If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse, you might feel helpless, alone, and confused.
Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional and psychological abuse that can leave deep scars on people who suffer it. Victims of narcissistic abuse often struggle to trust, feel safe, and know themselves.
Seeking therapy is one of the most effective ways to heal from narcissistic abuse, however, getting therapy as a victim of narcissistic abuse can be so difficult.
The Online Mental Health Reviews team is a group of experienced professionals dedicated to helping people find the best online therapy services for their needs. We are constantly staying up-to-date on the latest research and best practices to provide our readers with accurate information about the different options available.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the reasons why it can be challenging to seek professional help for NPD and what you can do about it.
1. Lack of awareness
Many people who have suffered narcissistic abuse don’t even realize that they have experienced abuse. They might struggle to name their experiences, and they might blame themselves for what has happened to them. Therapy requires a certain level of self-awareness and willingness to accept help, and victims of narcissistic abuse might not recognize that they need therapy.
2. Shame and guilt
Victims of narcissistic abuse often feel ashamed and guilty about what has happened to them. They might feel like they have failed or like they are weak for being a victim of a narcissistic parent. This shame and guilt can make it difficult for people to reach out for help and to be vulnerable in therapy.
3. Fear of judgment
Victims of narcissistic abuse might fear that they will be judged by their therapist. They might worry that their therapist will not believe them or that they will be blamed for their abuse by their narcissistic parents. This fear of judgment can make it hard for people to trust their therapist and open up about their experiences.
4. Financial obstacles
Therapy can be expensive, and victims of narcissistic abuse might not be able to afford it. They might not have access to insurance or have the financial resources to pay for therapy. This can be a significant barrier to seeking help.
5. Lack of resources
Depending on where you live, it might be difficult to find a therapist who specializes in narcissistic abuse. Not all therapists have experience with this type of abuse, and victims of narcissistic relationships might struggle to find someone who understands their experiences. Additionally, recovery from NPD takes time, and paying for mental health support for weeks can be overly burdensome for many.
List of Free Mental Health Resources for Narcissistic Abuse
Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional abuse that occurs when someone with narcissistic traits or characteristics, such as an inflated sense of self-importance, engages in manipulative and exploitative behaviors toward another person.
These behaviors can include verbal and emotional abuse, manipulation, gaslighting, and even physical violence. It is important to get help if you are suffering from narcissistic abuse because it can have a serious impact on your mental health.
Fortunately, there are many free mental health resources available for those who suffer from narcissistic abuse.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) provides confidential support 24/7/365 for anyone affected by domestic violence. They also provide resources to help victims of narcissistic abuse understand their rights and access legal services.
- Ineffable Living has a list of free resources specifically designed for survivors of narcissism abuse (https://ineffableliving.com/narcissism-abuse-free-resources/).
- Educate yourself: Learn more about narcissistic abuse and how to cope with it by reading articles and blogs from reliable sources. Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: 15 Ways to Cope
- Take supportive steps: Follow supportive steps such as self-care, seeking validation, setting boundaries, etc., to help you recover from narcissistic abuse. 5 Supportive Steps To Recover From Narcissistic Abuse
- Fairytale Shadows also offers an extensive list of books, mental health services, and self-care resources for those affected by this type of abuse (https://fairytaleshadows.com/resources-and-books-on-narcissistic-abuse/).
- Narcissistic Abuse Support Group on Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/188681268196044/)
- The Covert Narcissism Podcast is devoted to understanding covert narcissistic abuse, its effect on the victims, and how to heal (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-covert-narcissism-podcast/id1566895530).
Symptoms of Abuse From a Partner with Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Someone with NPD may also be manipulative and controlling in relationships. If you are in a relationship with someone who has NPD, you may experience narcissistic abuse.
Signs of narcissistic abuse include:
- feeling isolated from friends and family
- being made to feel worthless or inadequate
- being gaslighted or manipulated into believing something that isn’t true
- feeling like your partner is trying to control you
- Other signs of narcissistic behavior include emotional outbursts, verbal aggression, emotional abuse, and physical violence
Benefits of Narcissistic Abuse Therapy
Therapy can be beneficial for those who have experienced narcissistic abuse.
- A therapist can help you understand what happened and provide support during the healing process.
- They can also help you develop healthy coping strategies to manage your emotions and build resilience against future abuse and abusive relationships.
- Additionally, therapy can help you identify any patterns of behavior that may have contributed to the abusive relationship so that you can avoid them in the future.
- Therapy with someone who understands narcissistic abuse can help you identify if you are in a toxic relationship, and provide validation, reassurance, and professional expertise to heal from the abuse.
- Reclaim your identity by setting boundaries and stating them clearly.
- Practice self-care activities such as meditation, yoga, journaling, etc.
- Seek support groups or online communities to connect with others who have experienced similar situations.
- Utilize cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to challenge negative thoughts and behaviors that resulted from the abuse.
- Learn how to recognize unhealthy patterns in relationships and how to create healthier ones.
- Develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with triggers related to narcissistic abuse.
- Address any unresolved trauma that may have been caused by the experience of narcissistic abuse.
The Evidence Behind Treating Narcissistic Abuse with Therapy
Fortunately, therapy can be an effective way to help those who have experienced Narcissistic Abuse heal and recover.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one type of therapy that is beneficial in treating Narcissistic Abuse. CBT focuses on helping individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their distress.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is another type of therapy that has been found to help treat Narcissistic Abuse. DBT focuses on teaching individuals how to manage their emotions more effectively while also learning how to build healthier relationships with others.
Research has shown that both CBT and DBT can be effective in helping those who have experienced Narcissistic Abuse cope with their symptoms and improve their overall mental health.
- A study published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review found that both CBT and DBT were associated with significant reductions in symptoms related to Narcissistic Abuse, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anger management issues.
- Additionally, a study published in the journal Psychotherapy Research found that both CBT and DBT were associated with improved relationship satisfaction for those who had experienced Narcissistic Abuse.
Both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are beneficial in treating the symptoms associated with Narcissistic Abuse.
If you are struggling with the effects of Narcissistic Abuse, seeking professional help from a qualified therapist may be beneficial for you.
Finding a Therapist Qualified in the Treatment of Narcissistic Abuse
When looking for a therapist qualified in the treatment of narcissistic abuse, there are several factors to consider.
- First, make sure they have the necessary qualifications and certifications to practice as a mental health professional in your area.
- Research their experience in treating clients with similar issues as yours, such as those affected by narcissistic abuse, or even any therapy experience for sexual abuse if this impacts you or a loved one.
- Additionally, look into any professional organizations they belong to that specialize in treating this type of issue.
The best strategy is when you know someone who has been through a similar situation as yours or has worked with a therapist specializing in narcissistic abuse, ask them for recommendations or advice on how to find a qualified therapist in your area.
Expectations of Sessions, Techniques, and Goals Focused on Narcissistic Abuse
Therapists use a variety of techniques to help individuals struggling with narcissistic abuse.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most common approaches used in this type of therapy. This type of therapy helps individuals identify and challenge negative thoughts and behaviors that may be contributing to their distress.
- Gestalt therapy is another approach that focuses on helping individuals become aware of their feelings and how they interact with their environment.
- Schema therapy helps people recognize patterns in their behavior that are causing them distress, while Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) helps individuals explore the relationship between themselves and the relationship with a narcissist to gain insight into their behavior.
The goals of these all these sessions – despite their different techniques – are to help individuals understand the impact narcissistic abuse has had on them, develop coping strategies for dealing with difficult emotions, and build healthier relationships with others.
In summary, therapy sessions focused on narcissistic abuse can provide valuable support for those struggling with this issue, and often other similar issues such as sexual trauma.
By utilizing various therapeutic techniques such as CBT, Gestalt therapy, Schema therapy, and TFP, therapists can help individuals gain insight into their experiences and develop skills for managing difficult emotions.
What is the Best Type of Therapy for Victims of Narcissistic Abuse?
It is important to seek out therapy if you are a victim of narcissistic abuse. A therapist can help you work through the trauma caused by the abuse and provide support as you heal. There are several types of therapy available to treat victims of narcissistic abuse.
- The best type of therapy is trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy helps you examine and reshape negative thought patterns that may have developed due to the abuse. CBT also teaches coping skills to help manage difficult emotions such as anxiety or depression that may be linked to the trauma. Best of all, CBT is covered by insurance, is evidence-based, and is very simple.
- Another type of therapy used to treat victims of narcissistic abuse is art therapy. This type of therapy uses creativity and self-expression to help process traumatic experiences in a safe environment. Art therapists often use activities such as drawing, painting, or sculpting to help clients creatively express their emotions.
- Humanistic therapies such as supportive counseling or person-centered psychotherapy can also be beneficial for those recovering from narcissistic abuse. These therapies focus on building self-esteem and helping clients develop healthier relationships with themselves and others. They also provide an opportunity for clients to explore their feelings in a safe space without judgment or criticism from narcissistic parents, the therapist, or anyone else.
Best Online Therapy for CBT
At Online Mental Health Reviews, our team has experienced the Brightside Health platform firsthand and recorded therapy sessions with their expert therapists, enabling us to provide an informed and comprehensive evaluation of their services.
We are delighted to share our belief that Brightside Health stands out as the leading option for online CBT therapy because they their single-minded focus on delivering Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
- One of the most compelling aspects of Brightside Health is their innovative combo plan, which combines medication therapy and CBT to deliver significant and positive results for individuals struggling with depression and anxiety.
- This integrated approach has been backed by several independent studies, validating the effectiveness of their science-based methods in addressing mental health issues.
- We found their sign-up process great with prices reasonable (Brightside Health also enables over 50 million Americans to access their services via insurance plans such as Kaiser, Cigna, BlueShield, etc)
Please note this is specifically for CBT for anxiety and depression, Brightside does not market itself as treating narcissistic abuse primarily.
Who Should Avoid Therapy, and What Alternatives Are Available
If you’re struggling with mental health, therapy can be a great way to get the help and support you need. However, there are some cases where therapy may not be the best option for you.
- For instance, if you’re in an acute crisis or have a severe mental illness, it’s important to seek professional medical help right away. In these cases, traditional talk therapy may not be enough and medication or hospitalization might be necessary.
- Additionally, if you’re unable to afford therapy or don’t have access to it due to geographic location or other factors, including not knowing how to use the internet or lacking access, there are still ways to improve your mental health without spending a lot of money.
Fortunately, several alternative approaches can help with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
These include activities like art and music therapy, animal-assisted therapy, mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation, exercise and nutrition changes, self-help books and online resources, as well as support groups.
These alternatives work by helping people gain insight into their emotions and behaviors while also providing them with coping strategies for managing difficult situations. They differ from traditional talk therapy in that they focus on physical activities rather than verbal communication.
Overall, whether or not you should avoid therapy depends on your circumstances but there are plenty of alternative approaches that could benefit your mental health without spending a lot of money.
Online Narcissism Course Alternative If Not Ready or Don’t Want Therapy
What if you want to learn more about narcissism, like if your parent is narcissistic, or if you want to work on healing your trauma from narcissistic abuse but don’t want to go to therapy or take medication?
There is an advanced course that is meant for therapists, that offers dynamic and specific tools to heal gaslighting, codependency, torn attachment, narcissistic abuse, and the grief caused by these relationships.
By providing easy-to-integrate interventions from the most in-demand approaches, like CBT, DBT & EMDR, this course empowers mental health practitioners to help their clients (or individuals taking the course) to move forward with their lives.
Codependency, Narcissism & Trauma Bonding: CBT, DBT & EMDR Strategies to Free Clients from Toxic Relationships” (https://onlinementalhealthreviews.com/free-clients-from-toxic-relationships)
Tips for Self-Healing from Narcissistic Abuse
Of course, mental health experts agree that self-healing from narcissistic abuse is possible to some degree as well.
Here are some tips to help you on your healing journey:
- Acknowledge the Abuse: It’s important to recognize and acknowledge the abuse you have experienced to start healing. This can be a difficult step, but it is necessary for your recovery.
- Build a Support Network: Connect with people who understand what you’re going through and can provide emotional support. This could be friends, family members, or even online support groups. Having someone to talk to can make a big difference in your healing process.
- Set Boundaries: Establishing boundaries is essential for protecting yourself from further harm and ensuring that your needs are respected by others. Learn how to communicate your boundaries clearly and stick to them when interacting with others.
- Practice Self-Care: Taking care of yourself is key to recovering from narcissistic abuse. Make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation such as reading, exercising, or spending time outdoors. Also, don’t forget to eat healthy meals and get enough sleep every night!
- Seek Professional Help: If needed, seek out professional help such as therapy or counseling services which can provide additional guidance on how to cope with the trauma of narcissistic abuse and move forward in life with confidence and resilience.
How Do You Heal Trauma from Narcissistic Abuse?
Healing from narcissistic abuse can be a difficult process, but there are steps you can take to start the healing journey.
- Self-care is essential for recovery, as it helps to restore your sense of self-worth and rebuild your confidence. This could include activities such as yoga, meditation, journaling, or spending time in nature.
- Therapy can also be beneficial in helping you process your emotions and gain insight into why the abusive relationship occurred.
- Support groups are another great way to connect with others who have gone through similar experiences and provide a safe space for sharing stories and advice.
- Finally, rebuilding self-esteem is key to overcoming trauma from a narcissistic relationship or abuse. This could involve setting boundaries with people who are not supportive of your healing journey or engaging in positive self-talk daily.
No matter how long it takes to heal from narcissistic abuse, remember that you are worthy of love and respect. With patience and dedication to your well-being and healthy relationships, you will eventually find peace within yourself again.
Therapy for Narcissistic Abuse Conclusion:
While the journey towards healing from narcissistic abuse might be challenging and require hard work, therapy can aid in that process.
Seeking therapy can help victims of narcissistic abuse to rebuild their self-esteem, learn healthier coping mechanisms, and regain control over their lives.
It is essential to recognize that the journey is not easy and that getting therapy as a victim of narcissistic abuse can be so difficult. Still, it is not impossible.
There are many resources available to help victims overcome any barriers, including low-cost and free clinics. Taking the first step towards healing is the most crucial step, and it is okay to need help to take it. Remember, you are not alone and do not have to go through this alone.
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If You’re In An Emergency
As a mental health advisor, I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking immediate help when experiencing a crisis. While online therapy can be a valuable resource for ongoing support and growth, it may not provide the immediate assistance needed during an acute crisis.
In times of crisis, please do not hesitate to reach out to alternative sources of help, such as the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or the SAMHSA National Helpline at 800-662-HELP. Both of these helplines are available 24/7 and offer free, confidential services for individuals struggling with mental or substance abuse disorders. Remember, you are not alone, and reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
I want to emphasize that there is no shame in seeking help during a crisis. Mental health challenges can affect anyone, and it’s crucial to prioritize your well-being. You deserve support, understanding, and care.
Please remember that reaching out for assistance during difficult times is a courageous act, and those who are there to help will not judge or criticize you. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health – take the first step towards healing and recovery by seeking help when you need it most.