Therapist need to be seriously aware that narcissism is a very complex disorder that creates a lot of suffering, both to the person who has the disorder, and to those people who have to live with the disordered narcissistic behavior on a daily basis. When I speak of narcissistic abuse, (abuse that can lead to Narcissistic Victim Syndrome), I am speaking about a form of abuse that is very insidious. What I mean by insidious is that the abuse is covert, cunning and often indirect. This form of abuse is often carried out in a subtly and clandestine manner, because narcissists go to great pains to avoid being observed publicly as being abusive. This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde behaviour of the narcissist (loving one minute and totally enraged the next) can inflict great harm on the victim. Understandably, the fear, distress, confusion, inner turmoil, and chaos that they experience leaves them “walking on eggshells” in order to avoid further conflict with the narcissist. The effect on the victim over time can be very crippling indeed. I liken narcissism to a parasitic worm that manages to penetrate under the skin, where it is out of the sight of witnessing eyes, but is free to injure or consume its host slowly, leaving trauma or disease in its wake. By the way, the narcissist can manage to live on inside the victim even after they manage to escape; it is as if their “seed” goes on.
However, when we speak of Narcissistic Victim Abuse, we are speaking of an abuse that has been caused by someone with a personality disorder, and more often than not, their personality disorder has not been medically diagnosed, therefore the narcissistic individual goes undetected in society (i.e. in the home, the work-place, in organizations, in social settings etc.). It is vital to understand that narcissistic personality disorder is a serious mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, and a deep need for attention and admiration. The narcissist believes that they are superior to others, and have little regard for other people’s feelings, regardless of whom they are (i.e. spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, peers etc.). Other people are merely object there to serve their every need as narcissistic supply, and they will use every form of abuse, without guilt, empathy or conscience, in order to make sure that their needs are served.