PTSD from an emotionally abusive relationships is a real thing.
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) can affect people long after the narcissist is out of their lives.
Many people fail to understand about PTSD is that it is not just something associated with soldiers who have been through a war.
It can also develop in people who have been in emotionally abusive relationships.
Living with a narcissistic person is like living in a war. You have to continually watch your every step so as not to make that partner “blow up.”
They literally are like minefields. One wrong step and…BOOM!
Living on edge can cause your psychological foundation to crack. And for many people who have left their narcissists, years after, they can still suffer from what the narc had done to them.
PTSD is a real experience that affects many people who have been hurt by their narcissistic partner.
In this article, I will explain what PTSD is, the symptoms of PTSD, and I will also offer some ways for you to heal from PTSD.
Note: I am not a psychologist but a survivor, and a FIGHTER, of narcissistic abuse. If you find any of these articles helpful and know someone who may need to hear this, feel free to share it with them.
Note: This article includes affiliate links!
What Is PTSD?
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), as defined by WebMD, is:
Posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD), once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome is a severe condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed traumatic events or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horrors, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster.
What Causes PTSD?
There are several things that can cause PTSD in people who have been in relationships with narcissists. Narcissists are very good at psychological warfare.
And this is why living with a narc can be like living through a war. Narcissists have a strong desire to control and to DESTROY anything that they deem unimportant to them.
A narcissist destroys our psyche by:
- Gaslighting us
- Blame shifting
- Having their flying monkeys watch us (Gangstalking)
- Project their wrongs on us
- Physically assault us
A narcissist’s favorite pastime BLAME SHIFTING IS WHAT NARC’S DO BEST!
A PTSD diagnosis is based on symptoms and behaviors that are experienced after a traumatic event. It is important to note that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
There are several factors that may contribute to the development of PTSD, including the severity of the trauma, how close the person was to the event, whether they experienced any injuries, and their overall mental and physical health.
Symptoms of PTSD can be divided into four main categories: intrusive thoughts, avoidance, negative changes in mood and thinking, and changes in physical and emotional reactions.
What Is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse is a term that is used to describe a pattern of behavior that is designed to control, intimidate, subjugate, or otherwise punish another person. This type of abuse can be verbal or nonverbal, and it can occur in emotional abusers or online.
While emotional abuse does not always leave physical scars, it can be just as damaging as physical abuse. Emotional abuse can cause victims to feel isolated, anxious, depressed, and even suicidal.
These emotional wounds/ emotional scars can last a lifetime if not treated properly.
If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, it is important to seek help from a trusted friend or family member, therapist, mental health professionals, or domestic violence hotline.
What Is Narcissistic Emotional Abuse?
Narcissistic emotional abuse is a form of abuse that is not as well known as other forms, such as physical or sexual abuse. It can be just as damaging, if not more so because it is a subtle form of control that can be hard to identify.
Narcissistic abusers are master manipulators and they use different tactics to control and degrade their victims. They may try to make their victim feel bad about themselves, put them down, or gaslight them into thinking they are crazy. Narcissistic abusers may also threaten or blackmail their victims into doing what they want.
11 Symptoms Of PTSD From Emotional Abuse
Some PTSD symptoms are:
- Recurring nightmares/ emotional flashbacks
- Hypervigilant (Always looking for the worst things to happen/ angry outbursts)
- Panic Attacks
- Feelings Of Guilt and Shame
- Feelings Of Anxiety
- Suicidal Ideations (negative thoughts)
- Negative Self-Talk That Leads To Self Hatred (negative feelings)
- Becoming Emotionally Numb
11 Effects of Emotional Abuse
1 – Recurring Nightmares
Waking up having night terrors because of a violent, abusive relationship is common. This is why I associate living with narcissists with living in a warzone.
These night terrors that many survivors go through and the emotional flashbacks (things that trigger us and bring us back to those bad times) are common in many people who leave their narcissistic toxic partner.
Many partners who have developed PTSD from an abusive marriage and even after divorce still have these toxic ruminating invasive thoughts.
