How The Trauma of Narcissistic Abuse Changes Our World Views







The word  “Trauma” is derived from the Greek term meaning “wound.” When targets encounter relationships with narcissists, what takes place is a human wound & trauma. When a person is wounded, there requires a time of healing; however scarring is often a result.

During times of psychic trauma, our belief that we are invulnerable to harm becomes shattered. Our defense mechanisms break down and we suddenly can’t function the way we used to. We begin to feel inadequate for not having the ability to process the trauma in a short time. Subsequent emotional arousal can reawaken the narc abuse experience that we feel the emotions all over again and realize that there’s an ongoing attack on those defense mechanisms; we’re attacked both within and without. The trauma of narcissistic abuse collapses our worldview and assumptions about life in one full blow.

Our assumptions about how we think life should operate act as boundaries around our reality. Inside these boundaries, we place all our deepest hopes, expectations, fears, dreams, ideals, thoughts and definitions of what makes life safe and meaningful. We can easily see ourselves in this wonderful, serene portrait, known as our life.  Narcissistic Abuse breaks that picture. Like a beautiful portrait falling to the floor, suddenly the frame surrounding our beautiful portrait of reality, is laying before us shattered in pieces.

If we have the belief that honesty is a virtue, justice is fair, and people are basically good, then our world view would be if not naive, a world view that we are safe and protected from the opposite of those virtues: Evil, unfairness, lies, betrayal and injustice. That is until we meet a narcissist. The tragedy is, that we will come to know firsthand, all the things we didn’t want to believe existed. Tragedy challenges and shatters our long held beliefs. That’s what makes the narc abuser so damaging. When something so far outside the range of our experiences happens to us, it throws us for a loop.

The Assumptions that are shattered from Narcissistic Abuse are:

We live a life possibly over estimating the likelihood that we won’t meet with devastation or peril especially at the hands of someone who says they Love us. Most of us believe that humans are basically good, honest and not going to purposefully cause us harm. When the narcissist acts out against us, either by lying, cheating on us, using us, causing financial ruin, criminal harm, physically abusing us, or other forms of their abuse, they are sending the message to us that the world as we know it, no longer feels safe. We now know that evil, unsafe people exist in the world we live. Invulnerability says, “That won’t happen to me.” We watch TV shows such as “Who The Bleep Did I Marry” and think, how could that person not know they were marrying a fraud. We feel safe in our living rooms, sitting back in our arm chairs exclaiming that we are somehow immune from the interpersonal dangers that harm others. The narcissist comes along, pulls the wool over our eyes, loots our minds and bodies while we “aren’t looking” and leaves us without resources, scrambling to make sense of what happened. When we’re wounded this way, we feel victimized. That victimization leaves us feeling vulnerable. Our close relationships become a place we no longer feel safe in. We aren’t prepared for the effect that narc abuse has on all our relationships. We suddenly realize we don’t trust ANYONE.

Television shows depict crime shows that wrap up in an hour, with a beginning, middle and end that allow us as the viewer to carry the belief that trauma and tragedy come wrapped in a package that looks time limited and easily healed. When vulnerability follows us around everyday after narc abuse, it’s somewhat difficult to face the reality that our world view has been permanently altered and our lives are lived with a heightened sense of vulnerability.

This assumption is visible in our belief that things that happen in life have a rhyme and reason to them. Life makes sense to us, has meaning and is logical. The idea that we believe that people who say they love us, behave in a predictable, loving manner towards us that is evidenced in their actions toward us. When narcissists and their behavior have a traumatic impact on our lives, they become a puzzle piece that doesn’t fit.

The more we try to make sense of the trauma the more incomprehensible and monstrous the event becomes. Narcissists defy our logic. They act in ways we can’t. They lack things that we believe all human beings possess; like a conscience. The assumption that all things make sense and are understandable is deeply rooted in the human psyche. We are rational beings who reason, analyze and need order; its what differentiates us from animals. When the trauma of narcissistic abuse hits us, our rationality becomes a curse.

Homosapien is latin for “Thinking man”. Normal human beings cannot fathom the animal like approach that narcissists show towards their own kind. They’re a cold, detached, calculated predator of their fellow man. This is not something we rationally believe is true. The meaninglessness of narcissistic abuse drives us into despair. We know what the narcissist did to us was not necessary, it was pure overkill, they exacted a plan against us with such hatred towards us that we can’t comprehend.

