How to Know if a Therapist Understands NPD Abuse Syndrome

It can make or break your recovery

Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW, RSW
Published in
5 min readMay 22, 2020


Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

Maria still could not fathom how her life came to this. She was literally on the lam, running from her psychopathic ex-husband. The restraining orders did not stop him from placing dead animals in her mailbox or hacking into her email account. The obscene phone calls, the garbage littered at her front door, and other forms of episodic vandalism were chronic reminders of his menacing grip. Yet with no tangible proof implicating him she made the difficult choice to dodge his stalking by leaving her hometown. Settled in a new remote place, she desperately sought therapeutic help.

During an initial consultation the therapist inquired why she couldn’t just invite her ex for a cup of coffee to discuss their differences. Dumbfounded, Maria thanked her for her time and declined to schedule another visit. Unfortunately this was the third therapist Maria met for a consultation who failed to grasp the enormity of what she was dealing with. It wasn’t until she met with a clinician versed in treating complex trauma and narcissistic abuse, that she was able to initiate a solid plan for healing and recovery.

Luckily Maria had done enough reading and viewing of youtube videos to understand the horror of narcissistic abuse. Through her research she was well aware that many therapists were not privy to the surreal machinations of a malignant narcissist.

Maria was fortunate enough to know what was happening to her and what kind of support she needed. There are many victims of narcissistic abuse who do not. They blindly seek therapeutic help to no avail.

Enabled and encouraged by therapists to continue engaging with the narcissist’s false overtures and veiled manipulation, these victims of narcissistic abuse fail to break free. With the bizarre and often nuanced psychological abuse undetected, symptoms of cognitive dissonance and PTSD worsen as the weight of smear campaigns, gaslighting and intermittent rage, infidelity, and physical assault wreak havoc. Dependent on psychotropics and intermittently coping with alcohol or narcotics, the victim is further…



Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW, RSW
Invisible Illness

Therapist, Coach & Author. Complex Trauma & Addiction. Dual citizen. Survivor, World traveler, love art and nature. I appreciate the absurd.