The Victim's Guilt and Shame
Some interesting aspects of narcissistic abuse are coming up in the comments. Including shame and guilt.
Unless you've seen it, it's hard to believe, but a narcissist is like a spider that ensnares its prey in a tangled web of dependence on the narcissist. Both material and moral dependence. Subtle and manifest dependence. Real and imaginary. Financial and emotional.
Then the abuse starts.
It's that simple, really: make the victim dependent on you, then reject, reject, reject. Spurn. Kick him or her away.
What is the victim going to do? Since he or she NEEDS you, they get down on their knees and beg you.
Oooh, now you're God, now you really tower over the victim in grandiosity. Prove it by kicking the victim some more. Degrade him or her even more to make yourself even grander.
Et ad infinitum.
In fact, this is exactly why narcissists react so ass-backwardly to things. The more you humble yourself, appease them, and beg them to have a heart, the more you are giving them exactly what they want and can never get enough of. So, behaviors that would evoke pity from a stone evoke further abuse and rage from a narcisist.
To the extent that you submit to this abuse, you will feel shame. Pardon my bluntness, but you know it's true: you are prostituting yourself when you do this. You are acting like a worm, having no backbone, being a doormat.
What a betrayal of yourself! You are bending over for it. This makes a person hate themselves. This is how a narcissist comes between you and your very self, damaging your relationship with yourself.
There is shame in this. But normal people are perfectly capable of handling it. They forgive themselves for it. For, to do this is human. And normal people can bear being but human.
Be comforted in knowing this FACT: Believe it or not, just about any normal person in the same situation would do the same thing. Midieval torturers knew this. The psychological trauma of abuse is so shocking and disorienting that the victim actually clings to the torturer! In fact, the victim's later shame for this is one of the lasting scars left by torture.
We see another aspect of this in the Stockholm syndrome.
Of course, the sooner you face facts, get up off your knees, "act like a man" (whether you're a man or a woman), and fight back, the less shame you'll later feel. In other words, the more integrity you have, the less abuse you'll just take, and the less shame you'll feel.
Which is why integrity is a good thing to have.
There is also shame and/or guilt for having been friendly with the narcissist, for having listened to him or her malign others, for perhaps having been used as an "innocent bystander" by him in the persecution of someone else. Then when it's you're turn, your conscience asks you whether you're just getting your just deserts.
Of course, the less useful you have been to a narcissist in the past, the less you'll have to feel guilty about. In other words, again, the more integrity you have, the less guilt you'll have to bear.
Decent normal people can honestly face their guilt and shame about these things and simply repent. By that I mean, stop it. They see what they did, why, and that it was both foolish and wrong, and they make up their mind never to do it again. End of story.
Such people haven't acted in malice (even toward themselves), so they haven't lost their innocence. They can therefore be fair with themselves and sympathize with themselves. They can honestly answer their conscience to say, "No, I didn't deserve it. I was wronged."
But I do worry about people without integrity. Say that you were one of your narcissistic boss' prime hitmen, a remote-control mouth that spread every vicious lie he hinted about anyone he was "after" at the moment, sucking up to him in the belief that if you worshipped this bully, he wouldn't attack YOU too.
Could you fess up and handle it then when it became your turn? Do you retain any innocense? Could you sympathize with yourself?
I bet not. I bet you'd have to spend the rest of your life in denial of what happened.