If you have been in a relationship with someone on the narcissism personality spectrum, you are undoubtedly struggling with low self-esteem, low mood, anxiety, confusion and are having great difficulty overcoming the ordeal of the relationship.
Fortunately, specialized treatment can help people who have been traumatized by such relationships, as long as the therapist is fully aware of the effects of narcissistic abuse. The danger is that if the practitioner does not have a full grasp of the insidious nature of narcissistic abuse, and minimizes the soul-destroying effects of it, there is a chance they will underestimate the severity of the problem, not have adequate training and tools to intervene. In a worst case scenario, therapists can traumatize a client further by invalidating their situation or symptoms (similar to the gaslighting experienced at the hands of the narcissistic abuser).
Julie Tenenberg, a therapist who specializes in victims of narcissistic abuse, describes this danger most succinctly: “This population is manifesting shame, guilt, self-neglect, and physical symptoms of trauma. They need a witness who is sensitive, not critical or dismissive, someone who will not reenact the narcissistic response.”
The solution? Make a careful and critical examination of your therapist . If you have the sense that this individual does not fully understand the devestating effects of narcissistic abuse and appears to invalidate the severity of the abuse, or does not have the tools to help clients recover from the trauma, move on to someone who is better versed on the issue.
Read more about vetting your therapist here.