Signs of a Toxic Relationship (Everything You Need to Know)

Signs of a Toxic Relationship (Everything You Need to Know)

Letting go of toxic people is an act of self-care. – Karen Salmansohn

Are you in a relationship that involves someone who emotionally, mentally or physically damages you? Do you feel like a shell of your former self since becoming involved with this person? After you spend time with this person, do you feel energized and refreshed, or do you feel drained and exhausted?

While toxic relationships are both damaging and devastating to those who are involved in them, they have a much deeper effect than most people realize. Despite popular opinion, most victims of toxic relationships are far from your standard “victim-type” personality; in fact, most are intelligent, attractive and capable. This is part of what attracts the toxic partner.

The Toxic Relationship Cycle

Toxic relationships start quickly and they are as firey as they are fast. But unlike their healthier counterparts, toxic relationships don’t settle into a comfortable place – rather, the toxic partner gets “bored” and quickly begins to devalue the victim. This will inevitably be followed by a discard phase, which will lead to what we call the hoovering phase – where the toxic person attempts to suck the victim back in.

Could my relationship be toxic? 

Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are you in a relationship with someone who is making you miserable?
  • Do you ever feel drained when you spend time with that person?
  • Do you often find yourself feeling tired and unmotivated or even sort of paralyzed?
  • Do you find yourself putting that person’s needs before your own?
  • Do you often feel shocked by someone’s disrespectful behavior?
  • Does someone in your life make you feel like you don’t matter or like you’re not as important as they are?
  • Have you ever described the way you feel as emotionally “dead” or numb (or something similar)?
  • Have you ever found yourself questioning your own sanity?
  • Have you started to think you’re just not good enough?

What is a toxic relationship?

A toxic relationship is similar to a dysfunctional relationship but less repairable, often due to at least one partner being unable or unwilling to change and/or take responsibility for their wrongdoings. When you’re in a toxic relationship, you’ll find that it involves more negativity than positivity. Most importantly, a toxic relationship does not emotionally support one or both of the people involved. A toxic relationship will also often involve resentment, contempt, communication problems and varying forms of physical, emotional and psychological abuse.

Being involved with a toxic person (or a narcissist) in a toxic relationship will lead to a serious loss of self and a significantly reduced ability to be happy, healthy and fulfilled in your life. These relationships often feel empty or one-sided and leave one or both partners feeling codependent and miserable.

Can a toxic relationship be fixed?

While dysfunctional relationships can often be repaired, toxic ones are less likely to be worth the trouble of trying. That’s because while it does theoretically seem that narcissists and toxic people are capable of personal growth and change, it is rarely seen. So, while most narcissists COULD change, they most often will not, at least not long-term.

Read This: Can a narcissist change? The experts weigh in

While a few clinicians claim that they can heal narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), their evidence is thin and often refuted. Remember too that the longer you remain in the toxic relationship, the further damaged you will become, mentally, physically and otherwise. And, despite appearances, toxic people generally maintain the same cycle of abuse throughout each relationship in their lives – meaning that your partner will not be happier with someone else. 

What are the signs I’m in a toxic relationship?

Be sure to click the links on the points that resonate with you below – each opens up to a detailed post that outlines the signs of a toxic relationship as they relate to that point.

Helpful Video Playlist: Signs of a Toxic Relationship

In this video, the QueenBeeing coaches share their advice on how to find out if your relationship has become toxic. Are you with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder? You can find out, right here.

What causes toxic relationships?

I know, you’re probably asking yourself, “How did I end up in a toxic relationship?” I get it. It’s almost always a shock when you realize you’re in a toxic relationship, and this may be due to the fact that you’re a strong, intelligent and attractive person who generally reads people like a book. But in many cases, you also had a difficult or traumatic childhood, whether it was a result of abuse, neglect or some other sort of situational trauma.

There are certain features that make you an ideal source of narcissistic supply – learn about those features here.

