One blog where I learnt about PTSD following Narcissistic Abuse – Fantastic insights and spot on!

Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

PTSD The Breakaway

Victims of Narcissistic abuse almost always leave the relationship with PTSD and/or C-PTSD.  These acronyms stand for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD results from experiencing a devastatingly stressful event or series of events.  C-PTSD is similar, resulting from persistent psychological trauma within an environment in which the victim believes there’s no possibility of escape.  There is a perceived sense of helplessness and one’s sense of self is annihilated.

Victims of Narcissistic abuse experience both.  Let’s say Judy is in a relationship with a Narcissist.  Because of brainwashing, the breakdown of her friendships, and constant verbal abuse, she now believes she is worthless and no one else would be interested in her.  Additionally, the last two times she tried to leave, she was stalked, harassed, and intimidated until she came back.  In her mind, there is no escape.  She is experiencing C-PTSD.

In addition…

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I’ll be 36 years old this year, and it was only last week that I discovered that my mother and sister are Narcissists. Finding information on this was a total fluke!

I am taking a creative writing unit through distance learning because that’s another thing that I’ve always wanted to do but shelved (being an author). I wrote a story about my sister for my first short story assignment. Personally I think it’s more flash fiction than a short story with a word count of only 1,000 words, but I digress. I sent out what I thought was a relatively good draft to friends for their comments. Things seemed really clear to me, but the readers weren’t getting what I was trying to say. I guess my brain was automatically filling in the blanks that were not made really clear in the writing itself. Some of the feedback I received was to make the character more multi-dimensional and that the character based on my sister was very confusing and contradictory. She is a very confusing and contradictory person.

Anyway, I knew that she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) so I started to research more into this to find out more characteristic behaviours of BPD. My first stop was the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association. (I was pursuing a Psych degree before the PTSD kicked in; some say that might have triggered it.) I chanced upon Narcissistic Personality Disorders (NPD) grouped under the same heading of Cluster B Personality Disorders. I was curious – I’m always voracious for more information. I have a tendency to over-research a lot of things, especially for my Psych units. The diagnostic criteria for NPD rang all sorts of bells in my head. But I’m no mental health professional so I researched online some more.

I came across several blog posts and comments that made me go “WHOA!” They were words that were taken out of my mouth – if I had the words to describe what I lived through. I felt an immediate sense of relief. All my life I kept feeling like I was a weakling who couldn’t toughen up and “get on with it”. Reading the stories of so many others made me realize that I wasn’t alone and that there wasn’t something wrong with me, but with them.

I went for my appointment with the psychiatrist at the Pain Unit today armed with this information and asked him what he thought about me arriving at the conclusion that my mother and sister are narcissists. The response – “Absolutely, 100%”. I felt validated and know that I’m on the right track. He also told me that I need to be aware of the consequences – being sucked dry and left empty. Now that I’ve got a “label” for them, it seems to make things a lot more understandable.

How did you discover that the toxic people in your life were narcissists?