Last updated on November 29th, 2023.
Narcissistic Abuse sneaks up on a victim. A narcissist uses mind games. They make the victim believe that they are the bad guy, not the abuser. They are master of manipulation. In fact, the victim of a narcissist may be so manipulated that they don’t even realize they’re being abused until they’re knee-deep in it.
Those exhibiting Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) gaslight their victims. The victims begin doubting all that they believe in, including themselves. Abusers sneakily gain control of their victim’s whole being through emotional blackmail, belittlement and verbal abuse. These are some of the most common symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.
Here’s the list of the 4 Best Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Programs Online, but scroll down for more info:
- Melanie Evans: The Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program
- Sounds True: Understanding Narcissism Summit
- Sounds True: The Healing Trauma Summit
- Udemy: Take Back Your Life – Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program
You may be wondering, why do narcissists abuse? What does a narcissist get out of their acts of sadism? Well, first off, you need to know that narcissism comes from feeling inferior. Deep down, the narcissist is experiencing doubt and shame, and is terrified of seeming weak. Being humiliated is his greatest fear. So, back to the question of why are narcissists abusive? It’s simple: to make themselves feel powerful.
And, narcissists HATE to be confronted. The narcissist reacts negatively when they believe, whether true or not, that they’re being called out on their behavior.
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Programs
We’ve got a lot to cover in this article.
We’ll go over the characteristics of narcissistic abuse. We’ll list and discuss the nine traits that can be exhibited by a person diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And, in conjunction with those nine traits, we’ll talk about the narcissistic cycle of abuse that victims unwittingly become trapped in.
We’ll also discuss the prevalence of narcissistic abuse, what it feels like to the victim amidst the abuse, and how to get help and finally break the narcissistic cycle of abuse.
And, to help break that cycle, we’ll give overviews of the best narcissistic abuse recovery programs online.
Most of all in this article, we want to give hope to the victims of narcissistic abuse, those feeling like they are trapped in the narcissistic cycle of abuse with no way to get out. There is a way out. There are support systems out there. There are ways to break free. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Read on and know that there are people out there who will help.
The 4 Best Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Programs Online
If an abuse victim would rather go online for help instead of meeting a professional in person, there are many narcissistic abuse recovery programs out there. It may be easier to reach out for help online. The victim would still have to face the reality of the situation, but their goal of healing and moving towards a happier life could still be achieved.
Read below for more information on virtual narcissistic abuse recovery programs. They offer varying methods to achieve goals. And they feature advice, education and help via a wide array of professionals, from psychological to spiritual. They’ll give in-depth instruction in recognizing the signs of narcissistic abuse and teach ways to be assertive.
We’ve curated five of the top-rated narcissistic abuse recovery programs just for you or for people in your circle who you suspect of being victims of narcissistic abuse. Check out the information and compare the programs to find the one best suited for you or your loved one.
1. Melanie Evans: The Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program
The Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program is a “step-by-step system to heal from real from narcissistic abuse.” The program offers a $295 Gold Package and $195 Silver Package, with both offering 10 freedom healing modules, a workbook, video series, exercises, meditations and a goal-setting module.
The Gold Package further offers bonus modules to help you thrive, empowering e-books, and lifetime access to the Narcissistic Abuse Recover Program support forum.
The forum’s 20,000 members will aide you in your recovery. You’ll have access to people who are going through the same issue you are. And they’ll cheer you on at every step, 24/7.
The program is taught by an author and abuse survivor who will show you how to release your trauma, regain control over your life and thrive.
Please take a look at these five programs. They each offer different approaches, but they’ve all been created to help you break free from trauma and narcissistic abuse.
2. Sounds True: Understanding Narcissism Summit
The Understanding Narcissism Summit, will, per their website, allow the user to “create healthy relationships, address the trauma of narcissistic abuse and shift our culture from ‘me’ to ‘we.’”
For $397 for lifetime access, the user will have lifetime access to 20 recorded sessions from the top mental health experts, psychologists, researchers, spiritual teachers and even a high school student.
You’ll study narcissism and learn best practices on how to spot narcissism in others, how to self-assess, and how to better communicate. You’ll also learn a host of empowerment techniques and insights. The program will allow the user to achieve greater empathy and self-awareness.
3. Sounds True: The Healing Trauma Summit
The Healing Trauma Summit will help those people who have experienced emotional wounds from recent or childhood trauma. Those traumas could have left unresolved grief, flashbacks, panic attacks and more, and the summit’s teachings will help eliminate those consequences and more.
