Signs That You’ve Been Abused by a Narcissist



Do you recognize that you’re doubting yourself more than you ever have before?

Victims of narcissistic abuse often appear uncertain of themselves, constantly seeking clarification that they haven’t made a mistake or misheard something.

This reactive adaptation to narcissistic abuse is because the narcissist is ALWAYS finger pointing and shifting blame to YOU for ALL of the ups & downs both in the relationship AND in the narcissist’s personal psyche.
Because this relationship has NON EXISTENT boundaries, you will find YOURSELF constantly PUT UPON and FORCED to accept responsibility for things you didn’t do or say. This borrowed humiliation and shame is exactly what the narcissist intends for the victim to take from the narcissist. Their own unfelt core of shame.



Just refer to the above explanation of self doubt and boundary transgression if you want to understand the CONFUSION that is part and parcel of narcissistic abuse.

Daily boundary transgression and criss crossing of responsibility starts to wear on even the clearest minded of targets.
Suddenly you wake up and realize that all the realities and borders between yourself and others is not only BLURRED but MISSING.

It’s confusing to KNOW that you aren’t responsible for someone else’s behavior, thinking and feeling but to be CONSTANTLY SCOLDED for behaving, thinking and feeling as if you ARE.

It’s crazy-making and a narcissist purposefully causes this confusion. They know that a divided and conquered mind is their most vulnerable and susceptible target who won’t be able to identify that their confusion is caused by an abusive technique called ‘gaslighting’.

Gaslighting is a technique of psychological abuse used by narcissists to instill confusion and anxiety in their target to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment.  With gas lighting, the target initially notices that something happens that is odd, but they don’t believe it.  The target attempts to fight the manipulation, but are confused further by being called names or told that they’re: ‘Just Too sensitive’, ‘Crazy’, ‘Imagining things’ or the narcissist  flat out DENIES ever saying anything hurtful. Gradually, the target learns not to trust their own perceptions and begins doubting themselves.  Broken and unable to trust themselves, they isolate further. The target now doubts everything about themselves: their thoughts and opinions, their ideas and ideals. They become dependent on the narcissist for their reality.

For it is in your CONFUSION and acceptance of responsibility that belongs to the narcissist, that a narcissist is able to successfully CONTROL YOU and USE YOU as a scapegoat for their problems.


Every minute of every hour of every day of every year, a Narcissist, who has a DSM classifiable personality DISORDER (ie: not playing with a full deck) is PROJECTING their disorder onto those around them. If you don’t think that having a crazy person constantly blaming you for being “crazy” will make you crazy, I’d like to introduce you to a narcissist that will convince you otherwise.

This disorder isn’t a relationship gone wrong. This disorder isn’t kid stuff. It’s MALEVOLENT. It’s a transference of malevolence and MENTAL DISORDER from the person who has it to the person who DOESN’T.LOVE QUOTES (39)

Frankly, before a narcissist, I’ve not once in my life, FELT CRAZY. Neither have I ever been told by a psychologist and I’ve seen lots of them – that I had anything WRONG with MY own MENTAL HEALTH. Personally, I always had it “together”. I was resilient, mentally tough, and withstood many events in my life that would make others crumble.

Yet, when I unwittingly dated someone with this serious mental health malady, I wanted to slam an entire set of broken porcelain down his throat sideways and every obtuse moron that believes the garbage that comes out of his mouth. No, it’s not that I suddenly became a person interested in physical violence, I suddenly became a person who was witnessing a DSM category all wrapped up into a physical being – who turned his mental health problems ON Me. I became a target of a person with a problem. They say, “Hurt people, HURT people”. I say, “Narcissistic People DESTROY PEOPLE”.



All I could muster to the narcissist in my dear john letter when I broke up with him that wonderful New Year’s Eve, was “I DONT KNOW what’s WRONG!! But I just don’t feel like myself. Something feels EXTREMELY TOXIC and I don’t know why”…..This should be the alert when a victim of narcissistic abuse presents themselves to therapists. The inexplicable “complaint”.

My first visit to my therapist were those words exactly. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but It’s SERIOUS!” I felt it. I did – I felt BEWILDERED inside, but I could not articulate what it was. (another red flag for someone usually able to articulate every feeling and explanation about myself in-depth).How was it that after 43 years of explaining, analyzing and discussing my own deficiencies quite well, I could NOT for the life of me explain to my therapist what was so “wrong” with me that it was palpable. His answer, set me free, it really did. 


