What is Narcissistic Victim Syndrome?

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome, or NVS, can be characterised as an outgrowth of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The disorder itself is a categorisation of people who are suffering from a clinical degree or intensity of narcissism, marked by deviant and abnormal behaviour, a god complex, extreme self worth and exaggerated ideas of self importance. While NPD is widely covered by the media and many medical professionals, being recognised and listed as an actual medical impediment, the effect this behaviour has on people around the narcissist often goes ignored. This is where proponents of the victim syndrome come in.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental Disorders (DSM-IV) is the holy grail of all mental disorders and something that all psychologists and medical professionals abide by. It has extensive coverage on the NPD, but nothing on the victim syndrome. This is nonsensical in the fact that every narcissist would be interacting with people in his life and having an effect on them. This effect could lead to drastic responses. The Narcissistic Victim Syndrome by definition is the drastic negative influence that a narcissist has on people around him, generally his better half.

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

What are its symptoms?

NVS is very difficult to detect, just like other cause and effect type of disorders. What is unique about this condition is that it is the countereffect of another disorder, which is narcissism. Some features of NVS are:

  • It is prevalent in romantic relationships wherein one person is the narcissist, and another is the victim.
  • All symptoms of the Narcissistic victim Syndrome are common to other kinds of disorders as well, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Sociopath abuse, general depression, etc. Hence, they should be analysed in clusters and not as standalone signs.
  • Most symptoms are centric to trauma, including avoidance, loss of interest, flashbacks, irritability and hypervigilance.
  • The others are classic depression symptoms, such as self harm, irregular sleeping and eating patterns, detaching and isolating oneself from the society, suicidal inclinations, hopelessness and easily giving up.
  • A striking feature of this disorder is that the victim will continually try to defend his own abuser. This comes from a place of either love for the abuser, or as a result of the Stockholm Syndrome.
  • Gaslighting, or manipulating the victim to believe that he can no longer trust his own memories, thoughts or ideas and that he is worth nothing, is a power tool in NVS.

How can it be treated?

Like most other syndromes, detecting Narcissistic Victim Syndrome is the most challenging part of any situation. But once it is found and confirmed, it is treated with the same course of medication opted for other disorders. The only way to do this is by seeking professional help.