Narcissists’ GROWTH Goals (PART 1a)

PREVIOUS: N-abuse Recovery, #3

SITE : :How to Develop Empathy for Someone Who Annoys You


NPD Treatment

There is no cure for NPD, but talk therapy can teach these clients to modify the most self-defeating behaviors, to ‘understand’ their emotions & actions, & have more realistic expectations of others – but the fundamental structure of their dysfunction does not change.

CORE Q for all Narcissists (N) 
Do I really want to work on modifying my narcissistic patterns – to whatever degree possible?

REVIEW – When considering the possibility of a Narcissist changing the damaging ways – we need to keep the Continuum of Severity in mind.
All humans growing up with abuse & neglect – no matter how ‘normal’ things seemed on the outside – will carry with them narcissistic characteristics. It’s inevitable. ( “ACoAs as Ns”).

However there are degrees of narcissism – of using oneself as the only reference point – in dealing with the world. (⬆️ CHART)

1. “Deep dish” Ns (NPD) are never going to improve on the inside. They can fake-care, fake-feel, be fake-well-behaved…. to get what they can from People-Places-Things (PPT) they want something from. They’re very good at mimicking ‘normals’, but don’t actually want to be like ‘everyone else’, often hiding their feeling of superiority.

Chapter 5 of the AA Big Book refers to such people:
“Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men & women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.

There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault. They seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping & developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average…..”

Someone on Quora asked : “Are NPD & BPD merely different manifestations of the same broken core with lack of self worth?”
ANS : “It’s a false assumption that the broken ‘core’ of the NPD is merely lack of self worth. Instead, one can say that the core is twisted, gnarled, distorted, & misshapen.”

As noted in other posts, these Ns either never go to therapy of any kind (“I don’t need it”), will go briefly, under threat of loss, but never benefit OR will go for years, never improving, & use what they learn about the variety of human needs & motives to better manipulate others.

2. Garden variety Ns (“subclinical narcissists” without full-blown NPD) have all the same underlying N characteristics to be worked on. But they also have the capacity to explore the causes of their damage & the willingness to work at replacing long-held defenses (character defects).

This is possible if such people :
👅 become”sick & tired of being sick & tired”, & can ‘do the work’
🦾 have the ego strength to stick to the life-long process, especially
when discouraged, AND
🔐 are provided with a safe support system, plus correct information – both about the damage (toxic Rules & toxic Roles), and what mental health IS – to give them something to aim for

NOTE: Sympathy – is understanding the feelings of another, moved by their thoughts & feelings but maintaining somewhat of an emotional distance, while ↓
Empathy – is one person sharing in the mental & emotional reactions of another person’s observable experiences.
DANGER – Ns think they empathize, when it’s really co-dependent mind-reading. (More….)

Empathy comes in 3 levels:
a. Cognitive (under-emotional) : mainly logical = knowing or imagining how another person feels & what they might be thinking, putting yourself in their shoes, & seeing things from their perspective

b. Emotional (over-emotional) : common meaning = literally feeling another person’s emotions along with them, as if you ‘caught’ the EMOs, like a cold.

c. Compassionate (balanced) – understand another person’s predicament and feel with them (a + b), but also spontaneously moved to help, if needed & if you can.

🔺Much of Therapy for NPD includes trying to engender in clients the empathy which is lacking in narcissism. And since they see everything only from their own point of view – #a. is the place to start – before expecting the other 2 levels to develop, which can only happen when the N is less rigidly defended against their own emotions.




NEXT: Overt Ns – themselves (#1)

RECOVERING from Narc Abuse (Part 2)

PREVIOUS : 60 Healthy Responses  / LIST ⬆️

Recovery looks different for everyone. It may take weeks of no-contact for you to feel relief. For those who need to be in some amount of necessary  communication with the main N – your ability to hold boundaries will affect your ability to ‘heal & grow”.
Also, notice the other Ns in your life, as there likely were one or more around before you met your N partner. Similar boundaries must apply to them too.

🔅Acknowledge & accept the reality of the abuse
🔅 Be compassionate to yourself for what you’ve been through
🔅 Prepare to experience Intense & complex emotions, & that they’ll last, since we can’t always stop loving someone who hurt us
🔅 Good self-care practices can make a big difference to your recovery, which involves meeting PMES needs (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). It also includes getting the right kind of support & help.

Things to say to a pushy abuser :
“I’m very busy. Let’s talk some other time” (Then go)
“NO.”  (Don’t lie, but don’t explain or justify!)
“I need you to take a step back”
“My heart bleeds for you” / “Sorry you feel that way”
“That is not acceptable” / “STOP THAT”
“Don’t talk to me.” / “Not interested”

1a. Don’t take their bait
Avoid engaging. Try your best to not give the emotional response they’re craving (rage, tears….). Stay in your Adult power by being calm, & only speaking logic, using facts.
Find smart ways to stay away as much as possible, or limit the time spent around them, including special events.
Be warned: Theyre likely to be angry when you pull away – since you won’t be as available to be pushed around.

1b. Don’t accidentally offer bait
🕸 Always be selective in what you share with a N – so they can’t use it against you – which they will, given the opportunity. And you can’t predict when.
🕸 Don’t give too many personal details or emotional statements that will trigger their hostile reactions  

2. Clearly communicate needs & boundaries
Take some quiet time to figure out what you will & won’t accept from your N. Write them down. Be very specific when telling them your boundaries, giving practical examples. Make declarative statement – don’t hope they’ll intuit what you want. 

Hand it to them in writing so there’s no denying what you’re asking for.
Print it out & post a copy somewhere so everyone (in the family) can be reminded. This prevents items being ignored or twisted (“I didn’t Know!”)

It’s also for your benefit – to keep you strong & on track. Read them often & stick to your guns as much as possible! NOTHING will be perfect, so don’t give up. “It gets worse, then it gets better, then it gets different.” AA quote

PS. No one can set boundaries until they know what their needs are. Look them up, copy & memorize.

3. Prepare an IF / WHEN list
Take more quiet time to write down every annoying, frustrating, mean, stupid thing the N might do or say. You can reasonably predict this, based on lots of experience. 

Make 2-3 different columns, by degree of intensity, of their persistently bad behaviors – from least aggravating to most, to see which ones are hardest for you to deal with.
Then, still calm & in your Adult ego state – list how you plan to verbally respond, practically manage, or ignore.
“If they do/say ________ then I will do/say_____________.”

4. Believe in your RIGHTS
Find out what they are – print out & memorize lists.  Constantly making yourself wrong (self-hate) & not standing up for yourself as a valuable human being –diminishes your humanity & eventually the will to live.  KNOW that you have a right to be treated with resect – so you can stop apologizing!

5. Accept that you can not change them
You’ll be a lot less surprised & frustrated – not taking things as personally or as hard.
This does NOT mean accepting & tolerating the N’s terrible treatment.
But it’s imperative to know & believe that no one (that means you too) has the power to change someone’s deep-seated personality disorder, like NPD.
“Don’t let toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent – & then kick them out!”

NEXT: Recovery from N-abuse, #2

RECOVERING from Narc Abuse (Part 1)

PREVIOUS: Recovering from N abuse, STAGES

BOOK : Powerful Questions for Healing after Narc Abuse –
and 50+ Journal Prompts: N-Abuse Recovery Guided Workbook


✳️ There’s no way around grief. Processing the reality of a relationship with a narcissistic parent or partner involves grieving your losses.
As a partner, you grieve
– the person you fell in love with & thought you knew
– the promise of love you never got
– the time you spent hoping for something that never came
– the trust & intimacy that could never be.

Mourning those losses is deeply painful, and takes time.

Anger stages
1. At first, your anger will be directed at your abuser. It’s appropriate, but isn’t cleansing & may feel like being caught in a whirlpool – trapped & hopeless because there is no way to get fairness or justice.

2. Eventually, you will feel a different kind of anger – coming from an inside voice ready to protect you, to fight for your new life, to get your soul back & never let anyone mess with you ever again.

3. As you gradually release your anger, (in therapy, on paper, in AL-Anon, ACA, CODA, in prayer)…. you’ll have moments of hysterical laughter at the absolute absurdity of some of the Ns behaviors, who doesn’t deserve you wasting even one of your brain cells on a single thought about them. (Posts : Anger / Co-dep anger in us / Anger Triggers / Anger & Co-dependence )

You’ll also see the absurdity of your own behavior, – all the times you’ve tried to say or do something you hoped would stop what can never be stopped – their sickness. You will forgive & laugh at yourself.  You’ll know you’re healing when you start to feel safer & more at ease.