My therapist had some background with this person. He’d WITNESSED the narcissist calling me, berating me during sessions. I held the phone away during one session, so that my therapist could hear the narcissist on the other end questioning me about cheating, “Accusing me of having an affair with the therapist”.  Grilling me about what the therapist looked like and would speak to me like. He even accused the therapist of wanting me sexually and that was the reason the therapist spoke so lowly of the narcissist. (of course it couldn’t just be that the narcissist had a bad reputation and the community was on to him)

Sufferers report that their spark has gone out and, even years later, find they just cannot get motivated about anything.

Unaware that we’ve been living in a war zone with a tyrannical narcissist, we can’t quite grasp the words to articulate the abuse, yet at the same time, we VERY MUCH FEEL IT. We present ourselves to the mental health community, incapable of speaking about an abuse we yet know nothing about. Until that word, “NARCISSISTIC ABUSE” is given to us, we have NO IDEA that is what’s causing our pain. That’s why it’s SO IMPORTANT to get the word out there, what narcissists look like, their modus operandi, the words and phrases they use, so that when a victim of their abuse begins looking for answers, they quickly will be able to identify that they are involved with a narcissist.

In Narcissistic Victim Syndrome you are looking for a cluster of symptoms to emerge many are the symptoms of trauma (avoidance, loss of interest, feeling detached, sense of a limited future, sleeping or eating difficulties and nightmares, irritability, hyper-vigilance, easily startled, flashbacks, hopelessness, psychosomatic illnesses, self-harming, thoughts of suicide etc).Some victims develop Stockholm Syndrome and want to support, defend, and love the abuser despite what they have gone through.


Victims tend to ‘dissociate’ or detach from their emotions, body, or surroundings. Living in a war zone where all forms of power and control are used against you (intimidation; emotional, physical and mental abuse; isolation, economic abuse, sexual abuse, coercion, control etc), the threat of abuse is always present. Dissociation is an automatic coping mechanism against overwhelming stress.

dissociation 3

Symptoms of dissociation resulting from trauma may include depersonalization, (disconnecting your body awareness from your physical self) psychological numbing, disengaged from life and passions, or amnesia regarding the events of the abuse.

It has been hypothesized that dissociation may provide a temporarily effective defense mechanism in cases of severe trauma; however, in the long-term, dissociation is associated with decreased psychological functioning and adjustment.

Other symptoms sometimes found along with dissociation in victims of traumatic abuse (often referred to as “sequelae to abuse”) include anxiety, PTSD, low self-esteem, somatization, depression, chronic pain, interpersonal dysfunction, substance abuse, self-mutilation and suicidal ideation or actions. These symptoms may lead the victim to erroneously present the symptoms as the source of the problem.


Let’s face it. If I didn’t mention PTSD, or Complex PTSD, I would NOT be doing the topic of narcissistic abuse syndrome ANY justice.

Ptsd, in layman’s terms? From a fellow sufferer? A Cerebral anxiety attack that makes your whole body come alive with PALPABLE FEAR. The rapid heart beat, the intrusive and spinning thoughts and fears – just like the abuse is CURRENTLY HAPPENING SEQUENTIALLY ALL OVER AGAIN. This is called RE-LIVING.  It’s as if the traumatic abuse event is occurring in the present tense. All the emotions of fear, shame, shrinking, wincing, looking over your shoulder & walking on eggshells waiting to be attacked ruthlessly AGAIN.     ptsd

Physical numbness –

(toes, fingertips, lips) is common, as is emotional numbness (especially inability to feel joy).

Avoidance –

of places, sounds, tastes, and songs that remind them of their abuser or the abuse. Intense feelings of anxiety even in anticipation of having to revisit the memories.

Memory Loss – Almost all targets report impaired memory. Partially due to conscious avoidance as well as from the damage done to the hippocampus, an area of the brain linked to learning and memory.

Need for solitude / tendency to isolate
We’re EXHAUSTED after narcissistic abuse. Feelings of withdrawal and isolation are common; we just want to be in our own head for a while, find our own answers; thus, solitude is sought.

Lack of Joy and Hope
Inability to feel joy (anhedonia) and deadening of loving feelings towards others are commonly reported. One fears never being able to feel love or trust again.

The target becomes very gloomy and senses a foreshortened future sometimes with justification. Many targets ultimately have severe psychiatric injury, severely impaired health and/or stress related illnesses.

Melatonin became my new best friend after narcissistic abuse. The nightmares and night terrors can be overwhelming that good restorative sleep becomes impossible.  Napping became my new favorite passion.

Sleep becomes almost impossible, despite the constant fatigue; such sleep as is obtained tends to be unsatisfying, unrefreshing and non-restorative. On waking, the person often feels more tired than when they went to bed. Depressive feelings arrive very early in the morning, making falling back to sleep an impossibility.  Feelings of vulnerability and loneliness may be heightened overnight.

