Narcissistic abuse is a kind of psychological abuse that leaves its victim with lasting feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, incompetency and not deserving of love or respect. The harm that narcissistic abuse can inflict on the victim can be crippling and lifelong. Narcissists generally abuse slowly and unrelentingly until they gain complete control over the minds of their victims.

Narcissists use language in a specific way and so subtly that the victims often fail to realize that they are at the receiving end until it is too late. They feel they are walking on eggshells and living a life feeling numb and unworthy. Those at the receiving end of narcissistic abuse usually go onto to suffer from PTSD or C-PTSD.

Individuals subjected to narcissistic abuse often find it difficult to share their problems to others for fear of looking crazy. This is usually because the narcissist will wnat to be portrayed as the victim and keep the facade of this going to further bring down their partner.

In order to control their victims, narcissists use emotionally destructive techniques, like gas lighting, hoovering, and manipulation. They use these techniques to control the reactions of their victims, distorting their sense of reality and leaving them emotionally disorientated. They force their victims to think, believe and act the way they want them to. In fact, narcissists do not feel any regret, guilt or apathy for their victims. If you are waiting for a narcissist to apologise, you will be waiting for ever.

Victims develop PTSD or C-PTSD

Victims of narcissistic abuse are subjected to prolonged abuse like those which are faced by targets of domestic violence and soldiers of war. Such extended exposure to abuse increases the risk of developing complex PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

The PTSD is a reaction of the brain to an intense stressor, trauma or threat. It is a serious condition and extends much beyond an anxiety disorder. It can either make a person hypersensitive or emotionally numb. It involves a diminishing of emotions in general and is a real and complex mental disorder.

I was diagnosed with PTSD following my divorce as I had all the feelings of numbness, physical reactions such as shaking, panic attacks, numbness and tingling and constant negative thoughts. I couldn’t concentrate on anything and I felt hyper vigilant and really struggled to sleep and had to be exhausted to literally fall asleep. I was so surprised as I just thought PTSD was for soldiers but it is any traumatic life event causing a variety of symptoms for a prolonged period of time.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is completely consistent with narcissistic abuse, because it is a situation where so much is threatened. It is like living in a war zone.However, I like to think of the symptoms of narcissistic abuse more like Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

This is what Wikipedia says about C-PTSD : “Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) also known as Developmental Trauma Disorder is a psychological injury that results from protracted exposure to prolonged social and/or interpersonal trauma in the context of either captivity or entrapment (a situation lacking a viable escape route for the victim), which results in the lack or loss of control, helplessness, and deformations of identity and sense of self.”

The experience of narcissistic abuse is like being trapped. As the narcissist infiltrates all of your psychic, mental and emotional space, your identity gets less and less, and you become diminished in every way – severely and right to your core.

This is what becomes “learned helplessness” another topic that I will be discussing in other blogs and recovery lives. An offshoot of C-PTSD is agoraphobia and I certainly know, that had I not had children during my divorce, I would absolutely have become agorophobic and I remember having these battles and internal conversatio s to walk outside the froint door becasue all I wanted to do was hide under my duvet and not see or speak to anyone.

Narcissistic abuse is emotional abuse in it’s highest form and its victims need all of their strength to recover. Join me on Sunday 14th October over on my Facebook business page for my weekly regular recovery live at 8pm BST and if you miss the live, it will be over on my Youtube channel.

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Your Friend and Coach

Caroline xx