❣️ You can heal. Along with our capacity for suffering is a corresponding capacity for mending a broken spirit. Healing happens as we recognize the larger patterns at work in our lives, overcome denial, understand the reality of narcissism, & move through Grief Stages to a safer, easier state of being.




PREVIOUS  : Recovery from N Abuse

Giving up the addiction is more than just giving up on the narc. 
It’s giving up
on the hopes & dreams they promised, but never fulfilled.”


Alka Shingwekar, feminist, MBA in Finance, California State U, East Bay, 45 yrs experience; 2 yrs research Behavioral Psychology  10/5/2018

This set of recovery tips & stages was in answer to the Q:
How do you manage emotional triggers after narcissistic abuse?

QUOTEs: “Trying to explain (to a ‘civilian’) the secret living hell you were put through by an abusive narcissist is like trying to explain color to a blind person.”

“I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, & accept an apology that never came!”


QUOTEs: “It’s okay that you don’t know how to move on. Start with something easier = like not going back!”

“Hard truth : you cannot change things by loving them harder.”

QUOTEs: “I release attachment to all negative things from the past year. I prepare for & welcome new changes, new lessons & new adventures. I welcome new opportunities to grow emotionally, mentally & spiritually.”

‘You have the right to receive the love you keep trying to give everyone else.”

QUOTEs: “Subconsciously – it takes at least 6-8 months process forgiveness toward someone who has hurt you emotionally”

“Hang on – it gets easier. Then it gets okay. Then it becomes freedom”

NEXT : Narcissist

60 Healthy RESPONSES to Narcissists


PREVIOUS : Re-traumatization

SITE : “How to Deal With a Narcissist, Backed by Research”

🔆 Online Course
– Understand & Recover from Difficult Relationships

⬅️ Stand up against all abuse!

Their strong need for power often drives narcissists (Ns) to develop new & creative ways of getting what they want.  This often leaves people around them feeling confused, diminished or devalued.  You may have asked yourself: “Do I have ‘doormat’ written on my forehead? , Why can’t I just speak up and tell him . . . What’s my problem?  Am I a masochist?”

When a N pushes your “hot button” – & they know all of them only too well – try to pause & take a deep breath.  This will interrupt your automatic “defense mode” reaction, to give you a moment to get in charge of your emotions.

👮🏽 Review all responses, & pick 1 or 2 that seem to fit your current issues. Memorize each one that you like by repeat it 10-20 every day for a week – or a moth if circumstances permit.  Then the next time you’re confronted by a N, the words will fall out of your moth without having to think about it. Even if you’re scared, it will be empowering to finally have a voice.

THINK realistic, empowering thoughts like:
“Even though I feel bad right this minute, this situation is not all my fault.  I can respond from my adult voice rather than the WIC (wounded inner child).  I deserve to speak up, even though I can never be perfect.”

“I feel very defensive right now, but I know I’m safe. I can take a moment to calm the fear.  Then I can  answer clearly & firmly.”

“(S)he seems like (s)he is feeling pretty threatened & defensive right now too.  Maybe it would help to revisit this issue after we’ve both had a break.”

What hurts a narcissist?

Silence . Silence.  Truth.

👏🏼 Each healing journey is different, as are the specific details of abuse. However, one sure indicator you’re well on the way is when you have a random thought about or meeting with the abuser, or another person’s gushing approval of them  – & it no longer triggers a strong, painful emotional response in you. YaY!

2 reminders about shutting down narcissists:

NO amount of trying to get a N to change who they are at their core – will ever create long-term change.

⁍It’s best to try to steer clear of these people – for your own sanity’s sake!

NEXT : Recovery STAGES

AFTER-EFFECTS of ABUSE & Re-traumatization (Part 4)

PREVIOUS: After-effects #3

SITE : Supporting Survivors of Trauma: How to Avoid Re-traumatization”





This is when someone with PTSD is exposed to actual people, places, events, situations or environments similar to the original harmful ones. Such people tend to develop a range of avoidance strategies to protect themselves from possible reminders of their past trauma, & those who’ve been re-traumatized will often double down on this strategy.

But it should not be confused with re-victimization, when PTSD sufferers are currently abused or injured in the same way as in the past.

Re-traumatizing events replicate important elements of the original trauma (with feelings of loss of power, control or personal safety) without experiencing the actual events themselves. These may include exposure to violence or abuse that does not harm the PTSD sufferer, but still brings up vivid memories of past experiences, as well as compassion & empathy for the other victims.