Anxiousness, Guilt & Disturbing thoughts – 

Targets have an extremely short fuse and are easily irritated. The person frequently experiences obsessive visions of violence happening to the narcissist  hoping for an accident for, or murdering the narcissist; the resultant feelings of guilt further limit progress in healing.

Fight or Flight Response – 

With your system on alert for ever-present danger in the environment it’s easy to react sensitively to sudden changes – causing the startle response.

Awareness of symptoms – 

It’s very harrowing to realize that you are different from you were before the narcissist; FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT. When you are very aware that PTSD has replaced the narcissist, it emotionally drains the target of any hope for being PERMANENTLY NARCISSISTIC FREE. We don’t want to be constantly reminded and aware of the person we escaped. We want to live freely, however symptoms, are a constant reminder that we DON’T.

Posted on December 1, 2013, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 570 Comments.

  1. Married to a sociopath 15 yrs. his mom is a narcissist. My son, hard as I tried to save him, is now a narcissist. My daughter has borderline personality disorder. Talk about crazy making! I’m now free for 15 yrs, but never really free. Just trying to go on but finding it hard to trust anyone at all. I still get triggered here and there. I don’t date, I’m often still numb and so so sad. I gave them the best years of my life. Many years of therapy-some didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. Found 1 good therapist but she betrayed my trust after 5 yrs so now I read, and read and read.


  2. For many years I tried to understand what happened to me, alone, helpless… I live in Brazil and noone here knows what it is all about. I had to research myself for an answer and I found many things in English. Until now noone believes me. Not even psychologists understand what they call a “drama” I should overcome, and that’s all for them, as well as for my family. I am alone with something unknown so far, but I am sure, one day it will be broadcasted and victims like me will no longer be underestimated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i cried happy you guy got out


  4. I ca barel rember my name I am greatful n gtte to the pint tat i can type If ter is d out there please i can not remeberi have no i cabt hink i am fight=ing like hel i am not on drugs i was alone for severa years tied up beaten urt i cant wak jus plea dr tell me how help please i saurvived


  5. I am going through this now. It’s all a horrible horrible feeling. I can’t get comfortable. I feel fear. Tho I never felt like my ex would physically harm me. I still have this fear inside and anxiety. Feelings over overwhelmed. I want it to go away. I want all this away. I want to feel normal again. I want to forget all the things he said and did. I will not let him ruin my future. I want to heal.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Im haveing or should i say i was haveing a hard time letting go of my toxic boyfriend of whom i just learned is a narcissist. For the past 5yrs iv been fighting, and defending myself, trying to make this man who sayes he loves me see that im not the lieing, cheating person he thinks i am. He has not made me think im crazy, but accuses me of trying to make him think hes crazy. My god he has said hes heard men in the background of phone calls. I had a hard time hanging up after a phone call so he would never hang up instead sit and lusten. Hes said hes heard me having sex, asking if some guy wanted to have sex, he sat one time for an HOUR, i was at home, alone, getting ready to go to his house, and he told me he heard me talking to a man. This past year is the worst its ever been. I finally realized its not me and i cant fix him it was time for me to go. It hurts badly cuz i do love him, but i love me too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been dealing with a narcissistic mother in law for 10 long years. She’s an absolute nightmare. I know hate is a strong word but I genuinely hate the woman. She’s constantly talking too loud, lying for no reason other than pure manipulation, and making insults about everyone behind their backs (including her own parents, siblings, and children). No one is off limits. If she’s ever seen you, heard of you, or smelled your perfume in the air she’s said something bad about you behind your back. Her favorite thing to do is to try and convince you that she didn’t say something you clearly heard her say. Or she’ll not say anything at all and then try and convince you that she did. 99.9% of the things that she says are well calculated lies. She literally says something negative about EVERYONE when they leave the room…and when they come back she switches back to being their friend quicker than you can flip a light switch. I feel like I’m the only one aware that she’s a complete psychopath, although I frequently hear people say that she’s selfish. And she’s even commented about people saying it in her usual, fake “I’m so innocent” voice. I think people are scared of her because when she’s insulted/mad she acts like a two year old child throwing a damn temper tantrum, insanely belligerent like a drunk. I’m sure that’s why she can’t hold down a solid romantic relationship. After years of dealing with her, I’ve started documenting her behavior. She never keeps friends long and is always bragging about how she’s “just using” certain people for the time being. The only time she contacts me is to ask about my husband or be nosy about things he doesn’t tell her on purpose. “FYI, anything you tell her or she does for you will be used against you later,” he says. He suggested that I lie to her like he does and that’s what I do. She acts as if the world revolves around her, never taking anyone else’s feelings, time, or personal space into consideration. In other words, she’s the devil himself. She lacks emotion, and stares at people like a night hawk, barely blinking. The only thing she does is this weird, obviously fake laugh. It sounds like a car that won’t start.

