What is Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse | Melinajbw Counselling
Jun 21, 2023
What is Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse

A Narcissist will target anyone who they perceive they will be able to use to their on their way to achieving their goals, its difficult to recognise when you are being targeted by a narcissist as in the beginning they seem so "perfect".

What is narcissism and how do you know if you've been the victim of narcissistic abuse?

The best place to start is with an understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) which is a diagnosable mental health condition, people with NPD have an inflated sense of self worth, and an excessive need for admiration from others. Symptoms of NPD include:

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Belief that one is special and can only be understood by or associate with special people or institutions
  • A need for excessive admiration
  • A sense of entitlement (to special treatment)
  • Exploitation of others
  • A lack of empathy
  • Envy of others or the belief that one is the object of envy
  • Arrogant, haughty behavior, or attitudes
  • (psychology today)

People with NPD have an extremely high tendency to abuse others through manipulation, gaslighting, emotional, mental and sometimes physical abuse, NPD abuse is often hard to identify because it is very subtle in nature and often perpetrated over a long period of time. Victims of Narcissistic abuse are lulled into a false sense of security as in the beginning of the relationship the narcissist will seem "perfect" or too good to be true. They will often exhibit love bombing behaviours such as expensive gifts, flattery, excessive attention to yourself or family, playing the hero or "saving you" from a difficult situation. This does not just happen in romantic relationships, a narcissist can target victims at work, at church or in a community organisation. In my practice as a therapist I've seen a lot of clients who have been victims of narcissistic abuse within churches. I have a mantra for this type of abuse "the only thing worse than a narcissist is a narcissist who believes God is on their side" (He isnt by the way)

A Narcissist will target anyone who they perceive they will be able to use as an advantage on their way to achieving their goals, its difficult to recognise when you are being targeted by a narcissist as in the beginning they seem so "perfect". They will often place themselves in positions of leadership and are often drawn to religious organisations and those advocating for a social cause. Narcissists love to play the role of the hero due to their obsessive need for admiration and control, the only other role they play well is the role of the victim, there is no in-between they are either playing hero or victim.

So how do you know if you are or have been the victim of narcissistic abuse? Its often hard to recognise because of the subtle nature of narcissistic abuse, victims often feel like they are going crazy or imagining the abuse because the narcissist see-saws between moments of cruelty and love bombing. Manipulation techniques such as gaslighting and defaming cause the victim to feel confused, de-valued and completely alone.

Common effects of Narcissisitic abuse include

  • Shame
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Feeling powerless
  • Confusion
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Being overly compliant
  • Taking the blame for other’s behavior

Even after a relationship ends, being a victim of narcissistic abuse can make it difficult to trust partners in future relationships. Or, it may lead people to stay in unhealthy relationships. (Burch, 2023)

Getting support is so important if you have been or are being abused by a Narcissist, there is hope and healing to be found, you will be believed and can come out the other side to find freedom and validation to move forward without the narcissistic abuse in your life.


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Dorwart, L. (2023, March 29). Narcissistic personality disorder types. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com...

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2023, April 6). Narcissistic personality disorder. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/dis...

Mental Health Services in Australia: Mental health: Prevalence and impact. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2023). https://www.aihw.gov.au/report...

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