Victims of Narcissistic abuse almost always leave the relationship with PTSD and/or C-PTSD. These acronyms stand for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD results from experiencing a devastatingly stressful event or series of events. C-PTSD is similar, resulting from persistent psychological trauma within an environment in which the victim believes there’s no possibility of escape. There is a perceived sense of helplessness and one’s sense of self is annihilated.
Victims of Narcissistic abuse experience both. Here’s an example. Let’s say Judy is in a relationship with a Narcissist. Because of brainwashing, the breakdown of her friendships, and constant verbal abuse, she now believes she is worthless and no one else would be interested in her. She thinks she must now stay with the Narcissist. Additionally, the last two times she tried to leave, she was stalked, harassed, and intimidated until she came back. In her mind, there is no escape. She is experiencing C-PTSD.
In addition to the above scenario, Judy endured a physical assault by the Narcissist and witnessed him hurt her pet. She now has PTSD from these events.
When it comes to PTSD, intentional shocks inflicted by humans are the most difficult to heal from, such as sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. In regards to significance, these events fall directly under combat and resistance fighting, such as those that occur in the military.
If you’ve been in a relationship with a Narcissist, you likely suffer from the following:
· Re-experiencing aggressive acts and comments made by the Narcissist. Can include bad dreams and nightmares.
· Hypersensitivity – trouble sleeping, being frightened easily, difficulty with concentrating, and outbursts of anger.
· Anxiety – being in constant fight-or-flight mode. This in turn leads to physical and emotional fatigue, which later manifests as illness and disease in the body.
· Being triggered by stimuli in the environment which recalls traumatic memories.
· Repetition Compulsion – Reenacting traumatic events in an attempt to gain closure – this is why we often re-abuse ourselves after our abuser has left. This might include stalking him or her online in order to see them with a new partner, negative self-talk, or entering into another abusive relationship. In other words, trying to complete what wasn’t previously completed. However, this only enhances PTSD symptoms because it doesn’t heal the broken parts.
Impact of PTSD
Left untreated, PTSD and C-PTSD lead to other symptoms which affect all areas of life. These include:
· Inability to handle stress
· Eating disorders
· Drug and alcohol addictions
· Damaged relationships with others
· A negative outlook on life
· Specific anxiety disorders such as panic attacks and phobias. For example, victims who were stalked often develop agoraphobia.
· Crippled Self-Esteem
· Diseases such as cancer
Am I Crazy?
No. Although it may feel that way, all of the above result from losing the ability to cope with long-term abuse. You endured traumatic events that became overwhelming.
If you have been a victim of Narcissistic or domestic abuse, make an appointment to meet a qualified health professional who can help you deal with and recover from your past.
If you cannot afford to see a therapist, or have no insurance, contact your local Domestic Violence Center. The National Hotline number is 1-800-799-7233. Their website is http://www.thehotline.org. They will connect you with your local center where you can inquire about counseling and other services which will enable you to leave your abusive situation.
If you are reading this article and suspect your partner monitors your phone activity, please contact HopeLine to see if you qualify for a free cell phone and plan.
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