EXPs: Traumatic or stressful events seen in movies, TV shows, news reports, online….can be triggers if there’s enough similarity to the person’s previous trauma. (Child / domestic abuse, natural disaster, war images, drunken fights, political wrangling, riots, school killings…..)

The PTSD person may not be assaulted, abused, or injured in any of these situations, but just being exposed to the possibility of harm may be enough to bring back unpleasant memories in a disturbingly intense form.

Also, dysfunctional but not abusive relationships, with abandonment or conflicts can set off PTSD symptoms.  Good relationships that end in tragedy (death or disappearance of a loved one) are also potential triggers, if the original trauma involved a similar loss.

🖤Symptoms will be similar to ones in Part 2

AFTER re-traumatization, PTSD sufferers will go through a period of heightened sensibility & renewed vulnerability to traumatic memories. This means increased anxiety & physical stress, which set off or worsen various medical conditions.
These ailments are associated with PTSD in general, so episodes of re-traumatization can increase occurrences, including :
⁍Arthritis, Chronic body pain, Headaches
⁍Cardiovascular disease
⁍Diabetes, Respiratory disorders
⁍Digestive disorders
⁍Insomnia, restless sleep, nightmares, fatigue

Eating disorders. One study of women seeking treatment for eating disorders found that 52% showed symptoms consistent with PTSD 

☔︎ Major depression. Research reveals that about half of all people with a PTSD diagnosis will also experience the symptoms of major depression.

☔︎ Other anxiety disorders. Up to 80% of PTSD sufferers will have co-occurring mental health conditions & other anxiety disorders like : Generalized anxiety, Social anxiety, panic & specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder

☔︎ Substance-use disorders. In one comprehensive study, nearly half (46.7%) of PTSD sufferers also met the criteria for a substance-use disorder

GOOD NEWS : Re-traumatization does not have to sabotage recovery. People with PTSD know that, even as treatment progresses, triggering events can take them back to difficult times & force them to relive harsh, painful memories.
The techniques they’ve learned – to manage their symptoms – can still be effective, & the perspective they’ve gained won’t be forgotten.

Treatment for PTSD isn’t a quick fix or a straight route. It’s important to stay focused on the future, with hope & positive beliefs. This applies to re-traumatization experiences as well. Although recovery is a long-term process, everyone’s pace is different.
Helpful tips include:
‣ becoming more physically active
‣ eating a balanced diet, getting adequate rest
‣getting help from family members, friends, or a health professional
‣ reaching out socially, such as to friends or coworkers, volunteering

Successful recovery requires time, commitment, patience, & self-acceptance. If these qualities & tools are available & consistently applied, then the effects of re-traumatization only need be a temporary setback – painful, but temporary.


NEXT : After-effects

AFTER-EFFECTS of ABUSE & Health (#3b)


PREVIOUS: After-effects #2

LINKS re. Child abuse & Neglect 



“Childhood maltreatment has been linked to higher risk for a wide range of long-term and/or future health problems – including inter-generational impact – as well as a cost to society as a whole. Consequences may be independent of each other, but may also be interrelated.

This term refers to changes in the way a person’s genes are expressed & used, which may be temporary or permanent, & can be passed on to their children. (NSC on the Developing Child)

Epigenetic changes are caused by life experiences, such as child maltreatment, substance abuse or exposure (smoking).
EXP: One study found that maltreated children showed changes in genes associated with various physical & psychological disorders, resulting in bipolar disorder, cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression…..  (Cicchetti et al., 2016)
An example of the direct link between physical abuse & physical health is the stunting of the child’s brain development, causing psychological problems such as low self-esteem, which later lead to high-risk behaviors.(lists in Part 3a & 4).

Such physical effects of abuse & neglect may occur immediately (brain damage caused by deliberate head trauma), but others can take months or years to emerge or be recognized.
Fortunately there’s promising evidence that children’s brains can recover with the help of appropriate interventions. (Brain Development)

Life with narcissists can be extremely stressful, leading to depression & anxiety. It can also make you physically sick. The longer a N dominates your life, the more you suffer – such as snuffing out the fires of immunity so that pathogens can sneak into your bloodstream, making you septic.

Such damage can simmer for months, even years, as low-grade inflammation expressed as allergies, arthritis, fatigue, headaches, IBD, IBS, psoriasis…..

