Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

(I realize this is quite long but it has a lot of good information).

Are you a victim of Narcissistic Abuse?

“Pathological mind games. Covert and overt put-downs. Triangulation. Gaslighting. Projection. These are the manipulative tactics survivors of malignant narcissists are unfortunately all too familiar with. As victims of silent crimes where the perpetrators are rarely held accountable, survivors of narcissistic abuse have lived in a war zone of epic proportions, enduring an abuse cycle of love-bombing and devaluation—psychological violence on steroids.” quote by Shahida Arabi a Narcissitic abuse expert

Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

Is a condition that’s triggered by being in a warzone with a Narcisisstic personality in command (or multiple ones). “Unlike physical abuse where a single strike or blow, often leaves marks or bruises and qualifies an act of domestic violence, narcissistic abuse is invisible. Narcissistic abuse is the sum of many unseen injuries. It’s an indiscernible assault on the spirit, identity, and the psyche of the victim. The impact is cumulative, and its full effect isn’t felt until the damage is extensive. Although bruises and broken bones heal much faster than a broken spirit, narcissistic abuse tends to go unnoticed because there aren’t any laws prohibiting mind games, browbeating, or name calling.”

What triggers Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome?

NAS often develops as the result of psychological and emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, gaslighting, baiting and bashing, belittiling, hidden abuse, shaming, projection, smear campaigns, a false narrative, threats, distortion of conversations, circular conversations, word salad games, exploitative games, refusal to ever have a normal conversation, diversion and false accusations, omition of facts for the benefit of one person and the destruction of another. It is a type of PTSD. It often causes victims to feel defenseless and beaten down.

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

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Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome (or Narcissistic Victim Syndrome): Fog, pacing, confusion, “loss of self”, panic attacks, angry outbursts, insomnia, weight gain or weight loss, obsessive thoughts, rapid heart rate, muscle aches, throwing up, getting sick, desiring death, possibly suicidal, no interest in previous interests or even loved ones, blaming self, second guessing self, may seem desperate and trying to reach for help, fear of Narcissist annihilating them. Narcissistic Abuse is a type of soul rape.

“The ongoing impact of narcissistic abuse on victims is similar to being a prisoner of war (Brown, 2016). It’s simply too big an issue to keep ignoring. We need to act now to stem the tide, to help provide victims with the knowledge to escape their narcissistic abusers, and hopefully prevent more victims falling prey to narcissists”

Who is the abuser?

Often there is confusion surrounding who is abusing who as the fingers begin pointing at each other. Read below on further insight on how to discern who the real abuser is.

In most cases when you are dealing with a conflict with “two sides to a a story” the Narcissistic abuser will appear calm, cool, collected and reasonable.   They may even appear humble if it will further his goals. This person will put doubts into the councilor’s mind and others mind that the target is mentally unstable and untrustworthy.  The abused person may appear unhinged and feel and act a little crazy thus confirming what the Narcissist is saying.  However, the target has been through several rounds of gaslighting, threats, baiting and bashing etc. with the narcissist that has led to the psychological and emotional demise of his victim. It does not help that often times the abusing party will act morally upright and even conduct themselves in such a manner. Read here to find out why there aren’t two sides to a story with a Narcissist.

Click here —-> Two sides to a story?

TYPICAL PROFILE OF AN ABUSER Very charming and smooth, controlling, splitting (seeing a person as all good or all bad), minimization, rationalization, denial, justifies, brandishing anger, points fingers, shames, reads into things, insolent pride, must win, guilt trip, intimidation, evasion, shaming, manipulative, do as I say not as I do (their actions do not match their words), the perpetual victim, condescending, patronizing, superior, entitled, lies, excuses, people who go against what I say should be punished, it is always someone else’s fault, the rules don’t apply to me, feigning innocence, feigning confusion, charms, vilifying the target or victim, not interested in talking things out or coming to a mutual understanding, will play judge and jury over others, will pretend to love the victim to onlookers and in the charmed circle, will feign concern for the victim, will feel sorry for themselves but not sorry for how they have effected another person, will work in unethical ways, will gaslight, bait a victim and bash the victim, threaten, exploitative, word salad games and circular conversations. May appear prideful, defensive, will not admit wrong doing and may hint at the fact that the victim is crazy or mentally unstable therefore completely untrustworthy and noncredible.

WHO THE ABUSERS TARGET?  Anyone that poses a threat to their image.   But the most successful emotional abuse cases are often conducted on very trusting and sensitive people.  This is especially true in regards to adult bullying situations.  Often the target is either a people pleaser or empathetic people.  This type of person may self destruct because of their inability NOT to soak in or even recognize all the abusive tactics their perpetrators use to cause the person to emotionally and mentally deteriorate, even believing the abusers assessment on them.  This just serves as further proof in the Sociopath’s smear campaign on the victim.  This can be devastating for someone who has already been rejected, slandered and hated to have more people turn against them and not desire to hear their side since they believe they have already heard a very accurate rendition of the “TRUTH”.  …which is actually “THE LIE”.

“Kim Saeed, a narcissistic abuse recovery expert, says that narcissists prey on empaths and highly sensitive people. Empaths operate predominately from love, humility, and giving. They have a natural capacity for healing and teaching others. However, until they learn how to responsibly use those gifts, they are often taken advantage of…not only by romantic partners, but people in general. Further, empaths have a track record of developing codependent behaviors in childhood to deal with the overwhelming unfairness in the world and to please others, which they usually carry into their adult relationships. It is easy to see, then, how empaths who were abused as children can develop exaggerated codependency issues and dependence on others to define their worth.

