Effects of narcissistic abuse (2023)

Narcissistic abuse is a type ofemotional abusewhere the abuser only cares about themselves and can use words and actions to manipulate their partner's behavior and emotional state.

The effects of narcissistic abuse can vary depending on how long one can endure these types of relationships. Effects range from mild to severe, with some survivors recovering while others may suffer lifelong damage.Here is how narcissistic abuse can affect your life.


Many survivors of narcissistic abuse live with fear. After experiencing narcissistic abuse, you may experience extreme fear or anxiety in relationships with new people. Those who leave abusive relationships may experience thisseparation anxiety, causing them to panic and become disoriented when they are not with their abusers.

If your symptoms include anxiety attacks, panic attacks orhyper vigilanceAfter being abused by a narcissist, know that these symptoms will go away over time, especially if you can process your trauma with oneprofessional.


Many people who have suffered narcissistic abuse also develop itDepression. Survivors often struggle with feelings of worthlessness months or years after their abuser tells them how worthless and stupid they are. After years of manipulation andgas lit, you may also isolate yourself, which can make feelings of depression worse.

post-traumatic stress

As a narcissistic abuse survivor, you may have symptoms ofpost-traumatic stress. Your brain will be on high alert for danger. Because the traumatic events triggered afight or flight responsein you. As a result, anything associated with those memories can trigger an anxiety attack.

After experiencing narcissistic abuse, you may feel the need to be on guard 24/7. Victims of narcissists often mention that they never knew what their abuser would do next. You may find it difficult to relax because of chronic vigilance and the expectation that he (the abuser) is around every corner.

You can also avoid certain situations or things that remind you of the abuse. This can range from avoiding certain places or people in particular.

(Video) 5 Signs You've Suffered Narcissistic Abuse

Loss of self-esteem and self-esteem

You may feel like you've completely lost yourself. Narcissistic abuse is a form of brainwashing and as such can destroy youself-esteem. You may not feel like the person you were before all this started.

In many cases, those who have experienced narcissistic abuse find it difficult to recognize themselves in the mirror because when they look back they no longer see their true reflection.

You may also have trust issues with other people (especially those closest to you) and constantly doubt or question yourself.

You may begin to feel that you are not good enough or that you did something to cause the abuse in the first place. This can cause embarrassment and embarrassment, which can often prevent you from seeking help.

They may also have trouble making decisions. You may become confused by simple choices or feel unable to make decisions.

Narcissistic abusers will often try to derail your goals and aspirations. They want to control everything about you, even the activities that make you a person.

inability to forgive yourself

After experiencing narcissistic abuse, many victims struggle with feeling unworthy or believing they deserve how the narcissist treated them. You may feel like there must be something inherently wrong with you when someone you should beamaryou used his power against you unconditionally in such a cruel way. You may struggle with low self-esteem and believe that if you just did things differently, the narcissistic abuser would have treated you better.

You may also have trouble focusing on your goals and dreams. It could be because you're still preoccupied with thoughts about what happened to you. Or it could be that your self-esteem is so damaged that you find it hard to believe that anything good can happen in your life.

(Video) The Long Term Impact Of Narcissistic Abuse

physical symptoms

After experiencing narcissistic abuse, you may live with physical symptoms, including headaches, stomachaches, or body aches. you can have toodifficulty sleepingafter narcissistic abuse. You may be stressed out by what happened and find it difficult to turn off your brain at night. Or you might end up havingnightmaresthat haunt you for days.

cognitive problems

After narcissistic abuse, you may find it difficult to focus on everyday tasks, such as B. getting work done or just watching TV. Memories of traumatic events are known to impair concentration and concentration. you can experimentmemory loss, especially in the short term. This is because when traumatized, the brain releases a flood of stress hormones that impact healthHippocampus-Regionin your brain

emotional lability

It is common to suffer after a traumatic event such as narcissistic abusehumor changesaccompanied byirritability. Or you may feel emotionless and robotic. you could experimentdepersonalizationwhere it feels like everything around you isn't right.

You may even feel the need to get back at your abuser. But hating her only creates more stress and anxiety, which perpetuates mental health problems.

Effects on Children

If you have children who have witnessed narcissistic abuse, they could also be at risk of developing mental health problems, such as mental illnessexpected, anxiety disorders or depression.They may become anxious in situations that remind them of their traumatic experiences. They may also be angry at their spouse or the world, feel disconnected from other people, or have low self-esteem or trust issues.

loss of self-esteem

After experiencing narcissistic abuse, you may feel like you don't know yourself anymore.You might start to question your self-esteem, have trust issues with other people (especially those closest to you), and constantly doubt or question yourself.

