Does a Narcissist’s victim feel anxious?

  • By BD
  • June 30, 2018
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A frustrated man biting his fingers due to narcissistic abuse

Yes, victims of narcissistic abuse often experience a range of emotions, including anxiety. The manipulative and controlling behaviours of narcissists can create a toxic and unpredictable environment that leaves their victims feeling constantly on edge and uncertain.

Here are some reasons why victims of narcissistic abuse may feel anxious:

  1. Fear of Repercussions: Victims may be afraid of the narcissist’s unpredictable and volatile reactions to any perceived criticism or defiance. They may constantly worry about the consequences of saying or doing something that might trigger the narcissist’s anger or retaliation.
  2. Walking on Eggshells: In order to avoid conflict or punishment, victims often learn to anticipate and cater to the narcissist’s demands and moods. This constant hypervigilance and need to please can lead to chronic anxiety as they navigate the minefield of the narcissist’s expectations.
  3. Gaslighting and Manipulation: Narcissists frequently engage in gaslighting, a form of psychological manipulation that makes the victim doubt their own perception of reality. The constant undermining and invalidation can erode the victim’s confidence and contribute to feelings of anxiety and confusion.
  4. Isolation and Dependency: Narcissists often isolate their victims, both physically and emotionally, to maintain control. Victims may feel trapped, cut off from support systems, and overly dependent on the narcissist for validation and security. This dependency can heighten anxiety as they fear losing the narcissist’s approval or fear being alone if they were to leave the abusive relationship.
  5. Trauma Bonding: Victims of narcissistic abuse can develop a complex bond with their abuser, known as trauma bonding. This bond is characterized by alternating cycles of abuse and intermittent reinforcement of affection. The inconsistency and mixed messages contribute to anxiety as victims become hooked on seeking the narcissist’s approval and validation.

It’s important to note that the experience of anxiety may vary among victims, and each individual may have a unique response to narcissistic abuse. If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety or any other emotional distress related to narcissistic abuse, it’s recommended to seek support from a mental health professional who specializes in trauma and abuse recovery.