Characteristics of a Victim of a Narcissistic Abuser

Now that you have begun to see some Red Flag behaviors that are common to narcissists, let’s look at some feelings and behaviors frequently reported by the victims.

Feeling guilty for “making” the narcissist feel the way he does
Chronically confused about their partner’s sudden changes in behavior
Frequently exhausted from never knowing what might happen next
Feeling like they have to “walk on eggshells” to avoid “rocking the boat”
Coming home to find Dr. Jekyll and suddenly discovering Mr. Hyde, and never knowing what caused the change
Always apologizing for “never doing things right”
Trying to keep a low profile to avoid being noticed
Making up stories to their friends and family about how they got the latest bruises
Blaming themselves for never doing things well enough
Always feeling anxious when they walk in their own home (or workplace if the narcissist is at their place of work)
Never completely trusting their partner
Never feeling respected or equal in the relationship
Always worrying about their performance in any role, including in the bedroom
Often wondering if it’s OK if they phone or meet with friends or family
Having to ask permission to do anything
Not being allowed free access to their financial accounts
Not being able to give their opinion for fear of being chastised
Never being able to win any argument
Always wondering what they did “wrong” Avoiding arguments at all costs
Always attempting to “try harder” to make things better
Chronically feeling empty
May periodically have suicidal thoughts
Wishing for “someday” when things will change, but someday never comes
After breaking up with their narcissistic partner, all they want to do is run back to them
Repeatedly making excuses for and forgiving their partner’s unacceptable behaviors, which continue to happen
Often wondering how they got into this situation to begin with
Always being told everything is their fault
Oftentimes feel humiliated by their partner
Constantly fearing abandonment by the partner, so “doing whatever it takes” to keep him
Doing things they are uncomfortable with because they feel pressured to do so
Compromising their values, needs, and beliefs because their partner wants them to
Discovering that the narcissist has frequently lied or misled them Feeling like no one else could possibly love them
Believing they are not as important as their partner
Taking their partner’s advice, although their gut tells them not to
Feeling like they’re living a lie – that the outside world sees them one way, while the inner reality is definitely something entirely different Feeling subservient or less-than their partner
Rarely feeling like their needs are being met or even acknowledged
Never doing anything unless their partner says it’s OK Their friends tell them they are being abused, but they just can’t see it
Feeling like they are being parented – that they’re too immature or childish to be able to think on their own
Often wishing they would have never gotten into this mess to begin with and now don’t know how to get out Frequently feeling numb or depressed
They no longer know who they really are
May end up looking like the “crazy one” in the relationship

These are just some of the behaviors and feelings many and victims express. If you find yourself recognizing many of these, perhaps you are realizing you are in your own narcissistic relationship. Extricating yourself from the grips of a narcissist who wants to keep you entrapped is complicated at best.

You may or may not want to leave this relationship, but at least, by acknowledging and understanding it, you can make better decisions and educated choices about your future. Just remember one thing … It is all about choices. Unless they literally have a gun to your head, nobody can make you do anything you don’t want to do.

No one can determine your attitude unless you let them. Deciding to move on or to remain a victim of a narcissist depends upon your own circumstances. Yet, when children are involved it certainly complicates things. For many individuals, the implied security of having a partner may feel safer than being alone in the big, wide world. As a result, you may feel like you are stuck in your situation.

However, as you learn the devastating effects a narcissist can have on those around him, it is important to weigh the effect he can also have upon your children.

Do you want them to learn that these destructive and abusive behaviors as normal, and fulfill a never-ending legacy of narcissism in their own lives? Or would you do whatever is in your power to help them avoid growing up to become a narcissist, or perhaps even the victim of one themselves? Have you considered all possible options for your future? Or will you submit, give up, and continue to let your narcissist control your life?

  1. Narcissist Hunter

    I think it’s important to note that women are narcissists just as often as men, but they are rarely held accountable for their behaviors because their spouses are scared to be alone. Society protects women from being equally accountable for their manipulative behaviors.

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  2. I know what he is and of course he and his mother say I’m the crazy one. My mother in law is both to him his accomplice as well as his victim his own mother wow yes she stands by his destructive Behavior she has the ability to help but won’t I told her if you truly love your son get him the help he needs I don’t want to give up on my husband I’m willing to stay if he’s willing to get professional help even if he gets better and I’m too damaged to trust another man I need a difference help him improve so no one else will get hurt when I will become his victim it will be worth it

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  3. Be afraid, very afraid, of your NS. If they have ‘set the stage’, so to speak with your friends and family, when you do leave many of your friends and family will betray you. There is nothing you can say to dissuade them.

