worth. To degrade you more or to insult you, the abuser involves a third party and keeps comparing you to the other person. This leads to people always competing with others and losing their self-worth to meet the abuser’s approval.

  • Self-harming or suicidal thoughts arise.

You start to feel helpless, along with feelings of anxiety and depression due to the narcissistic abuse. Feeling that there is no way to escape this never-ending trauma and pain, you feel trapped in your situation, which can lead to self-harming or suicidal thoughts.

You may not want to see another day of abuse and find self-harming behavior as a coping mechanism and an easy way to get out of the situation.

  • Self-destruction.

Even after the relationship ends, victims replay the abuse repeatedly, leading them to speak negatively of themselves and tend to self-destruct.

Narcissists can manipulate the victims to the point where they harm themselves or commit suicide because of all the verbal abuse and toxicity they experienced.

They might destroy their goals, dreams, and academic achievements. They feel worthlessness placed in them by the abuser, and they start to feel unworthy of good things.


any abuse a victim experiences can have a severe mental and physical impact on them. You can feel depressed, worthless, and neglected if you stay in an abusive relationship with your narcissistic partner.

Ask for support from your friends, family members, and loved ones to help you escape the toxic situation. If you fail to leave or stay with the narcissist partner to please them, you will become lonely, struggle to do anything good in life, and in a worse situation, you may even consider committing suicide if you feel stuck.

Start to learn and create boundaries for yourself. Practice healthy and motivational habits to move on from the trauma and manage your physical and mental health.