And it all starts in the intestines. This isn’t surprising, since being upset is often coupled with gut disturbance. There’s a good reason for this: Research shows that our brain is intimately connected to the trillions of microbes in the gut, called microbiota.

Amazingly & a bit disconcerting, this is BI-directional – our brain & these little bugs can talk to each other in a language they understand: via neurotransmitters that allow all nerve cells to communicate.
This gut-brain interplay involves the vagus nerve that runs from intestines to brain stem.
An over-taxed brain will negatively affect gut microbes, making you queasy, which increases stress, creating a nasty feedback loop.
When we’re continually scared, angry, threatened, attacked…. naturally our body wants to ‘run from danger’. To provide it with enough strength to flee (even though we rarely can), the brain will keep signaling the gut to tone down its normal immune response in order to suck up all it’s energy for survival. But this diverts its protection from other needed functions – leading to illness.

This was tested on lab mice. Several were placed in a cage with a bigger bully mouse, who intimidated & pushed them around for awhile, before technicians withdrew it.
After a few days of repeating this, the ‘normal’ mice become depressed & agitated – called “social defeat stress”. Their gut bacteria had changed, causing chronic systemic inflammation, making them miserable.

Bully mice can cause Autism-like reactions in smaller males (non-genetic)

SUGGESTED HELP – for us 🙂:
🔅Certain bacteria, like in kraut & yogurt, can improve mood by competing with pathogens for resources, or killing them outright. Fermented foods are good, but have to have active cultures to work
🔅Add fiber to your diet, which are complex sugars that helpfully feed the  your gut’s microbial menagerie. Fiber is found in veggies like onions, asparagus, artichokes & leafy greens

🔅Try pre-biotic supplements (concentrated fiber) which can do a lot to boost good psycho-biotic bacteria
SITE: “Gut-brain connection & Nutrition”

🔅Get some exercise – it improves the balance of gut microbes.

A great exercise is to push yourself away from narcissists.
can leave psychic scars that take time to heal, but gut health is under your control. Work on it, & you’ll feel better.

FROM: “Don’t Let Ns ruin your Health

NEXT: After-effects #4

AFTER-EFFECTS of ABUSE & Health (#3a)


PREVIOUS : After-effects (#2)

SITE: ” In Sickness & in Health?  Not if Your Partner is a Narcissist !”

Driving a victim to madness, suicide or death from disease delivers a grand rush to the narcissist’s ego. Death or insanity provides a lifetime supply of ready-made psychological hooks to use on the next partner. Ns milk their ‘misfortune’ for all it’s worth.
And while the victim’s destruction may take on various forms, the end result for the abuser is always the same – as ever, they emerge unscathed, quickly working to reinvent themselves.

▼ Prolonged emotional, physical, even perceived stress – all have exactly the same physical impact on the body.  Consequences of chronic stress include vulnerability to disease, slow rate of injury healing, loss of libido, sleeplessness, digestive problems, depression….

Quora Q: Can having a narcissistic partner make you physically sick?

FROM: Mel E. Quinn, Lifelong Veteran of Toxic Relationships  (January 26)

A : “YES it can! Your immune system can’t function too well when you’re under constant & increasing stress over time. Maybe you’re being physically beaten, poisoned or prevented from seeing a doctor …. Your body starts to fall apart from all the trauma.

You’re neglecting all your own needs, pushing your body past its limits to keep up with the N’s expectations.
It starts with little things you brush off as weird but unimportant.

Digestive issues, frequent colds, pre-existing conditions & old injuries that were previously under control – are suddenly flaring up a lot. Your face looks tired, your skin & hair loses some luster, you’re not sleeping well & not eating normally.

Over time, you start seeing worse problems – elevated blood pressure, drastic weight & appetite changes…. You have no energy, something’s always hurting, there are symptoms of glandular malfunction &/or organ issues – that the doctor doesn’t know why.

Memory & focus get so bad you feel like you’re “stuck on stupid” most of the time. Anything that was wrong to begin with is way worse now, & you’re not getting better, even with treatment.

The longer you stay, the worse it gets. The N may won’t actually kill you, but the stress they cause certainly might. Something to consider when you’re debating about leaving.”

A: “For sure. You are under constant stress which will have negative physical effects if it goes on for a long time. You know something’s wrong, but that’s absolutely ignored or denied, which is confusing.
Your hair, nails & skin will show it. You’ll get fat or too thin. Since you’re not in control of the money, you’ll struggle to conceal the problems with treatments & fancy clothes…..”
Recommended book: “Prepare to be Tortured  – The price you will pay for dating a narcissist”∼ AB Jamieson

Quora Q:  Why do you get physically sick after being with a narcissistic person?

