soul loss narcissistic abuse

Narcissistic Abuse Results in Soul Loss

People from all walks of life visit this site in hopes of overcoming the emotional (and sometimes physical) abuse that they’ve endured from a Narcissist or other Cluster-B disordered person.  Further, many targets of narcissistic abuse see a traditional therapist, but haven’t experienced any great progress in their recovery.  In fact, I’ve had a few clients who are themselves licensed counselors.

It’s becoming alarmingly clear that traditional Western medicine and therapy aren’t successful in wholly treating Narcissistic abuse.   While they are effective in helping patients deal with clinical conditions such as PTSD, anxieties, phobias, and other similar mood/emotional syndromes, traditional therapy has no framework for dealing with the suffering that results from Narcissistic abuse.  And sadly, most psychiatrists are only interested in masking the symptoms of these disorders with pharmaceuticals that alter the DNA of those who take them.

Why do victims of Narcissistic abuse often find such little relief from traditional therapy?  Because it doesn’t address the largest underlying factor of what happens in cases of emotional trauma…loss of parts of the soul.  In fact, many times a patient is diagnosed with a mental or emotional condition when what’s happened is that parts of their soul have fled in moments of extreme emotional shock.  Soul loss is similar to what psychology refers to as “dissociation”.

In indigenous societies, it is largely accepted that when life experiences are traumatic enough, they can result in the fragmenting of our inner spirit, or soul, which is described as ‘soul loss”.  It is understood that this loss is temporary, helping the sufferer in dealing with the aftermath of a truly traumatic experience.  However, in cases of Narcissistic and emotional abuse, the trauma is ongoing, resulting in serious illness, both psychological and physical.  Victims effectually lose some aspects of their personality and life-force, which is why a common complaint is that they don’t know who they are anymore and that they can barely survive day-to-day.  It also explains why Narcissistic abuse is often coined “rape of the soul”.

“Beside himself.” Why do we describe a distraught person as being beside himself? 
Because the ancients believed that soul and body could part, and that under great emotional stress the soul would actually leave the body. 
When this happened a person was “beside himself.”   – Dictionary of Word Origins

What soul loss looks like:

  • Daily life seems pointless
  • Drug and/or alcohol addiction
  • Not knowing one’s purpose in life
  • Blocking out parts of one’s memories
  • Obsessive or ruminating thoughts
  • The feeling that something is missing in life
  • Suicidal thoughts or fantasies
  • The inability to receive or give love
  • Persistent feelings of emptiness
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • One’s belief that they cannot change their circumstances

So how do we go about getting those lost pieces of our soul back?  Lissa Rankin, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, states:

Sometimes the soul needs space in order to heal, and this may require the courage to make some external changes in your life. Perhaps you need to switch careers in order to give the soul more room to breathe. Perhaps an unhealthy relationship is constricting the soul, and it’s time to get into therapy, set boundaries, or even end things. Perhaps you need to find more people to love or relocate to a place that helps your soul come alive.  Perhaps you need to give your soul permission to engage in more creative activities. Such eternal changes may be part of the prescription the inner doctor of your soul writes.

But very often, those kinds of major life overhauls are NOT NECESSARY!  Reconnecting to the soul allows you to find peace and happiness right where you are in ways that are much simpler and more profound than you might think. It can be astounding to discover that you’ve had what you needed all along and have been looking in all the wrong places. Perhaps all that is needed is to see the life you’re already living in a different way.”

One major life overhaul this is necessary is leaving an abusive partner.  Sandra Brown, the author of Women Who Love Psychopaths, indicated in an interview that psychopathy is our nation’s number one health crisis and costs individuals and insurance companies ten times more than depression. The dangers of staying with a narcissist are very real.  While it may feel like your situation is different and you might be the one rare exception, it’s simply not possible due to the fact that psychopathy is incurable.

