Studies Find That Narcissistic Abuse May Be a Major Case of Anxiety Disorders

Studies Find That Narcissistic Abuse May Be a Major Case of Anxiety Disorders

Narcissists are some of the most toxic, damaging, and destructive people anyone could encounter. Spending time with a full-blown narcissist is all you need to lose your self-esteem and dignity. They thrive on other people’s worship and approval. Narcissism is not merely a character trait but a serious mental disorder where a person has an inflated sense of self-importance and a deep need for appreciation and admiration. [1] Narcissists are powerful gaslighters who can manipulate a person into insanity. They can’t relate with people who do not defer to them, and to achieve this, they usually employ various forms of abuse to subdue a person.

Eighteen percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from anxiety every year, making it the most common mental illness in the country. [2] Only 37% of this population is treated for this disorder. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress, characterized by intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and exhaustion may occur.

 Stress is the primary cause of anxiety, but studies have shown that there could be a link between narcissistic abuse and anxiety. [3] Either as adults or as kids, a person who is being abused by a narcissist is at a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder.

How Does Narcissistic Exposure Cause Anxiety?

Narcissistic abuse is more powerful for children because they are more malleable. Their personalities are still being developed and they tend to internalize behaviors and actions meted out toward them very quickly. A recent study showed the difference in the brains of children who were loved and those neglected by their parents. [4] The happy children had larger brains with fewer lesions, while the other children had shrunken brains with more visible lesions in the middle region. Emotional, physical, verbal, or sexual abuse hurts children and affects their all-round development.

Children who are abused tend to be more aggressive and uninterested in ambitions and goals. They may battle one or more form of anxiety, which includes PTSD, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social phobias. They are also easily manipulated later in life.

Some people may be abused for only a month in their lives. Children, especially have to live through it for years, and it becomes a part of their psyche, shaping, and molding their mentalities for the future. Various neurological processes are overridden because the mind of the child is solely on the fear of the abuser. They are usually lacking academically and are afraid to socialize with other children.

What Do Narcissists Do?


Narcissists are powerful gaslighters that can manipulate any situation to favor themselves. Even when it’s as clear as day that they are wrong, they scheme, lie, and deny the situation until you begin to doubt your sanity.


Narcissistic people can’t cope when things are not going their way. They don’t like being challenged or disrespected. They’ll resort to any form of abuse to bend a person to their will. Narcissistic parents have no problems hitting their children or locking them up in boxes as punishment for the smallest offenses. [5] A narcissistic partner has no trouble unleashing a stream of hurtful words onto his spouse to have the upper emotional hand.

Lying and exploitation:

Narcissists are amazing liars who take advantage of anyone who seems remotely useful to them. They get into relationships for social status, wealth or power, and they can have kids to use them as bait for pity. Narcissists are unable to feel empathy or show remorse for their actions, so they just continue pulling one string after the other until their victim is fully expended.


Narcissists thrive on blackmail and guilt-tripping. When things aren’t going their way, they begin to play the victim card so perfectly that you’re forced to concede just to please them. They withhold love, friendship, and companionship, and they have no trouble leveraging compromising information or evidence against you. This is blackmail, a criminal offense, and should be reported to the authorities. No one has the right to blackmail you or control your life with threats of social destruction.

Taking Back Control of Your Life

Talk to someone:

If you are dealing with an anxiety disorder from narcissistic abuse, it’s important to speak to someone about the situation. Book sessions with a professional therapist who would walk you through the mental processes of getting your life back on track. Talking about your problems is a great way of overcoming them. Anxiety is treatable, no matter the stage at which it is diagnosed.

Seek medical attention:

If your problem is severe to the extent that it’s interfering with your daily activities, then you should seek medical attention. Your therapist might refer to a doctor to get some prescriptions. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants drugs. These drugs ease depression by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain, a mood-controlling hormone. However, they should never be taken without a medical prescription.

Distance yourself from your abuser:

If you notice a child who is being abused by the parents or any other adult, you should report the case to the authorities for the child be extracted from that environment. As an adult, if someone is emotionally manipulating you and exploiting your affection towards them, it’s best to get out of that toxic relationship while you still can. Put up wall between you and them and you’ll slowly regain your peace and wellbeing.

Lifestyle changes:

To stay mentally healthy and physically active, a person must make lifestyle changes to regain what they’ve lost to trauma.

  • Exercise. Join a gym or do daily workouts for at least 30 minutes in your home. Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, making you feel happier, lighter, and more relaxed afterwards.
  • Abstain from drugs and alcohol. These only make you feel better for a very short while, and right after, your situation becomes far worse. You’ll struggle with weight loss, disruption in sleep patterns, and mental problems such as hallucinations and delirium. Substance abuse is a common side effect of anxiety, and it only worsens the problem. [6]
  • Try yoga. Targeted meditation is great for channeling negative energy and discomfort from your mind. Focus on the important things and let your mind revolve around positivity. Yoga helps to relax the body, mind, and soul.
  • Change your diet to exclude excessive junk foods, carbs, and unhealthy fats. Go for green vegetables, fruits, and foods high in protein and magnesium. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer, and helps reduce anxiety. [7]
  • Sleep disruption and insomnia are side effects of anxiety. Try exercising at night right before your bedtime. Take a hot shower to get your blood flowing and then head straight to bed. You’ll sleep better when you can shut your mind down for a while. Sleep for at least seven hours every day to keep your brain healthy.
  • Surround yourself with supportive, happy and positive people. Associating with people who can help you get your life back on track is essential to living a healthy life. Join a support group or make friends who appreciate you for who you are.

Anxiety can be conquered. It’s difficult to manage and control, but it’s doable. Actively changing your lifestyle and abstaining from toxic people are the first steps to moving on from your bitter experiences. Accept that you’ve been hurt and manipulated and that you deserve better. Let yourself believe that you deserve better. It will spur you into making the right moves for a healthier life.


  1. Narcissistic Personality Disorder“, Help Guide.
  2. Facts & Statistics“, Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
  3. Studies Show Anxiety Disorders May Be Caused By Exposure To Narcissistic Abuse“. Healthy Food House. August 2019.
  4. “Prevent Disease. Shocking Scans Show The Real Impact of Love on a Child’s Brain”, Healthy Holistic Living. August 2015.
  5. Narcissistic parents identify their children as either a favorite or a scapegoat, and they pit them against each other“, Insider. June 2019.
  6. Substance Use Disorders“, Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
  7. Can magnesium help fight anxiety?”, Health Line. March 2018.
  8. What are Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors?”, Drugs. April 2018.
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