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.”
Related: The Narcissist’s Cycle Of Abuse
The term syndrome is derived from the Greek word “syn”, meaning together, and “dramein”, meaning to run. Hence, the word syndrome refers to correlated symptoms which run together and are associated with a certain physical or mental disorder or condition. Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome or Narcissistic Victim Syndrome is a set of symptoms caused by spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical abuse by a narcissist.
Christine Louis de Canonville, a psychotherapist and author of the book The Three Faces of Evil: Unmasking the Full Spectrum of Narcissistic Abuse, explains “In order to be able to diagnose a client suffering with Narcissistic Victim Syndrome, the therapist needs to be able to gather together the signs and symptoms and access the client’s psychological make-up as their story unfolds.” This will help the therapist to understand if you are actually suffering from NAS or a milder form of abuse that has affected your mental well-being.
Coping with Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
One of the first steps of dealing with this condition is identifying that you are actually suffering from Narcissistic Victim Syndrome. Validating the reality of your situation is essential despite your narcissist trying to gaslight you and make you doubt yourself. As most victims of narcissists are programmed and conditioned, they often fail to realize that they are experiencing abuse. Hence, it appears like you are willingly subjecting yourself to narcissistic abuse.
“Of course, this is far from the truth,” writes author Christine Louis de Canonville. Most victims are unconscious of the mind games and emotional manipulations that occur in narcissistic relationships. “This ignorance leaves them open to the danger of forming another dangerous liaison and being victimized yet again,” adds Christine.
This is why it is imperative that you identify the signs of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome before it leaves a lasting effect on your emotional and physical well-being. If your loved ones are doubting you or if you feel isolated, then it is crucial that you seek professional help immediately.
Talking to a therapist can help you better understand how the abuse is affecting you and what you can do to heal yourself – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Going for therapy is the first step towards recovery. Therapy can help you set healthy boundaries, rebuild your self-esteem and confidence, and help you relieve your mental health symptoms.
Related: How To Handle Narcissistic Abuse