In 2004 the Medical News Today published an article on the then little known fallout of those who have survived a narcissistic relationship. It outlined to all physicians what to look for when faced with seeing patients that really had no clear symptoms as to why they were feeling the emotional turmoil that they presented.
The problem was then what to do about this increasing number of people presenting this and why it was only now becoming such an issue.
The problems from surviving a narcissist have always been there, it just wasn’t acknowledged as it should have been.
So many survivors were diagnosed with depression, handed a prescription and that was as far as any support went.
While narcissism itself has been a diagnosis in the DSM – IV, psychiatry’s complete reference, there is little to nothing that has been written in the medical literature surrounding those who live with the narcissist – and the torturous lives they live. And there are many of them out there.
Narcissism is a broad spectrum of behaviors. On a scale of 1 – 10, Healthy Narcissism is a one, and Pathological Narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, (NPD) is a 10.
So now they have established there is now a very real trend of survivors needing better support than has been given in the past, how to approach that was another matter.
A narcissist uses their powerful manipulative behaviors and language to control their partner’s thoughts, mind, and will. They do this to make themselves feel powerful and influential. With little regard for their victim’s well-being or needs, a narcissist seeks to control their partner and get them to question their own existence and value. For those who have been in a relationship with a narcissist or someone who meets the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), the effects of this relationship are long lasting and potentially crippling.
Those who suffer from narcissist victim syndrome (NVS) are often disconnected from their own mental anguish and emotional pain as a result of conditioning by the narcissist. They believe that they are the direct cause of the narcissist’s pain and misery. Reality has been distorted by the narcissist’s constant demands or expectations.
Using a variety of techniques, a narcissist will victimize his or her partner by using language designed to:
Make their partner idealize them
Fixate on their own faults and mistakes
Ignore the narcissist’s actions or make excuses for the narcissist’s behavior
Give in to the desires and wants of the narcissist
Feel abandoned and worthless
Breed mistrust of anyone but the narcissist
Question their sanity, their emotions and their own value
Disconnect from their personal needs and wants
Doubt their own abilities and contributions
Many victims of NVS exhibit symptoms similar to those who have post-traumatic stress disorder.
These symptoms include:
Flashbacks or nightmares
Negative thoughts or feelings towards themselves and the world around them
Isolation or detachment from friends or family
Avoidance of situations or people
Physical or emotional reactions to a reminder of the person
Surviving narcissistic abuse can leave the victim with many negative thoughts and feelings about themselves to overcome.
The narcissist will exhibit no remorse for hurting or exploiting their previous partner. Inflicting pain and self-doubt is the only way a narcissist can feel in control. To a narcissist, exhibiting remorse or empathy is a sign of weakness.
Victims of NVS should never expect the narcissist to admit to their behaviors or apologize for the treatment they inflicted during the relationship.
Healing the damage from being in a narcissistic relationship can take years. Many victims never recover from the abuse and are left with permanent emotional or psychological scars.
Those who have endured prolonged abuse by a narcissist may find themselves co-dependent on the mistreatment from the narcissist and live in a fog where the mistreatment seems like a reasonable, healthy expression of love.
Overcoming NVS is difficult. Combining powerful alternative treatments like EMDR and Talk-Therapy (CBT) has shown to have positive impacts on dealing with the aftermath left behind from the narcissist.
If you believe you could be suffering from NVS seek help from your doctor as the first step to recovery, and if they are not responsive quote to them the Medical News Today article where it is strongly telling all physicians to step up their game and know this syndrome is very real and needs to be treated just like any other illness.