The 4 types of narcissistic abuse victims.


It’s become clear to me that not all ACONs and abuse survivors are on the same page when it comes to their attitudes toward narcissists.
Because we all are abuse survivors you would think there’d be more solidarity among us, but this is not necessarily the case.

It seems there are four distinct types. In spite of things I may have alluded to in the past, I don’t think any one group is worse or better than any other. They are different, and each has their reasons for having the attitudes they do. I’ll explain why I think the attitudes are different among the four groups. There is definitely a pattern I’ve noticed.

1. The Narc-Hating Group.


These ACONs usually underwent the worst abuse as children, or had two narcissistic parents instead of just one. Having abusive parents seems to instill the greatest anger in victims–more so than having been with an abusive spouse–and this anger isn’t easily let go of. This group has a warrior mentality: to them, ALL narcissists are evil, bad seeds, or demonic, and have no hope whatsoever of recovery or healing. They may acknowledge a continuum or spectrum among narcissists, but it’s not important to them. A narc is a narc is a narc, and they are all considered impervious to change and anything they do is suspect. Some ACONs of this type are ultra-religious and believe all narcissists are seared souls destined for hell.

2. All Cluster Bs are the Same Group.


This group goes a step beyond the first one, in that they believe anyone with a Cluster B disorder–Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic, or Antisocial–is character disordered and manipulative, and therefore all pretty much the same and to be avoided like the plague. They do not make exceptions even for Borderlines–the least “malignant” of the four disorders. People who subscribe to this view were as damaged by their malignant narcissistic parents as the first group. One of their parents may have been Borderline or Histrionic, rather than narcissistic– but people with those disorders don’t always make very good parents either. It’s unfortunately all too common for narcissists to collude with Borderlines in the abuse of the child, with the Borderline in the more codependent, subservient role.

3. Not all Narcs are Hopeless Group.


This group may be in the minority among ACONs (at least among bloggers), but it’s the group I’m evidently in–which has raised the ire of some of the Narc-Hating ACONs. People in this group aren’t going around singing the praises of narcissists and in fact the vast majority strongly encourage No Contact (just as the other two groups do). They do not tolerate or enable narcissistic manipulations and abuse, but they hold that because narcissism may be a spectrum disorder, that those at the lower end of the spectrum (non-malignants) may be redeemable under the proper circumstances and with the proper treatment. They may show more sympathy or empathy for people with narcissism than the first two groups, but they aren’t enablers either. Most do not believe malignant narcissists and psychopaths/sociopaths are redeemable, however.

Many people in this group were part of the Narc-Hating group when they were trying to disengage or go No Contact with their abusers. They used their anger to give them the courage and motivation to disconnect and stay disconnected. But because their hatred and anger toward narcissists isn’t as deeply ingrained as in the first two groups (I’ll explain why in the next paragraph), people in this group eventually can no longer hold onto their anger and prefer to try to understand the motives of those who abused them, while at the same time remaining disconnected from their abusers and not enabling narcissistic behavior. Their desire to let go of anger is very difficult for ACONs of the first two groups to understand, and people of the third group may be seen as betraying the ACON cause, even though this isn’t really the case at all. They’re just handling things differently.

Another reason a person may hold that some narcissists are redeemable is they may have a narcissistic child, and it’s an extremely difficult thing for a parent to accept that their own child may be beyond hope.

It’s been my observation that people in this group may have suffered less severe abuse as children, or had only one narcissistic parent instead of two. One of the parents (usually a codependent spouse) may have actually loved their child, and this love tempered the abuse inflicted on them by the narcissistic parent even if they were forced to collude with the abuse at times. Some people in this group may have even had normal childhoods with non-narcissistic parents, but got involved in relationships or marriages to narcissists (which technically means they are not ACONs at all). It’s been my observation that people who suffered most of their abuse at the hands of a narcissistic spouse or lover rather than a parent never developed the deep hatred toward all narcissists that the first two groups tend to do.

4. Codependents.

Fashion model stylized as marionette doll sitting on violet studio background

Codependents are often (but not always) personality disordered in some way, and many of them are Borderlines or covert narcissists. They are usually victimized by their narcissists, but also identify with and collude with their abusers. Most codependents were abused by narcissistic parents, and are drawn to narcissistic relationships where they are compelled to re-enact their abusive childhoods. This is the group that may never acknowledge they are being abused or reach out for help. They continue to defend and enable their abusers and may believe they are the ones at fault for anything that goes wrong. If a Codependent leaves their narcissist and realizes they were actually being abused, then they are no longer Codependent and join one of the first three categories.

22 thoughts on “The 4 types of narcissistic abuse victims.

