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Identifying and Healing Narcissistic Wounds

Updated on October 30, 2012

Narcissistic wounds are something which not many people know by name but which many people are experiencing in their lives today. These are psychological wounds that may be inflicted upon a person in early childhood and which go on to affect their relationships for the rest of their adult lives. Like with any sort of emotional issue that arises because of a lacking experienced in childhood, narcissistic wounds are something which can be healed over time. However, to heal these wounds it is necessary to learn what they are, recognize the role they play in our lives and actively work on remedying the problem on an ongoing basis. Choosing to take these steps means making a choice to have better adult relationships as we move forward.

Defining Narcissistic Wounds

Narcissistic wounds are those emotional problems which occur as a result of the fact that a parent failed to meet the child's emotional needs when he or she was growing up. This leads to a sense of emotional insecurity which is marked primarily by a feeling of emptiness or a lack of feeling an emotional connection. The main hallmark of the narcissistic wound as compared with other emotional deprivation in childhood is that the parent may have given attention to the child only when the child was "performing" to satisfaction. In other words, the child was used to feed the narcissistic ego of the parent.

How Narcissistic Wounds Manifest Themselves In Our Adult Lives

The sense of emotional emptiness can continue to affect the individual into adulthood. This is generally seen when the adult feels a void in their lives that makes them feel desperate in their adult relationships. Essentially, the individual is continuing to seek out that old emotional connection that wasn't met in childhood and therefore narcissistically makes his or her adult relationships all about meeting those old needs. Although the individual is desperate for emotional attention, the inability to see beyond oneself often makes it impossible or difficult for the adult suffering from narcissistic wounds to have a relationship which includes actual and complete intimacy.

How to Heal Narcissistic Wounds

These problems do not have to plague adult relationships but they will continue to do so until several conditions are met. First, the individual must identify that he or she suffers from narcissistic wounds and acknowledge that problems in adult relationships have been caused as a direct result of this. Second, he or she must commit to resolving the problems in childhood in order to find a way to have healthy adult relationships. Third, the individual must actively participate in the kind of emotional healing that will allow this resolution to take place.

For most people, healing narcissistic wounds is going to require professional therapy. Locating a therapist who is familiar with this type of problem is a crucial step in overcoming the difficulties. However, for those people who can not afford or do not believe in therapy, it may be possible to work through some of the issues using reading materials and guided learning techniques similar to those that would be used in therapy.

Remember that it took a long time throughout childhood for the emotional difficulties to develop and it is going to take a long process of emotional work to heal your narcissistic wounds. However, it's something that you can do one day at a time if you focus on a commitment to yourself to create a life in which the relationships that you have with other adults - and ultimately the relationships you'll have with your own children - are healthy and mature.


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  • Kimmy Turner profile image

    Kimmy Turner 

    2 years ago

    Wow...I get this on so many levels now...

    I wanna throw husband has narc wound...and he don't even know how in the hell do you fix that? I have a great therapist that has met my hubby on several visits (of course this was for me) This is how I found out...I'm not crazy after many years of being "gas lit" Oh I'm so aggravated...We have been married 17 sex in 2 yrs now...of course it's my fault because of my crazies & attitude. Yeah what's next? I can't wait for my next appt with the DR... surely he'll maybe have another suggestion...I'm ready to have an affair. My Dr don't think I should because of the guilt most likely to attach it's self to that! So more will me revealed!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I have been a victim for approx 39 years.. Fortunately my husband was away from home on work for 10 years.. and I found myself.. and began understanding the gravity of this disorder and the gravity of my own struggle and victimization. I really appreciate the information about "Gaslighting" which is true true true.. also am so grateful for those who share their stories as people who really carry this disorder. This gives lots of clarity. Unfortunately, my husband does not want to know that there is a problem.

    He has given me silent treatment for long periods - infidelity (until I was infected with a STD) controlling, no boundaries, no EMPATHY, just unable to say "Sorry" for the pain he caused me, financial blunders etc. Unfortunattely, I have got bonded with a false personality and got used to a routine.. However, I have found clarity.. and am spiritually very strong.. Planninng to lead the rest of my life away from my husband.