FROM:  Veronica Welles  (October 29, 2017)

A : “Yes. MRI studies have shown that when we feel emotional pain, the same regions of the brain get activated as when we feel physical pain……We get sick because we hurt so much invisibly after dealing with a narc, but nobody can see it. Before the MRI studies there was no way to even prove it, so nobody would believe us. But now we know it is just as bad as physical injury.

The N is invisibly boiling our insides through antagonism. Our bodies were never built to withstand a constant barrage of hostility indefinitely, so it will eventually break our bodies, starting with the immune system, followed by the rest….. Permanently high inflammation markers is a symptom shared with cancer, a signal the body gives when constantly dealing with injury.

EXP: Research has shown that children from abusive homes have prematurely shortened telomeres. Even their DNA was damaged.

Do not trivialize narcissistic abuse – it’s a killer. Work to be authentic, slowly training yourself to reject Ns wherever, whenever – even in the midst of an audience, even if means violating social norms.”

NEXT: After-effects #3b


PREVIOUS: After-effects, #1

SITE : “After Narcissistic Abuse – There is Light, Life & Love(FaceBook page)


REMINDER: Symptoms apply to either gender, those who have finally been able to get away from a NPD parent, mate, boss, cult leader….

These painful symptoms are definitely a major legacy from our alcoholic, narcissistic family. We then find & stay in various N relationships which mimic what we grew up with, they re-traumatize us. This list has echoes of the ACoA Laundry List.
🍂Avoidance – of places, sounds, tastes, & songs that remind you of your abuser, or the abuse. Intense feelings of anxiety surface even the idea of having to remember

🍂Awareness of Symptoms – It’s very scary to realize you’re different from the person you were before the N twisted your world.  PTSD has replaced the presence of the abuser, a constant emotionally draining reminder of the person you’ve escaped

🍂Confusion = Ns purposely cause extreme confusion & anxiety, knowing that a divided mind is their prisoner, who won’t be able to identify that their confusion is deliberate. Years of gaslightinghas blurred – even erased – reality & the border between yourself & others

🍂Dissociation = Years of ugly power & control tactics constantly used against cause you to ‘dissociate’. It’s a unconscious detachment from emotions, & a lack of awareness of the body & surroundings, as an automatic coping mechanism (See symptoms in 2 charts)

🍂Doubting Yourself = You can often seem uncertain, mistrusting your opinions & feelings, constantly looking for clarification that you haven’t made a mistake or misheard something

🍂Disturbing Thoughts & Guilt – You may obsessively picture terrible things happening to the N, such as accident, — illness, even death. However, its can leave you with deep guilt & self-hate, adding to your damage

🍂Feeling ‘Crazy’ =  Ns constantly project their psychological disorder onto those around them. The degree to which you’ve been exposed to this poison is the degree to which you’ll think you’re crazy. But it’s not you!

🍂Fight or Flight Response – Your system was on constant high alert for very real danger in your environment. You’ve become so used to   Adrenalin agitation that it’s easy to be startled, reacting sensitively to sudden movements & sounds

🍂Lack of Joy & Hope – Being treated with so much cruelty (no matter how subtle)u had to shut does emotionally. Now you’re afraid you’ll never being able to love or trust anyone again.

🍂Memory Loss – Almost all survivors report trouble with their memory – regardless of age.  It’s partly from automatically needing to avoid feeling the pain of it all, as well as from the damage to the hippocampus (in Part 3)

🍂Need for Solitude  – You’re exhausted after narcissistic abuse, so wanting to withdraw & isolate is understandable. You just want to be in your own head for a while to find our own answers & reconnect with True Self

🍂Physical Numbness – (toes, fingertips, lips) is common, as is lack of emotional numbness experienced in the body

🍂Self-harm – Without the distraction of daily trauma, you may find yourself overwhelmed by accumulated feelings of shame, self-hate, rage & terror. OR end up in another, sometimes worse, situation. Your reaction may be to cut yourself, bang your head against a wall, hit yourself in the face…. in an attempt to relieve the emotional tsunami, or as a self-punishment

🍂Sleeplessness – Many survivors are afraid to go to sleep because of nightmares & night terrors, experienced for along time after ‘freedom’. form the N. It’s exhausting, overwhelming & can feel very lonely. Napping then becomes a new favorite passion, along with taking Melatonin.