2 – Hypervigilant: PTSD From Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Being hypervigilant, looking for the worst in everyone you see and come across in life, is also one of the symptoms of PTSD for people who have experienced emotional abuse.
Seeing insults where there are none is common. Seeing attacks where there aren’t any attacks is because of all the abuse that a person has been through.
They have been so conditioned to see threats everywhere that it can be very difficult to reach these people.
And this is easily one of the saddest symptoms because narcissists conditioned so many people to think EVERYONE is against them.
Which is what they want.
And because they know how to smear campaign and play the victim, they come out looking like the good guy, while we are the bad guys.
It is not uncommon for someone to develop something called reactive aggression.
3 – Panic Attacks
This comes in relation to the last symptom. Because so many of us become hypervigilant, we see threats EVERYWHERE, and this, in effect, pushes us to develop panic attacks.
4 – Feelings Of Guilt And Shame: PTSD From Emotionally Abusive Relationship
The feelings of guilt and shame we feel for putting up with them for so long are undoubtedly one of the most tortuous forms of hurt we will feel.
The thoughts of relaying how many red flags we overlooked, how stupid we feel for trying to see the good in these monsters where there is no good, and the shame we feel for having ever loved them can make healing so difficult.
This shame and guilt lead to PTSD from an emotionally abusive relationship and can linger for years and decades if not treated correctly.
5 – Feeling Anxiety
Due to all the stress hormones of developing PTSD in abusive relationships or developing PTSD after an abusive relationship both culminate in many of us developing anxiety and sadly having to be placed on some form of drugs.
6 – Depression: PTSD From Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Depression, one of the many mental illnesses that we can develop because of being with these toxic people, is not uncommon.
And sadly, so many of us get stuck with this disease and only know how to handle it and cope in life because of taking pills.
Some, they use alcohol to manage throughout the day or drugs.
For others, they need to make them feel some pleasure, so sex with as many people becomes the norm.
And then, for others, when life is just too unbearable because the constant attacks from our memories are just too much, and people usually end up committing…
7 – Suicidal Ideation
The one symptom that makes me pause every time I hear it or read it and leaves me feeling so sad and so angry, that I want to get revenge for the person who does it, is the act of committing suicide because of the nasty deranged, twisted malevolent evil garbage creatures called a narcissist.
My heart goes out to people who take their lives because the thoughts of what the narcissist put them through were just too much to bear.
It is because of this very symptom that overcoming PTSD from an abusive relationship is a must.
A person can take their life, and the narcissist will STILL tease, taunt, and spit on that person’s grave.
THIS IS NEVER THE ANSWER.
8 – Insomnia: PTSD From Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Nightmares that keep you up at night. This is not too dissimilar to the first symptom.
9 – Negative Self-Talk That Leads To Self Hatred
Waking up and the first thing on your mind is how much of yourself you hate. Narcissists know how to condition and convince people to hate themselves.
10 – Becoming Emotionally Numb: PTSD From Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Having been criticized and devalued for so long and then having everyone turn against us because of the smear campaign can leave so many people numb to life.
They give up and just think, “what is the point?”
11 – Agoraphobia
It also is not uncommon for many people to develop many other phobias because of being with their ex-narc, an example being agoraphobia.
Some people are scared to leave their homes or even their bed.
Read more about Children and Narcissistic parents in this article: SIGNS OF DYSFUNCTIONAL PARENTS: THEY AFFECT THEIR KIDS.
What Is Psychological Trauma Caused By Psychological Abuse?
Psychological trauma is a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event. Trauma can be caused by an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope, or by experiencing or witnessing an event that is physically or emotionally harmful.
Trauma can have profound and long-lasting effects on a person’s mental and emotional health. It can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, Worthlessness, and powerlessness.
A person may also experience Flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts. In severe cases, trauma can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition that can make it difficult to function in everyday life.
Emotional and Psychological Trauma
When a person experienced emotional abuse an event that is so overwhelming that it causes and effects emotional and psychological trauma.
