The narcissist strikes during Covid-19 – figures show 86 per cent of victims are isolated by their abuser

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More needs to be done to protect people suffering from narcissistic abuse during the pandemic, says relationship counsellor and narcissistic abuse expert, Emma Davey.

In a survey by My Trauma Therapy of 500 men and women who have suffered at the hands of narcissistic abuse, a worrying 97 per cent believe there should be more support from the police and authorities for victims, while 91 per cent think more needs to be done in schools to educate young people about the dangers of narcissistic abusive relationships.

The stats revealed that often it can be very hard for an individual to realise they are in an abusive relationship, with the most common amount of time of self-realisation being two to five years (23 per cent), then stretching to five to 10 years (17 per cent). This is largely due to the pattern of manipulation that marks out a narcissist and the way the abuser separates the victims from friends and family. In fact, 84 per cent of victims said their partner isolated them from loved ones while nearly half (46 per cent) said their partner forced them to give up their job or prevented them from getting one.

Another sign was the charm offensive; 95 per cent of victims describe their partner as being charming to others. Often the victim feels that they’re at fault, and if they change their behaviour they will be loved and treated well again. A huge 69 per cent of victims admitted they were physically frightened of their partner.

Emma Davey said: “It can be so hard to realise you’re in an abusive relationship because everyone wants that fairytale; for the person they have dedicated so much time to and are in love with, to be the one. Similarly, they can be so charming and loving at times that for a short while it seems like you’re happy.


Emma Davey


“Victims experience a pattern of increasingly abusive behaviour where they become isolated from their friends and family, often with no job or financial security, and sacrificing so much in the desperate hope that they can please their partner – for so little in return.

“More needs to be done to educate people, particularly young people, on the signs of narcissistic abuse so both men and women don’t fall victim to it.”

Another key sign of narcissistic abuse is a partner being unfaithful, with over half (53 per cent) claiming their partner had cheated, while a third (30 per cent) said they weren’t sure but had their suspicions.

One of the hardest things for a victim is actually leaving a partner as two thirds (66 per cent) say they had tried to leave but returned time and time again.

The main reason for returning? Love – 64 per cent say they were still in love with their partner, despite all the abuse. Nearly half (49 per cent) stayed because they wanted to help their partner and make them better. 37 per cent returned because they had children together, so believed it was best for the kids and over a third (36 per cent) said they stayed for financial reasons as they were not in a position to support themselves, or their children, financially.

Emma said: “I speak to people on a daily basis who have been forced to abandon pets or children, quit their jobs, fall out with friends and family, borrow money or even to have sex with strangers – all to make their partner happy. When someone is in a relationship like this they lose all their confidence, they forget who they were before they were with their abuser and their whole world revolves around them. More needs to be done to support people in need, particularly in Covid times when couples are stuck at home day after day, even more isolated from friends and family.”

Of those asked who had sought help from the legal authorities, nearly three quarters said they didn’t feel supported enough. The most successful source of help for individuals in need were online support groups, followed by friends who had stood by and supported them.

When it comes to future relationships, 62 per cent of victims believe they have had more than one narcissistic abusive relationship, while 71 per cent say they are less trusting in relationships now.

Emma concludes: “The fact that victims have a tendency to fall into abusive relationships time and time again proves there needs to be more support for those suffering. They may have have lost all their confidence, their financial independence and may be too afraid to talk to friends or family who their partner has isolated them from, and have nowhere to turn. If people are aware of the signs early, they can act before it gets too serious.”

Emma Davey is the Founder of My Trauma Therapy and the Facebook support group, Victims of Narcissistic Abuse, holding weekly meetings online for its 6.6k members to speak freely and openly as a group about their experiences. Visit or search ‘Victims of Narcissistic Abuse’.

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