The Toxic Aftermath of Covert Narcissistic Abuse


OVERT Narcissistic Abuse starts out subtly, then gradually builds so the target of this abuse becomes more and more distressed in the relationship. Whilst the target may not be able to pinpoint that they are in an abusive relationship they recognise that something is going dreadfully wrong.

COVERT Narcissistic Abuse, is completely different. Like an invisible gas without any smell it infiltrates and slowly poisons a relationship so that in the end the target is completely destroyed in mind, body, spirit and soul. Covert Narcissists have such stealth that the target is made to feel like they are the ones who are at fault. They are also made to feel like they are going crazy.

Covert Narcissistic Abuse is so insidious, that targets completely lose their sense of ‘Self’. They no longer know who they are, they feel like they’ve lost their Soul. And to make matters even worse, the Covert Narcissistic Abuser never abuses in public, all their tactics are used behind closed doors. As such, when a victim attempts to explain their war zone aftermath NO ONE BELIEVES THEM!

Narcissistic Abuse is the Pandemic of our time.

List of International Resources re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

International Register of NPD Resources

Recently, I was contacted by Michelle Mallon, a social worker in the United States, who is attempting to pool NPD resources on a global scale. A co-ordinated approach to Narcissistic Personality Disorder on an international scale is what we need to inform and empower those affected by NPD. Read more

Moving on from Narcissistic Abuse due to Narcissistic Personality Disorder: A Slideshare Compiled by Jeni Mawter

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Victims of Narcissistic Personality Disorder may suffer Post Traumatic Stress for a prolonged period of time: Narcissists & Psychopaths Cause PTSD for their Victims by Tim Field Jan 2012

I am sharing an excellent article by Tim Field on Victims of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Sanctuary for the Abused
SANCTUARY FOR THE ABUSED: Articles, clickable links & resources for victims & survivors. Dealing with verbal, psychological & emotional abuse and personality disorders.

Narcissists & Psychopaths Cause PTSD for their Victims

by Tim Field Jan 2012

How do the PTSD symptoms resulting from a Narcissist or Psychopath’s abuse and bullying meet the criteria in DSM-IV?

A. The prolonged (chronic) negative stress resulting from dealing with a narcissist or psychopath has lead to threat of loss of job, career, health, livelihood, often also resulting in threat to marriage and family life. The family are the unseen victims.

A.1.One of the key symptoms of prolonged negative stress is reactive depression; this causes the balance of the mind to be disturbed, leading first to thoughts of, then attempts at, and ultimately, suicide.

A.2.The target of the narcissist or psychopath may be unaware that they are being exploited, and even when they do realize (there’s usually a moment of enlightenment as the person realizes that the criticisms and tactics of control, etc are invalid) – victims often cannot bring themselves to believe they are dealing with a disordered personality who lacks a conscience and does not share the same moral values as themselves.

Naivety is the great enemy. The target is bewildered, confused, frightened, angry – and after enlightenment, very angry.

B.1. The target experiences regular intrusive violent visualizations and replays of events and conversations; often, the endings of these replays are altered in favour of the target.

B.2. Sleeplessness, nightmares and replays are a common feature.

B.3. The events are constantly relived; night-time and sleep do not bring relief as it becomes impossible to switch the brain off. Such sleep as is achieved is non-restorative and people wake up as tired, and often more tired, than when they went to bed.

B.4. Fear, horror, chronic anxiety, and panic attacks are triggered by any reminder of the experience, e.g.receiving threatening letters or email from the narcissist or psychopath or their friends, their family or attorneys. Additionally postings on online boards or sites about the victim by the abuser (often to try to make the victim look like the abusive one!) can add to these triggers and health related issues tremendously.]

B.5. Panic attacks, palpitations, sweating, trembling, vomitting, binge eating or forgetting to eat, ditto.

Criteria B4 and B5 manifest themselves as immediate physical and mental paralysis in response to any reminder of the narcissist or prospect being forced to take action against the narcissist.

C. Physical numbness (toes, fingertips, lips) is common, as is emotional numbness (especially inability to feel joy). Sufferers report that their spark has gone out and, even years later, find they just cannot get motivated about anything.

C.1. The target tries harder and harder to avoid saying or doing anything which reminds them of the horror of the exploitation.

