• You feel hopeless and joyless:
What had once seemed like heaven has now turned into a hell. There is no peace or joy in this place, just fear and suppression. Life loses all hope, as if the light has been turned off. All that remains is the deep black cloud of depression. And the victim is forced to live in a state of acquiescence in order to survive. Their perceptions of reality are continually undermined by the gaslighting sham, so they end up losing confidence in their intuition, memory, or reasoning powers. They are spun lies, lies that tell them that they are over-sensitive, imagining, unreasonable, irrational, over-reacting, and that they have no right to be upset. Hearing this time and time again, their reality is turned inside out, and they begin to believe that this may all be true.
The narcissist’s form of psychological abuse has managed to instill in their victim an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. In this state they are truly a hostage. However, many manage to get the courage to break free, but this is usually after several painful attempts. But when they do finally escape, in time they may find their way to your therapy room. Your job is to not just do the recovery work with them, but also to educate them about the traits and effects of narcissistic abuse. That way you give them back their reality and power, and they will be in a position to be able to recognize the narcissist at work, and be equip to guard themselves against further re-victimization. Don’t underestimate the power of recovery of these people; the fact that they have survived such extreme abuse is testament to their strength and determination. I never fail to be amazed at the resilience of the human spirit.
How to recognize Narcissistic Victim Syndrome:
Every therapist has had their share of clients suffering with emotional problems such as distress, anxiety, depression, weight problems, panic attacks, self-harming behaviors, and suicide. And as we have seen, many of these clients are overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, shame, doom and gloom, and feelings of hopelessness. However, until recently there was very little research done to diagnose why anybody would be suffering from these types of symptoms, especially when they were presented in a cluster of symptoms such as those mentioned above. It is vital for a therapist to be able to distinguish between domestic abuse and narcissistic victim syndrome. Although there are similarities between all abuse, it is important to realize that there are also huge differences between the degree of abuse the victim of a narcissist has suffered. These victims experience abuse on every level of the self, the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. A great many suffer from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Stockholm Syndrome, Infantile Regression, Soul Rape, and other symptoms that need to be attended to.
Researchers were baffled as to why so many clients coming from the general public were presenting themselves in therapy with such a wide cluster of symptoms being present. They began to ask questions, such as “What have these clients got in common, and what is the cause of such distress?” To add to the conundrum, these clients were also showing signs of emotional and psychological trauma, which every therapist knows is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter a person’s sense of security, making them feel helpless and vulnerable. However, these clients did not report having knowledge of being through a trauma of such magnitude. It was through researchers, and the asking of questions specifically aimed at finding out what was happening in these clients environment that finally a solution was found. The data revealed that the people who are presenting with these cluster of symptoms did in fact have one thing in common, they were all victims of narcissistic abuse somewhere in their lives, especially as children (usually a narcissistic parent, or significant other).