Kim further explains that when the empath and narcissist enter into a relationship together, it becomes hyper toxic. It creates a magnetic, yet vibrationally dysfunctional union. The empath’s sole purpose is to facilitate healing in others. Narcissists are insatiable and incurable. The empath gives to the point of complete and utter exhaustion. Because of these natural tendencies, the unaware empath often finds themselves not only being targeted by a narcissist but staying in a relationship with a toxic personality for too long and the damage to them is compounded.”

Here is a great article for you!  Article: Why did Narcissists or Sociopaths target YOU?

Another great article:  How to spot an abuser who claims to be a victim:

The video to the side is a helpful video of how YOU (the councilor, friend, pastor, etc) can tell who is abusing who in a situation and how to tell who the true abuser is.  It is imperative that you figure it out so that you are not enabling an abuser.  The abuser needs help in taking accountability for what they have done to another person.  And the real victim needs the support that you might unknowingly be giving to the abusive party!

Unsafe Relationships- Counselor Patrick Doyle of Veritas Counseling – Focus Today

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Definitions of personality disorders that exploit and abuse:

Sociopath: “A person with antisocial personality disorder. Probably the most widely recognized personality disorder. A sociopath is often well liked because of their charm and high charisma, but they do not usually care about other people. They think mainly of themselves and often blame others for the things that they do. They have a complete disregard for rules and lie constantly. They seldom feel guilt or learn from punishments. Though some sociopaths have become murders, most reveal their sociopathy through less deadly and sensational means.”  Urban Dictionary online

Malignant narcissism “is a psychological syndrome comprising an extreme mix of narcissismantisocial personality disorder, aggression, and sadismOften grandiose, and always ready to raise hostility levels, the malignant narcissist undermines organizations in which they are involved, and dehumanizes the people with whom they associate. The social psychologist Erich Fromm first coined the term “malignant narcissism” in 1964, describing it as a “severe mental sickness” representing “the quintessence of evil“. He characterized the condition as “the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity”. Edith Weigert (1967) saw malignant narcissism as a “regressive escape from frustration by distortion and denial of reality”, while Herbert Rosenfeld (1971) described it as “a disturbing form of narcissistic personality where grandiosity is built around aggression and the destructive aspects of the self become idealized”.  Developing their ideas further, the psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg pointed out that the antisocial personality was fundamentally narcissistic and without morality. Malignant narcissism includes a sadistic element creating, in essence, a sadistic psychopath.  Kernberg described malignant narcissism as a syndrome characterized by a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), antisocial features, paranoid traits, and egosyntonic aggression. Other symptoms may include an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and a sense of importance (grandiosity). Pollock wrote: “The malignant narcissist is presented as pathologically grandiose, lacking in conscience and behavioral regulation with characteristic demonstrations of joyful cruelty and sadism“. Malignant narcissism can be distinguished from psychopathy, according to Kernberg, because of the malignant narcissist’s capacity to internalize “both aggressive and idealized superego precursors, leading to the idealization of the aggressive, sadistic features of the pathological grandiose self of these patients”. According to Kernberg, the psychopath’s paranoid stance against external influences makes him or her unwilling to internalize even the values of the “aggressor”, while malignant narcissists “have the capacity to admire powerful people, and can depend on sadistic and powerful but reliable parental images”. Malignant narcissists, in contrast to psychopaths, are also said to be capable of developing “some identification with other powerful idealized figures as part of a cohesive ‘gang‘…which permits at least some loyalty and good object relations to be internalized”. “Some of them may present rationalized antisocial behavior – for example, as leaders of sadistic gangs or terrorist groups…with the capacity for loyalty to their own comrades” Refrences:


Traits to identify the Malignant Narcissist:

1 able to form strong bonds and groups that follow him (i.e. hitler)

2 wants to relate to others

3 aggressive edge

4 will exploit in order to win

5 charismatic draw

6 pathologically lies and can deceive with ease

7 very dangerous

8 runs effective smear campaigns

Covert narcissism  This type of narcissist is probably the hardest one to digest. Covert narcissism “is a more discrete form of narcissism displayed by a person with a more shy and reserved personality. It is characterized by grandiose fantasies and thoughts, a perception of entitlement, and a general sentiment of being better than others. Covert narcissism is typically expressed in a more passive and indirect manner than overt narcissism; it is conveyed with a condescending attitude, insincerity, passive aggressiveness, defensiveness, and hostility.” “When we think of a narcissist, we may think of someone who is overly concerned about their physical appearance and the way others perceive them–someone who craves attention and brags incessantly about their accomplishments and successes, without regard for others. But not all narcissists are boisterous and loud. The covert narcissist is more shy and reserved and hides their sense of entitlement and grandiose thoughts behind a facade. Their narcissism may not be apparent at first, but it usually seeps out eventually.”


Here is an excellent article on the signs of covert narcissists: The Covert Narcissist

With a covert narcissist you are in a frying pan being fried and don’t even realize it until it’s too late.  This can make even the strongest of people crumble under their manipulation.   This kind of Narcissist will often lie by omission, use someone to get information only to turn on the person and will also use very underhanded tactics to divide people.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is “a personality disorder in which there is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding of others’ feelings. People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.”