    Find support groups, and protect your children.

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  4. I had no idea what a narrsisst meant. Yet after a few months alone I started researching his behavioes, patgolodgical liar, manipulative , Nothing ever his fault. Always putting me down. Once away from this crazy maker And realizing what really happened I felt so Stupid. I needed my Mother yet she gad past

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  5. I’ve been in a relationship with a man who has npd he’s gone to work abroad and I finished with him he’s been back home twice and I took him back both times which I now regret but the thing is I m finding it hard to let go of him I text him sometimes even though I know he will ruin my life it’s like I’m addicted to him . I know I must text him and tell him I’ve got a boyfriend (even though I haven’t ) I’m always thinking about him it’s like I’m obsessed with him I don’t know how to “let it go ” .

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  6. Savannah Taylor

    My grandma was a narcissistic woman and a control freak, and she tried to strangle me 3 different times, and the 1st time she almost succeeded.

    She tried to stab me 2 different times with her huge long & large scissors by grabbing them and viciously spitting out her words while holding the scissors up over my head.. she would do this, strangle try to stab, when I would defend myself in words, when I stood up for myself. Grandma was always cutting other people down, cutting me down all the time. To me she’d say.. you’re stupid, you’re not smart. I barely graduated from high school.. my mom and I did not inherite grandma’s psychy, but my moms sisters 2 woman children did. It’s all about attack attack alianate attack attack alienate.. attack with grandma and my other relatives.. hard to deal with. All I want is to get along.

    My grandma also had some king of psychosis. When the sun would come around to the living room she would grab her camera and go up to the big picture window and aim the camera up into the sky at the sun and click the shutter again & again. I got the nerve when I was 10 yrs old to ask her.. “Grandma what are you taking a picture of?” She swung around and said.. I can make the sun move when I click the shutter. She was also very suspicious and sneaky all my growing up years. She’d listen in on all my phone calls in grade school!!! I could only see one friend a week all my growing up years. She told my mom I want to take my granddaughter back to Seattle and raise her. My mom said OK!

    But I was with my mom stepdad, and half sisters every summer all summer long, and when I was 12 yrs old my mom told me she didn’t want me to be raised by her mother, but she was to afraid to say no to her mother. My mom was scared to death of her mom.

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  7. Hello, I’m a 38 year old male married to my beautiful wife for 17 years, looking for a woman’s perspective on narcissism. I’ve been reading up on NPD and believe that I may be a victim of NPD abuse. There two sides to every story and will admit I screwed up a lot within the marriage. Mainly with pornography. I knew my wife’s complete dislike for porn before we got married. So, there is some serious trust issues, that I’ve caused. My wife is a strong willed woman. She’s calles me names, emasculates, demeans, and belittles me, not only in private but also in front of my kids. At first I thought this is what marriage is supposed to be like. So I thought nothing of it. If she didnt get her way, it was a huge argument that would almost everytime end in some belittlement. The years went on and I would get caught watching porn, i would be remorseful, and she would “forgive” me. About 2 years ago I got caught watching porn. We both agreed to have a parental control app placed on my phone. This app is awesome by the way, however she is able to control every aspect of my phone. She has access to my text messages phone apps, she is able to block one app or the entire phone for compliance. Which I can’t stand. This is the only way she can be secured in knowing that I am being loyal and trustworthy. Within these past two years the verbal abuse has turned physical, with her trying to knee me in the growing, pinching my arms, till they bleed, while she is screaming she hates me. This is because I accuse her of messaging other guys after i saw a picture of her exposed breasts that she sent some guy. So, i too have a little bit of trust issues that I have to deal with. Here latelt she has begun to call me sarcastic in some of our arguments. Which im not, it’s basically me saying no, or telling her I dont know when i would do something she asks. She will then began calling me a fat a** b****, fat loser of a husband, stupid fat a** mother f*****. I began to start shutting down after these name calling episodes. I would hold affection from her and just feel depressed. I’d mope around not wanting to talk to her or even think about touching her. She then starts saying stop feeling sorry for myself, that I am trying to play the victim to circumstances that Ive created. I’ve expressed my concern of her emasculating and demeaning behavior. She tells me to stop being so sensitive. Now about a month ago, i screwed up big time. I created a fake dating website profile. My intention was not to meet up with anybody, i just wanted to talk with a woman who my find me attractive and not tell me how much of a loser my wife believes i am. No luck there, the woman were all scams, and I got caught. She began saying how much she hated me, that I was a bad husband, that I didn’t have much to offer in bed, in fact that I was lame in bed. I told myself that if she said something like that again I was done. Well, my wife is big in yoga and very good at it. She posts her progress on Instagram. She has a lot of people that like her pictures, especially men who comment on her pictures, saying how much they want to message her and stuff like that. Well, she looked on my google account and noticed thst i looked a instsgram user. It was a female page, i also look on males pages. The page was sonething to do with fit women in bathing suits. She called me a f****** fat b**** and said she wanted a divorce. I said ok. We separated for one night, after agreeing for two weeks. She called me and asked if i was coming home. I said no, that I am trying to get help for myself. She began saying that if i didnt choose to come home, she will tell my kids that i was a bad husband and bad father for abandoning my family. So, here I am now.
    Wanting to do what’s right and seek help for both of us. She wants to try and work it out, just as I, but i dont know when the next lashing will be. I love her, but i dont know if I can last. I am no saint as i screwed up. However, i dont treat her the way she treats me, and it’s not fair for me or the kids. She thinks im the narcissist. She thinks im verbally abusive because I say I want a divorce, than after her manipulation of how much she trully loves me, i change my mind. Im starting to believe that im the abusive one. If someone can give me a woman’s perspective or critizism, id greatly appreciate it.

