7. You feel restless
One of the clear signs of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome is that you feel unsettled and restless persistently. Narcissistic abuse is unpredictable with periods of love bombing and exploitation occurring either alternatively or even simultaneously. This can put you in a state of constant alert as you feel you are walking on eggshells. You never know when your narcissist will love you or when they insult you. This can result in high levels of stress and anxiety affecting your mental health in the long run. “You become perpetually anxious about ‘provoking’ your abuser in any way and may avoid confrontation or setting boundaries as a result,” writes Shahida Arabi.
8. You fail to set any boundaries
Narcissists have no respect for your personal boundaries. They will continually ignore or challenge any healthy boundaries or limits you try to establish. The more you try to hold on to your boundaries the more they will manipulate or abuse you until you feel compelled to put down your guards and give in to their demands. They may even keep exploiting your boundaries once the relationship is over by pulling you into their trap once again. This is known as hoovering.
9. You engage in self-destruction
People suffering with Narcissistic Victim Syndrome are highly prone to excessive rumination and negative self-talk which can lead to self-destructing and self-sabotaging tendencies. Victims of malignant narcissists are often conditioned and programmed to engage in self-destructive behavior which can even lead to self-harm and suicidal attempts. You may end up sabotaging your education, career and life goals. Shahida adds “Due to the narcissist’s covert and overt put-downs, verbal abuse and hypercriticism, victims develop a tendency to punish themselves because they carry such toxic shame.”
10. You struggle with health issues
Your psychological and emotional pain may manifest itself through physical and somatic symptoms. Victims of narcissistic abuse experience severe stress, anxiety and depression that can adversely affect their health. If you are experiencing Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome, then you may experience certain physical health issues like weight gain or loss, insomnia, premature aging etc. You may also suffer from certain physical ailments and diseases that you have never experienced before. You may also become vulnerable to alcohol and other substance abuse as you desperately try to cope with the abuse and trauma.
What triggers Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
If you have a narcissistic partner, then they may use emotional manipulation and abuse to create unhealthy attachments and trauma bonds so that it is nearly impossible for you to leave them. They get you addicted to trauma bonding by abusing you for a certain period of time and then love bombing you for a subsequent period of time. This makes you long for your narcissistic abuser even after the relationship is over, irrespective of how abusive they were. As you become codependent on your partner, they will continue to destroy your sense of self and self-esteem unless they gain complete control over you. “While victims of Narcissists are generally codependents, most have no idea how they got in this situation, because in the early stages of the relationship the Narcissistic person can be the most charming,” explains author Mary Jo Fay. NAS is usually triggered by –
- Mental, emotional and spiritual abuse
- Smear campaigns
- False narrative
- Baiting and bashing
- Circular or distortion of conversations
- Exploitative mind games
- Disguised or hidden abuse
- False accusations and diversion
- Omission of facts
Is NAS a genuine medical diagnosis?
Although narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is identified by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome is not recognized as a medical condition. Moreover, there is little credible literature on the condition and the effects of narcissistic behaviors on the mental health of people who live or work with such toxic, abusive narcissists. However, many therapists believe that this syndrome should be clinically recognized. Healthline explains “While it’s not a recognized mental health condition, many experts acknowledge narcissistic abuse can have a serious, long-lasting impact on emotional health.”
Read also: The Narcissist’s Cycle Of Abuse