    I’m completely sick of trying to keep the peace with that negative, inmature woman.

    I dont know what to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I never even knew this was a thing. I’ve been married just shy of 3 months and I’m in hell. Every sign stated here is what I face. I love my husband, despite his downfalls but I’ve come to realize that it’s impossible to try to save anything using reasonable methods like talking or reasoning. What I want to understand is this: is it possible to treat this? I live in a small town and if nothing else would like to seek therapy for myself to try to start rebuilding myself, though those therapists are few and far between here. But it devastates me to just “give up” on him.


  9. 6 out of 6 for me during my 29 + years working with PhD chemists at EMN (ECC) in Kingsport Tennessee. Verbal, mental, physical abuse was there on and on while I worked with certain people. And here they are, just to name the most guilty over my 29 + years: Mike Edwards, Cathy Dorco, Mike Palmer, Leroy Gott, Tom Smith, Chris Killian, Peter Mackenzie, Tim Dawsey, Clay Pearson, David Kashdan, Dr. Hebba (Medical Dr. from unknown college & unknown degree), Dan Bolton, Nancy Kinkade; Mark Stewart, Ron Sheppard, Shawn Daughter, and a few other current and former backstabbing lying Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport Tennessee leadership employees. Karma is a patient pursuit of pleasure.


  10. To all those who have made comments here and to those who will read this page in the future, my heart goes out to you. My expertise on the subject has been developed not only as a clinician but on a personal level. I was in love with a narcissist and have a young son with her. I hope I am not breaking any rules for this blog by making you aware of my article on the subject here Given some of the comments above I feel it may be of use and comfort. My love and blessings to you all and especially Ana for raising awareness of this subject.


  11. Does anyone know a good therapist in plano texas that can help victims of this type Abuse as well as unresolved childhood trauma? Please send any suggestions or any help to my e mail address


  12. I was a happy confident lady when this NARC walked into my life two years ago . I had moved by myself to Spain and really loved the life …then in walked the narc …he told me he had major trust issues ( I should have run then ) one by one all my friend’s and family were alienated it didn’t even matter if they lived in another country , there could only be him only he loved me … I’ve been beaten ..stolen from ..made to lie to people I love and I had horrible thoughts because he was never going to leave me …I knew finally it was me or him ..I took out a restraining order within 20 mins he had broken it and I fell once again ( he is fluent in Spanish I’m not ) finally a friend was at my house and saw him abusing me and called the police …he is locked in prison until we go to trial on the 25th April in Malaga … I’m so frightened I can’t afford legal help and he knows how to play the Spanish system …I have nightmares every night ..what if they let him go ?…


  13. Shawn LaGrandeur

    I have been in treatment for 2 years and this week we came up with narcissistic abuse . My dad my mom and my brother all abused me in this way . Reading this confirms it all , I always thought I was crazy and once you start to let them make you doubt who you are they got you . I have PTSD and this abuse lead to a life of crime and violence. I scared myself with my temper . I see how I’ve been manipulated now and have distanced myself from these people . I experienced everything in this article and then some , I completely fell apart in November couldn’t figure out what it was but it all came down to the abuse , I always felt it and would say things as a kid and get in a lot of trouble. I was thrown out over and over as a kid knowing this is real and your not making this up and getting the help to heal and get past it is where I’m at now

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 11 years with narc ex. maybe you get over this awful experience in dog years. every symptom spot on. i grew up with him and it was like he was all i knew. my everything as soon as i gave birth the monster was unleashed.
    After 4 years my daughter and i have one no contact for the second time, i pray for the women that get roped in as easily as i have been .
    the mornings are the worse, i chain smoke with the anxiety. however am only 29 and my daughter is young enough not to be too impacted IF i manage to stay away from the Hoovering!!!! each time it gets easier.
    recently he has been hospitalized, knocked teeth out broke femur. lapping up the attention from the adoring fans! KARMA does come its slow
    i didnt even realise i had been re-hoovered by this complete wally!
    iscolation eventaully becomes solitude depression becomes deep- rest, meditation, nature, breathing, sage, crystals, serotonin, smiling, cuddling children and pets
    ❤ so much love to all who have been suffering this awful infection taking over the planet. keep the faith and the grace earth angels.. Grace ❤


  15. I am.currently experiencing a lot of numbness of feelings , i kmow I stsrted shutting my feelings off while with him to protect myself from his psychogical abuse, now im trying to feel again.

    Liked by 2 people

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