Signs and Symptoms: “People with narcissistic personality disorder are characterized by their persistent grandiosity, excessive need for admiration, and a disdain and lack of empathy for others. These individuals often display arrogance, a sense of superiority, and power-seeking behaviors. Narcissistic personality disorder is different from having a strong sense of self-confidence; people with NPD typically value themselves over others to the extent that they disregard the feelings and wishes of others and expect to be treated as superior regardless of their actual status or achievements. In addition, people with NPD may exhibit fragile egos, an inability to tolerate criticism, and a tendency to belittle others in an attempt to validate their own superiority. According to the DSM-5, individuals with NPD have most or all of the following symptoms, typically without commensurate qualities or accomplishments:

1 Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from others

2 Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.

3 Self-perception of being unique, superior and associated with high-status people and institutions

4 Needing constant admiration from others

5 Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others

6 Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain

7 Unwilling to empathize with others’ feelings, wishes, or needs

8 Intensely envious of other and the belief that others are equally envious of them

9 Pompous and arrogant demeanor”

Reference for definition of NPD:

How the sociopath operates to gain the upper hand

The Abuse Cycle


Above and on the side are diagrams that describes the typical abuse pattern a narcissist displays. This article is a MUST READ: Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse

Narcissistic Abuse Tactic #1 Gaslighting

What in the WORLD is going on?? Welcome to CRAZYMAKING!

“Gaslighting is a very real and debilitating in an abusive dynamic with a narcissist. Over time you are managed down and manipulated into believing the atrocities that are directed straight to your psyche that you can’t identify the real dynamic of this insidious abuse and just blame yourself.  The gaslighting effect happens gradually and by the time you are so deep into the hideous manipulation you allow it to define your reality and sanity.  Consequently you are not the same strong, confident or centered person you once were.  It is as if your personality was erased and darkness has taken over and surrounded you.  Your functioning self has been compromised so much so that you are not certain of your own mental and physical reality and accept the defective role the Narcissist has designed for you!  You are living in a dense fog of constant uncertainty, vulnerability, confusion and fear, and there you will reside until the cycle of abuse is broken!”  Greg Zaffuto

Narcissistic Abusive Tactic #2: Baiting and Bashing

How the smear campaign starts

Reactionary Abuse is when the target of abuse reacts to the abuse by getting angry.  At some point the target will come to the realization that something terribly wrong has occured in the situation.  When they are gaslighted, baited and bashed and dealt with harshly they may react by lashing out at the abuser. The target walking on eggshells the whole while will then flip out when they sense a false narrative or something else has gone wrong in the situation with the Narcissist.  Something is TERRIBLY wrong. The Narcissist is about to turn the target’s personality upside down and push forth a false narrative. The Narcissist then uses the victim’s reaction as evidence of the victim’s mental instability and their abusing them. However, the evidence never harmed the Narcissist.  The victim played right into the Narcissist’s hand!  The screaming, yelling, walking on egg shells,  or becoming defensive is exactly what the Narcissist wanted. When the victim claims abuse the Narcissist then turns around and points the finger claiming the victim abused them.  This is how the smear campaign is initially launched. To onlookers this can be confusing.  The Narcissist will come off as the poor victim of this emotionally unstable person who is yelling at them.  But the Narcissists will fail to mention the fact that they had been baiting and bashing the victim, threatening the victim and gaslighting the victim, pathologically lying and accusing the victim instead of looking to understand.   The Narcissist will NEVER try to understand.  The Narcissist takes delight in pointing fingers and claiming “they just know”.  This further hurts and upsets the scapegoat.

How the Narcisssist will appear:  Will most likely come off as calm, cool, collected and very confident that they are in the right.  Will admit little to no wrong doing.  Will claim to be the victim.  May claim that they are praying for and love the victim. The victim knows this is the furthest thing from the truth but this “act of loving the victim” will fool many which is what makes them so dangerous.  Will never try to understand the targets point of view.  Will sit as judge and jury over the target through false accusations.    If they do appear humble it is their bad acting skills at work in order to gain favor from someone. They will continually justify their actions. They will downplay and minimize their role.

How the victim will appear:  Expect someone who is in a fog, confused, will admit wrong doing, may say too much, will desperately want reconciliation but may realize it is impossible.  Or they may have stockholm syndrome and try to protect the Narcissist.  If they have developed PTSD they may struggle with anger or rage towards the Narcissist.  They may appear as if they are going crazy.

How are people coned by the Narcissist?  The Narcissists tells “part” of a story in order to portray their target a certain way.  They leave out a lot of information and highly exaggerate and twist what their target has done in order to get people upset with the target.  The target or victim may be easily exploitable and controlled because of the unhealthy bond that has developed with the Narcissist.   Many malignant narcissists and sociopaths will work hard to develop strong soul ties with both men and women around them.  These people will back up the Narcissist no matter what.  And the person who is the target may have also have developed a strong bond which the Narcissist then uses against the person. The Narcissist will downplay and hide their wrong doing.  They will create a group of flying monkey’s in their charmed circle ready to stand and defend them.  People often want to take people at face value so they believe that the victim is the abuser and is the one in the wrong which further re-traumatizes the victim. The Narcissist(s) will get away with what they have pulled off and feel justified in it.  THEY WILL EVEN ENJOY HURTING ANOTHER PERSON.

Narcissistic Abuse Technique #2 Baiting and Bashing

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Narcissistic Abuse Tactic #3: Pathological Lying

How you and I lie: We are embarrassed or we’re trying to protect someone’s feelings.

Sociopaths, Malignant Narcissists and Covert Narcissists: When their mouths are moving they are most likely either lying or exsagerating.  They recreate a story, they make up a story, they ommit tons of facts.  Anything to WIN.