Helpful Resources for Understanding Why You Got Into a Toxic Relationship

Related Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

How do I know if my relationship is unhealthy? What do I do if my relationship is toxic?

Take the Toxic Relationship Test below to be directed to helpful resources for your situation. 

 

Narcissistic Abuse, C-PTSD and Fibromyalgia: The Connection

Narcissistic Abuse, C-PTSD and Fibromyalgia: The Connection

In 2017, I noticed a kind of odd trend among my readers, viewers, and clients: many of them reported having chronic pain and often, fibromyalgia. In fact, as far as I could tell, it looked like the percentage of people in the narcissistic abuse recovery community who reported having been diagnosed with these issues was much higher than in the general population. Instantly, I thought, “There must be a connection!”

After spending a week or two pondering the possible connection between fibromyalgia and being abused by a narcissist, I gave in to my curiosity and got busy researching.  Here are some of the things I learned in my research.

Is there a connection between narcissistic abuse, C-PTSD, and fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia Symptoms Sound Familiar to Narcissistic Abuse Survivors

If you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, you might be able to relate to this list of symptoms. They include things like deep tissue pain, fatigue, depression, mood swings, and insomnia. This is because, according to WomensHealth.gov, “Lower levels of certain brain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or norepinephrine, may cause you to be more sensitive to pain and have a more severe reaction to pain. Imaging studies of the brain show that people with fibromyalgia feel pain when people without fibromyalgia do not. Some medicines prescribed to treat fibromyalgia try to bring the levels of those neurotransmitters back into balance. ” REFERENCE

What the Medical Community Says About the Connection Between Narcissistic Abuse C-PTSD and Fibromyalgia

Yes, It’s a Real Diagnosis, But …

The official word in the medical community, from what I can tell, is that the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown and that it exists among people whose brains “process pain differently.”
The diagnosis has sometimes been considered controversial, with some people saying it’s “not real” or “an imagined condition,” but even traditional medicine now acknowledges the condition as a “real” diagnosis. Even so, there’s no official test for fibromyalgia, so diagnosis is based on a cluster of symptoms rather than a “positive result,” which may account for some of the doubters.

Some Doctors Ignore or MIsdiagnose Your Symptoms

But for anyone who has ever experienced the pain and isolation that fibromyalgia involves, there’s no doubt: it’s very real – and it makes your life hard. Even worse is that some doctors may ignore your symptoms and blame them on your imagination, leaving you to deal with your pain unassisted.

So, is fibromyalgia associated with narcissistic abuse?

Update 2021: Yes, it turns out that it is. In fact, the NHS website now lists being in abusive relationships as a possible cause of fibromyalgia, along with a list of other possible “triggers,” including an injury, a viral infection, giving birth, surgery, breaking up with a partner or divorce, and death of a loved one.

“Fibromyalgia is often triggered by a stressful event, including physical stress or emotional (psychological) stress,” the report adds. “But in some cases, fibromyalgia does not develop after any obvious trigger.”

WebMD also acknowledges that “significant psychological stress” is one way that the symptoms can be triggered.

I share my thoughts and some additional research in this video.

Are You Mistaking Fibromyalgia Symptoms for ‘Getting Older’ or Stress?

Fibromyalgia symptoms will often show up as common aches or pains, so you might miss them, not realizing how significant they really are. That and a couple of other issues can lead to your family doctor overlooking the warnng signs or misiagnosing you.

For example, if you have muscle pain, you might brush it off and not even go to the doctor. And even if you do, it might be inadvertently misdiagnosed as a sprain or another type of muscle injury, if that’s the only symptom you share in your doctor visit.

Or if you’re feeling tired all the time, you might not tell your doctor, because you’ll search Google or call your mom who will both tell you to get more sleep, eat better, drink more water, stop eating so damn much junk food – and maybe even get more exercise. And all of those would be valid and useful bits of advice, in my experience.

