What is Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome or Narcissistic Victim Syndrome? Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome (NAS) is a term that describes the psychological effects of abuse by someone with narcissistic personality disorder.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) currently does not recognize NAS. However, the condition shares many similarities with other disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome develops as a result of the chronic exposure to emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, or any other form of maltreatment by a narcissist. The effects of this type of abuse can be both physical and psychological.
NAS can develop in any relationship in which the person with narcissistic personality disorder chronically puts their own needs before those of their partner and victimizes them. The most common symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome are feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, and betrayal.
In this blog post, I will discuss the symptoms of NAS, when and how to get help, and ways to heal from this syndrome.
The most common symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome are:
Feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, and betrayal – the narcissist makes their victim feel like they are never good enough and that they do not deserve love or respect.
Anxiety and depression – the victim is constantly walking on egg shells around the narcissist, which seriously damages their peace of mind and as a result, their mental health.
Insomnia – the victim keeps ruminating and worrying about the events of the day, which makes it difficult for them to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Nightmares and flashbacks – the victim may relive the abuse in their dreams or have intrusive thoughts about the abuse during the day.
Dissociation and numbing – the victim may dissociate from their body or numb out emotionally in order to cope with the pain of the abuse.
Conflicted feelings – the victim may feel both drawn to the narcissist and repulsed by them at the same time. This results in total confusion, which exacerbates their anxiety and depression.
Guilt – the victim may feel guilty for not being able to make the narcissist happy or for ‘provoking’ their abuse.
PTSD or CPTSD – the victim may develop post-traumatic stress disorder or complex post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the abuse.
When & How to Get Help for NAS
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome, it is important to get help from a qualified therapist. Therapy can provide you with support and tools to help you heal from the effects of the abuse.
There are also support groups available for people who have been affected by narcissistic abuse. These groups can provide a safe place to share your experiences and connect with others who understand what you are going through.
Healing from Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
The first step in healing from Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome is to seek professional help. Therapy can provide you with support and tools to help you heal from the effects of the abuse. The most common type of therapy in such situations is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT can help you to:
- Understand the patterns of abuse and learn how to recognise them
- Challenge the negative beliefs that have been created by the abuse
- Develop healthy coping mechanisms
- Create a support network
In addition to therapy, it is also possible that you will be referred to a psychiatrist who will prescribe medication to help with the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
There are also a number of self-care practices that can be helpful in healing from NAS. These self-care practices include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting enough sleep
- Practicing meditation or mindfulness
- Spending time in nature
- Connecting with supportive friends and family members
- Doing something creative or enjoyable every day
If you are affected by narcissistic abuse, know that you are not alone. There are many people who have been through similarly traumatic experiences at the hands of narcissists, but who then went on to live happy and fulfilled lives. With the right support, you can heal from this experience and create a life that is even better than you ever thought possible.