The number of people who fall into the trap of narcissists is constantly increasing, as is the number of people who develop narcissistic victim syndrome. But what exactly is this, and how can you know if you’re suffering from it?
When you meet a narcissist, the chances are that you initially won’t have any idea how bad he is for you. People with NPD don’t show their true colors and pretend to be nice, kind, loving, and confident.
In reality, they lack empathy, have low self-esteem, and they thrive on controlling others. They can’t live without a supply, which is why they’re always looking to gain someone’s trust and then slowly ruin them.
I’m sure that this explanation sounds cruel, but at the end of the day, it’s how narcissists treat you. They don’t care if they see you suffering. The only thing that matters to them is the feeling that they’re the ones in charge.
Now, you can only imagine how terrible it feels to be in a relationship with someone who suffers from NPD. Even if that person manages to escape, she’ll still feel the long-lasting effects of the abuse she’s been through.
That brings us to narcissistic victim syndrome – a series of consequences that a victim of narcissistic abuse will experience even after she escapes the claws of a narcissist.
7 signs of narcissistic victim syndrome
All in all, narcissistic victim syndrome represents a number of mental, emotional, and social consequences that a person develops after experiencing narcissistic abuse. Unfortunately, this condition isn’t widely recognized, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it.
Being involved with a narcissist and experiencing all these different types of manipulation has to damage a person. Once you’re out of the toxic cycle, you feel like a whole new person, and often, you don’t know how to behave in the real world.
A narcissist makes you live in this little bubble that he has created for you. He makes you rely on him, controls your actions, and gaslights you to the point where you feel like you’re losing your mind.
When you escape from that, you find yourself all alone, unable to explain to people what you’ve been through. And what’s even worse, you don’t know how to move on from there.
There are clear signs which indicate that you’re experiencing narcissistic victim syndrome. If you keep on reading, you’ll be able to spot the signals and react to them accordingly.
1. You feel isolated from the rest of the world
During your relationship with a narcissist, you completely relied on him. He isolated you from your friends and family and made you feel like you depended on him. After a while, you got used to it and stopped complaining.
You accepted that way of life, thinking that he was acting this way because he wanted to protect you. In reality, he just wanted you to feel that way so he could control you more easily.
He knew that your friends and family would see right through his actions, so to make matters easier for him, he made you think that he’s the only one who cares about you.
Now that you’re out of the relationship, you still feel the consequences of his actions. You feel isolated like you don’t belong in this world. And honestly, you don’t know what to do to get rid of this feeling.
2. You have trust issues
Your emotions have been all over the place. You’ve been manipulated and tested to the limits, and somehow, you managed to get through it all.
But now that you’ve escaped from a narcissist, you don’t know whom to trust anymore. You see danger in everyone you meet, and even though you’re aware that you can’t live your life like that, you don’t know what to do to change the way you feel.
You’ve developed serious trust issues, and sometimes, you feel like you can’t trust even your closest friends. That’s what a narcissist did to you.
3. You have a hard time making decisions
A narcissist made all of the decisions for you. You always had to consult him before doing something, so you got used to that feeling of having someone you have to rely on.
Now that you’re free from his shackles, you don’t know how to exist on your own. You have a hard time making decisions, whether it’s related to your work or even simple everyday things. You find yourself struggling to figure out what to do.
Sometimes, you catch yourself analyzing what to eat for breakfast since you’re so used to having to consider a narcissist’s opinion. That’s how far his abuse has brought you.
4. You feel like you’ve lost yourself
You no longer recognize the person in the mirror. Each morning, you wake up feeling empty, and you go through life almost unaware of what’s going on.
You don’t know who you are, what makes you happy, and what makes you sad. You just exist!
This is one more consequence of the narcissistic abuse you’ve been through. A narcissist made you lose your identity because that was the only way he could gain complete control over you. He tore down your self-esteem because he needed you to need him.
Now that he’s gone, you have no idea who you are anymore. For a while, you felt just like an extension of him, and it feels impossible to escape this feeling.
5. You always blame yourself for everything
No matter what happens, you always feel like you’re the one to blame. You say “sorry” all the time because you’re used to being the one at fault. A narcissist always made sure to shift the blame onto you, and even though he’s now out of your life, you don’t know how to get yourself out of this state.
For example, when your friends say something hurtful to you, you’ll make sure to apologize because you’ll convince yourself that you did something that made them act that way.
You blame it all on yourself, and if you don’t stop doing that, the chances are that you’ll end up in another relationship with someone who’s not good for you.
6. You have trouble setting boundaries
When you got involved with a narcissist, you subconsciously made a decision to ignore all of your boundaries. This man pushed you to the limits, tested your loyalty, and made you do things as he said.
Because of him, you no longer know what it means to stand up for yourself and to do what makes you happy. You don’t know how to distance yourself from people who are not good for you.
This is a serious consequence of narcissistic abuse, one that will take a lot of commitment to fix.
7. You develop anxiety or depression
This is when things get really serious. Of course, all of the previous effects a narcissist has left on you are also something that should be talked about. They will alter your life and the way you see yourself.
But you can also develop anxiety or depression after going through narcissistic abuse. Both of these conditions can affect your everyday life.
If you notice that you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, that you can’t control your thoughts, and that you’re getting restless, make sure to visit a professional. Anxiety and depression can be treated, but it’s always easier to get them under control when you react in time.