But when you’ve got fibromyalgia, you’re not just tired.  You’re dealing with fatigue – the kind that leaves you feeling exhausted all the time. And no matter how much and how long you sleep, you never feel refreshed. When your muscles are stiff, you laugh it off and say it’s hell getting older.

People joke that you’re too young to be this senile, or that you’re too brunette to be this blonde. I mean, you’d never mention your flightiness to your doctor, right? But what you might not know is that the moments when you can’t focus and you can’t concentrate – along with those blonde moments, senior moments and brain farts – could be symptoms of fibromyalgia.

So, yeah, our lack of focus and sense of concentration and the fact that you can’t remember things as easily might be connected to getting older, or to being stressed out. But it’s also something you might want to mention to your doctor, just to be safe.

And either way, knowing what you’re dealing with is usually the first step to solving ANY problem, and this one’s no different.

Tell your doctor about any unexpected or unexplained pain in your body, or if you’re feeling dizzy at random times. And don’t write off those moments where your leg falls asleep as nothing. Tell your doctor if you’re regularly losing sensation in any part of your body, the feeling of “pins and needles.”

One more really important thing to remember: fibromyalgia symptoms can range from mild to severe and can change depending on the time of day, so don’t ignore those intermittent symptoms – you know, the ones that only happen “sometimes.”

This condition doesn’t just go away, and getting help from your doctor can significantly impact your health and your quality of life. So, if you believe your symptoms are consistent with fibromyalgia, or even that you have several of these symptoms but not others, make an appointment with your doctor and get yourself checked out. Bring a list of your symptoms with you so you don’t forget (and yes, include those blonde/senior moments and brain farts!).

Signs You Might Have Fibromyalgia

The pain is real but it isn’t constant.

People who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia say that sometimes it hurts most in the evening. And, you might have some totally pain-free days followed by a week of excruciating misery.

Just being touched in the wrong way can hurt you.

Fibromyalgia causes little “trigger points” or little “spots” on your body that seem to cause an inordinate amount of pain when anyone – or anything – touches them. Common trigger points include in your neck, that little spot in the fold of your elbow, or the one just below your knee, You might also have these little “spots” in your lower back, and just above the top of your thigh. (Note – this is another one of those things you need to mention to your doctor).

You can’t party like a rock star.

Even if you were once an all-night party kind of person, those days might be over. When you have fibromyalgia, not getting enough sleep and overeating, among other not-so-healthy habits, can exacerbate your symptoms, causing you even more pain. Fast food, sugar, and preservatives will also become a thing of the past if they haven’t already.

You’re sick, tired, and you can’t get anything done.

Since stress and illness can intensify your symptoms, which can lead to other physical effects, mental stress, forgetfulness, increased pain, and a number of other life-altering symptoms, And even if you WANT to get stuff done, something keeps stopping you and you can’t seem to be productive to save your life. And, stress and a lack of exercise might make your symptoms worse. Can you see how this could snowball?

What You Should Know If You Are Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 

A fibromyalgia diagnosis might feel scary, but it isn’t a death sentence. First, take a deep breath and know that you are not alone. There are others who successfully deal with this condition and there are many support groups available both online and off that can help you learn about your condition. If you’ve been diagnosed, start learning everything you can to proactively empower yourself.

There’s no cure yet, but there’s a lot you can do to manage your symptoms. 

While there’s no cure for fibromyalgia, there so many different options for treating and managing your symptoms.  Once you’ve been diagnosed, you can start with your doctor’s advice for your situation. If your doctor approves, you can look into some of the alternative and self-help options out there. You should build your own little support team, depending on the treatments and therapies you choose. Depending on your symptoms, your care team may include a variety of members, including doctors and medical specialists, chiropractors, therapists, coaches and counselors, and a number of holistic and alternative healers. A dietician or nutritionist can help you learn what you need to add (or subtract) from your diet to reduce your symptoms, and you might even find that physical therapy can help reduce pain.