  1. I’m surprised that people who went through the same abuse are turning on others. Just because that person deals with it in another way they do… Human beings are weird…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Actually I consider myself to be at least partially in group 1. The reason the other groups don’t send me off into a tizzy might be the lack of Internet /blog/clique dynamics. I simply don’t care what other bloggers do to handle thier recovery, so long as it works for them. So much of this seems like a small Internet subculture getting some much needed growing pains over with. Even though net narc blogging culture is small, it is growing. Probably all good signs for the long term future. More tents means more acons will feel welcome to reach out. Now if a few here and there go hysterical and post a buncha rage response, oh well. Thems the breaks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting. I am in the third group. I do not think there is a lot of hope for them changing. I always recommend NoContact due to danger.
    I feel some sympathy, but also anger towards my last abusive partner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly where I am at too, Annie. Not all ACONs have a lot of patience for those of us in this group, I found out. Some need to hold onto their anger. They can’t let it go. The danger with that is eventually it can turn you into a narcissist yourself. I just couldn’t hang onto that rage anymore, but I can’t stand my ex, lol– and have as little contact with him as possible. Same for my mom.


  4. And yes. One very abusive parent ..borderline narcissist. And one codependent parent, who loved me but kept shoving me back into being abused by the abusive parent. He would not let me stay away from her.
    Even as an adult, he guilted me into going to see her, even when she told me to stay away from her…right in front of him on the phone, when he would make me call her.
    He would say “good daughters, not give up. You have a duty as the oldest daughter to keep the relationships in tact.”
    Then I would go to her house and she was very abusive.
    I finally told him No More, several years ago. But I avoid going to see him because I do not want to be guilted about not going to see her.
    Do you think this is abusive at all on his part? That he always shoved me towards the line of fire

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard to say if it’s abusive. His intentions may be good, but the bottom line is, she is very toxic to you. He does not understand that or is in denial about it, which is likely if he’s codependent. My dad is the same way. He loves me and although divorced for years from my mother, still keeps trying to get me to talk to her, telling me it’s my responsibility to reach out to her because of her advanced age, etc. I have told him I cannot do this. It hurts him that she and I cannot have a relationship. He may mean well, but do what feels right to you, not to make him feel better.


    • Yay for not being #4 anymore! #3 is a good place to be (the best IMHO). Doesn’t it feel great to be able to control your own world instead of having it controlled for you? I know it does for me.


  5. I’m a little angry, but mostly with myself for thinking so little of myself and being so stupid and afraid to divorce my NARC husband. I also subjected two children to the life. I did put up a good and constant fight for myself and the children during the marriage, however. When you love your NARC husband it’s inconceivable to believe they have no empathy or remorse — that they don’t love you. You make concessions until one day you don’t know whom your sharing your life with. I’m more sad than mad. I’m isolated, disconnected and lost. Nobody wants to hear about the ugliness. I think sometimes it’s because they’re in denial about their own situation. Denial allows the narc to continue their terror. I am in the process of divorce but have a long recovery. This can happen to anyone. I am intelligent, college educated, and successful and yet still not smart enough to live with a narc for 20 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spring Robin, you can’t blame yourself. It wasn’t your fault and you were not being stupid to stay as long as you did. It’s hard to leave when children are involved. Narcs like him are good at what they do, they’ve had their whole lives to practice. What they do is try to brainwash us and make us doubt our own reality. You just reacted the only way you knew how to react. You want to believe they love you, but they can’t. I was in the same situatuon with my psychopathic MN ex for 27 years. But it’s never too late.
      Many if not most of us ACONs are in our 40s, 50s or 60s when we finally realize what we’ve been up against. You can’t fix him. That isn’t your fault. Are you still living with him?

      Things will get easier over time but for now, talking online to others who have faced similar situations can really help. You can also keep a journal. For me, writing was incredibly therapeutic.
      I wish you luck in your journey and hope you find some inspiration on this blog. Best of luck! It will get better, because now you know what you have been dealing with.


  6. This is so informative and explains the different responses. Sad to say I really identify with No 4. The anger is essential to feel in order to separate and we can go under by showing too much empathy which is the problem with No. 4. which also has heaps of denial in it. You explained so well how co-dependents turn the shame and blame back on themselves. And in his book on Complex PTSD Peter Walker explains four types too and claims the co-dependent is the least likely to seek therapy. Its just SO PAINFUL to realise so far down the track how little you have valued yourself. I do believe some narcissists are able to redeem themselves and look at their behaviour, to a degree this has happened in our family, but its taken a long time and I really wish I cut and ran a long time ago, but the desire to love and show empathy was too strong. I really value having found your site the other day btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy you found my site too, I hope you like it here. That book by Peter Walker sounds interesting, I never heard of it but now I think I want to read it.

      I don’t know why it has taken so many of us so LONG to find out what our problem has been our entire lives. Most of us seem to be rather far along in life when the realization hits.
      Thanks for your kind remarks.


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