How the Sociopath or Naricissist lies to you at one point: Listen I’m not a good person. This is just a problem I struggle with. I hope you can forgive me.  I forgive you too. Let’s just keep this between us.

To his friends or religous friends:  You’ll never believe what happened.  (accuses his target and leaves out everything he’s done to her) She’s falsely accused me and smearing my name everywhere.  (not true) The Lord has brought me into all truth regarding her. I’ve been faithful in all this and she is persecuting me.  She probably has a demon based on how she is behaving (he and his minions have been abusing her to keep her quiet).  We really need to be keeping her in our prayers and pray for her repentance.

To you later on: Who are you talking to? (you’re probably telling nobody cause you’re so terrified to talk.  But the Narcissist is paranoid).  This was supposed to be confidential between you and me.   You are going to ruin my reputation. You aren’t supposed to be talking. I can’t even look at you.  If you say one more word I’ll take you down! (by the way all that stuff I said to you before, you misunderstood it and I never really said it, and I didn’t mean it..).

The sociopath and the narcissist will lie by OMISSION.  Painting their target in the worst possible light by portraying themselves as concerned and morally upright people who were only trying to help their target while in truth they were trying to destroy her.  They lie to make themselves look good and the other person look bad.  They may even feign confusion.  They’re not confused at all, they know exactly what they are doing and what they are up to.  After an audience hears a narcissists or sociopaths story you can bet their target will have some enemies and that nobody will want to hear your side.

Narcissist Pathological lying – A Manipulation Tool

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Narcissistic Abuse Technique #4 The Smear Campaign

Spreading a false narrative or painting a picture of someone that is untrue to their character in order to discredit and isolate the victim from other people. It is often used to prevent the truth from coming out. It may also be used due to vindictiveness, jealousy or sense of a threat.

Great Definition of the Narcissistic Smear Campaign: “When the smear campaign begins with a Narcissistic Sociopath, it is an intentional, premeditated effort to discredit our reputation, character and quite simply, our total being.  This premeditation is done in the same way a criminal puts into motion his act of crime. With a smear campaign, the Sociopath strategically starts recalling all the things you have ever shared with them regarding your own personal experiences (ie: triumphs/failures), any and all things shared about people closest to you, or anyone you had a relationship with prior to them. They then take this information and set out to destroy you emotionally and mentally”

How the Narcissist(s) will paint the Victim: 1. Mentally unstable 2. twisting things 3. unreliable 4. pathetic 5. dangerous 6. untrustworthy 7. possibly demon possessed or something of the like. The Narcissist(s) are projecting their OWN traits onto the victim which makes figuring out who is in the wrong confusing. If they lie, they will accuse the victim of being a liar.  If the victim lied it was probably because they were scared.  The Narcissist lies to order to DISTORT AND DESTROY. If they manipulate, they will accuse the victim of manipulating.  If they abuse, they will accuse the victim of abuse. The portrait painted of the victim is typically an upside down version of who that person is or an exaggeration of wrongdoings.  They will pull out all the garbage on the victim and exaggerate greatly what the victim has done.  The smear is FULL of half truths, exsagerations and downright lies about the target. They will even try to convince the victim that they are these things which a very altruistic and sensitive person will then begin to wear and feel badly about themselves.  What makes a narcissist or narcissist family group so dangerous it that they truly believe their own lies about the scapegoat.  They need to believe them and want to believe them in order to clear themselves.  These are what the Bible refers to as “hypocrites” or “Pharisees”. The scapegoat or victim may be guilty of some things but they will say sorry and admit failure.  The Narcissist(s) never will admit that they are even more guilty than their target of lying, being manipulative and so forth.  That is why reconciliation with a Narcissist is almost impossible.  The Narcissist will sit as judge and jury over the other person who is willing to admit some fault.  But the Narcissist will admit none and will even accuse their target of having motives they never had etc. Therefore real reconciliation will be impossible.

Why does the Narcissist Smear?

1 No longer a good source of supply

2 Reputation is threatened

3 The person has seen through the Narcissist

4 The person has inflicted a Narcissistic injury

5 Because it’s fun to torture someone elses’ soul and get others to gang up on them.

The Narcissistic Smear Campaign

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Narcissistic Abuse Tactic #5 Threats

When the Narcissist is afraid of exposure he will push out a false narrative and threaten the victim or target with it.  He will threaten to do things, say things, he will threaten your reputation.  The threats are basically a way for the Narcissist to cover up what he has done or what really occured.  So if he threatens his target with pushing out a lie then the target is silenced.  The victim becomes afraid to speak up due to the fact that the Narcissist has threatened to push out a false narrative or false accusations against the victim.   This gives the Narcissist power and control over the victim which is what he desires.

A common case of abuse:  Man abuses woman.  Woman picks up phone to call police.  Man starts beating himself up.  Then he says to her “if you call the police, I will tell them you were the one abusing me… and they will believe me because my marks are worse than yours and you will spend time in jail.”  Woman puts phone down.  Woman is trapped.