You might have to educate the people around you about fibromyalgia.

You may need to educate your family and friends on the limits your fibromyalgia places on you. Since you might need to make lifestyle changes to keep your health on track, anyone you spend time with is going to be affected by it. For example, you might have to rest more frequently, do less around the house or even find a less physically demanding job.

You might have to give up stuff you really like literally forever. 

In other words, you can’t only address symptoms when they’re happening. Survivors who have fibromyalgia have told me that they are the most successful at lessening the symptoms of fibromyalgia when they shift their whole lives toward healing. That means that even when you’re not having symptoms, you have to take extra care and precautions just as you would during active flareups. That means that a change in your lifestyle, even if it feels uncomfortable at first, will pay off in the long run by allowing you to have fewer flare-ups (and therefore a higher quality of life) as a result of your efforts.

Everyone is forced to accept your limits (including you).

You don’t need to make excuses to anyone, but you (and they) are going to have to accept that you have fibromyalgia. And you’ll need to accept that this means you will have certain limits, and no amount of being angry at yourself is going to change that. If anything, being angry at yourself could make it wors So do yourself a favor and , not only because of the negative energy it draws into your life, bu also because of the physical effect it can have on you (not to mention the fact that it will intensify your fibromyalgia symptoms – and there goes the snowball again).

You need a little help or at least a little patience.

You might need to ask for help sometimes, and that’s okay, even if normally, the thought would never occur to you. But when you have fibromyalgia and you’re having one of those days where your pain is taking over, you might need to ask someone for help getting things done. And give yourself permission to put off certain chores and responsibilities if they can wait a day or two. It’s really important that you try to be compassionate to yourself and realistic about the limitations that fibromyalgia cause for you. To balance things out, maybe you can save the things that don’t tax your strength for the days when the flare-ups are at their worst. Obviously, you won’t be able to predict when your symptoms will rear their ugly head, but planning ahead and knowing what you’ll do when flare-ups happen can make life a lot easier for you.

Your life will never be the same, but it can still be good.

Fibromyalgia might force you to change your lifestyle, but with treatment combined with self-help and self-care, you can still enjoy your life. You’ll definitely want to involve your doctor in your care plan and get medical clearance for any kind of treatment you decide to try, even if it’s an alternative one. You need to be sure it’s safe.

Plus, your doctor may be able to prescribe something to take the edge off your pain. You might find that it’s even more effective if you combine it with massage therapy or a visit to your chiropractor. Other helpful things survivors say can help include mindfulness, meditation, regular exercise, and a number of alternative therapies and programs. Some people even say essential oils have been helpful in easing their symptoms. And this is just a fraction of a percent of the possibilities and options out there to consider.

I say explore your options, but please always check in with your doctor on anything that might affect your health, even if you’re not sure. I stress this because I care – and because you and I both know that there are always people out there who might want to take advantage of vulnerable targets. So, be aware, do your research, get medical approval on anything you need to, and be careful. That being said, still explore, research, read, and know your options. Knowledge is always power, and no one knows every single thing.

Paying Attention to Diet Can Help With Fibromyalgia Symptoms

You can use a fibromyalgia diet to help control the symptoms associated with this condition better. Scientists have known for years that eating certain types of foods can work with the body to bring a sense of well being. But did you know that for some people, certain foods, including some that are considered healthy, could actually exacerbate your health issues?

In other words, you will need to get really personalized with your diet – there’s no one-size-fits-all here. For example, gluten, a protein that can be found in many types of foods, cause a variety of issues for some people diagnosed with fibromyalgia – but some people don’t have a problem with it. And some people say that MSG can make the symptoms of fibromyalgia worse, while others tolerate it fine. Caffeinated diet sodas with artificial sweeteners are also reportedly a common issue for many people.

It’s best to avoid processed foods, preservatives, and excessive sugar, but since there really is no one size fits all diet for those with this syndrome, you’ve got to learn to tune into your body and pay attention to what it tells you.

You might find It helps to keep a food journal and write down any adverse reactions to the meals you eat. If one particular meal makes you feel more lethargic or leaves you feeling uncomfortable or in pain, then you might consider eliminating them from your diet.

So what can you eat? There are some doctors who will prescribe a diet consisting only of vegetables and there are studies showing that a vegetarian diet can have other health benefits as well. Still, others believe sticking with a normal healthy diet works just as well for patients with fibromyalgia.

In this video Interview, Functional Medicine Coach and Holistic Healer/Nutritionist Sharon Chud offers additional insight into the connection between narcissistic abuse and fibromyalgia as well as how diet can help in alleviating symptoms of fibromyalgia.

More Resouces on Using DIet to Relieve and Reduce Fybromyalgia Symptoms

Trauma-Induced Weight Gain as a Symptom of Narcissistic Abuse

In this video interview, Sharon Reese Chud shares her thoughts on weight struggles during and after narcissistic abuse.

Sharon Reese Chud: Functional Medicine Coach/Holistic Practitioner/ Nutritionist

Is your relationship making you sick? Take the quiz and find out now.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support

Helpful Reading for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors

Toxic Narcissism in Relationships: Identifying PTSD and C-PTSD

Toxic Narcissism in Relationships: Identifying PTSD and C-PTSD

When you’re in or have recently left a relationship with a narcissist, there are many negative side effects you’ve got to deal with as a result of the gaslighting and manipulation that goes along with it – and one of the most common issues for survivors and victims of narcissistic abuse in relationships is PTSD and C-PTSD.

What is PTSD and Who Can Get It?

Millions of people are affected by PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome/Disorder) and C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) each year and it can affect anyone in any age group.

PTSD has been talked about in the media as a serious problem that affects soldiers returning from traumatic experiences involving combat, but what we don’t talk about as often are people who have been emotionally and mentally abused by narcissists, psychopaths, and other negative people.

That’s why soldiers are what most people think about when they hear that term. The fact about PTSD is that soldiers aren’t the only ones who can be drastically affected by the debilitating reality of traumatic experiences – and it doesn’t have to result from physical combat.

In fact, for those affected by C-PTSD, which occurs when the traumatic event is spread over the course of weeks, months, or years. In these cases, the trauma usually involves some form of emotional and/or psychological trauma, whether or not physical injuries are sustained.

How PTSD is Connected to Narcissistic Abuse

A person who has been in a car accident, storm, plane crash, been raped, or suffered some other type of external trauma can develop emotional illnesses that may morph into depression, and it may also become a form of PTSD.  People who have suffered from a variety of types of trauma and abuse over the course of weeks, months, or years through hostage situations, abusive and toxic relationships, sexual abuse, and other forms of domestic violence can be affected by this same type of PTSD. This group, of course, includes people who are suffering from narcissistic abuse.

Victims of narcissistic abuse and other ongoing forms of physical, emotional, and psychological abuse can be affected by a form of PTSD called C-PTSD, or complex post-traumatic stress disorder. This is related to the fact that their trauma was ongoing over the course of weeks, months, years, or even decades in many cases. Conversely, those who experienced one-time or shorter-term trauma may have PTSD that would not be labeled complex.

What is C-PTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a serious mental health condition affecting a large percentage of victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse. This disorder can take years to treat and many professionals aren’t familiar with its symptoms or misdiagnose it.

Some therapists and other mental health professionals may even victim-blame if they aren’t familiar with the subtle tricks of a narcissist. Unfortunately, it can be a lifelong condition, but it can be managed with mindfulness and behavior modification, among other therapies and modalities.

If you are affected by C-PTSD, you may wish to supplement your therapeutic treatment with narcissistic abuse recovery coaching. Or at the very least we recommend that you find a therapist who understands your unique situation. Check out this guide on how to find a therapist who understands narcissistic abuse and recovery.