Copyright 2016.  Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach


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  1. Carl

    It felt like she took my soul out of my body, put it on a meat slicer and destroyed it one slice at a time. What was left she threw on the ground and stomped on it with her feet. One book I read said a part of your soul dies every time you divorce. This relationship, created by divorcing my first wife, managed to get a good part of my soul. The second divorce left very little left.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Carl,

      I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. Although we may lose pieces of our soul when we get divorced, I truly believe we can get those pieces back and become whole…and be even better than before the divorce. I hope you find that one day.

      Kim XoXo

      1. Jessie marie

        I agree, staying away from toxic people and loving yourself, eventually you will come back with a vengeance

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  4. Nicole

    Well said Kim! And great article! I knew if I stayed I would be selling my soul. I know I am worth more then his money, malipulation, and control. I am in the process of divorce and and I feel stronger every min. I win because I get me and he is stuck with himself.

  5. Broken

    Kim in a previous comment you said it was predictable he got back with his ex. Why? I was dumped by a narcissist after a 5 year relationship. Within a few weeks he was already in another serious relationship. It’s been 6 months and I can’t even imagine dating again. I feel completely broken.

  6. Tjay

    Narcopaths have to be QUARANTINED, like any other virus.

  7. jlewis3047

    Narcissist comes in your life tries to hijack your spirit but its decerning enough to leave until your ready for its return. Until then your a just a hollow shell.

  8. Liz Says Hi

    Narcissistic abuse truly is soul depleting. In my case, people around me get frustrated and annoyed that I do not leave but they simply do not understand that often the wrath one suffers as a result of leaving a narcissist can be more soul destroying than the torment of constantly living with them.
    I know of people who have lost children to narcissists. Narcissists know how to play the system. They don’t want custody of their children because they feel that they are truly a better parent. If that were the case, they wouldn’t be constantly palming their children off to family and friends to take care of whilst they ‘do their thing’. No. It’s all about ‘winning’.
    Everything is a game to them. The narcissist needs to constantly have their ego stroked and be reminded of how magnificent and intelligent they are.
    If a narcissist is ever challenged, criticised or questioned, then god help the person doing the challenging. I don’t say that lightly.
    They (the narcissist) will take any and all of the above as a personal attack and will stop at nothing to make you ‘pay the price’ for daring to question, criticise, or hold them to the same unreasonable standard which they hold you to.
    Religious narcissists are often the worst of them all. They hide behind the fasade of dutifully dragging their children along to church on a Sunday and partaking in volunteer work at their children’s catholic school, but as soon as they are ‘free’ to be themselves at home, the mask gets thrown down quicker than you can say tally ho.
    It is then that they rapidly move to criticising their partner’s cooking/cleaning/parenting skills and ‘womanly duties’ before retreating to ‘their’ separate bedroom, locking the door behind them and listening to religious sermons to soothe what little conscience they actually may have.
    The narcissist is fully aware that what they are doing is wrong in the eyes of others, which is the reason why they go to such great lengths to hide their behaviour from those they admire.
    The reason they continue to throw ethics in the waste paper basket behind closed doors is because they find ways to justify their abuse in their own minds. The phrase I have often had levelled at me is ‘you don’t do what you are meant to’.
    What the victim is ‘meant’ to do of course, is at the discretion of the narcissist, who changes the rules as he goes along.
    If questioned as to why he himself doesn’t follow his own rules, the narcissist will appeal to the same defence that insane people use called ‘diminished responsibility’ (i.e. he will either blame you, blame someone else besides you, or he will blame someone/something in the spiritual realm for his failure to adhere to his own impossible standards).
    I don’t think its any great coincidence that people who claim to be possessed by the devil also use this defence as justification for their actions.
    I often find that the narcissist will ‘ramp up’ his mean cycle during festive occasions such as Christmas, birthdays, or when one happens to be suffering from a crisis of some sort such as illness or upheaval in the family.
    He sees this as the perfect opportunity to draw attention to himself and/or really lay the boot in.
    I often find that I will be tossing and turning at night, reeling from the mental anguish that I have endured throughout the day at the hands of the narcissist in my life. Meanwhile, the narcissist will be sleeping like a baby in ‘his’ special room.
    This I also believe is no coincidence.
    You see, I believe that a narcissist is quite literally a predator or parasite, feeding on the life energy of the vulnerable. Have you ever noticed that narcissists seldom become ill, whilst their victims seem to come down with every cold, virus as well as numerous chronic conditions such as eczema, asthma, and CFS?
    I have spoken to other victims of narcissists and there seems to be an unmistakable pattern here.
    People who are in-touch with themselves can be honest about their own faults and look to resolve them, particularly so when they see that they are causing heartache to those around them. I believe the primary issue with the narcissist is the fact that they have been so out of touch with who they really are for such a long time, that they look to pin the same traits on others that they (on some unconscious level) recognise within themselves.
    The only way that I have been able to insulate myself psychologically (to some extent) from the wrath and torment of the narcissist is to play a sort of spiritual Ping-Pong with them.
    For those that cannot walk away such as myself, this has been my only line of defence. The only time it seems to fail me is when I am feeling particularly vulnerable to his verbal daggers, such as when I am feeling ill, haven’t slept well, or there is a crisis in the family.
    Basically what I have been doing of late when he accuses me of being a bad/neglectful parent, a lazy partner who never does the housework and never sexually satisfies him and am not ‘lovable’ in any way, I agree with him, but I do so in such a way so as he knows that I am onto his game.
    For example, if he accuses me of not spending enough time with the kids, or having a facebook addiction, I’ll say, “Sure. You’re absolutely right. I should try to spend as much time with the kids as what you do”. And if your partner is a complete hypocrite who spends many days addicted to watching Dr Who re-runs, you could also add, “I should also spend less time on Facebook and more time watching Dr Who. You are the epitome of perfection and more people should strive to be just like you. Lovvveeee youuuuu”.
    This may anger the narcissist greatly because you have stroked his ego in the most sarcastic way possible, whilst subtly pointing out the ridiculousness of his verbal barrage. Whilst he will be angry, he will most likely say “f*ck you” before storming off like a spoilt four year old who was just denied a lollypop at the grocery store.
    Whilst most people would feel uneasy about anyone storming off in such a fashion, to the victim of the narcissist, having him storm off and give up his unrelenting barrage of abuse is often a blessing.