We are rational beings. When we seek to find the reason to explain why narcissists abuse us, no meaning is found; the traumatic blow is heightened which can cause us to seek unhealthy forms of coping through  various types of escapism (Alcohol, Drugs, shopping, eating, sex, etc.).  How many of these activities we choose is evidence of the degree that our assumption of Rationality was shattered.

We must find ways to pull ourselves together to reintegrate our shattered world view of rationality. I think that this is why it’s so important to educate ourselves about narcissistic personality disorder. Once we know the reason that the narcissist behaved towards us why they did, it goes a LONG WAY towards rebuilding our sense of order, predictability and safety in our lives.

Just as we expect our world to be orderly and make sense, we also have the expectation that the world is just and fair. We expect good guys to be rewarded and bad guys to go to jail.   Our expectation that life is fair towards us is the primary assumption that frames our reality. It makes no sense to us when we face unwarranted, irrational and undeserved mental /emotional torture by a narcissist. Narcissistic abuse is an unjust intrusion into our happy, loving lives. As we suffer, our human spirit rages in torment over the abuse. This event can cause many of faith, to challenge their belief about God’s presence amidst the tragedy, questioning why God has seemingly left us alone.

For many of us, the trauma produces a second crisis: a crisis of our own faith. If our assumptions haven’t been challenged to this degree formerly, it can be a rather catastrophic event to be exposed to the inhumane treatment of a narcissist.


When the bombs of life hit us, our worldview is shattered. Our assumption of a fair world run by a benevolent deity is brought into direct conflict with the hell of our pain. Experiencing extreme pain affects how we view ourselves. The picture of the beautiful, happy loving world we used to live in, involved our own part of that picture. We all carry pictures of ourselves in our heads. Most of us have the belief that we are capable to wake up in the morning, shower, get ourselves dressed and proceed throughout our day making our living. The trauma of victimization changes all this. We seriously question ourselves after a narcissist victimizes us. Are we weak? Are we needy? How did we not see them for who they were? Weren’t we intelligent? How did we not pick up on the lies? Are we out of control? It makes no sense to us when we face unwarranted, irrational and undeserved mental /emotional torture by a narcissist.

The victimization of us was neither expected nor intended to be our choice. We did not want to be lied to, cheated, cheated on, stolen from, lied about, sold down the river and thrown away. We did NOT see this coming. We perceive ourselves as helpless and powerless. Our self perceptions change. Will we now always be victimized in relationships? Will we be singled out again? These new self perceptions can cause us to act out again, from this perception; becoming another victim to a narcissist.

Psychic trauma is the collapse of the structure of self resulting from a catastrophic human experience and a resultant chaotic response. We must be careful to deal with the issue of self perception after narcissistic abuse in order to prevent this. We were victimized, we are NOT a victim. We have choices. We are responsible. That is why we are learning two important fundamentals of identity after narcissistic abuse:  Who the narcissist is, and who we are. Two very distinct people capable of two very distinct types of behavior towards others. Pathologically hateful vs mutually loving. (We fear we’ve become like the narcissist as we grapple with our own feelings of intense hate towards our abuser)

After narcissistic abuse, our sense of wholeness and integration has been lost. We no longer see how our life fits into the larger world with significance, meaning and purpose.  Who we were in the world was lost. Not only was the frame around the picture broken, but the picture itself has been destroyed.  We look into the frame and see nothing. We’ve lost our bearings, our boundaries, our sense of who we are. This loss is devastating. Not to know who we are, when our lives are collapsing around us is almost as painful as the abuse itself.

The coup de gras of narcissistic abuse is that final horrible realization that not only have we been cheated on, lied to, abused, and left hung out to dry, but that the rules that defined who we previously were, no longer exist and no longer operate in our lives. It’s what I believe creates the “walking dead” effect of this abuse. The final blow is how we’re left an empty shell, no longer ourselves.

Ultimately each of these worldview assumptions need to be transformed into new operational plans for our future. It takes a tremendous amount of time, reforming our identities. The time spent is worth it when we consider that our new view incorporates the reality that evil people like the narcissist really do exist in life, that they are a human predator who is a danger in relationships and should be avoided at all costs. It doesn’t mean all people will be harmful to us in our future, but it does allow us to quickly assess the presence of sociopathic traits in those around us and to avoid them like the plague.


Posted on June 8, 2014, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 91 Comments.

  1. Schneider is extremely prejudiced against women in his court. I would like to speak with you more. Maybe together we can do something?