Summit participants will learn to build a foundation of security and safety, become strong, rebuild intimacy, live fully in the world, and more.
There are over 20 hours of guidance and insights, as well as downloadable materials and bonus teachings. This narcissistic abuse recovery program costs $397.
Physicians, psychologists, spiritual practitioners and more offer their years of experience to help participants rewire their brains for resiliency and well-being.
Participants will be able to thrive and flourish after implementing the course concepts that address the entire person.
4. Udemy: Take Back Your Life - Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program
The Take Back Your Life: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program will allow users to let go of their fear and create a better life for themselves. A life that they deserve.
The course includes:
- Nine video lectures
- Two articles
- Five downloads
- Lifetime access
- Ability to access the course on laptop and mobile
- Certificate of completion
The great thing about udemy.com courses is that before you decide on the course, you can look at the ratings other students have left. This will most definitely help you choose the program that is right for you.
And, equally as helpful, there are three short video previews to the course that you can watch to help make your mind up before buying the course.
This course will discuss financial abuse, transforming fear into success, eliminating a narcissist-induced inferiority complex, and more.
What is Narcissistic Abuse?
Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional abuse created and projected by a narcissist on to another person. Typically narcissistic abuse occurs as emotional and psychological abuse however there are other forms of narcissistic abuse that are a part of this category, those being: financial, spiritual, sexual and physical.
In the following few paragraphs we will explain how this type of abuse begins and takes root and then we’ll discuss the predominant Narcissistic Abuse Cycle that is common with narcissist abuse.
First things first: How is the narcissistic seed planted in a person?
What is it about someone that causes them to become a narcissistic abuser? A 2009 study found that the self-esteem, or rather issues with self-esteem are the main reason for someone becoming a narcissistic abuser. Healthy self-esteem gives a person psychological security. It allows the ego to function properly and allows a person to feel self-respect.
Intriguingly, males in their teens and early adulthood exhibit NPD more than any other group. And NPD is caused by a variety of reasons. It can be inherited through genetics or come from faulty neurobiological connections between the brain and behavior.
Another main cause, say researchers, is environment. If a child experiences excessive adoration or excessive criticism from their primary caregiver, generally a parent, they can exhibit NPD later on. Also, some parents raise their children as a “narcissistic artificial limb,” and use the child to restore what is missing in their own psyche. That treatment can lead the child to believe they are omnipotent. Another researcher described this phenomenon as occurring when a narcissistic parent amasses, “reflected glory through their children.”
Who is at risk of being a victim of narcissistic abuse?
People from any walks of life, and in any type of relationship, can be at a risk for narcissistic abuse, ranging from the silent treatment to physical violence. The narcissistic abuser’s main goal is to dominate, and they will use everything, including sadism, to achieve that goal. But, why do they feel the need to dominate? Mainly, to mask their vulnerability and doubt.
And, narcissistic abuse takes many shapes. Although it could be mental and emotional abuse, it may often be physical, sexual, spiritual or financial. And a victim may experience more than one of these forms of abuse at the same time.
One thing that must be remembered about narcissistic abusers is that that they don’t believe they are abusive. They instead believe that they are being abused and are in fact the victim.
And, those with NPD very rarely take responsibility for their conduct and instead blame the people they’ve abused. They can lack principles to the core.
Some of the negative behaviors exhibited by people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder include:
- Not being able to curb one’s emotions or behavior
- Not being able to deal with stress
- Not being able to adapt to change
- Becoming angry when not given special treatment
- Having very thin skin; not being able to take criticism
- Belittling others and showing rage or hatred to feel superior
- Having spells of depression because they don’t feel they reach the level of perfection they’re due
- Having feelings of shame, vulnerability, humiliation and insecurity.
Just to be clear, most of us have a healthy level of narcissism. A normal level of narcissism is why you feel proud after completely a successful work project, for instance.
Also, we mentioned above that most people suffering from NPD are male. Well, that’s not an exaggeration. Researchers have found that males account for around 75% of NPD sufferers!
What are the Nine Traits of a Narcissist?
