You’ve spent years next to someone with a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). For years, this person inflicted emotional, mental and maybe even physical and sexual abuse on you.
But the good news is that you’ve finally got the courage to discard him. Even though this was a huge step forward, the truth is that you still feel the consequences of everything that was going on for years.
You are still overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and you still have flashbacks of everything you’ve been through. Sometimes, you feel like you haven’t moved an inch and as if you are still caged by this man’s abuse.
If this is the case, it appears like you are suffering from narcissistic victim syndrome, which has a cluster of symptoms and here are 8 of the most common.
1. You question your own sanity
One of the things all people with NPD do to their victims is gaslighting. They want to convince you that the mental abuse isn’t happening and the best way to do so is to get inside your head and try to convince you that you are overreacting or imagining things.
To put it simply, a narcissist will accuse you of just being too sensitive and make you believe that they aren’t actually doing anything wrong.
But after some time spent as a victim of narcissistic abuse, you start to gaslight yourself. You start questioning your own sanity and wonder if you really were the one who was wrong all the time.
And not only that—you also start convincing yourself that some things didn’t happen, simply because they are too painful for you to process, so it becomes easier for you to believe your abuser.
2. You feel detached
Almost all abusive relationships have one thing in common: the abuser does his best to bring his victim to a state of emotional, social and economic isolation, which consequently leads to a sense of detachment. You simply feel like you are not in tune with your surroundings or even with yourself.
Your narcissist isolated you from everyone to maintain this power and control relations between the two of you. He knew that if he wanted to be dominant over you, he had to make you cut ties with all the people close to you so that you would end up only with him.
And the sense of detachment is your brain’s natural reaction to everything you are going through and your body’s defense mechanism.
Sometimes, the pain becomes too overwhelming and you simply can’t take it anymore, so you become completely numb because you try to run away from your hurtful reality to preserve your mental health. You think that the only way for you not to feel pain is not to feel anything at all.
3. You put the needs of others in front of your own
When you are a narcissist’s victim for a while, you get used to always putting him first and with time, you start to completely disregard what you want and need. You are ready to do whatever it takes just to please him because you hope that this will make him treat you better. But this behavior of yours doesn’t end the moment you break free from this toxic relationship.
Instead, you adopt this pattern and before you know it, you find yourself putting everyone’s needs in front of your own. The truth is that you’ve forgotten how it feels to take care of yourself and your abuser has managed to persuade you that your emotions don’t matter.
Remember that there is nothing selfish about putting yourself first and this is the first step you have to take on this path to recovery.
4. You’ve lost trust in people
When you first meet a narcissist, you think that all of your dreams are finally coming true. But then reality hits you and you see that he is anything but the man you thought he was. Even though at first you think that you’ve hit the jackpot with this one, he actually turns out to be your worst nightmare.
After you experience something like this, you lose all of your trust in this man and in every other person in your life. You think that everyone will be like your ex and that all the people around you only have the intention of taking advantage of you and of breaking your heart.
5. You feel like you are never enough
A narcissist always needs to feel and think that he is above his victim. And in order to accomplish that, he does everything in his power to diminish you and to try to convince you that you are good for nothing.
He wants to persuade you that you are not worthy of anyone’s love because that is the only way for him to keep you around. At first, you don’t believe him because you know your own value.
But with time, his constant insults get inside your head and you really start to think that you are not beautiful enough, smart enough, pretty enough or capable enough. Sadly, this feeling doesn’t go away together with the abuser.
6. You justify your abuser
I’m sure you’ve heard about Stockholm syndrome, a condition in which a victim starts to identify with their abuser and even sympathize with them. When you are going through any form of abuse, with time, you start relying on your abuser and your brain fools you into thinking that the two of you have developed a special bond.
And this is exactly one of the signs of narcissistic victim syndrome.
You can’t explain it but you often find yourself justifying your captor and trying to find excuses for his toxic behavior. You keep telling yourself that he might be emotionally broken and that you might save him.
Sometimes, you want to minimize the abuse as far as thinking that you are the bad guy of the story and that he isn’t responsible for anything that is going on.
7. You are depressed and anxious
One of the most common consequences of all types of abuse, including emotional, is mental disorders, including severe depression and anxiety. For years, your abuser gave his best to break your spirit and to destroy your will for life.
Remember—a victim’s energy is a narcissist’s supply and he won’t give up until he drains you completely.
Even though he didn’t succeed in crushing you completely, he did leave you feeling bad about yourself. He did leave you with this inexplicable fear and pessimism. He did leave you feeling anxious and depressed.
8. You are overly careful with people
Your narcissist literally trained you how to behave in order to please him. You knew that he was easily agitated and you always worried about not doing or saying something ‘wrong’ that might upset him and make him abuse you even more.
And you’ve adopted this pattern of behavior and transferred it to everyone else in your life.
Consequently, you walk on eggshells around everyone around you, thinking that one ‘wrong’ move might upset them or chase them away. If this is something you’ve caught yourself doing, one thing’s for sure—it is a sign that you are suffering from narcissistic victim syndrome.