Narcissistic Abuse Tactic #6 Circular Conversations and Word Salad Games

These tactics will leave your head spinning.  Circular conversations are used to confuse the target and also so that the Narcissist never has to admit fault or take responsibility for anything.  They are slippery critters.  So you may say “stop manipulating me..”  And they will respond.. “You stop manipulating me!”  You may say, “you’re lying..”  to which they will respond, “no, you’re lying.”  You can’t really get them to own up to anything they are doing cause they are going to project it right back to you. Here is a more extensive article on Word Salad Games and Circular Converstaions and how they leave the target feeling –

Here is a great article for you! 10 Warning Signs of Word Salad Games

Narcissistic Abuse Tactic #7 Minimize and Deny

For whatever reason these people push out false narratives and deny reality.  They lie about the reasons they have done something – and pin it on their target.  They do not own up to their mistakes, deceptions, lies, cover-ups etc.  They deny being abusive.  They deny what they’ve done to contribute to the demise of a situation.  They will frequently blame their target for the outcome of a situation leaving out their underhanded manipulative tactics to make sure they come out looking like the victim. They have no desire to understand their target or the person they are abusing.   It is always someone elses’ fault.  So they live in a constant state of denial.

Their #1 desire is to WIN. They play dirty.  They play unfairly.  And they make sure their hands are clean of the abuse.

Their #2 desire is to look like victims and heros.

Their #3 desire is to SILENCE their target through isolating and discrediting them

Their #4 desire is to never be held accountable for what they did to another human being.  Stripping them of their integrity, denying them a voice, destroying their reputation, exaggerating their wrong doings and leaving out how they controlled their target in an underhanded shaming scheme.

Narcissistic Abuse Tactic #8 Stonewalling

The less you know about what they are saying about you, the more power they have.  They will withhold information in order to control a situation that has taken place.  This is how they can then compromise the integrity of another person and then use them for their own personal benefit and gain in order to control a situation or a person.  They will also lie extensively by omission and controlling of the facts. Make no mistake, they do this on purpose to destroy another person.   Many targets will say that they had no idea a false narrative was being pushed out until it was too late.  Many targets will say they were in a complete FOG once they realized what was occuring – trying to put the pieces together.  Stonewalling is different than when the victim goes “no contact”.  Stonewalling is done on purpose to control, withhold and dominate.  “No Contact” is done to protect the victim from further abuse by the abusers.  This drives the abusers mad as they can no longer control their target and they know the target probably sees through their covert aggressive moves.

Narcissistic Abuse Tactic #9 Projection

They convince the target, others and even themselves that YOU are THEM.

Narcissistic Abuse Tactic #10 Scapegoating

Well, there is the well known common situation where a child ends up as the scapegoat in a family.  And those children usually escape the family and break out on their own, go no contact and refuse to take any more abuse from Narcissistic family members.  But there are also scapegoats in church situations, job situations, and school situations.  These are generally nice people who get bullied and scapegoated to the point where they aren’t able to think clearly anymore and just accept the blame because they are so beaten down by covert aggressive manipulators who manage to paint themselves as the victim of a person who probably wanted nothing more but to please them and be their friends.   #scapegoatnomore

Narcissistic Scapegoat Dynamic Part 1

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Abuse Tactic # 11 Fake Apologies or Fake Apology Notes

The mask of seeming humility that fools so many

The Narcissists are well aware that you love them but that they do not love you. (Although they will tell people that they love you) They know the situation at hand may eventually come out so they may leave a paper trail of their “reasonablness” or their “fake apologies” so that when you accuse them of abuse they will pull out all their “papers” on how wonderful they were to you and how horrible your reactions were to them.  And then they get to turn the tables on you and accuse you of abuse.  The only difference is that OUR supposed abuse never affected them.  We just played right into their hands.  Of course they are leaving out that they have been covertly abusing you for several months or even longer which is why your reactions were so strong and so “hateful”.  But that is after of course they have exploited our kindness, empathy and sensitivity and we just cannot believe the evil we are up against.   We spend so much time trying to make sense of it.  Narcissists will even do fake apologies and try to reconcile with a group of people they’ve been alienated from but will do it as a true “martyr” and they will be eager to set the record straight about YOU.  The Villian plays the Victim so well.   And this role reversal fools everyone.

Abuse Tactic #12 Planted Gifts

Gifts given with the intent of proving to others their love and our hate

They don’t give you gifts because they love you.  They give them to  1. keep you quiet or 2. to impress another narcissist or minion or 3. to have proof of how wonderful they were to you after YOU supposedly abused them and to “win” the argument.  Remember: they twist everything.  YOUR MOTIVE FOR GIVING GIFTS: To make peace, to let them know you forgive them, to build a bridge of communication.  It’s in the motives!  They do it to impress another Narcissist or to make themselves look good.  You do it because you genuinely love them.

The Role of Stockholm Syndrome in Narcissistic Abuse

One of the saddest things about Narcissistic abuse is how the victim will often protect or even cover for the Narcissist while the Narcissist and his followers are trying to destroy her.  At a later time the Narcissist will use this against his target, especially if a Narcisisstic injury has occured.  There is no level of depravity that the Narcissist will stoop to to destroy his target.  The narcissist will even use and exploit kinder and weaker people in order to be admired and pities by others.  Even while a victim is being abused you may still hear her defend her abuser and blame herself.

The Narcissistic Smirk

The dead giveaway that you’re dealing with a whole different kind of evil!

Many of us who have been in a dynamic with a truly sick individual who lives off of other people’s “emotional blood” to supply themselves have seen this evil grin come across the abusers face.   We can see as we look at them that they are enjoying how much they are getting away with at your expense and to your own mental and emotional deterioration. This smirk signals to many of us how evil this person really is and how toxic they are for our well being.

The Narcissist Smirk of Evil

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The Role of Flying Monkey’s (Abuse by Proxy)

The Narcissists Minions, flying monkey’s, whatever you’d like to call it – they are the narcissists charmed circle who believe the Narcissist(s) has done minimal to no damage in the dynamic or situation that you are in.  They are drinking the milkshake!