Identifying PTSD or C-PTSD in Yourself or Someone You Love

Those who are experiencing PTSD or C-PTSD often first recognize they are affected by having had a freeze-response or a “fight or flight” response to a traumatic experience. This normal reaction to impending danger is ingrained in our psyche to prevent us from harm, but in PTSD, that natural response may deeply change a person.

Even though the person is out of danger and no longer needs to be afraid, he or she often reacts to non-threatening experiences and events with a “fight or flight” response.

What does PTSD look like?

The three main characteristics you might notice if you are suffering from PTSD experience include the following.

1. Exaggerated emotional and physical responses

A person with PTSD might become frightened from loud noises or being surprised. He or she may begin to shake uncontrollably, shrink from the situation, or leave the premises. Anxiety is always present in the PTSD or C-PTSD affected person.

Related: How to Deal with the Crippling Anxiety Caused by Toxic Relationships with Narcissists

2. Troubling Memories

PTSD may cause a person to frequently recollect the traumatic event. He may become very irrational and emotions may run wild because he’s mentally ‘rewinding’ the event and playing it in his mind over and over.

Related: Toxic Thoughts and How to Stop Them

3. Problems Relating to Others

If you have PTSD, you might have a hard time trusting anyone. You might become suspicious and jealous of people who love you and want the best for you. You might feel angry and depressed and extremely detached from loved ones.

PTSD and C-PTSD-affected people sometimes feel like no one understands them, so relationships can be difficult to maintain, especially when they get involved in toxic relationships. Other areas that become problematic for the PTSD or C-PTSD-affected are their job, performing the most basic of daily tasks, and the fact that they can’t comprehend that what they’re afraid of isn’t a real threat at that moment.

This is further exacerbated when a narcissist’s abuse is involved because in this case, the messages are initially coming from OUTSIDE your head – they’re the narcissist’s attempts to slowly and methodically break you down – and they work way too well.

Related: 44 Signs You’re Being Emotionally Abused

The mental stress of C-PTSD is devastating and can take a toll on your relationships with others and the ability to function if not identified and treated properly. There are certain types of trauma that can typically cause C-PTSD.

Who Can Be Affected by PTSD and C-PTSD?

Besides traumatic combat experiences (such as narcissistic abuse), there are other events that might precipitate PTSD. People of all ages and who have experienced all types of trauma may fall victim to this devastating disorder. Other than combat veterans (mostly men) here are some trauma victims who are more likely to be affected by PTSD during and after toxic relationships than others:

Children

Children are some of the most likely victims to be affected by PTSD and react to it in various ways that could cause mental and physical illnesses.

      • Events such as car accidents, being bullied at school, violence at home, a loved one’s death or illness, child abuse or a serious accident can precipitate PTSD in children.
      • Symptoms of PTSD in children include re-living the experience, nightmares, avoiding situations, blocking out his feelings and memory of the event and being easily frightened of events that pose no threat of harm.
      • If you notice some or all of these symptoms of PTSD in a child who has been through a traumatic event, make sure you seek help immediately from a health care professional.

Women

Women are statistically much more likely than men to develop C-PTSD and the reasons could stem from domestic violence, being neglected or abused as a child, being raped, physically attacked, being in accidents, having a crushing medical diagnosis, or experiencing the loss of a child or other loved one.

      • Symptoms of C-PTSD in women might include severe depression, abuse of drugs or alcohol, developing an eating disorder, or increasing the risk of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic pain. Suicidal thoughts or actions and other maladies may also occur.
      • Treatment for C-PTSD in women might include anti-depressants or anxiety medication prescribed by a health care professional. It may also include coaching or counseling with someone experienced in helping trauma victims.

Lonely People

People who are alone can suffer from C-PTSD and PTSD. Although some people who are alone in life may enjoy it, most of us need a help and support system that we can call on when depressed or medically impaired. Those who have no one to talk to or interact with are much more likely to develop PTSD.

