“Pathological mind games. Covert and overt put-downs. Triangulation. Gaslighting. Projection. These are the manipulative tactics survivors of malignant narcissists are unfortunately all too familiar with. As victims of silent crimes where the perpetrators are rarely held accountable, survivors of narcissistic abuse have lived in a war zone of epic proportions, enduring an abuse cycle of love-bombing and devaluation—psychological violence on steroids.”  Shahida Arabi, Power: Surviving and Thriving after Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a serious condition characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others. It is an extreme self-interest with zero real concern for anyone else.

This self-centeredness results from the total failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is an inability to distinguish the self from external objects (lack of whole-object relations), and a lack of understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, touched, or sensed in some way (lack of object constancy). This results in a psychological defence known as “splitting” (black or white thinking, all good or all bad), a term used in psychiatry to describe the inability to hold opposing thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. 

NPD is generally considered to be the result of trauma in early childhood (abuse), although genetics may also play a role. Persons with the disorder (or a likely overlap of other personality disorders including sociopathy and psychopathy) are rarely professionally diagnosed, as they don’t see the lack of moral conscience as an issue and are able to justify their actions as a necessary defence. 

NPD Abuse (Narcissistic Abuse) is what a person in a relationship with someone that meets the criteria for narcissistic (NPD) or antisocial (APD) personality disorder experiences. The potentially crippling, life long effects of narcissistic abuse on a partner’s mental health form a cluster of symptoms, not yet included in the DSM, known as Narcissistic Victim Syndrome.

"You will be subjected to a campaign of abuse. There is no need to call it anything else. Our behavior towards you will be abhorrent and will encompass a vast array of manipulative techniques that we deploy in order to control and abuse you. Emotional, physical, sexual and financial atrocities will be meted out against you. You will not recognize much of it at first, as it will be delivered to you with a smile and a pouring of sugar in your ear. You will be left confused, bereft and broken. You will lose your friendships and your family. Your work will suffer. Your health will deteriorate. Your finances will be wrecked and your sanity will be left hanging by a thread."
“Imagine – if you can – not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern of the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken. And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools. Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless. You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodlessness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience that they seldom even guess at your condition.”

Love Bombing



Coercive Control

Silent Treatment


Name Calling



Lack of Empathy








Smear Campaign


Excessive Rage


"There are several reasons why I believed his lies. First, I had never imagined that anyone could lie ALL THE TIME. So if I didn’t have absolute proof of a lie, I believed it must be the truth. But on the contrary, psychopaths never stop deceiving, it is their nature. Secondly, there was no reason to lie to me. None that I could imagine. If he was lying to protect himself then he didn’t have to lie to me. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to hurt him. But of course, he knows his intent to harm others will likely be met with a desire for vengeance. His lies were not preemptive defense tactics against enmity, they were his exit strategy. The third reason that I believed his lies was because when he lies, he performs with his entire body. Every phony expression, every practiced movement, testifies to the veracity of his statements. He has no nervous response that would betray him."
“Due to the covert and insidious nature of narcissistic abuse, it often gets the least amount of attention and validation in the realm of domestic violence discourses. Society is prone to victim-blaming survivors of this type of abuse because it does not always leave visible scars; those who have not experienced it can misunderstand it as simply compatibility issues or “normal” relationship problems, not recognizing the amount of psychological and emotional damage that is often involved.”

"Appearances are all there is with narcissists -- and their self-hatred knows no bounds. The most dramatic example I can think of is from John Cheever's journals. Throughout his life he had pursued surreptitious homosexual activities, being transiently infatuated with young men who reminded him of himself in his youth, while also living in a superficially settled way as a married family man, a respected writer with an enviable suburban life, breeding pedigreed dogs and serving on the vestry of the Episcopal church. When his secret life (going to New York City for a few days every now and then to pick up sailors and other beautiful boys for brief flings) came to scandalous light, his family sought to reassure him by telling him that they'd known about his homosexual activities for years. Now, a normal person would be ashamed and embarrassed but also relieved and grateful that scandal, not to mention chronic emotional and marital infidelity, had not caused his wife and children to reject and abandon him -- but not the narcissist! Oh, no, Cheever was enraged that they would ever have thought such a thing of him -- if they really loved him, they'd have bought his artificial "country squire" persona: they would have seen him as he wished to be seen: they would have believed his lies without question or doubt."

"Michael Mastromarino is a good example of someone who exhibited significant narcissistic and sociopathic traits, but for years, no one around him knew the nefarious things he was capable of. Mastromarino was a very successful dentist with a “perfect” life, a grand home, a trusting wife and beautiful children. He also was a master excuse maker, serial philander, abused prescription drugs, and was convicted of running a multi-million dollar scam in which he took body parts from funeral homes and sold them for medical research. For years, Mastromarino’s wife believed his lies and excuses because she was so in love with him. As his childhood sweetheart, she saw in him only his drive to succeed and the handsome, charming young man with whom she’d fallen in love. In a recent documentary, she spoke about how it remained incomprehensible to her that Mastromarino could be guilty of the above until the evidence was truly overwhelming."