Believe it or not, each and every one of us is narcissistic to a certain degree. We all utilize the narcissistic traits within us to feel confident about ourselves, become tougher, and learn about how to set limits and boundaries regarding how we treat others. While having these traits are not a bad thing, there are those who take their narcissism to the extreme. These people expect endless praise, want to control others’ lives, and tear down others’ self-esteem in order to build up their own fragile sense of security.
For people who are exposed to the toxicity of narcissistic behavior over long periods of time, it becomes psychological draining. Even if someone breaks free from a narcissist, they will feel tremendous unease, anxiety, and pain. As a result, people can develop PTSD and other mental illnesses. In order for people that develop PTSD after narcissistic abuse, they must recognize three tell-tale signs.
First of all, those who develop PTSD after narcissistic abuse will experience painful memories about that person and how they treated them. When confronted with these memories, people will engage in avoidance and feel tremendous anxiety anytime they see or think of that individual. They often experience vivid flashbacks of traumatic events and relieve them over and over again.
Result of Narcissistic Abuse
Secondly, people with PTSD as a result of narcissistic abuse become obsessive of their failures. This comes as no surprise since the narcissist used a person’s failures as a weapon to tear them down. In instances where people have PTSD as a result of narcissistic abuse, they do
try and seek solutions to the issues specific to the lack of success they are having in their lives. However, those thought patterns center on self-blame.
Thirdly, people who have PTSD caused by a narcissist in their lives find it extremely difficult to adjust to daily life. Once the narcissist has been removed from their life, it is hard for them to readjust to the live they were living prior to abuse. They may feel paranoid, have depressive episodes, or experience panic attacks.
For people who want to heal from the damage of narcissistic abuse, they will often be alone in their recovery. Most narcissists refuse treatment because they simply do not think their behavior is problematic. In order to have a clean break from a narcissistic relationship, it
is best to seek the professional help of an experienced therapist. A therapist can help people communicate effectively and set clear and consistent boundaries.
Treatment Program for Narcissistic Abuse
When looking at a treatment program for narcissistic abuse, that program must have Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a major component. CBT is trauma-focused and focuses on identifying the thought patterns that keep them stuck in self-blame. Once identified, people will learn how to change and modify their thought patterns to those who are healthy and positive. Other therapies that can be effective include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Exposure Therapy, and Present Centered Therapy.
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