    1. Robin Wessel

      You are so right in all you have said. People around you have no idea of what is really going on. They just admire that person and enjoy his company, and gives him many praises. In the meantime they treat his partner like she is a problem, and what is he doing with you. If they only knew you should be getting praised. It has been 2 months now that i walked out on my abuser. I have no contact. Ran into him and and he wants to say hi to me, as i casually walked away. He was in disbeliefe and hurried and left the establishment. I left july 4th 2016, and he got backwith an ex from long ago and posted they are in a relationship as of august 28th 2016

      1. Kim Saeed

        Hi Robin,

        Kudos on walking away! I am not surprised to learn that your Ex got back with his Ex so quickly. They really are so predictable!

        Best wishes for your continued healing <3


    2. Susan Allenbaugh

      I am so sorry for all the pain you are enduring. My narrcissist wasn’t this bad and I understand every cut. They will not only destroy you but eventually take your life as well by breaking your health. I know you said it’s not possible to get away from him but it is and you need to do so to save yourself . You’re not doing any favors for your children as well. Even if you had to eat beans and rice everyday would be better than being subjected to daily abuse.

  9. lilacs

    I like the article and I can relate to it. I had been put under so much pressure and abuse from more than one narcissist at a time. It was so draining, it was such a gouging of my insides. A cruelty so invasive and violating, I just could not protect myself from the mindlessness of their fun and games of tearing at me. I was finally finished with the semester at school and I wanted to escape and I left right away for the ocean. I felt somewhat better right away. As time went on though and I walked to the waters edge and looked out I could literally feel how devastated I was inside. I was concerned, worried that I had lost myself and that it was practically impossible to ever recover after the damage they had done to me. It was a sad moment and I think it was painful and frightening to realize that a part of myself was gone and that I may never be a whole person again. It was very much a devastating moment.

