The Aftermath of a Relationship with a Narcissist

after a narcissistic relationship

There are so many different levels of trauma when it comes to a relationship with a Narcissist.

Many victims experience the trauma of the crazy making/gas lighting during the relationship.

The trauma of the “discard” phase, where the victim is dropped and replaced with little to no warning.

The trauma of trying to wrap your mind around what just happened.

The trauma of shattered self-esteem.

The trauma (and oftentimes shame) of telling friends and family the news.

The trauma from the nightmares. The pervasive sense of paranoia–wondering who else has a hidden agenda.

The trauma of trying to get support from people who have never been through anything close to something like this who often give damaging advice such as, “get over it”.

The potential of trauma of getting tangled up with a mental health professional (therapist/psychologist) who isn’t as familiar with Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome as you need them to be.

And then the trauma of trying to pick up the pieces and move on.

It should be no surprise to anyone that victims of Narcissist abuse often suffer from PTSD. Unfortunately, I was one of those that had PTSD, except I didn’t recognize it for what it was–and I really wish I had.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, paranoid, having anxiety attacks, nightmares, flashbacks, an inability to trust, or other PTSD symptoms, please find a psychiatrist, and get help.

There are medications, and most likely therapists, that they can recommend to help you through this. You don’t have to suffer through this, and while it’s normal to feel like this for a few months after the relationship ends, it’s not normal to continue to feel this way.

I strongly encourage you to join a support group (there are many on Facebook), here is a link to mine.

More information on PTSD:

According to the National Center for PTSD, PTSD is a stress-induced condition that happens to some people after a traumautic event, such as war, abuse, death or an accident, and causes disruption to work or home life, as well as causes great distress to the victim.  Everyone goes through some degree of stress and trauma after an event, but if you are experiencing these symptoms 4 weeks or more after the event, you may have PTSD, and should consider seeking help.  For more about PTSD visit, please visit the government sponsored site for PTSD by clicking here.

There are four types of PTSD symptoms:

1. Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms).  Memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. You may feel the same fear and horror you did when the event took place. For example:

  • You may have nightmares.
  • You may feel like you are going through the event again. This is called aflashback.
  • You may see, hear, or smell something that causes you to relive the event. This is called a trigger. News reports, seeing an accident, or hearing a car backfire are examples of triggers.

                 

2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event.  You may try to avoid situations                         or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid                               talking or thinking about the event. For example:

      • You may avoid crowds, because they feel dangerous.
      • You may avoid driving if you were in a car accident or if your military convoy was bombed.
      • If you were in an earthquake, you may avoid watching movies about earthquakes.
      • You may keep very busy or avoid seeking help because it keeps you from having to think or talk about the event.
      • Negative changes in beliefs and feelings

3. The way you think about yourself and others changes because of the trauma.                            This symptom has many aspects, including the following:

      • You may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships.
      • You may forget about parts of the traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
      • You may think the world is completely dangerous, and no one can be trusted.

 

4. Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal). You may be jittery, or always alert                         and on the lookout for danger. You might suddenly become angry or irritable.                              This is known as hyperarousal. For example:

    • You may have a hard time sleeping.
    • You may have trouble concentrating.
    • You may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.
    • You might want to have your back to a wall in a restaurant or waiting room.

Again, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms, you aren’t alone, and there is no need to panic.  Lots of people that develop PTSD, are able to get through it, and go on to live happy, well-adjusted lives.  Be extra kind to yourself, and please reach out for help if you feel you would benefit from it.

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Dana

I am a self-help junkie, former advocate for victims of domestic violence, current psychiatric RN, as well as being a recovering victim of Narcissistic abuse.

My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.

Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.

It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.
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About Dana 324 Articles

I am a self-help junkie, former advocate for victims of domestic violence, current psychiatric RN, as well as being a recovering victim of Narcissistic abuse.

My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.

Even though I have had a lot of “in the trenches” experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.

It’s for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.

3 Comments

  1. I read a couple different writings of yours..I Thank you because it has been hell for me the last few days. .Dissuaded 2 years ago August will be divorced a year September 4th..Bad motorcycle accident 1 year May 1st..Been having horrible smell flashbacks..Extremely high Anxiety. .just had my left hip replaced June 4th..Was with my XN for 32 years..my oldest daughter has nothing to do with me or her younger sister..He is remarried in May living in our old house..Everyone tells me to move on..My doctor is starting me on a new med..been to a therapist with no help..I’m losing my mind..Thank you for your writings it has helped me for now..lots of prayers please..

  2. Hi Jeanie,

    Wow, you really have gone through a lot in the last couple of years. I would encourage you to find a therapist that is familiar with PTSD, as well as emotional abuse, if you aren’t finding the therapists you’ve been to be helpful, as the “horrible smell flashbacks, high anxiety, and inability to move on” are all very common after the ending of a Narcissistic relationship, as well as after a bad accident. I would encourage you to find a support group (or several)–I will email you an invitation to mine as well.

    A 32-year relationship of any kind–especially a Narcissistic relationship, takes quite awhile to move past. This is normal.

    I would be concerned about you if you’d gotten out of a Narcissitic relationship after 32 years, been in a major accident and bounced back within 6 months. Your feelings about all of this: the flashbacks, anxiety, in ability to move on, are in large part on the spectrum of normal. You’ve had two very traumatic events, and you will feel trauma. It is very normal to have PTSD, or PTSD type symptoms. …But it’s also possible to transition those into PTG (Post Traumatic Growth), where you do move forward into healing.

    A great therpist and support offer can do wonders for this. I would also encourage you to see a doctor about the high anxiety. I’m not a huge fan of medication, but there is a time and place for it while you are focusing on working through all this, and that would be a good discussion to have. The doctor may also be able to help with some other ideas as far as coping strategies go. …And what I’m about to say is probably going to make you roll your eyes, but I mean it–cut out the caffeine right now if you haven’t already. It’s a stimulant, and really increases anxiety. From personal experience, I can tell you that I didn’t believe cutting out my coffee could help as much with my panic attacks as it did–but it really helped me tremendously.

    I hope this helps. (((hugs))) to you, and prayers sent!

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