Per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), there are nine criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD); someone with NPD will exhibit at least five. The nine criteria are:
- Grandiose feeling of self-importance
- Demeans and belittles people; is a bully
- Exploits people to achieve gain
- No empathy for other’s pain
- Fixated on fantasies of power, fame, beauty, success
- Believes oneself to be superior and unique
- Needs admiration from others 24/7
- Believes they deserve special treatment and obeisance from others
- Envies others and believes others envy them
Incidentally, the Mayo Clinic names a few more traits identified in people with NPD, such as the insistence to always have the best, be it a fancy car, a house in a tony neighborhood, etc. They also frequently monopolize the conversation because they have convinced themselves that only their words are important. And, they’re known to exaggerate (read: lie about) their achievements.
How Common is Narcissistic Abuse?
Psychcentral.com estimates that 6% of the population exhibits narcissistic personality disorder, equally 19,560,000 people in the U.S. alone. And that’s a conservative estimate. Psychcentral says that there are three hurdles to overcome when confronting the narcissistic cycle of abuse:
A victim of narcissistic abuse must:
Identify the abuse
Best-selling author of numerous books about narcissistic abuse, Shahida Arabi lists the 11 signs to look out for that could mean someone is the victim of narcissistic abuse:
- Dissociation – The victim is emotionally detached from their environment and may notice problems with their memory and perceptions.
- Anxiety – They’re afraid of everyone and everything, not just their abuser. They’re unable to be assertive in any relationship because of the trauma they’re facing from your abuser.
- Sacrifice – They’re sacrificing their goals so they can fulfill the needs of the narcissistic abuser. Their entire being revolves around them.
- Health issues – The victim’s health could be suffering due to the stress. They may find yourself gaining or losing weight and have other physical ailments.
- Mistrust – The psychological and physical abuse they’ve suffered at the hands of a narcissistic abuser is causing them to mistrust everyone in their life, including themselves.
- Self-harm or suicidal ideation – They may feel that their life is so hopeless and that they cannot escape. So they may begin to self-harm or feel like they don’t want to go on. Studies show that victims of abuse are twice as likely to attempt suicide more than once.
- Self-isolation – They may be feeling ashamed and may believe no one will understand, so they withdraw. The victim also could fear that the abuser will retaliate.
- Self-blame – The abuse victim may see the abuser treat others perfectly normally and wonder if the abuse is their own fault.
- Self-sabotage/self-destruction – The victim has been conditioned to believe that they are worthless, so they self-destruct, sometimes to the point of suicide.
- Fear of success – Again, the abuser manipulates and conditions the victim. The abuser makes the victim believe that there will be reprisals if the victim achieves success in life.
- Lying to one’s self – The narcissistic abuse victim will even lie to themselves that they provoked the abuser. And they protect the abuser from law enforcement and share the blame for the abuse.
Build a support system
Once a victim identifies that they are being abused, it helps to talk to a mental health professional, trusted family or friends, domestic violence advocates, or fellow survivors. It may be daunting to leave the relationship or even acknowledge out loud that there has been abuse, but it is possible. The victim can create a safety plan with members of the support system to escape a potential violent situation with the narcissistic abuser.
Learn how to protect themselves and be strong
The victim of narcissistic abuse may become so mired in the unhealthy relationship that they cannot get out. Researchers call phenomenon, “traumatic bonding.” And learning how to break free of traumatic bonding can be daunting, but not impossible. When seeking help, the victim will learn that there is a way out.
And, once free from the abuse, the victim can begin rebuilding their life. One 2015 study found that meditation and yoga target the same parts of the brain that have been affected by trauma. Also, the victim can begin to acknowledge the abuse by journaling.
What Does Narcissistic Abuse Feel like?
Those who are experiencing narcissistic abuse can lie to themselves and others that there is any abuse happening. They have been so gaslit that they blame themselves for the problems created by the abuser. They exhibit a sharp decline in self-esteem as the abuser has manipulated them and played mind games to such a great extent.
And then the victim isolates themselves from their support system due to their shame. This is also due to manipulation of the narcissistic abuser. The victim feels alone and helpless and doesn’t have hope that they can escape. They may not even believe they are worthy enough to escape, thanks to the mind games the abuser has been playing. They feel like there is no hope. But, as we’ve talked about above, there’s always help.
What is the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse?
Researchers have identified three main periods that occur in the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse. And, it’s important to note that a partner can experience the cycle multiple times.
A new partner sees the best side of the narcissist while beginning in the idealization phase. The narcissist will exhibit kindness and will seek to and succeed in charming their partner. They will also appear to be empathetic. During the idealization phase, the narcissist has the ability to draw in their romantic or business partner and deceive them into committing to the relationship.