C.2. Almost all Victims report impaired memory; this may be partly due to suppressing horrific memories, and partly due to damage to the hippocampus, an area of the brain linked to learning and memory.

C.3. the person becomes obsessed with resolving the experience which takes over their life, eclipsing and excluding almost every other interest.

C.4. Feelings of withdrawal and isolation are common; the person just wants to be on their own and solitude is sought.

C.5. Emotional numbness, including inability to feel joy (anhedonia) and deadening of loving feelings towards others are commonly reported. One fears never being able to feel love again.

C.6. The target becomes very gloomy and senses a foreshortened career – usually with justification. Many targets ultimately have severe psychiatric injury, severely impaired health.

D.1. 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 are worst early in the morning. Feelings of vulnerability may be heightened overnight.

D.2. The person has an extremely short fuse and is often permanently irritated, especially by small insignificant events. The person frequently visualises a violent solution, e.g. arranging an accident for, or murdering the narcissist; the resultant feelings of guilt tend to hinder progress in recovery.

D.3. Concentration is impaired to the point of precluding preparation for legal action, study, work, or search for work.

D.4. The person is on constant alert because their fight or flight mechanism has become permanently activated.

D.5. The person has become hypersensitized and now unwittingly and inappropriately perceives almost any remark as critical.

E. Recovery from a narcissist experience is measured in years. Some people never fully recover. Long term and repeated damage by disordered persons become C-PTSD.

F. For many, social life ceases and work becomes impossible. Many develop autoimmune diseases such as lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic pain or adrenal fatigue and even become totally disabled.

THERAPY can and does help. But it takes a lot of time and work. The longer you wait to get help & treatment, the deeper the damage and the more difficult to heal or manage. Hang in there!

Questions that Victims of Narcissistic Personality Disorder commonly ask.

1) Are they aware of what they are doing?

Yes, every decision is made with the intention of gaining narcissistic supply.

2) Do they see what they are doing or saying is wrong?

No. Any behaviour is acceptable if it gets narcissistic supply.

3) Why don’t they care about how I feel?

Caring takes empathy and insights into the human condition and requires someone to look past themselves. Narcissists can only acknowledge their own needs. They cannot look past themselves.

4) How can they do this to me?

This is not about you. This is about the narcissist. Your needs, thoughts, feelings, wants, ambitions, dreams etc do not exist for a narcissist.

5) Can’t the narcissist see that what they are doing is wrong?

No. Any behaviour that brings narcissistic supply is acceptable behaviour.

6) How can they tell so many lies?

To a narcissist, reality is only about sourcing narcissistic supply. Telling lies creates their own reality.

7) How can the narcissist be so intolerant but expect me to tolerate their bad behaviour?

Narcissists experience a heightened sense of insult (and hurt) and will lash out with rage – thus the intolerance. They have an inflated sense of importance and superiority and expect to be treated different to others. Through devaluing, your needs are not important.

8) How can the narcissist treat me so badly when I gave them so much?

Narcissists expect and demand to be privileged. You (the non-narcissist) deserve no such privilege.

9) How can the narcissist flare up and turn on me so easily?

Narcissists are hyper-sensitive and perceive insults even when none are intended. This wounds their ‘false’ self. As the bearer of insults, you deserve to be punished, even annihilated if the perceived insult is bad enough.

10) Does a narcissist have morals?

Only when they’re linked with narcissistic supply.

11) How can someone say ‘I love you’ in one breath, then throw me away the next?

Narcissists are the Masters of Relationship Manipulation.

12) How come a narcissist cannot see that what they say or do is wrong?

Right and wrong do not matter to a narcissist. Right, or more likely, wrong only apply to others. In their own minds Narcissists never do wrong.

13) Why can’t a narcissist apologise?

See 12 above.

14) Why does a narcissist get away with such bad behaviour all the time?

Narcissists surround themselves with people who respond to (or feel good about) the narcissist’s tactics. These people gain the narcissist’s attention and thus feel special or privileged themselves. Feeling good outweighs recognition of inappropriate behaviour and thus the inappropriate behaviour gets ignored. By ignoring and not setting boundaries for the narcissist, people enable the narcissistic behaviour.