Narcissistic Abuse Trauma

Understanding Narcissistic Abuse Trauma And Its Impact

Trauma Recovery By Jan 16, 2023

NARCISSISTIC ABUSE TRAUMA can cause immense damage to the mental and emotional well-being of victim-survivors. People who have experienced narcissistic abuse frequently suffer from profound feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and worthlessness.

What is Narcissistic Abuse?

Narcissistic abuse is a harmful form of emotional regulation in which one person seeks to subjugate another through deception, manipulation, aggression, and exploitation.

What is Narcissistic Abuse Trauma?

Narcissistic abuse trauma is the erasure of a person’s sense of self through repeated boundary violations and coercion.

Some symptoms of narcissistic abuse trauma are:

  • Grief
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of self-trust
  • Rumination
  • Distorted self-image
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal
  • Flashbacks
  • Hypervigilance
  • Panic attacks
  • Dissociation
  • Nightmares

The Emotional Pain of Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic people resolve deep-seated feelings of insecurity and doubt by projecting the qualities they dislike in themselves on to other people. They see the world through a binary lens of absolutes, so people and things are either good or bad with no space for plurality.

For this reason, narcissistic people is compelled to see themselves as all good. Therefore anything they deem bad must be externalized and projected on to an external object. For example, if a narcissistic person is caught cheating, they blame the partner for “making’ them cheat by not meeting their standards.

Narcissists use scapegoating as a defense tactic. The victim-survivor is objectified and made to shoulder the burden of the narcissistic person’s externalized self-loathing and are summarily punished. The more shame the narcissistic person feels, the more vicious and prolonged the penalty will be. They frequently use a defense tactic called D.A.R.V.O. (Deny, Attack, Reverse, Victim and Offender) to shift blame for their errors onto the victim-survivor.

Being punished for something they did not do is confusing and terrifying for victim-survivors. The narcissistic person’s erratic and cruel outbursts often leave their partner in a state of unrelenting anxiety that is often described as “walking on eggshells.” It is a paradigm that echoes throughout most narcissistic abuse stories.

How does it impact victim-survivors?

The chronic stress associated with narcissistic abuse trauma can lead to a host of adverse health outcomes for survivors of narcissistic abuse. The imminent dangers of exposure to pathological narcissism are seldom discussed. For this reason it is important to continue educating others about narcissistic abuse so that people understand that the violence in these relationships can cause lasting damage to the victim-survivor’s physical, behavioral, and psycho-emotional health as well as their financial stability.

Tips For Recovery

If you are experiencing narcissistic abuse trauma, here are some steps you can take toward recovery.

  • Reach out to a domestic violence hotline in you area.
  • Work with a domestic violence advocate to formulate a safety plan.
  • Seek support from a licensed mental health professional specialized in pathological narcissism.
  • Work on ways to end the narcissistic relationship while ensuring your safety.
  • Consider trauma recovery support for goal setting and accountability.

Breaking the silence on abuse with a psychologically safe person and growing in awareness are important steps in trauma recovery. Trauma recovery coaching excellent compliment to rebuilding your life after narcissistic abuse.

Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse.
In the USA call 1-800-799-7233 or log on to
In the UK call 0808 2000 247 or log on to

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Manya Wakefield is a recovery coach specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy and coercive trauma. Her expertise has been featured in publications such as Newsweek, Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Huffington Post. In 2019, she launched the social impact platform Narcissistic Abuse Rehab, building a global audience through human rights advocacy. The same year, she published the book ‘Are You In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship,’ which is used in domestic violence recovery groups around the world. In 2020, Manya developed The Coercive Control Legislation Global Database. She is also the host of The Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon.