• PTSD can occur after leaving a narcissistic relationship due to the trauma and emotional abuse endured during the relationship.
Let’s be real, being in a relationship with a narcissist is like playing Russian roulette with your mental health. The constant belittling, gaslighting, and manipulation can leave you feeling like you’re losing your mind. It’s no wonder that many survivors of these relationships end up developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) once they finally get out.
• Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance behavior, hypervigilance, and negative changes in mood or cognition.
If you find yourself jumping at every little sound or avoiding certain places because they remind you of your ex-narcissist – congratulations! You might have won yourself some lovely symptoms of PTSD. These can range from intrusive thoughts about past traumas to difficulty sleeping and concentrating. Fun times!
• The length of time spent in the narcissistic relationship does not necessarily correlate with the severity of PTSD symptoms experienced post-breakup.
You could spend five years or five months with a narcissist; either way, it’s going to take its toll on your mental health. Don’t let anyone tell you that “it wasn’t that bad” just because you weren’t together for very long – if it felt traumatic to you, then it was traumatic.
• Seeking therapy or counseling can be beneficial for those experiencing PTSD after leaving a narcissistic relationship.
Therapy isn’t just for people who want an excuse to talk about themselves for an hour every week (although there’s nothing wrong with that). If you’re struggling with symptoms of PTSD after leaving a toxic partner behind, seeking professional help is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
• Self-care practices such as exercise, mindfulness meditation, and spending time with supportive friends and family members may also help alleviate symptoms.
Self-care doesn’t always mean bubble baths and face masks (although those are great too). Sometimes it means doing things that make you feel strong and empowered, like going for a run or calling up your best friend to vent about how much of a jerk your ex was. Whatever works!
• It is important to recognize that healing from this type of trauma takes time and patience; there is no quick fix for overcoming PTSD.
Healing from any kind of trauma can be a long and winding road – but don’t worry, you’ve got this! Remember to be patient with yourself along the way. Recovery isn’t always linear, so give yourself permission to take detours if needed.
• Individuals who have left a narcissistic partner should prioritize their own well-being above all else as they navigate recovery from past experiences.
It’s easy to get caught up in trying to “fix” everything after leaving an abusive relationship – but remember that taking care of yourself needs to come first. You deserve love and respect (from others AND from yourself), so keep putting one foot in front of the other towards healing.
• The gaslighting tactics used by narcissistic partners can make it difficult for the survivor to trust their own perceptions and experiences, which may contribute to PTSD symptoms.
If your ex-narcissist made you question whether water is wet or not, then congratulations – you’re not alone! Gaslighting can leave survivors feeling like they don’t know what’s real anymore, which can definitely contribute to PTSD symptoms post-breakup.
• Survivors of narcissistic abuse may experience a sense of loss or grief after leaving the relationship, which can also exacerbate PTSD symptoms.
Leaving behind someone who has been such a big part of your life (even if they were terrible) can still cause feelings of sadness or longing. Don’t beat yourself up over these emotions – grieving is just another step on the journey towards healing.
• It is common for survivors of narcissistic relationships to struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, and self-blame in the aftermath; these emotions may further complicate recovery from PTSD.
If you’re feeling like everything that went wrong in your relationship was somehow YOUR fault – well, surprise! That’s another common symptom of being involved with a narcissist. Remember that it takes two people to make (or break) a relationship – so don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
• Some survivors report feeling triggered by certain sights, sounds, or smells that remind them of their past experiences with a narcissistic partner. These triggers can cause intense emotional reactions and flashbacks.
Did your ex always wear a particular cologne? Did they have an annoying habit of whistling tunelessly while making breakfast? Yeah…those things might still trigger some not-so-great memories for you even after the breakup. The good news is that recognizing these triggers is half the battle!
• In addition to traditional therapy approaches such as talk therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), some survivors find alternative therapies like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) helpful in treating PTSD symptoms post-breakup.
Sometimes talking about our problems just isn’t enough – which is why there are other therapeutic options available too! If traditional forms of therapy aren’t working for you, consider trying something new like EMDR.
• While it is possible to heal from PTSD after leaving a narcissistic relationship, there is no one-size-fits-all approach; each individual’s journey will be unique based on their specific needs and circumstances.
Your healing process won’t look exactly like anyone else’s – but that doesn’t mean it won’t work! Keep experimenting until you find what works best for YOU.
• Seeking support from other survivors who have gone through similar experiences can provide validation and help reduce feelings of isolation during the healing process.
Let’s face it – sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone who “gets” it. Connecting with other survivors can help you feel less alone and more empowered as you navigate your own healing journey.