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    • Narcissist Hunter

      Run as fast as you can and never look back. Go NO CONTACT! Then, get some help to repair yourself and fix your own issues.

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  8. I’m married to a covert narcissist and I have been pushed to have an emotional affair..is this common for a victim. .help

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    • Hi ‘Me’
      I think it is common. I was also pushed into an affair -by my friend!! She couldn’t watch me being miserable anymore. She was hoping I would change my perspective and I did. I am much stronger now and making plans to separate. A child slightly complicates things as she is a victim already. Get out, if you can. all best

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  9. I wish the government would do something with these types of people. These people are dangerous and I have lived with 2, they are not out for anyone’s safety and security. I tired to commit suicide at the age of 8 because of my mother always making me feel inadequate, in addition to being very tall for my age and being picked on at school didn’t help my self esteem. I ended up marrying one, not realizing his true colors until much later. My ex husband scared me more because I actually saw him take on multiple personalities, I now know why he never liked being around a group of people , he had mirrored so many people, he didn’t even know who he was. It was the most traumatizing experience I have ever had. If you don’t have money or resources to get out , You can feel so trapped. I had to leave or die, which I think he was trying to do ( kill me and make it look like an accident ). Living with these parasites is like living in a horror movie.

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  10. Ive been in a bad relationship with a narc 4 almost 2 years.finally got the guts 2 leave him.its been 3 weeks now and im REALLY having a bad time adjusting 2 the situation,im constantly thinking about him and if he is doing ok.he screwed me up nt only mentally bt also financially.dnt know what 2 do 2start 2heal

