What Are Common Characteristics of Narcissism Victims?

Narcissism victims are typically under significant amounts of stress.
Narcissism victims may demonstrate symptoms of fearfulness and indecisiveness.
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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2014
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Narcissism victims are individuals who have some type of a relationship with a narcissist. Common characteristics of narcissism victims can vary considerably according to the type of relationship the victim had with a narcissist. Very often, however, narcissism victims are under significant amounts of stress and may demonstrate various symptoms consistent with those who are coping with long-term stress. In situations where a victim is being abused by the narcissist, the victim may demonstrate classic symptoms of an abused person, such as fearfulness and indecisiveness. Those who manage to sever their relationship with a narcissist may demonstrate symptoms of depression or post-traumatic stress.

People who have to interact with narcissists on a regular basis may find that these interactions can prove to be quite stressful because the narcissist typically will not acknowledge that the victim has wants or needs or even legitimate thoughts of his or her own. Even in professional relationships where the victim does not have to live with a narcissist or carry on a personal relationship outside the office, the victim may find that interacting with someone who does not demonstrate mutual respect is extremely stressful. The victim in a professional setting may also find that his or her own work performance declines, as a narcissist continually undermines his or her confidence or work effort.

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Those who are in family or intimate relationships with narcissists may develop other symptoms due to the closeness of their relationship. Family members, spouses, and partners may be financially exploited by a narcissist, who may believe that he or she is above doing normal work and may refuse to hold a job that makes a living wage. As the narcissist does not acknowledge that people might need or want to keep their money for themselves, he or she may have no problem with borrowing money that he or she has no intention of repaying or simply expecting the victim to support him or her. These narcissism victims may find themselves on the receiving end of verbal abuse if they confront the narcissist or refuse his or her requests. Apologies for these outbursts are seldom forthcoming from the narcissist.

After separating from a narcissist or ending a relationship, narcissism victims may continue to struggle with residual stress, depression, and feelings of guilt. In some cases, a narcissist can be a very charming friend or partner, and the victim may have developed a codependent relationship that can take some time to recover from. These victims may alternately feel anger and sadness as they adjust to life apart from a highly dysfunctional relationship.

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anon345921
Post 7

I am surrounded by narcissists! I was searching for the keyword "silent," but not only silent treatment or stonewalling (which I see that one of my brothers does that to me), but the crazy power over everyone/bystanders that say the victims must be silent about the mental/ emotional discarding abuse!

They use shaming to get this accomplished and encourage all their 'flying monkeys' to shame the victim into silence. Even extended family members who should stand up for another want the victim to quit "accusing"/ exposing the abusers in what they were or still are doing! This power over abuse is not just in marriages or romantic relationships, but these types also run financial fraud schemes with nice trusting elderly, even their own mothers, and the scapegoats are nice, loving "forgivers".

anon343459
Post 6

If you are caring, have co-dependent traits, and love easily, you are just what a narcissist is looking for. I just realized that my pattern with narcissists began in childhood (with my father) and has continued from there. There are different degrees of narcissism. Some narcissists are more difficult to spot because they are good at pretending. After two years of being alone, I tried another relationship. It was fun and amazing for three months, until a switch in him got flipped. Once he felt I was in his web, it was like he changed overnight. Projection was the biggest thing he did. He was also critical, judgmental, and became childish. He hung up on me, would only talk through email, and then, when I stood my ground, it ended.

I want to point out that it is best to end a relationship with a narcissist swiftly and kindly. These individuals can be very vindictive. You may feel like you are losing something, but this loss if only about the relationship you thought you had. My guy put on a show for three months and actually asked me if I liked what I saw because this is who he was!

Later, he told me he was pushing his insecurities and anxieties aside for three months and when I said I wanted to slow things down, his walls went back up (notice how he put the blame on me when he was the one with the issues and pretending who he was). I understand the struggle. I thought this man was probably "the one." But I am thankful I only invested a few months, instead of years with someone who could make me feel as small and worthless as my father did.

anon342898
Post 5

Why I thank God for support groups.

