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Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

Do you find yourself acting in ways that are completely out of character? Are you saying things that you would normally never say? Stress due to chronic emotional abuse can lead to behaviors that are “so not like you.” Dr. David Hawkins talks about this particular aspect of Narcissistic Victim Syndrome, and how your pain and frustration can be used as a launching pad for change.

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

In a world where emotional abuse can be pervasive and debilitating, victims often find themselves lost in the complexities of their emotions and actions. “Narcissistic Victim Syndrome” is a real and distressing condition that arises when an individual experiences chronic emotional abuse, constant devaluation of their character, and a persistent undermining of their reality. Dr. David Hawkins, Director of the Marriage Recovery Center, sheds light on this syndrome and the challenges faced by victims who struggle to reconcile their actions with their true selves.

The Woman Crying: An Illustration of Distress

During a candid moment, Dr. David Hawkins recalls sitting with a woman who was visibly distraught. She shared her story of losing her temper, resorting to profanity, and acting in ways that seemed alien to her true self. She expressed her bewilderment, repeating the phrase, “It’s so not like me.”

Understanding Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome is not a mere invention; it is a genuine psychological condition that stems from prolonged exposure to emotional abuse. The perpetrator, often a narcissist, chips away at the victim’s self-esteem and worth, causing them to question their identity and sanity.

The Trapped Frustration

A significant aspect of this syndrome lies in the victim’s inability to express their frustration and emotions freely. The toxic dynamic in the relationship prevents the victim from openly communicating with their abuser. Attempts to bring up concerns or issues are met with defensiveness and dismissal, leading to a vicious cycle of emotional turmoil.

Gaslighting and the Emotional Quicksand

Victims often find themselves in an emotional quicksand, sinking deeper into doubt and confusion. The abuser uses gaslighting techniques, distorting reality and causing the victim’s head to spin with uncertainty. The victim’s feelings, thoughts, and perceptions are constantly challenged, making it increasingly difficult for them to distinguish their true self from the narrative imposed upon them.

The Reflection of False Accusations

The narcissistic abuser doesn’t hesitate to point out perceived flaws and weaknesses in the victim. In a toxic display of projection, the victim is accused of being the problem. The abuser points out anger, frustration, and any out-of-character behavior as evidence of the victim’s inherent flaws, leaving them further disoriented and questioning their identity.

Compassion and Understanding: A Missing Piece

As victims find themselves trapped in a web of emotional abuse, they yearn for compassion and understanding from their abuser. Unfortunately, these essential qualities are seldom forthcoming from a narcissistic partner. The absence of empathy and validation intensifies the victim’s feelings of isolation and unworthiness.

Accepting the Validity of Emotions

To those grappling with the effects of narcissistic abuse, it is crucial to accept and acknowledge their emotions and actions as valid responses to an unhealthy and damaging situation. The frustration, hurt, and anger that have been suppressed must be recognized and processed, not invalidated.

Seeking Support and Validation

In this difficult journey, victims must turn to those who genuinely care about their well-being. Finding support from understanding friends, family, or professionals can provide the validation and compassion they desperately need.

Unleashing Anger for Positive Change

Acknowledging and embracing one’s emotions, including anger, can be a crucial step towards healing and recovery. Instead of allowing anger to turn inward, victims can harness it for positive change in their lives. Through therapy and self-discovery, they can transform their emotions into empowerment.


Narcissistic Victim Syndrome is a distressing reality for many individuals who endure chronic emotional abuse at the hands of narcissistic partners. The emotional quicksand that ensnares them can lead to out-of-character reactions and actions, leaving them bewildered and questioning their true selves. Understanding and support from caring individuals are essential for victims to recognize the validity of their emotions and work towards healing and positive change. Breaking free from the emotional chains of narcissistic abuse is a courageous journey towards reclaiming one’s identity and worth.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: How to Identify if your Narcissistic Spouse is Truly Making Changes

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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