  2. Very helpful article!


  3. I am simply astounded by how accurate this description is of the turmoil of the aftermath of a relationship with an NPD is. It was such a confusing time I was at a loss for words to describe it to other people. For the longest time, I just pretended that I wasn’t confused so that other people would treat me normally, but eventually I came to accept that nothing would ever be the same again. I’m writing this 15 years after the end of that relationship and a part of me still doesn’t believe that it happened. When I told other people (including therapists) the story, they immediately jumped to: “Nobody is like that, the problem must be with you. Are you on drugs?” Recovery is going to take the rest of my life. While most NPD are men, there are NPD women too and kind, gentle men are their target.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very nice article. Thank you. I would like to offer a correction though in the second last paragraph: the “coup de gras” is actually the “coup de grâce” (last blow). Gras meaning fat in french. The “hit of fat” then, though not proper french, suits well the description of my fat french narcissistic dad😉


  5. I’ve suffered more than anyone can imagine and seeing others suffer in this world is devastating. Our souls are definitely not of this world. Just the fact that the world operates on such barbaric laws which we go against shows this fact. I have my own blog of spirituality, that does not condone suffering at all. It doesn’t embrace any of the organized religions or popular philosophies. Everyone is welcome to my blog, and I truly love all you innocent souls who suffered. I embrace you in my being with warm and loving kindness. You are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is an amazing article. It hits every point so well. What I would like to see written about is the covert malignant narcissist. I am victim of this and the relentless smear campaign is tragic. The cunning with which the covert operates is frightening. The stealth with which he destroys you is unheard of. The fact that it never ends and is based on lies so you cannot prepare for what it might be and so you can’t defend or anticipate it.

    It is 1000 times more frightening than the marriage was. It is like a nightmare that you can’t wake from. He lies now more than ever but he is cool, relaxed, and in control–unless it behooves him to be sad, or hurt, or upset. Then he has emotions for show.

    I need help trying to cope with eh ultimate set up–me being called mentally ill and alienating my boy from him. He will seek full custody based on those ies. That bastard is going to seek full custody based on things he has just made u–and he has set the stage was in advance. Help me figure out how to stop this monster when he has already got tons of manufactured evidence submitted and accepted–making me look soo bad–even though it is ALL lies.

    I can’t keep fighting like this and defending myself against his lies–it makes me look guilty even though I ma not! Help.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Im also having an incredibly tough time with this too. Just trying to convince myself that I can somehow survive it is emotionally exhausting in itself.

      There isn’t any amount or combination of words available to describe this feeling that it leaves you with. None. I need help too, before it becomes too dark and hopeless because I have two innocent and impressionable daughters who need me more than need to be released from how it feels more and more unsafe by the day. The daily panic attacks are already unbearable.

      I feel like ive been screaming for help and nobody can hear me because nobody is taking me seriously all of a sudden, and it terrifies me to the bone. If you recieve any direction at all, please pass along the info to me.I dont log onto wordpress regularly, if ever but can be emailed at:
      Its not my main email address, because that could link me directly to this post but ill check it as frequently as i can.
      Help me somebody, Help me.


  7. Have never been able to pinpoint our issues . I cried as I read the article
    Have struggled with addiction for many years .That seemed to be the answer but is definitely not .Praying to God for strength to ” do the right thing for me “.Feel alot of fear.


  8. My parents.
    Somehow none of the pain and messed up ness that they caused in their kids was ever their fault. They destroyed our confidence in ourselves and enslaved us to their plans for pride and bragging rights. And when anybody messed up they threatened and screamed and verbally abused til we all moved downscale and gradually our personalities disintegrated, our independent desires totally sublimated. If we got any recognition for anything the credit was, and still is, all theirs.
    They live in a deluded world where they are all honesty and uprightness and everybody who doesn’t think so, or challenges them, is the bad guy. And poor little them, everyone is against them, supposedly because they aren’t as rich as the people who they perceive to be respected the way they think they deserve.
    They tell me they love me all the time, but only since I moved to a different country and laid down firm boundaries about what I will let them make me do and what I won’t. They think I have forgotten about the things I suffered under their roof and the things I saw them do to my siblings, because to them it’s as if they never did them.
    My first memory is of my mother kicking me as I played on the floor. Because of the furnishings I remember, I must have been less than three years old. When I confronted her about this she got very agitated and said, just slit my wrists. As though I was at fault and I should feel guilty for upsetting her to the point where she wanted to die.


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