* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
Narcissistic abuse is something that will change a victim’s life forever.
If you have a friend going through this, then it can be difficult to know how to act or what to say to help them. The last thing you want to say is the wrong thing. So are you thinking about How To Help A Victim Of Narcissistic Abuse?
A narcissistic person will suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which offers them abnormal behaviors that will create a trail of destruction wherever they go, often hurting the ones closest to them the most.
Today we are going to be looking into how you can help a victim of narcissistic abuse.
Symptoms Of Narcissistic Abuse
Narcissists have an exaggerated self-worth and a larger-than-life ego, and most likely a superiority complex over others.
This means that they will need more attention, admiration, praise, and affection from people around them.
These people tend to prey on empathetic people who sympathize with them and are naturally nurturing.
Narcissistic people will make up stories about troubled pasts and bad luck to get their egos stroked.
As time goes on, however, they will continue to break this person down to feed their ego.
They will also leave the victim to pick up the broken pieces once they are done with them.
There are several actions that the victim might display, such as:
- Trauma dissociation
- Trouble eating or sleeping
- Memory loss
- Constant tiredness
- Loss of sense of self
- Detachment from the world
How You Can Help A Victim Of Narcissistic Abuse?
Before you do anything else, it is so important that you research and educate yourself first.
It is much easier to help someone once you know the surface level of what they went through.
Research online or read a book on narcissistic abuse is a good idea.
If your friend is still in the relationship, you can now bring the knowledge that you have learned to them in a loving voice.
Ask them to watch out for the tactics that the narcissistic person will use to try and keep them close, such as promising that they will change or go to therapy.
Most of us know narcissists will not change without proper help, but they still like to use this as a ploy to stop their victims from leaving.
Let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do to help.
Create A Safety Plan With The Victim
A safety plan can be very helpful for victims who want to get away from the abuse.
If the abuser knows about the plan to escape, then it will cause a narcissistic injury.
This is where the ego is bruised and therefore causes them to lash out at the victim.
So, the victim should not inform the narcissistic person that they are leaving, as this can quickly turn into a dangerous situation.
Instead, create a safety plan discreetly, labeling where they will go if they get into danger.
Pack an emergency bag for the victim, and more if there are kids involved.
Stash some money where the narcissist won’t find it, along with any documentation or papers needed.
Every state has various domestic violence shelters and services that can be used if the victim wants to.
Keep Them Feeling Safe
The chances are that they are already feeling incredibly vulnerable and unsafe at home, so you should make yourself available to be their safe space.
This means that they can share anything they want without feeling judged.
Do not invalidate their feelings as this might cause them to close off and break the trust between you.
Encouraging them to stay in the relationship is telling them to stay in an abusive situation.
It could isolate them even more and make them feel like they have no one to turn to.
So, don’t brush their concerns off with phrases like ‘everyone goes through these problems’ or ‘you should work it out for the kids’.
You should be encouraging them to get them safely away from their abuser.
Never Blame The Victim
When someone tells you that they are in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, you might wonder to yourself how they could have stayed in such an environment for so long.
However, it is very different hearing about the abuse from the outside compared to living with it.
Victims are often groomed with intermittent love, so when they are abused, they stay and wait for the nice person who loves them to return.
They’ll excuse the abuse and blame it on a bad day or tiredness because the ‘nice’ version of the narcissist will come back apologizing and saying how much they love them.
Money worries and children are also common reasons why victims might stay in an abusive situation with a narcissist, so don’t ask them ‘why did you stay?’.
This is putting blame on the victim, when none of it was their fault.
Get Them Help
If the victim wants help getting out of their situation, then you should do everything that you can to help with this.
Seek domestic abuse support workers and counselors to help the victim, find them a space in a shelter, or even invite them to stay with you.
It is important that victims of narcissistic abuse get proper help when they need it.
However, never surprise them with help that they don’t want as this could cause them to break their trust with you.
Once they have left the situation they should feel empowered and able to make their own decisions.
If you take this away from them, they might revert to how they felt in the relationship.
Our main advice for anyone trying to help a victim of narcissistic abuse is to get them help when they want it, help them create a safety plan, listen to everything they have to say, and never put the blame on them.
Getting out of this situation can be a scary and daunting time, but an understanding friend might make it marginally more bearable.
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)
988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.
The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org
Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish
Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)
Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228
American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255
LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)
The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)
The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com
The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.
‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories
- Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
- GoodTherapy.org: http://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy: https://aamft.org/Directories/Find_a_Therapist.asp
- Emergency: 911
- Hotline: 1-888-353-2273
- YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/
UK & Republic of Ireland
- Emergency: 112 or 999
- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
- Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
- Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
- YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/