  10. Hi Kim, thanks for visiting me! I was thinking of you lately, because I read an interesting article I think you will like:
    Just one simple question can identify narcissistic people

    Date: August 5, 2014

    Source: Ohio State University


    Scientists have developed and validated a new method to identify which people are narcissistic: just ask them. In a series of 11 experiments involving more than 2,200 people of all ages, the researchers found they could reliably identify narcissistic people by asking them one question.

    ♥♥♥ ;^)

  11. Thank you, Kim, for re-blogging this article.

    I am learning the most amazing things from your blog on how to heal myself. This article seems to ring true for me. Thank you again.

  12. gypsy lake

    Hi Let Me Reach, Kim Saeed,      Good Day to you and to everyone looking for answers to these pressing issues. Your website and counseling are the best hope I have. My life has been ravaged and devastated daily. There feels there is so little of a recognizable me in it. I was preparing for physical death awhile ago after the soul left me in grief. You have given me some hope that some how, some way,  I may survive and be restored to living again and moved from this  experience of being hollowed out and ravaged by such gross inhumane cruelty. I have tried to endure these ravages for such a very long time, it has been about 25 years now. I have not known what to do and I have been treated at all times as the crazy one and medicated while the abuser just keeps on partying down on destroying me. I am not sure whether I will survive, but it is worth trying, I am aware that I am looking for hope. I have not found much but you seem to offer that and I am willing to accept. Thank you for offering hope for a life that is my own and to all others who are also seeking their lives to be restored to them. Cordially Gypsy Lake

  13. I agree with what Kim Saeed has said. I felt that loss recently, with such a heavy sadness. Within two or three days I felt an energy leave my body. I sensed it in the chest area, the heart and spirit were in sadness, I was in a severe state of grief and morning that has gone on for a very long time. I was not sure at the moment but as I gave it thought I sensed there was a part of my being that left me, that went away looking for some safe and happy place to be. I accepted that it was necessary because I was not able to protect it. I became a fractured person, my spirit left me where it could go freely to live in love, and my physical body stayed behind to cope with whatever was left. I have the loss of the soul to morn for also. I weep regularly for I am kept in this state by the abuser who refuses to leave me and my life to my own care. His cruelty just grows like an untreated infection. It is sad, frustrating, painful and cruel.

    1. Ana Nim

      Narc Spectrum people NEVER leave. EVER. They will stay and get back in your house like a cockroach thru the 14 gap in the door if you let them. They will NEVER leave…YOU and only you can make them go. But, it has to be hardcore, tough-love (tough for you) style. At *least* you know what and who is the problem. It may take a while for it to settle in all your “bones”, but once your eyes are open they won’t shut.

      Your soul won’t abandon you. You won’t abandon yourself. We are not wired that way by our Creator. Maybe the part of you; the hope and dream part for this other person is what left, and was replaced by the grief of the loss and the reality of the situaion (hence the chest pain).


  14. So there I am, sitting at my computer about to do my major work about reconnecting with the soul through coaching and this comes through! Yet another outstanding post – and it’s going to help me with this thesis. Thanks! 🙂

  15. I want to let you know I can relate. I used to have a diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder, and felt that the non-traditional approach to thsi disorder helped me somewhat. Now I have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and I’m treated with a form of CBT. It doesn’t address the deep inner pain that I feel.
    May I say that soem cluster B personality disorders may in fact be due to soul loss? I don’t mean this to justify narcissistic abuse (I’ve never been involved with a narcissist myself), but I do mean to say that untreated soul loss can continue cyles of abuse.

  16. silkred

    I found this very moving to read, recognised in your words something I have only felt inside me, it is so true, the damage done is deep and difficult to define, the notion that it has been the loss of ones soul is profoundly true.

    What a beautiful insight, it already resonates strongly with how I am now trying to put myself back together, a sort of self redefinition in a way. I go to a counsellor now which is letting me articulate those things I feel in a safe and none judgmental space all my own. It is helping me find some broad structured path forward.

    Your illustration here of the damage done has fitted seamlessly into all that healing thinking…

    I thank you Kim – beautiful.

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