Are you sure you’re not supporting an abuser?

So you’ve just heard this crazy story about someone and how evil they are.  It almost seems too horrific to be true.  You begin to look at this person that you once thought was a wonderful person as a monster.  Possibly this monster has three horns on their head and is the anti-christ walking around.  If nothing else, this is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Atleast this is what you have been led to believe.

You are so angry and upset by what you have heard that you don’t even question whether it is true or not.  You begin to “fight” on the behalf of the poor Narcissist.  In your mind there is no doubt that the person they are speaking about is guilty of what they are being accused of.  You’ve heard enough “evidence” or people talking that you are now convinced.  Going and speaking with the smeared person never even occurs to you.  You’ve been warned about them.  They are a manipulative liar who is probably mentally ill.  Why would you ever trust anything they said?  The Narcissist has gone to great lengths (recruiting other flying monkey’s) and has portrayed himself as the smeared person (and the scapegoat as the dangerous person) therefore in you’re mind.. he is the victim.  But is he?  Is he getting therapy for what he’s gone through?  Is he in support groups now for Narcissistic and Sociopathic abuse?  Does he have PTSD or symptoms of it? OR is it the REAL victim that is?

There are never two sides to a story, there are subjective truths, the truth as God and God alone sees it and those who sit as judge and jury over another person.  Don’t be duped by the Narcissist or multiple ones.  By the way, they often are in FAMILY GROUPS. It is a trait that gets passed down or is learned.  Narcissists become friends with other Narcissists because they feed each other’s ego and stoke each other.  They move in packs and literally DESTROY a scapegoat or target’s life.  Flying Monkey’s are especially good at re-traumatizing the victim. They may tell the victim that they “need to forgive themselves” and further hurt the person who is innocent of what they are being accused of.

The Narcissist(s) ONE MISSION:  To look like the HERO and the VICTIM and to get other people so upset that EVERYONE Is attacking the scapegoat or target

Abuse By Proxy: From Smear Campaigns to 3rd-party Stalking and Abuse

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What do I do if I am being abused by a Narcissist or Sociopath?

The Smear Campaign has launched and/or your being emotionally abused

Here is an article that will greatly help you understand “No Contact” and why it is necessary for you.

Article: This is what it really means to go no contact with an Abusers

Grey Rock or Robot Mode

This is where we dim our light and go discreetly into the background

In going gray rock we seek to be as boring as a: ROCK!  This takes away any excitement from the game the Narcissist wants to play with us.  After all they love to live off of our highs and lows.  So if you need to stay in contact with your parent, ex or whomever try this!  I’ve inserted a link to an article that will describe this for you in greater detail.  How to use the gray rock method with a Narcissist

How can you help a Victim of Narcissistic Abuse?

Listen to the target’s story.  Encourage them to tell it.  They need someone who will listen and support them. Here is an article on how to support a victim of emotional abuse:

How you can help a victim of Narcissistic Abuse

About Me

Thank-you for visiting my site. My name is Jayme and I was in an unfortunate situation where I was the target of 3 people with cluster b personality disorders (the sociopath, malignant narcissist, and covert narcissist (pretend co-dependant).  Cluster B’s are often attracted to each other and you often will find them within a group.  I went through a smear campaign, I was heavily gaslighted, and psychologically and spiritually abused.  I developed what is now known as Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome.  As a result of the emotional and psychological torture I was subjected to I have become passionate in helping other victims claim a voice and bring awareness to covert aggressive manipulators and hidden abuse.  I believe I was chosen to go through what I went through so that I would become an advocate and voice for other victims of Narcissistic abuse and to bring awareness. You’re not crazy! You’re not alone.  Even though I have never met you – I BELIEVE YOU!

Another good article: The Art of Subtle Sabotage – how predators set up and disarm and destroy their victims

And Another good article: Understanding Why Narcissists Targeted YOU

Let’s bring awareness together!

Another great website to visit is #ifmywoundswerevisible Please print this brochure to spread awareness in your community regarding Narcissistic abuse. Narcissistic Abuse – An Evil Unseen Brochure

Full article:

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

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.

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 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…” 

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.

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!

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.

Lorena Moreno Davis

Full article:

10 Things To Keep In Mind When Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse: The process is long but well worth it.

Loving a narcissistic person is one of the easiest things to get sucked into but one of the hardest things to get out of or over. It is a constant process of beating yourself up with blame and self-destructive behaviors. It is taking everything they have ever said and done to you and defining yourself by it. It is looking in the mirror and no longer recognizing who you are and know that there is no love for yourself to be found. If you have already made the step to terminate the relationship, from here it only requires yourself and your ability to move on. Here are 10 things you need to keep in mind when recovering from narcissistic abuse:

1. Just because they always blamed you does not mean everything is your fault

A word often used when talking about narcissistic abuse is deflection. This is when someone is faced with the truth about who they are or something they have done to hurt another individual, and instead of owning up to it, they direct the blame onto the person telling the truth. When dealing with a narcissistic individual, this happens quite often and to the point where you genuinely feel like everything is your fault.

Nothing they did or said was your fault, they just cannot accept the truth about themselves. When moving on you have to remember that their inability to own up to who they are is more about them than it is you. It is time to release the burden of blame that you have been carrying for so long.

2. How you feel has always been and is always rational

One reason why you carry so much blame is because they have told you how you feel is not rational and that you are crazy. Everything you feel is real and rational, don’t belittle your feelings because they did for so long. You feel what you feel for a purpose, don’t ignore that because they turned your problem against you. You were and are the victim, don’t let them take that away from you.

