20 Symptoms of Narcissistic Victim Syndrome You May Have Experienced

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Do you constantly feel guilty, insecure, and bad about yourself? Are you experiencing overwhelming feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and hopelessness? Does a relationship with your partner seem like walking on eggshells most of the time? You might be suffering from Narcissistic victim syndrome.

Being involved with a narcissist is hard. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) typically put themselves first because they have inflated feelings of self-worth and superiority. Their frail egos cause a strong need to be admired, so they can be manipulative, demanding, and controlling to get what they want.

To break free from narcissistic abuse, you need to be able to recognize the signs of it.

What is Narcissistic Victim Syndrome?

Narcissistic victim syndrome, also called narcissistic abuse syndrome, is a group of symptoms that people who are in relationships with narcissists or who spend a lot of time with the experience.

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This impact is caused by being in a relationship with a narcissist. Victims of narcissistic abuse may experience draining anxiety and self-doubt, in addition to a variety of other psychological and physical concerns, such as self-esteem issues, depression, insomnia, bruises, weight changes, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

As a result of narcissistic abuse, you may also:

  • feel confused and question your knowledge, intelligence, and sanity
  • struggle with intrusive, negative thoughts
  • feel irritable most of the time
  • have trouble making decisions.
  • unconsciously enable narcissistic abuse by always making excuses for the narcissist’s behavior
  • feeling guilty for things that weren’t your fault
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20 Symptoms of Victim Syndrome that You May Have Experienced and Should Be Aware Of

Their cycle of abuse can leave you feeling worthless, helpless, and depleted. So, here are 20 symptoms of narcissistic victim syndrome that you should be aware of.

1. You Are Always Doubting Yourself

The goal of gaslighting is to throw you off balance and make you question how you see the world and yourself. They will act and talk in ways that make you think you are making things up. Their goal is to control you by making you feel insecure, worried, confused, and unable to trust yourself.

2. Lack of Boundaries

Narcissists don’t care about others’ boundaries. They will never accept “no” as an answer. They may plead, bargain, or even threaten you if you leave them or set personal boundaries.

3. Loss of Identity/Self

If you’ve been abused by a narcissist, it might feel like you’ve forgotten who you are. You might start to believe that you somehow caused the abuse or that you are not good enough to be loved.

4. Love Bombing

A narcissist will shower you with love, attention, and appreciation at the beginning of a relationship. This will make you feel special, but the intensity of your relationship could be one of the first signs of narcissistic abuse.

5. Anxiety and Depression

People who have been abused often have anxiety, depression, and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness for a long time after the abuse happened.

6. Blaming Yourself for Everything

When a narcissist is abusing you, you might think you deserve it. You may feel ashamed and believe that if someone you love can treat you that badly, there must be something deeply wrong with you.

7. False Presentation

When you meet them, a narcissist will only share positive things about themselves. They will change how they act around you based on what they think you want or will lie and exaggerate to appeal to you.

8. Lack of Trust

Being the victim of narcissistic abuse can make it difficult to trust people. As a result, you may withdraw from friends and family and fear meeting new people, often wondering if others are honest or just want to take advantage of you.

9. Self-Doubt

Abuse by a narcissist may make you doubt your feelings, perceptions, and judgment. As a result, you may be insecure and constantly second-guess everything you think or do, convinced that something is fundamentally wrong with you.

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10. Gaslighting

If you try to bring up the abuse with the narcissist or defend yourself, they will flatly deny it ever happened, claiming that what you went through never happened. In addition, they may call you dramatic or too sensitive, making you question your reality and sanity.

11. You Feel Devalued

A narcissist will gradually devalue you. They may be belittling or making fun of you, twisting the reality when you try to defend yourself. They will show no remorse for discarding you after you stop serving as their narcissistic supply.

12. Unjustified Guilt

You might start feeling guilty for the narcissist’s behavior, accepting responsibility for the things that are not your fault.

13. Trauma Bonding

When you have an unhealthy relationship with a narcissist, you might feel like you’re being controlled, constantly confused, or forced to do things you don’t want to.

14. You Become Increasingly Indecisive

Narcissistic abuse can cause you to become insecure and indecisive, struggling to make decisions and set goals for yourself.

15. Isolation

A narcissist may cut you off from family, friends, and coworkers, so you might start feeling isolated and detached from others.

16. Triangulation

A narcissist will pull others into your relationship to put you down and control you. So, you may start avoiding people and situations associated with them. This is narcissist triangulation.

17. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A relationship with a narcissist can leave you deeply traumatized. You might experience symptoms of PTSD such as flashbacks and nightmares, anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, and avoiding everything that reminds you of the abuser, among other things.

18. Passive-Aggressive Behaviors

When you try to talk to a narcissist, they might give you silent treatment as a way to control you. For example, they might respond with passive aggression, hidden anger, making themselves hard to reach, etc.

19. Hoovering

Narcissists hoover to preserve narcissistic supply. When you try to quit the pattern, they resort to emotional assault using love bombing, accusations, grandiose promises, gossip, fake crises, and other hoovering strategies to keep you in the relationship.

20. They Are Never Wrong

It is never their fault. A narcissist will always blame you for their own mistakes, making you constantly feel guilty.

Breaking Free from Narcissistic Abuse

When you decide to leave a narcissist, cut contact and avoid communication with them.

Focus on what you need and practice saying “no” to the narcissist’s repeated requests for reconciliation. Instead, give yourself time to heal from the emotional pain that narcissistic abuse has caused.

Taking care of yourself may boost your mood and resilience, improve your self-esteem, and foster self-compassion, all of which can help protect your well-being after breaking free from narcissistic abuse.

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Kamini Wood

Kamini Wood

Kamini Wood is a Certified Life Coach, and best-selling author. Her mission is to empower high-performing adults and teens to become resilient self-leaders by reducing stress and anxiety, overcoming imposter syndrome, working through trauma, and re-discovering their AuthenticMe®.

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