🍂Suicidal Thoughts – While you may never act on it, many survivors use ‘creative’ scenarios of how they could kill themselves, as a mental stress reliever. It’s a back-door option -“If it gets too much for me, I’ll just check out”. HOWEVER – there are many better ways to cope with mental & emotional pain. (See Topics list on this blog)

💠 ALL these symptoms can slowly be reversed or minimized! with perseverance & the right kind of help. You were a Victim. NOW you’re a SURVIVOR. With healing you can be a WINNER.

NEXT : After-effects, #3


PREVIOUS : Signs of Abuse #3

SITE : “What are the effects of emotional abuse?

Persistent exposure to emotional / psychological / physical trauma cause  PTSD & C-PTSD. Long-term narcissistic abuse has many traumatic consequences, including one that may be the underpinning of all the other obvious symptoms, but is rarely considered.

It’s the devastating impact abuse has on the brain – especially to 3 key areas : ▼ shrinking of the hippocampus, & ▲ swelling of the amygdala, & ◘ limiting the use of the prefrontal cortex.

1. The hippocampus holds short-term memories that get converted into long-term storage. New neurons formed there extend themselves to make connections to many others areas. Everything we do, read & learn & understand – rest on it functioning properly.

► Hippocampal cells are especially vulnerable to ongoing emotional distress, damaged by the body releases of the stress hormone Cortisol. With constant exposure to abuse, this brain structure gradually diminishes in size.
As a result, N victims end up finding it hard to absorb new info, & easily forget things they used to know (not related to age).

2. The amygdala – the general emotion-centre of the brain, gets activated every time we’re frightened or agitated.  It stores all the memories of abuse, which are triggered every time experiences are remembered, or when someone else talks about them.  It forces your attention to painful emotions like envy, guilt, fear, shame…..

While it reduces the hippocampus, Cortisol stimulates the amygdala, so that traumatic stress increases its size, which manifests as mood disorders, decreased mental sharpness & restricting our ability to take in new information.

3. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is located right behind the eyes. This region controls attention, decision-making, memory, & planning. It too is shown to shrink with trauma. The neural highway for unhappiness runs from the amygdala to the right side of the PFC.

As this circuitry activates, thoughts fixate on the distress. Extremes of anxiety anger & sadness push brain activity beyond its effectiveness. Some results : N victims find it hard to make decisions, have a shorter attention span, generate fewer new thoughts, are continually depressed &/or agitated & tend to lack self-care.

PTSD (called RE-LIVING) – the cerebral anxiety attack that makes your whole body react with old terror.  It’s the heart palpitations, intrusive thoughts & spinning emotions – as if the traumatic event is happening right now! along with painful emotions, it’s the physical reactions like shrinking, wincing, looking over your shoulder, walking on eggshells while waiting to be attacked….

1. You’ll need to cry – a lot. The more the tears flow the lighter the load pressing on your forehead, chest & shoulders
2. You’re going to be slightly paranoid –
feeling the need to watch your  back everywhere you go, no matter what state you’re in.
3. The depression is real. It feels like your heart is being ripped into pieces, while the rest of your body doesn’t want to move – ever again!
4. You’ll  blame yourself – taking on all the verbal, emotional attacks that came FROM the N, but are not you.
💖 Remember that ‘C.R.A.P’ is no longer applicable = “I can’t speak up or I’ll be Criticized, RejectedAbandoned, & Punished .”
Reiew: “What N’s need you to be“)

Insecure Attachment
The longer someone was exposed to trauma, the more distorted & fearful their world view became. Because N abuse is so de-stabilizing, it impacts the way we connect & attach to others. This will have a serious effect on how we experience ourselves, approach our lives & react to others

Insecure attachment happens when we repeatedly learn that it’s not safe to love or confide in someone we depend on (parent, mate, boss….). So we end up with intense anxiety about connecting with anyone, or avoid attachment altogether, which severely restricts our world, & makes most relationships difficult.

Narcissistic abuse is slow, subtle & insidious, undermining our sense of self & stability, making it extremely hard to establish healthy connections. Breaking free of PTSD symptoms is a long, tough process, but accepting the impact it has on us is a starting point.   (See both versions of the Laundry List)

NEXT : After-effects, #2