3. Everything you do is good enough

Another reason you blame yourself is because they reminded you that nothing you do is good enough for them or for anyone. Stop thinking that. I know that is easier said than done but the only reason they blamed you is because they don’t know how to blame themselves.

4. You don’t always have to explain yourself

Something that you had to do for a long time was explaining yourself, and that is not always required of you. You don’t have to explain yourself to any or everyone out of the fear of being tormented if not. Just live your life and do what makes you happy without thinking that your every move needs an explanation. Just because your narcissistic abuser wanted you to explain yourself every time you did anything, doesn’t mean you have to anymore.

5. You are not the mean things that they called you

You are none of the names that they called you and it is going to be a process to love yourself again and know that, but you will get there. Just remind yourself every day that the what they called you was a reflection of how they saw themselves. Simple as that.

6. They cannot be fixed

Narcissists see nothing wrong with what they do or say, so helping them is nearly impossible and pointless. Your love cannot change them for they do not want to be changed or see no reason to change. Let that go.

7. Their lack of love for you does not define what you really deserve

Just because they couldn’t treat you right or love you in ways that you needed, doesn’t mean someone won’t. They were not the person for you and love does not destroy you. Narcissistic people have a good way of making us feel like they are the only ones that can love us and that they are the only ones who “know” us, which is not true. They don’t love you and they only know the you that they have chiseled you into. You are worthy of so much more than that.

8. You will have to move on without an apology

Getting an apology out of a narcissistic individual is like pulling teeth, and I am sorry. You are going to have to suck up the idea that you need closure to let go and move on. You are capable of moving on without an apology, but you have to give that to yourself. They will never be or feel sorry for the pain that they caused you and any time they say that they are sorry, remember, it is a mind game to manipulate you. Narcissists are hardly ever sorry.

9. Your memory is fine, they just have “Toxic Amnesia”

Toxic amnesia is when a “toxic” person pretends to not remember an event that happened or conversation that you two had. As unfortunate as this is, it does happen. It will lead the victim to believing that he/she is crazy or that there is something wrong with their memory. Well, your memory is fine.

10. And yes, it is normal to miss your narcissistic ex-lover

You are probably wondering how and why you miss someone who has destroyed your every being, which is completely normal. You have become unfragmented and no longer a part of who you once were to fit their every need, there are reasons why you would go back to the only person you think could ever love you. But remember that what they were giving you isn’t love and will never be love will always keep you moving forward.

Full article:

Who’s Afraid of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)?

If you ask mental health professionals which diagnostic classification they most dread, they won’t generally reply “schizophrenia,” or “bipolar,” or “drug abuse.” More often, they will respond with the disdainful (and amorphous) designation, “borderline.” Indeed, Borderline Personality Disorder frequently refers to demanding, unstable, and difficult individuals. They may idealize beyond measure those whom they will soon come to revile without reason. Lovers become hated. Disappointment slides into litigation. It sometimes seems that everyone’s first wife was a borderline!  Often, BPD becomes a diagnosis of countertransference–the label attributed to a patient who lacks the graciousness to get better, or who just aggravates the doctor.Recent research, however, defies the myths that BPD represents willful spoiled brattiness and never improves. Neurobiological and genetic information demonstrates that DNA vulnerability may combine with environmental circumstance to yield distinctive changes in brain function. In such individuals, those parts of the brain associated with impulsivity and emotionality may be overly stimulated. Specific and directed treatment approaches, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy among others, have resulted in marked improvement in functioning. Even without any treatment most BPD patients eventually improve significantly.Although the classic stereotype of BPD is the mutating character played by Glenn Close in the film “Fatal Attraction,” less malignant figures fulfill defining characteristics.  Biographers of Princess Diana  reveal that this beloved woman probably suffered from BPD.  Individuals with borderline traits can be attractive, talented people, who, over time, live full and contented lives.Jerold Kresiman MDFull article:

11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight(1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

People who gaslight typically use the following techniques:

1. They tell blatant lies.

You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.

You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.

They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.

4. They wear you down over time.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.

5. Their actions do not match their words.

When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.

This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.

7. They know confusion weakens people.

Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.

8. They project.

They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter’s own behavior.

9. They try to align people against you.

Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right,” or “This person knows you’re useless too.” Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it’s dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You’ve never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “correct” information—which isn’t correct information at all.

The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter’s trap.

Stephanie A. Sarkis PhD.

The full article can be found at this link:

Understanding the Mind of a Narcissist

Narcissists are not who they appear to be. They’re both easy and hard to love.

Despite having a seemingly strong personality, narcissists lack a core self. Their self-image and thinking and behavior are other-oriented in order to stabilize and validate their self-esteem and fragile, fragmented self.

The gods sentenced Narcissus to a life without human love. He fell in love with his own reflection in pool of water and died hungering for its response. Like Narcissus, narcissists only “love” themselves as reflected in the eyes of others. It’s a common misconception that they love themselves. They may actually dislike themselves immensely. Their inflated self-flattery, perfectionism, and arrogance are merely covers for the self-loathing they don’t admit — usually even to themselves. Instead, it’s projected outward in their disdain for and criticism of others. They’re too afraid to look at themselves, because they believe the truth would be devastating. Emotionally, they may be dead inside, and hungering to be filled and validated by others. Sadly, they’re unable to appreciate the love they do get and they alienate those who give it.

