We all have some narcissistic traits.
The three signs of PNSD that I am going to discuss below will help you become a tougher person, give you a right amount of confidence, and allow you to set limits on how others treat you.
Some of us are more narcissistic than others.
If you have a narcissistic friend or partner, you have probably noticed they expect endless praise from you. But that’s not the worst part – narcissists want to control others, usually by separating them from the ones who support them. As the Romans said, divide et impera. They’re also constantly trying to lower others’ self-esteem, because this is the only way they know to boost theirs. And all of these actions are more or less abusive.
Narcissistic abuse can occur in different forms.
In general, it involves of all sorts of subversive and manipulative strategies, aimed at gradually destroying the victim’s personality. As narcissists lack self-confidence and their self-esteem is low, they hurt you so as to feel important and make their life meaningful. People with narcissistic character traits lack understanding and sympathy for others. They do not hesitate to harass those around them not only emotionally, but also physically.
As with anything, manifestations of narcissism vary from person to person.
Narcissists might even not realize or care how harmful their behavior is, because they are too busy trying to satisfy their own selfish needs.
Unfortunately, narcissists’ toxicity could be extremely dangerous and cause severe psychological damage to people who are regularly exposed to it.
After getting rid of a narcissist, their victims usually go through a period of helplessness, distress, rage, or depression, much like what occurs following a traumatic situation.
This condition is called Post Narcissist Stress Disorder (PNSD)
Much like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PNSD is a condition that affects people who have been in a close relationship with a narcissist. Living with a narcissist can be extremely exhausting. Because narcissists are usually very manipulative and abusive, the experience can scar their partners for life. They try to gaslight their victims and always act for the sake of their feelings and interests.
Because narcissism is not officially classified as a mental disorder, the victims have few options left to deal with the situation. The best they can do is distance themselves from the aggressor as quickly as possible.
As a first step in the direction of recovery from narcissistic abuse, you should first and foremost admit that you’ve been hurt.
Here are the three most common telltale signs of PNSD.
1. The PNSD could bring back painful memories, to the extent that one may feel as if they are going through that again.
The common symptoms of PNSD include intrusive memories that provoke anxiety, avoidance and lead to withdrawal from social activities and hyper-vigilant emotions. These express themselves in high levels of stress or anxiety, regular outbursts of anger, troubled sleep and general inability to focus on simple everyday tasks.
Here is what scientists from Royal College of Psychiatrists Public Education Committee say:
“You find yourself re-living the event, again and again. This can happen both as a ‘flashback’ of the day and as nightmares when you are asleep. These can be so realistic that it feels as though you are living through the experience all over again.”
Such flashbacks of negative emotions or retrospections can be detrimental for both our personal and professional lives. But, unless having been officially diagnosed, people should not self-presume the presence of the disorder.
2. People with PNSD have low self-esteem and find it difficult to adapt to different situations.
A lot of people feel like crap when they fail to meet the impossibly high standards they set themselves. This is especially true for people suffering from PNSD. This condition comes as a result of long-term exposure to the abusive treatment of a narcissist. People with PNSD are usually anxious to find out why they’ve just failed, although failure may exist in their mind only. Not surprisingly, the thinking patterns of such people are often full of self-blame.
3. Living with a narcissist can be an extremely exhausting experience that often leads to a personality disorder.
One of the main signs of PNSD is the victims’ inability to recover from their past relationship with a narcissist and go back to normal life. People who have lived with narcissists always go through a period of readjustment to their previous daily routine. The period of readjustment may be a particularly tough one with people experiencing bouts of paranoia, panic attacks, and even periods of depression. They may also begin to doubt the authenticity of certain memories and perceptions.
But there’s something positive about all this. Here is what the specialists from Mayo Clinic think:
“Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better.”
The symptoms outlined above are among the most common but surely are not the only ones that we have to pay attention to.
That is why we have prepared a list of other symptoms of PNSD that people often manifest:
- Physical and emotional responses to traumatic recaps
- Disturbing thoughts or memories presented as nightmares and flashbacks
- Difficulty in focusing or falling sleep
- Conflicting feelings about oneself and the others, even people who care
- Distorted sense of blame related to the trauma caused by the narcissist
- Social retreat and isolation
- Avoiding tendencies related to feelings, people or situations connected to the trauma caused by the narcissist
- Hyper-vigilance, anger, being easily frightened
- Fear or panic for no apparent reasons
- Inconsistent or conflicting beliefs which lead to low self-esteem
Healing from Narcissistic Abuse.
As of 2013, narcissism is no longer considered a mental disorder. Consequently, most narcissists won’t undergo therapy, since they don’t believe there is anything wrong with their personality. As to their victims, healing from narcissistic abuse is most often a process that the abused person has to go through alone.
Keep in mind that a narcissist’s persistent negative influence could ruin your self-confidence and make you feel unworthy.
So, you need to end a relationship with such a person before the psychological trauma has become extremely serious. If you are unable to leave the relationship, a therapist can assist you in learning to communicate effectively and set limits, so as to protect yourself from the narcissist’s manipulations.
If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist and their influence is hindering leading your normal life, we, the team of “I Heart Intelligence”, encourage you to seek professional help and support to restore your confidence and self-esteem. You should try to find a mental health professional who is qualified for helping in trauma recovery and healing narcissistic abuse.