Once narcissist has gotten a partner to commit, then the mask comes off and their narcissistic behavior emerges. In the devaluation phase, the abuser begins small, with insulting comments. They may escalate to contempt, passive aggressiveness, infidelity and physical violence.
And the abuser uses manipulation to make the victim believe that they are in the wrong. This trick, called gaslighting, is an insidious way to make the victim question everything.
Further into the devaluation phase, the abuser uses cliffhanging (not answering calls and suddenly being unavailable), and stonewalling (aggressively ending a conversation or not even allowing a conversation to start). The abuser will strive to cause pain.
Although discarding is the third phase, I won’t call it the last, because remember, narcissistic abuse is circular. The victim may experience the cycle of abuse more than once. And the abuser may continue the cycle of abuse with multiple partners.
In the discarding phase, the narcissist begins to achieve the power that feeds their narcissism somewhere else. They will have an affair, thus beginning the idealizing phase with another person.
How to Deal with Narcissist Abuse?
When one suspects they are being abused by a narcissist, some of the actions they hope will alleviate the problem will instead be counterproductive. The tactics you would use in a normal disagreement with a friend or loved one will not work with a narcissist. And, the behavior and strategies you would use with a typical business partner could not be used with a business partner with narcissistic personality disorder. Attempts at normal work camaraderie will most likely backfire.
A 2009 study discussed the pitfalls of dealing with a narcissistic abuser and explained why certain tactics fail. Researchers advise that the following nine tactics, ones that seem logical, will not work with narcissists and could make the abuse escalate.
- Arguing or even fighting will get the abused person nowhere. They may just end up being treated worse.
- Pleading tends not to work because the narcissistic abuser sees it as a form of weakness, and they hate weakness.
- Sharing one’s feelings can open one’s self to more abuse.
- Appeasement only empowers the abuser and makes them feel stronger.
- Defending one’s self can also lead to more abuse, as it leaves the victim open to criticism.
- Denying that the abuse has actually occurred amounts to lying to one’s self and will not solve the problem.
- Criticizing the abuser could set them off and risks an escalation of abuse.
- Threats to the abuser, can, like example 6, escalate the abuse.
- And, blame one’s self for the abuse will do nothing to end the abuse. The cycle will continue.
What can help end the cycle of narcissistic abuse is acknowledging the abuse, removing one’s self from the situation and standing one’s ground. The abuse victim must learn, with the help of a professional counselor, to set boundaries and protect themselves. They can work with a counselor to relearn that they have rights, a right to be treated respectfully, a right to privacy, a right not to engage in sexual relations, and a right to respect one’s self.
How to Live After Narcissistic Abuse?
If a victim has learned the tell-tale signs of narcissistic behavior and narcissistic abuse and has reached out for help, one of the most important things they can do to live peacefully in the future is to build a strong support system of family, friends, mental health care professionals, survivors, etc.
While the victim is rebuilding their life and self-esteem, a support system will be key if they find their strength faltering. It may seem helpless at times but the more educated they become and the stronger their support system, the easier it will be for a narcissistic abuse victim to heal and to reassemble their life. They’ll be well on their way of learning ways to be assertive and to practice self-respect and self-care.
Where To Go from Here?
Narcissistic abuse can drain a person of self-esteem and self-love. When they are in the middle of an abusive Narcissistic Relationship, they may feel that all hope is lost. That they will never escape. But this isn’t the case.
We’ve hope we’ve given some hope to victims of narcissistic abuse by discussing the causes and warning signs to narcissistic abuse, talking about the narcissistic cycle of abuse, and offering suggestions on how to leave the cycle of abuse.
And we’ve given rundowns of five extraordinary programs to help someone escape and heal from narcissistic abuse. We hope you visit the websites of the individual programs, check out what they have to offer and find the one to help yourself or a person you believe could benefit from the teachings.
The victims of narcissistic abuse have long roads ahead of them. They need to rebuild their self-esteem, reestablish relationships that they may have neglected while they were in the relationship with the narcissist, and even regain their health. A mental health professional will work with the victim to make a plan to reclaim their life and get on the road to recovery. It will be a difficult and challenging road, but with a support system, education and a drive to heal, the victim will be able to pull themselves out of the isolation created by the abuser and aim towards a healthier future.