The Diagnosis

When we think of narcissists, we usually picture someone with an inflated ego — someone bossy and arrogant, who has to be right. To be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), the person must exhibit grandiosity (if only in fantasy) and lack of empathy, as exhibited by at least five of the following traits:

1 Has a grandiose sense of self-importance and exaggerates achievements and talents.

2Dreams of unlimited power, success, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

3 Believes he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions.

4 Requires excessive admiration.

5 Unreasonably expects special, favorable treatment or compliance with his or her wishes.

6 Exploits and takes advantage of others to achieve personal ends.

7 Lacks empathy for the feelings and needs of others.

8 Envies others or believes they’re envious of him or her.

9 Has arrogant behaviors or attitudes.

In addition to the grandiose “Exhibitionist Narcissist” described above, James Masterson identified “Closet Narcissists” — those with a deflated, inadequate self-perception, a sense of depression and inner emptiness. (They are also referred to as “Introverted Narcissists.”) They may appear shy, humble, or anxious, because their emotional investment is in the idealized other, which is indirectly gratifying (Masterson, 2004). “Malignant Narcissists” are the most pernicious and hostile type, enacting anti-social behavior. They can be cruel and vindictive when they feel threatened or don’t get what they want.

Early Beginnings

It’s hard to empathize with narcissists, but they didn’t choose to be that way. Their natural development was arrested, often due to faulty, early parenting. Some believe the cause lies in extreme closeness with an indulgent mother; others attribute it to parental harshness or criticalness. Although more research is required, twin studies revealed a 64-percent correlation of narcissistic behaviors, suggesting a genetic component (Livesley, Jang, Jackson, & Vernon, 1993).

Psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut observed that his narcissistic clients suffered from profound alienation, emptiness, powerlessness, and lack of meaning. Beneath a narcissistic façade, they lacked the sufficient internal structures to maintain cohesiveness, stability, and a positive self-image to provide a stable identity. Narcissists are uncertain of the boundaries between themselves and others and vacillate between dissociated states of self-inflation and inferiority. The self, divided by shame, is made up of the superior-acting, grandiose self and the inferior, devalued self. When the devalued self is in the inferior position, shame manifests by idealizing others. When the individual is in the superior position, defending against shame, the grandiose self aligns with the inner critic and devalues others through projection. Both this devaluation and idealization are commensurate with the severity of shame and the associated depression (Lancer, 2014).

Although most people fluctuate in these positions, exhibitionistic and closet narcissists are more or less static in their respective superior and inferior positions, irrespective of reality, making them pathological. Arrogance and contempt, envy, withdrawal, denial and repression (unconscious), aggression and rage, projection (blaming or accusing others of their own flaws or actions), self-pity (especially closet narcissists), and avoidance (e.g., addictive behaviors) are common defenses to shame (Lancer, 2014). Narcissists also defend against shame and fragmentation by feeling special through idealizing or identifying with special or important people.

A Relationship with a Narcissist

At home, narcissists are totally different than their public persona. They may privately denigrate the person they were just entertaining. After an initial romance, they expect appreciation of their specialness and specific responses through demands and criticism in order to manage their internal environment and protect against their high sensitivity to humiliation and shame. Relationships revolve around them, and they experience their mates as extensions of themselves.

Many narcissists are perfectionists.

Nothing that others do is right or appreciated. Their partners are expected to meet their endless needs — for admiration, service, love, or purchases — and are dismissed when they don’t. That their spouse is ill or in pain is inconsequential. Narcissists don’t like to hear “no” and often expect others to know their needs without having to ask. They manipulate to get their way and punish or make partners feel guilty for turning them down.

Trying to please the narcissist is thankless, like trying to fill a bottomless pit. They manage to find fault with your efforts or give back-handed compliments, so that you always feel one down. If they’re momentarily pleased, they’re soon disparaging or asking for more from you. They make their partners experience what it was like having had a cold, invasive, or unavailable narcissistic parent. Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat had just such an emotionally empty mother, who devotedly bonded with him to survive. The deprivation of real nurturing and a lack of boundaries make narcissists dependent on others to feed their insatiable need for validation.

Partners often doubt the narcissist’s sincerity and question whether it’s really manipulation, pretense, or a manufactured “as-if” personality. They feel tense and drained from unpredictable tantrums, attacks, false accusations, criticism, and unjustified indignation about small or imaginary slights. These partners also lack boundaries and absorb whatever is said about them as truth. In vain attempts to win approval and stay connected, they sacrifice their needs and walk on eggshells, fearful of displeasing the narcissist. They daily risk blame and punishment, love being withheld, or a rupture in the relationship. They worry what their spouses will think or do, and become as preoccupied with the narcissist as they are with themselves.

Partners have to fit into the narcissists’ cold world and get used to living with emotional abandonment. Soon, they begin to doubt themselves and lose confidence and self-worth. Communicating their disappointment gets twisted and is met with defensive blame or further put-downs. The narcissist can dish it out, but not take it. Nevertheless, many partners stay, because periodically the charm, excitement, and loving gestures that first enchanted them return, especially when the narcissist feels threatened that a breakup is imminent. When two narcissists get together, they fight over whose needs come first, blame and push each other away, yet are miserable needing each other.

Often in these relationships, narcissists are the distancers when more than sex is anticipated. Getting emotionally close means giving up power and control. The thought of being dependent is abhorrent. It not only limits their options and makes them feel weak, but also exposes them to rejection and feelings of shame, which they keep from consciousness at all costs (Lancer, 2014). Their anxious partners pursue them, unconsciously replaying emotional abandonment from their past. Underneath they both feel unlovable.

Darlene Lancer JD, LMFT

Full article: