Relationships Violence and Abuse How to Find a Narcissistic Abuse Support Group By Julia Childs Heyl, MSW Julia Childs Heyl, MSW Julia Childs Heyl is a clinical social worker who focuses on mental health disparities, the healing of generational trauma, and depth psychotherapy. Learn about our editorial process Published on June 23, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Yolanda Renteria, LPC Medically reviewed by Yolanda Renteria, LPC Yolanda Renteria, LPC, is a licensed therapist, somatic practitioner, national certified counselor, adjunct faculty professor, speaker specializing in the treatment of trauma and intergenerational trauma. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Halfpoint Images / Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents What Is Narcissistic Abuse? The Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse Seeking Support What to Expect from a Narcissistic Abuse Support Group How to Find a Narcissistic Abuse Support Group First things first: Abuse is never your fault. Every individual deserves the right to have a healthy, safe, and supportive relationship and no one should have that right violated. If you are in an abusive relationship or have been in one in the past, getting help healing is extremely important. It isn’t uncommon for folks to be unaware of the various types of abuse. Abuse isn’t only physical harm that leaves bruises and scars. It can also be emotional and psychological abuse that can leave you feeling scared, unsure of yourself, and completely dependent on your abuser. This article will explore narcissistic abuse, a form of emotional and psychological abuse, and how you can find a support group to connect with other survivors of this abuse. What Is Verbal Abuse? What Is Narcissistic Abuse? Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional and psychological abuse that utilizes manipulation, coercion, scare tactics, and control. This abuse can have devastating effects on the survivor’s relationships, finances, and self-image. Narcissistic abuse is classified as a form of domestic violence, meaning it can be inflicted on intimate partners and family members like children and elders. It is perpetrated by those who present with narcissistic traits and by those who experience Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Narcissism is a term that is thrown around freely in our society, but it is important that both narcissistic traits and NPD are understood when identifying narcissistic abuse. First, narcissistic traits are more than someone who is simply obsessed with themselves and is power-hungry. Narcissistic traits refer to some of the traits of NPD, such as lacking empathy, requiring those around them to praise them, and having an inflated sense of self. Someone with NPD exhibits all those traits, amongst others, to the point of it impairing their interpersonal relationships. 9 Ways to Help a Victim of Domestic Violence The Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse Narcissistic abuse is covert and hard to spot at times. However, there is a cycle of abuse particular to narcissistic abuse in romantic relationships. Those with narcissistic traits tend to seek out sensitive and empathic individuals. The early stages of a relationship where narcissistic abuse is present can seem like a fairy tale, with the narcissistic person lavishing the survivor with praise, gifts, adoration, and grand plans for the future. In turn, the survivor often fosters a deep admiration and love for their abuser. This plays into the narcissistic desire to be adored and to exert a level of control over others. After the early stage of over-the-top romance, the emotional abuse will begin to present itself through deprecating language, humiliation, and dismissive communication that aims to chip away at the survivor’s self-esteem. The final stage of narcissistic abuse is characterized by a complete withdrawal from the partner. The abuser may begin to engage in infidelity, spread lies to the survivor’s loved ones, cut all contact, or even gaslight the survivor. Narcissistic abuse in nonromantic environments follows a similar theme: an intense adoration for the survivor, a stretch of time when the is survivor devalued, then the survivor is discarded. This is true among family members and friendships, and can even occur in the workplace. Why Domestic Abuse Happens Seeking Support Social media can be the first place a survivor finds information that helps them make sense of the abuse they just experienced. Due to the manipulative nature of narcissistic abuse, it can be very hard for the survivor to understand their own emotional reality. Uncovering information about narcissistic abuse can be helpful for those who are grappling with accepting and believing their lived experiences after being fed lies by their abuser. It can also help survivors realize the abuse never was and never will be their fault. Aside from digital support, social support is very important. A huge component of narcissistic abuse is complete isolation. When survivors realize they aren’t alone upon hearing others share about what they’ve overcome, they can begin to realize they aren’t alone and healing is possible. What Is the Cycle of Violence? What to Expect from a Narcissistic Abuse Support Group A narcissistic abuse support group is a safe space where survivors come together to support each other while they heal from the abuse they’ve been subjected to. Some groups are peer-led, meaning there is a rotating leadership from members of the group. Others may be led by a licensed psychotherapist. You can expect a space where you will be heard, validated, and supported by others who have survived experiences similar to yours. These support groups are great additions to psychotherapy and can end up being an integral part of your healing journey. How to Stay Mentally Strong When Someone Is Gaslighting You How to Find a Narcissistic Abuse Support Group There are multiple ways to find a narcissistic abuse support group. First, you can reach out to a mental health provider and ask them for referrals for any narcissistic abuse support groups near you. They are likely to have some information to share with you, and in the rare event they don’t, they can point you in the right direction. Domestic violence centers typically run support groups for survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and narcissistic abuse qualifies as a form of IPV. It isn't uncommon for those experiencing NPD and narcissistic traits to also have addiction issues and it is worth assessing if the perpetrator of abuse suffers from addiction. If so, Al-Anon, the 12-step program for friends and family of alcoholics, may be a good fit for you. Al-Anon is a supportive group for folks who are healing from the harms of alcoholic behavior. It offers a space to share your feelings, connect with others, and even have one-on-one peer support in the form of something called sponsorship. While Al-Anon isn't specifically for narcissistic abuse survivors, if your abuser is an has an addiction, it may be the support you're looking for. Below are other resources that may be helpful to you: National Domestic Violence Hotline: This organization offers a hotline, textline, and online chat for those seeking support in unsafe relationships. They also have a tool on their website that can help you find resources, including support groups, in your area. Help Within Reach: Founded by therapist Pamela Raphael, Help Within Reach offers a variety of narcissistic abuse support groups. The groups are conducted virtually and are open to anyone regardless of location. I Believe Your Abuse: I Believe Your Abuse is an online guide to recovery from narcissistic abuse. They offer a directory of therapy and support group resources organized by state. A Word From Verywell First and foremost, abuse is never your fault. Part of the toxicity of narcissistic abuse is how it can scramble one's sense of reality. Seeking support from your community, peers, and mental health professionals can be of great support in beginning to recover from abuse and building healthy relationships. Healing from the impacts of narcissistic abuse can be lonely, frustrating, and challenging, but healing is absolutely possible. How Narcissistic Abuse Can Cause C-PTSD 2 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Howard V. Recognising narcissistic abuse and the implications for mental health nursing practice. Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 2019;40(8):644-654. doi: 10.1080/01612840.2019.1590485 Mitra P, Fluyau D. Narcissistic personality disorder. Treasure Island, FL. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. By Julia Childs Heyl, MSW Julia Childs Heyl, MSW, is a clinical social worker and writer. As a writer, she focuses on mental health disparities and uses critical race theory as her preferred theoretical framework. In her clinical work, she specializes in treating people of color experiencing anxiety, depression, and trauma through depth therapy and EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) trauma therapy. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Relationships Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.