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  11. BLESSINGS to each one of you!!
    My victimization has been at the hands of my daughter-in-law…It’s been an ongoing 10yr ordeal for me….3 yrs ago she FINALLY found an excuse that was palatable for my Son to agree with and completely remove my grand children from my life…..and of course, like any narcissist do….its ALWAYS based on a completely twisted lie and with no proof & they’re ALWAYS the victim! I found out later that her reason to remove my solid bonded, since their births, relationship with my gbabies was due to overt jealousy of me & the gbabies solid normal loving relationship….isn’t that a complete shame….
    So after almost 3 yrs have gone by….my entire family & all my grown extended family have been TOTALLY destroyed….we no longer have family holidays or dinners together….this has left me feeling numb & emotionally/mentally destroyed & exhausted. On the rare chance that I do see my grandchildren…they no longer know what to say to me & act scared to even look my direction if their parents are in sight, especially their mom….
    I’m learning to cope….in the 7 yrs prior to my gbabes being stolen out of my life, (google Alienated Grandparents Anonymous if this has happened to you) my DIL was doing all the characterics of NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) to me & I had no idea other than the extreme emotion/personality rages/extremes….being sweet as pie when we were in public/family or when she wanted something from me, having to walk on eggshells, constantly apologizing for nothing ….being verbally bullied & publically humiliated, etc all the while knowing in my heart of hearts I wasn’t guilty of any of the lies but because I’d never heard of a Malignant Narcissist Sociopath…I had know idea what I was up against. Since the last ordeal I’ve encountered with my DIL & enabling victimized Son I have learned a ton about this personality disorder….my own medical physician was raised in a NPD family…he told me the only way to stop the NPD abuser was to distant yourself from them as far as you can….or it will continue! He was ABSOLUTELY right….and it gets worse if you don’t! I can’t EVEN discribe how hard it was for me to accept this reality….it forced me to have to make the decision to distance myself (for sanity sake) and I have to tell you….it literally about killed me…..I still believe I had mini strokes for about a couple years off & on….it has been the hardest thing to do in my life next to forgiving them….NOT condoning their actions! There’s a huge difference in making yourself free from guilt in forgiving & allowing yourself to be the battered shell that NPD ppl live for! And there’s a website called Biblical Answer To Narcissism (or titled close to that) or Overcoming Narcissist Biblically which had some GREAT insight for me. It even has scriptures to pray for yourself & for their deliverance!
    Also, I have since learned that there is a range, if you will, for NPD people….the low end of this range is a healthy narcissism which includes taking care if your health, personal attention to your attire & grooming,etc…..the high end is the scariest for me which is they can become a psychopath…..Google it for yourselves….
    My prayers are with you all….don’t be a victim….be an overcomer…..lots of love, Sherry

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  12. What to do if I have lost contact with most of what would be my support system when deciding to stand up for myself and either leave or be me again?

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  13. I’ve learned over the 7 years of being divorced what I’m actually dealing with. It was never an ‘aha’ moment. I had to be around him consistently for 8 days through our daughters surgery. It occurred to me through the downright evil, yet covert, actions he displayed that this type of influence could be to drive the person to the point of suicide. Maybe he will feel fulfilled and accomplished right? I can’t wrap my brain around the intent or reason for.

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  14. Any ideas or do’s and don’t’s to helping my son who is living with his narcissistic girlfriend and is being manipulated, but doesn’t see it? Most professionals have been telling me to focus only on him and what he has going on and not her so as to not alienate him from us (his parents). He lives out of state which makes it even harder and more complicated to try to help him. Thank you!

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  15. The worst thing about toxic people is when they manage to drag you down to their level. Unfortunately, they enjoy hurting others, but you, as an empathetic victim don’t. So even if you “fight” back, you’ll ending up feeling so guilty about being a “bad” person that you’ll hurt yourself with negative self-talk even as you’re defending yourself.

    The important thing is to forgive yourself. You’re a victim, and need to stay away from toxic people. It’s easy for a narcissist/sociopath to spot someone who has been a victim before. Somehow, we’re “trained,” and they can spot it. So you have to be very careful.

    And for any “faults” you have, there’s a line I heard somewhere…something like, “You may not be the best little girl in the world, but you’re not the worst, either.” As in, you’re human, sane, and normal and have normal reactions to being treated bad. Don’t feel guilty.

    And you always have others who understand and are on your side, even though we never will probably meet you. You’re not alone, and everyone’s not against you. 🙂

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  16. Leaving relationship after 29 years of marriage. Finally came to light what I was actually dealing with in my marriage. I’m a very strong person so I haven’t completely been destroyed by his behavior towards me like many victims. But for years could not put my finger on while asking myself” what was that”? I’ve been mentally abused; name called, belittled, called a liar, divorce thrown at my face, pressured to conform to his desires and wants. No emotional support, believed others above me, labelled as crazy and crazy jealous. My opinion meant nothing. My feelings meant nothing. No I’m sorry or no apologies. Leaving. Kids are grown. Eyes opened and can’t live like this anymore!

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    • Hi Josephine, Had same thing – been married 31 years and 2 years ago I saw characteristics of narcissist on Pinterest (of all things!) Talk about a light bulb moment – everything just fell into perfect place. Completely set me free from him emotionally, and you know what? If he bullied me, I attacked him right back, and boy did he back down fast. Have spent the past two years emotionally disconnecting myself from him, doing this at my pace, and what suits me. Have asked him for a divorce, but he thinks I am just pretending. Started new job, getting my ducks in a row, and then will kick him to the kerb. Can’t wait!

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