You may begin to feel that you are not good enough or that you did something to cause the abuse in the first place. This can cause embarrassment and embarrassment, which can often prevent you from seeking help.

They may also have trouble making decisions due to a lack of self-esteem. You may become confused by simple choices or feel unable to make decisions.

(Video) How Narcissistic Abuse Affects You YEARS After Narcissist is Gone| Long Term Effects

stuck in a cycle

After experiencing narcissistic abuse, many people find themselves in a cycle where their abuser continues to contact them after the relationship ends.

They can act nice (aka suckers) to win you back, make threats, or try to get you to feel sorry for them. This can be a tactic used by narcissists to trap their victimscycle of abuse.

trust issues

After experiencing narcissistic abuse, your self-confidence is likely to be very low. While this might seem like a good thing (in a way), it could also make your future relationships more difficult. This problem can lead to other problems such associal anxiety.

You may constantly wonder if people are being honest with you or if they are simply manipulating your emotions to get what they want. Can become overly alert and overly soreasonableCriticism or judgment from others for fear of being betrayed again.

You can struggle with trust issues in all aspects of your life, includingpersonal relationships, friendships, work interactions or even contact with family members. You can also experimentinsecure attachment, which means you constantly feel like people are going to abandon you or betray you.

Nice people

you can become oneplease peopleand try to make people like you You can become too smug to get others' approval after walking on eggshells for so long.You may have trouble expressing your feelings and thoughts after narcissistic abuse because you fear being judged for what you say. To avoid confronting a narcissistic abuser, you probably kept your feelings under wraps.

self-destructive habits

Another effect of narcissistic abuse can beself-destructive habits. People who have been in relationships with narcissists often feel the need to punish themselves because they feel responsible for their partner's bad behavior towards them.

They can have addiction problems like drinking, smoking, and even binge eating or binge spending. These addictions can be a way to numb emotional pain.

(Video) Narcissistic Abuse: How to Stop Suffering in Silence

How to Heal from Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic abuse has the potential to irreparably destroy most people's livelihoods. It takes time and energy to recover from betrayal, heartbreak, betrayal, and financial loss caused by an abusive partner. Also, you may have lost friends and family due to self-isolation. When you're struggling, it's important to find ways to heal. Below are some suggestions

  • Recognize and accept your feelings.They can experience a variety of emotions, including sadness, depression, anger, and fear. Whatever you're feeling is valid, and it's important not to suppress those feelings or judge yourself for having them.
  • educate yourselfLearn the characteristics of a narcissist and what constitutes narcissistic abuse to make it easier to recognize when you are being manipulated.
  • Join a support group.There are many communities online and in real life for people who have had similar experiences. You may find it therapeutic to interact with others who understand exactly what you are going through and can offer you suggestions and advice to help you cope.
  • See a therapist or counselor.A therapist can help equip you with tools to manage and heal narcissistic abuse in a safe, non-judgmental space.
  • Practice self-care.When your self-esteem is low, it's easy to feel like you don't deserve anything good for yourself. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. It is important to take care of yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and participate in activities that you enjoy.

get help now

We test, test and write unbiased reviews of theThe best online therapy programsincluding Talkspace, Betterhelp and Regain. Find out which is the best option for you.

Best Domestic Violence Support Groups

A word from Verywell

After engaging with someone who is narcissistic, you may develop one or more of these effects. You likely developed some negative coping mechanisms, including philanthropic behavior and/or self-destructive habits, after experiencing such an ordeal. These are common reactions from people going through these kinds of situations, so know that feeling this way is not uncommon.

If you or a family member has been the victim of domestic violence, contact theNational Domestic Violence HotlineIn1-800-799-7233Receive confidential support from trained lawyers.

(Video) The Narcissist Destroys You | Long Term Impact of Narcissistic Abuse

For more mental health resources, visit ourNational Helpline Database.

How to find a support group for narcissistic abuse


What are the devastating effects of narcissistic abuse? ›

Chronic abuse can lead to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially in victims who experienced other traumas. The result of narcissistic abuse can also include a pervasive sense of shame, overwhelming feelings of helplessness, and emotional flashbacks.

