Narcissistic Victim Syndrome (NVS): What the heck is that?


This is a very informative article about a type of complex PTSD suffered by victims of narcissistic abuse called Narcissistic Victim Syndrom, or NVS. Neither NVS or C-PTSD are currently recognized by the DSM, but are under consideration for future editions. Although this article is written for therapists, I think it belongs here and can be well understood by people who live with or whose lives have been seriously affected by narcissists. The author stresses that to be able to effectively work with patients with NVS, it’s necessary to be well-knowledged about NPD and narcissism(which abusers are most likely to have).

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome: What the heck is that?

19 thoughts on “Narcissistic Victim Syndrome (NVS): What the heck is that?

  1. I’m so glad that NVS is starting to be recognised and I’m glad you brought this term and article to our attention. There is much work to do yet. An interesting counter point to the bloggers reference about the Stockholm Syndrome comes from the psychologist that interviewed the victim in that hostage situation. The victim from which the label was derived was never talked to about her experiences until Dr. Wade made a point of interviewing her. The truth she had to say was shocking… Dr. A Wade an expert concerning abuse survivors has some incredible things to say after his deep research about the labeling of victims. He suggests that victims resist abuse far more than they are given credit for and are often pathologized for reasons he states below.

    Therefore labels like co-dependent, imply as mutual relationship of some sorts. For children of Narcs there was nothing mutual or codependent about it. To suggest a crime victim is responsible in some ways for the crimes against them is rather like hearing a pedephile say that the 3 year old seduced him. Thus the 3 year old is partially to blame for the evil that occurred. Narcs. like that. “you made me do it”…And scapegoats are so groomed to accept that something is terribly wrong with them often accept that they are somehow sick or it wound’t have happened to them. Again the therapy world is asking the wrong question “what is wrong with you” rather than the right question “what is right about you and what was crazy about what happened to you”

    Click to access Stockholm-Syndrome-poster-rev1.pdf

    “From this analysis, Dr. Wade will show how “Stockholm syndrome” and related ideas
    (e.g., “traumatic bonding”, “learned helplessness”, “battered women’s syndrome”,
    “infantilization”, “repetition compulsion”, “internalized oppression”, “identification with
    the aggressor/oppressor”) shift the focus from actual events in context to invented
    problems in the minds of victims, particularly women. A product of professional culture,
    “Stockholm syndrome” ignores victim responses in context, works to discredit
    individuals who criticize official responses, and reproduces professional authority”

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is interesting, Katie….would you like to write me a guest post about this and Dr. Wade’s findings? (Let me know–I’m serious).
      I agree that many types of victims are held accountable for the abuse that was done to them. Rape victims are blamed for “dressing too seductively.” The poor are blamed for “being lazy leeches who refuse to work” and even that THEY are ruining the economy, not the narcopaths who trapped them in poverty–don’t EVEN get me started on this! Battered wives are blamed for “egging on” the abuser, etc. etc. It’s especially bad in our court system and in criminal prosecution where the real abuser often gets a light sentence because they are more glib and better at defending themselves and gaslight onto the real victim. The real victim, meanwhile, often is not compensated fairly or even somtimes accused as being the actual abuser! It happens all the time.

      Because of all this, sometimes it’s just easier to collude with your abuser if you feel you can’t escape (No, I’m not encouaging this–just stating what goes through the minds of many victimized people when caught in a situation with an abuser).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the invite. I’ll work on a piece the focus will be about when therapy is empowering versus when it is diminishing. I can put it on my blog if you think it appropriate to share i welcome you to do so!

        Colluding with an abuser when your survival is at stake is a smart tactic! However, rather than recognising that as a strength to be commended because you were observant enough to figure out a survival tactic the survivor gets labeled “co-dependent”: or whatever pathology it is that causes a victim to share the blame for the crime/evil/abuse done to them

        I know this much, the susceptibility to a narc is innocence, or dependence in some way as a child is dependent on a parent or a spouse on an assumed marriage. Its not codependent personality a narc seeks out as a victim, they seek out trusting, innocent people with good hearts. The one time in my life that therapy actually made me feel loveable was when the short term therapist commented about my recent divorce from a batterer narc… There was nothing wrong with the way you love. You love with your whole heart, trustingly and sacrificially, its a beautiful kind of love”

        I wept. because I’d been told from birth “you asked for it” about abuse. I’d been doing cartwheels in therapy trying to figure out what was so deformed about me to “ask for it” Therefore the deep pain my cheating lying abusive narc husband brought on me was my own fault in the eyes of therapy world because you are “codependent” “mentally ill” “or whatever label diminished me and tidily explained why a narc can’t get to a “normal person” like the (the)rapist.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s a really beautiful and empowering thing your therapist told you, Katie. I’d love for you to write a post about it. Putting it on your own blog would be fine, but here’s the problem (and also why I never comment on your blog)–every time I try to click it on, I get a message that says this:
 is no longer available.
          The authors have deleted this site

          So I’m not sure how I can read your blog or even follow it.

          😮 😮 😮

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you for letting me know I’ll try to figure out what I did! Sigh… Sometimes I feel like a bull in a china shop trying to figure out word press!

            Liked by 1 person

            • I do too. That’s what comes up when I click your name — I didn’t even know you had a blog.
              I tried clicking on your Gravatar image and it takes me to the Gravatar page but at the bottom where blogs are listed, there’s just a 404 error message.


  2. Thanks again for extending my education. IDK for sure but could be that NPD was not even an available diagnosis when I went through CBT in the 1980s. Interestingly, I diagnosed my mom with that disorder, based solely on what I learned on your blog, while my sister’s therapist recently gave her the same “third person” diagnosis of our mutual mom!
    I would send Sis some or all of the links provided in your post and comments, if I thought she would read them but I know she won’t. My own best hope is that she continues her therapy and undertakes more of the hard work that I think she will be asked to do by her therapist, as I see more “normalcy” in her life and actions just based on what she’s done there so far. Meanwhile, your post, links, etc. shine more light on all the progress that has been made in diagnosing and treating mental disorders.
    I think we all deal with the same influences in different ways, i.e. Sis deals w/Mom a lot differently than I do, and those differences may actually be based on the differences in the way that every individual’s brain, even those from the identical gene pool, i.e. siblings, are “wired” chemically and biologically. Fascinating stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

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