In reading Post 4, I gained some major assistance and agreed with every point except one. When they wrote, "Women have all the power and they don't even know it," the statement threw me for two important reasons. One is that I am a man who has been emotionally and mentally abused by a narcissist woman. The second is, whether, male or female, spouse, friend or parent, this illness is crippling to and blinds its victims to inner awareness. The infectious nature of this illness is to attack the victim, where the healthy true self is devalued and not discerning.

If I didn't come from a family of healthy women, I would have viewed all women with a cracked lens. This individual was subtle in every way during the beginning. I was going through a divorce when we met at church and I mentored her troubled son. I saw signs as she interacted with him, but pressed forward nonetheless. The more I met her requests for help, the less control I had over my life. Her mood swings, ranging from caring to nasty were draining as I attempted to calmly resolve an issue she wasn't pleased with.

After six months of working with a social worker and getting son back in school and on track, I stepped away. What I didn't realize was all the days communicating, praying, consoling, laughing and problem solving we did daily (that was key to my codependency) had grafted me into her cycle. I was depressed even though I knew I needed the distance away.

I was scheduled to go overseas when I had a heart attack. She visited the hospital and while crying all over me, she kissed me on the forehead and I was back in place. Never having time to heal, I found myself on an emotional hell ride over the next year. In short, we were going to marry but her attempts to gain complete control over every aspect of my life and children, was the only red flag I could see. Thank God I could see that because I couldn't see or hear anyone else, including my sister who is a psychologist.

Fortunately, during one of her rage episodes I walked out and she used her all-powerful silent treatment. This, as it turned out, allowed me time enough to realize I needed as much help as she did. All of her devaluing had left me depleted, almost void of self-confidence and doubting God. So I sought help. The trouble is my love (or codependency) for her has left me straining to rebuild my entire life. All this while fighting a desire that should be every man’s dream: to marry and share the rest of my life with the woman he loves (if healthy) forever. The truth is she is not healthy and may never be, but one thing is for sure -- I can be healthy and happy. This is why I thank God for these types of support groups. --Emani

sch
Post 4

You need to look at yourself also. You could be co- dependent, which the crazies look for. You're easy to control and manipulate, because you care about people and they feel you're a target for them.

If your loved one makes you feel like you're crazy, worthless or just a bad person in any way, you are with a narcissistic person. They will not care if you're hurt. They will look at you like you deserved it and may laugh.

You need to start learning to read people's body language and facial expressions and there are tons of books about it. Read about co-dependence, learn about different types of co-dependence and find out which one you are. We all have to learn we only can control what we want to do in life and we can't let anyone else tell us what to do either. We can't help everyone.

You have to know people to know who really needs help. Don't help any man if they need help or are in a bad relationship. Let them take care of their business and don't get involved. This is a warning sign right now. You want a man who is working, loving and caring for you. Read the books. Women have all the power and they don't even know it.

If a man really loves you, he will date you even if you don't sleep with him. Don't give it up! We all have lots to learn about people. Know how to read everybody, not just men. Stand up and don't let anyone control you. It's all about control.

disciples
Post 3

Where can I get help and support for being a victim of a narcissist? Are there counselors who specialize in this? Are there support groups?

Belted
Post 2

How can I know if I am a narcissism victim? I feel like all the definitions are so diffuse. How do you objectively label a narcissist and how do you label a victim? How do we know that what we might label as narcissism victimhood is not just a natural bump in a relationship?

I do not doubt that it is a real thing, I just wish it was easier to put a finger on. I have a strange relationship with my boyfriend. I love him but things have been rough lately. I wonder if it is something that will pass, or if there are big parts of our personalities that do not work together.

chivebasil
Post 1

This is an interesting topic and one that I know all too much about. I feel like my life has been a series of deep and way too personal relationships with huge narcissists. They include friends, family, lovers, coworkers. I am beginning to think that I attract these kinds of people to me.

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