Similar to PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder … People who have once shared their life with a narcissist may go through some corresponding occurrences which will resemble the symptoms of PTSD. We may call this PNSD or post-narcissist stress disorder.
The post-traumatic stress disorder develops after a person has experienced an event or action which causes intense fear, disbelief, helplessness or horror.
While it is common to have a period of adjusting and coping after a narcissist, for many of us, these periods of difficult adjustments may continue for quite a while. By taking some time, attitude adjustment, letting go of the narcissist and with taking care of yourself, such traumatic reactions will get better and disappear completely as well.
Any factor can bring on a PNSD. Even some things as simple as the familiar smell of his/her cologne on a stranger walking by … A song playing on the radio, or certain foods. It really does not matter what brings you back to that terrifying nightmare. What matters is that instantly and out-of-the-blue you can get back to a time in your life which was mentally and emotionally disturbing. These kinds of identifiers are called ‘triggers’.
The three main symptoms of PNSD are:
- Intrusive memories of the narcissist. These may be some memories which had a sudden onset that was caused by a ‘trigger’. Or memories that are continuous and lingering;
- Avoidance and emotional numbering;
- Anxiety, as well as increased emotional volatility.
Some of the symptoms of intrusive memories of the narcissist may include the following:
- Flashbacks of their narcissist’s rages. Images of intense rage or reliving the traumatic event for a few minutes, or even days;
- Suddenly questioning their own mental stability, because of months or years of abuse and/or gas-lighting when trying to perform some everyday tasks;
- Difficulties in readjusting their self-esteem and feeling good about themselves in social situations. This is also a result of months/years of emotional, mental, verbal and oftentimes physical abuse;
Some of the symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing may include the following:
- Avoiding social situations, as well as people, activities or relationships which the person once enjoyed;
- Being emotionally numb towards the life and love;
- Substance abuse, as well as overuse of sleep aids;
- Problems with the memory;
- Troubles in concentrating or in performing simple actions;
- Distancing themselves, or feeling on the apathetic ‘outside’ of conversations;
- Difficulties in starting new relationships or maintaining close relationships;
- Cocooning or hiding;
- Hopelessness about the future.
Some of the symptoms of anxiety, as well as of increased emotional volatility may include the following:
- Irritability, rage, temper, as well as the outburst of anger;
- Being caught in the gaslighting mode whereas they may have some difficulties in adjusting to some everyday tasks. Questioning their memories, motives, and sanity. Self-doubt and loss of self-confidence;
- Overwhelming guilt or shame, self-blame and Stockholm syndrome as well;
- Self-destructive behavior, for example, casual sex with strangers, drinking a lot, not eating in the proper way, quitting their job or even doing drugs;
- Sleeping troubles;
- Panic and crying attacks;
- Being startled easily or frightened easily, as well as jumpy and hypervigilant;
- Paranoia, or imagining scenarios with worst-case possible;
- Questioning other people about their intents and genuinity, especially with new partners;
- Relieving some arguments or narcissistic rages in their head.
The narcissist experience may haunt people for a long period of time. It also has the ability to interrupt your daily life, as well as activities, and also invade you at any unforeseen moment.
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Image Credit: Daniel Sysas