What is the trauma response from narcissistic abuse? ›

Psychological trauma from their abuse will not just go away. In fact, this type of abuse can cause long lasting post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The abuse from a narcissist is overwhelming. It is hard to identify and sufferers tend to blame themselves and continue to suffer long after the relationship is over.

How does narcissistic abuse change your personality? ›

Anxiety and depression commonly develop as a result of narcissistic abuse. The significant stress you face can trigger persistent feelings of worry, nervousness, and fear, especially when you never know what to expect from their behavior.

What are the 4 stages of narcissistic abuse? ›

The four stages of the narcissistic abuse cycle are: Idealization, Devaluation, Repetition, and Discard. In this cycle, a narcissistic partner may love-bomb you, devalue your sense of self over time, repeat the pattern, and eventually, discard you and/or the relationship.

What brain damage is caused by narcissistic abuse? ›

The damage to the amygdala of the victims of narcissistic abuse become trapped in a permanent state of fear and anxiety and react badly to environmental triggers that remind them of the violation by the narcissist. This means that victims of narcissistic abuse are constantly alert to the danger that does not exist now.

Why is narcissistic abuse so traumatizing? ›

The abuse from a narcissist will essentially cause the victim (first- or second-degree) to feel emotionally out of control and unstable. The negative memories and painful flashbacks will overpower any semblance of goodness. Depression, languishing, and general disinterest in life will become the norm.

What happens to your body after narcissistic abuse? ›

Some examples of long-term effects include mood and anxiety disorders, physical ailments such as headaches, stomachaches, or body aches, the inability to get a good night's sleep or having nightmares, and a lowered sense of self-worth.

What does PTSD from narcissistic abuse look like? ›

Persistent negative thoughts—about yourself, your worth, the world—believing any problems are your fault. Persistent negative feelings (e.g., fear, sadness, anger, shame, guilt). Inability to feel positive emotions such as joy, hope, peace, etc. Memory loss about particular instances of the abuse.

What does PTSD look like after narcissistic abuse? ›

Re-experiencing the trauma: This can include flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts about the abuse. Avoiding reminders of the trauma: This may involve avoidance behaviours such as staying away from people or places that remind you of the narcissist.

What are common feelings after narcissistic abuse? ›

The aftermath of narcissistic abuse can include depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, a pervasive sense of toxic shame, emotional flashbacks that regress the victim back to the abusive incidents, and overwhelming feelings of helplessness and worthlessness.

How to heal your brain after narcissistic abuse? ›

Exercise Self-Care
  1. Paying attention to your stress level.
  2. Getting enough sleep.
  3. Eating healthy.
  4. Taking the time to do things you enjoy.
  5. Connecting or reconnecting with people in your life who are positive.
  6. Getting physical activity in your day.
  7. Using the coping skills you learn in therapy to help you manage your relationships.
Feb 3, 2022

Do you ever recover from narcissistic abuse? ›

Narcissistic abuse is insidious and can cause lasting effects like low self-esteem, trust issues, self-doubt, grief, depression, and anxiety. With time and treatment, it's possible to heal and overcome these issues, recovering parts of yourself and your life that were lost to the abuser.

Is narcissistic abuse the worst trauma? ›

Narcissistic abuse is one of the worse types of psychological abuse that one person can do to another, but unfortunately, many people are stuck in these types of relationships.

What is narcissist victim syndrome? ›

Narcissistic victim syndrome occurs when someone has lived with or spent a significant amount of time with a person classified as a narcissist. People struggling with this syndrome often have doubts about their sanity and self-worth and have concerns about their failures, flaws, and perceived shortcomings.

Can narcissistic abuse make you ill? ›

Life with a narcissist can be extremely stressful, leading to depression or anxiety. It can also make you physically sick. You may feel it in the pit of your stomach. This isn't surprising, as stress and dismay are often coupled with a gut disturbance.


1. Long Term Effects of Narcissistic Abuse on the Brain and the Stress Response
(Lisa A. Romano Breakthrough Life Coach Inc.)
2. 10 Signs of Narcissistic Victim Syndrome
3. What are the Harmful Effects of Coping | Dr. David Hawkins
(Dr. David Hawkins)
4. This is What Happens to Victims of Narcissistic Abuse
(The Enlightened Target)
5. 3 ways narcissists DESTROY your physical health I Dr Ramani
6. Understanding the Effects of Narcissistic Abuse - CPTSD
(Raw Motivations)


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