It can be difficult to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event. You may feel scared, helpless, or alone. These are all normal reactions to feeling overwhelmed. But if you find that you are struggling to return to your life before the event, it may be time to seek professional help.
Severe emotional abuse and psychological trauma can have lasting effects on your mental and physical health. It is important to understand these effects and how to get help if you are struggling.
What Is Physical Abuse?
Physical abuse is a type of trauma that occurs when an individual experiences the intentional use of physical force against them. This can include various forms of violence such as hitting, kicking, shoving, and more.
Physical abuse can result in both short- and long-term effects, such as physical injuries, emotional distress, and even death. If you or someone you know is experiencing physical abuse, it is important to seek help from a trusted individual or organization.
Physical and Emotional Trauma
The physical and emotional trauma that a person experiences can have a profound and lasting effect. The physical effects of trauma can include injuries, chronic pain, and disability. The emotional effects of trauma can include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health problems.
Trauma can also have a negative impact on social and family relationships. It can be difficult to trust people after you’ve been through a traumatic experience. You may also have trouble communicating your needs and feelings.
If you’re struggling with the aftermath of trauma, it’s important to seek professional help. A therapist can help you process your emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms. You don’t have to go through this alone.
What Is complex ptsd?
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition that can develop in people who have gone through long-term or repeated trauma.
This type of trauma can include things like child abuse, domestic violence, or being held captive. C-PTSD is different from PTSD because it involves more than one kind of trauma and often lasts for a longer time.
People with C-PTSD may have trouble trusting other people, feel disconnected from the world around them, and have difficulty controlling their emotions.
The Importance Of Having Healthy Relationships
Humans need to have healthy relationships. The benefits of having intimate relationships include improved mental and physical health, increased lifespan, and overall happiness.
Humans are social creatures and need close relationships in order to thrive. According to a study done by the University of Chicago, humans who had strong social relationships were 50% more likely to live longer than those who did not have strong social relationships. The study also found that humans with strong social relationships were less likely to develop dementia and other cognitive decline diseases.
Having healthful relationships can also improve mental health. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with strong social support have better mental health outcomes and are less likely to develop mental disorders. People with strong social support also tend to cope better with stress and trauma.
Overall, having healthy relationships is beneficial for both mental and physical health.
Overcoming PTSD From Abusive Relationship
Healing, I know, can seem like it is not attainable, is possible.
Overcoming PTSD From Abusive Relationship is not going to be easy, but it sure as heck is worth it.
PTSD from emotionally abusive relationship doesn’t have to be a lifelong experience that consumes so much of your time.
As mentioned, I am not a therapist, but a survivor and fighter.
And therapy is easily one of the best ways that I learned how to heal. By talking and letting that pain OUT, instead of keeping it in, you will be able to unravel all the hurt and pain that you keep buried within.
Keeping that pain in, is like holding a ticking time bomb on you, never knowing when it will explode and destroy you.
If you have left your narcissist and still suffer from memories because of them, I highly recommend that you seek a professional medical advice, as well as seeking a life coach.
Let the narcissist completely go by moving on with your life.
Feel free to visit my other blog post, “How To Let Go and Move On,” I outline ten ways that you can start to heal and move forward with your life.
Stay strong. Be happy. And always become better.
PTSD After Abusive Relationship: There Is No Shame In Therapy
Narcissistic people can do a wonder on someone’s mind and psychology.
In fact, I wrote an article called “10+ Mental Illnesses Caused By Staying With A Narcissists“.
The narcissists and their legion of fools can slowly drive you insane. And sometimes the best help you can ever receive is from a stranger.
When everyone around you is trying to convince you that YOU are the bad person, sometimes an objective view of you from someone you don’t know may be what saves you from drowning in the sea of insanity the narc and their legion of fools try and drown you in.
Speaking with a licensed therapist can help heal in ways that reading blogs, listening to videos, and talking with other WARRIORS (we are not survivors, we are warriors) can ever do.
Narcs have a legion of fools behind them to hurt you, I think it would be a good thing to build your own army of warriors and allies to help stand by your side.