    I took him to three therapists.. everyone ended their sessions after a few months that he will not change. I have gone through enough of "Hell" just asking God to forgive myself. for letting myself go through this agony, and ask God to help me forgive this man who has brought so much pain to me and my two children.

    I Love you all who share your stories. May God give you strength to those with this this disorder who are trying to get out of this.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    To be a victim of narcissistic abuse is a most horrendous nightmare, a nightmare that is very hard to wake up from. Most victims cannot work out what is really happening to them, of course, this is precisely why the narcissist uses a technique called "Gaslighting".

    Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. The techniques used are similar to those used in brainwashing, interrogation, and torture that have been used in psychological warfare by intelligence operative, law enforcement and other forces for decades.

    If you have been a victim of narcissistic abuse, and especially if you have never come across the term "Gaslighting" before, I suggest that you read the Article: The Effects of Gaslighting in Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

  • Rachel Richmond profile image

    Rachel Richmond 

    8 years ago from California

    This topic, in my opinion, speaks to several generations at once. The same patterns/wounds are created - even in different ways. Wow - deep topic, excellent hub.

  • Enlydia Listener profile image

    Enlydia Listener 

    8 years ago from trailer in the country

    Very interesting. I have never heard of this term, but I can relate to what you have written.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Being more lost, than found, after looking through my life...Only to not understand, what I could see, I was unable to touch. What I could'nt see, I couldn't feel...I never knew it existed. I existed. Finding a way to reach...reach in, instead of out, I become lost. Helping others, is how I found myself and defined myself..Always. But suddenly I am faced, with a faceless Asault. Unable to help others...reach out to others-I lost what I found that saved me and made me. Facing loss, unable to find myself, not of myself...but for myself. Finding this article, answeres all my lostness, fills me with hope, and explains how I became lost. Now, I can see...I can reach...inside and pull myself out, and understand why I have too...And I see that now. Thank-YOU:)

  • toknowinfo profile image


    8 years ago

    Well done hub. Thanks for the interesting topic. You really explained it well.

  • profile image


    9 years ago from Egypt

    This is an amazing hub!

  • profile image

    massage business 

    9 years ago

    Thanks for addressing a very important topic.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    I don't know if this is true...I find it comes from not having a strong sense of separate self and causes a person to be quite dependent on others not knowing that they are able to take care of themselves. I often find that ns (and I consider myself to be one in recovery) identifies with their physical self and what they can get instead of the understanding that being a "good person" is about the kind of person you are, the qualities, our ability to give and contribute. I, for my part, have used and taken advantage of a lot of people and find it very hard to function in a healthier way. I have blamed one of my parents for a long time for losing the perspective on what it takes to be a "good" or healthy human being, i.e. sharing, empathy, being humble. I still always expect others to take care of me and put way to much value on the externals rather than the what is happening inside. Without being religious, I try to be spiritual, but it is a real struggle. I know I am not here to please a human parent but to somehow be the best person I can and that means being respectful of others and myself. I wish there were good support groups for people who are trying to work with this condition but it is hard to find them. I hope everyone else is doing is a hard journey but we can remember to work for some sort of greater good.

  • lowerabworkout profile image


    9 years ago

    Thanks for a very useful hub. Regrettably, the subject matter applies to me personally and it's taken many wasted years for me to realise it. It's never too late of course, and now at least I am doing something about it, which is why your hub was so useful for me.

    Thank you.

  • kimh039 profile image

    Kim Harris 

    9 years ago

    great hub with some good reading recommendations. Thanks Kathryn.

  • MordechaiZoltan profile image


    9 years ago

    Great article! Thanks!

  • profile image

    Jennifer Mannion 

    11 years ago

    Thanks for the article. I read a few books on this when studying psychology and you put it clearer than any that i remember. GREAT job! Gratefully, Jenny

  • stephhicks68 profile image

    Stephanie Hicks 

    11 years ago from Bend, Oregon

    This is so wonderful! I really appreciate your publishing a hub on this topic.

  • livelonger profile image

    Jason Menayan 

    11 years ago from San Francisco

    Thank you for a thorough, clear explanation.


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