      • This might include divorced men or women of any age, including but not limited to single parents, whether or not they are primary custodians of their children.
      • People who are the primary custodians for children may have a more difficult time connecting with a support system due to being solely responsible for most day-to-day parental responsibilities.
      • Prolonged social isolation, even when related to taking care of others, can increase and magnifiy C-PTSD symptoms signficiantly.
      • Perhaps a bit ironically, the trauma associated with narcissistic abuse can lead to the desire to avoid social situations and can even cause social anxiety.

The Elderly

The elderly are sometimes at risk for PTSD when they’re abruptly pulled away from their home and placed in a nursing facility. Friends may have passed on and family may live in other areas of the world.

      • It can be scary for the elderly to be alone, especially when they’re struggling with big personal changes and mental or physical health issues.
      • Treatment for PTSD and C-PTSD in the elderly can range from medication to counseling and helping the victim join in other activities as much as possible.

The truth is that anyone who has been through a traumatic experience is at risk. Men, women, children and the elderly may all experience PTSD if they’re victims of extreme trauma and/or the mental and emotional abuse that comes along with a toxic relationship with a narcissist.

What types of events lead to PTSD and C-PTSD?

Some events that could produce enough trauma to cause PTSD are sexual molestation, experiencing a threat by someone with a weapon, rape, kidnapping, car accident, devastating illness, natural disaster including hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes, and civil happenings such as divorce or being sued. Emergency response workers such as firefighters, medics, pilots, and policemen are likely to develop PTSD if they witness or are part of a traumatic event where the loss of life or devastation is involved.

Symptoms & Complications of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD you should look for are the same as the ones previously mentioned. They may also include life-altering mental, emotional, and physical health complications including suicidal thoughts, alcohol or drug abuse, and depression.

Complications of PTSD are varied, including the disruption it can cause in jobs, relationships, and functioning on a daily basis to complete even the most menial tasks or experiencing enjoyment in anything. PTSD shouldn’t be ignored. It won’t go away without treatment.

Symptoms & Complications of C-PTSD

Symptoms of C-PTSD include those seen in PTSD, but they tend to be longer-lasting. C-PTSD will usually also present with added symptoms including the following.

  • Low self-esteem.
  • Dissociation.
  • Trouble regulating your emotions.
  • Struggling with short-term memory.
  • Distorted perceptions of reality, yourself, or your abuser.
  • Longer-term memory issues around the trauma or traumatic periods in their lives.
  • Your beliefs and your thoughts might not be in line and you may lose faith in your religion or another long-held belief system.
  • Certain physical health issues are often also associated with C-PTSD, including but not limited to adrenal fatigue,  and various types of autoimmune diseases.

The Best Ways to Treat PTSD & C-PTSD

If you or someone you know falls victim to PTSD, treatment is imperative – and the sooner, the better. Symptoms may occur immediately after a traumatic experience or even months or years later.

One type of treatment doesn’t fit all for those who suffer from PTSD, but there are various ways to get through the disorder and get rid of the symptoms that plague and disrupt your life. These include:

Traditional “Talk Therapy”

Talking it through for PTSD and C-PTSD-affected people is sometimes the best way to treat the disorder. Counselors and psychotherapists that are specially trained in PTSD treatment can usually help the person find closure for the traumatic incident that has caused such a lifestyle change.

Cognitive Therapy

This type of therapy helps a PTSD or C-PTSD affected person to realize that events that took place weren’t his fault and helps alleviate feelings of guilt. A therapist listens to them describe the traumatic event(s) in detail and then helps the person understand the incident and why it happened.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching

When the person suffering from C-PTSD is otherwise mentally stable, a good narcissistic abuse recovery coach can help them discover the answers they seek and learn new coping techniques for dealing with the issues that come along with it. This can work together with or independently from traditional therapies.

These types of treatments and remedies work because when the PTSD or C-PTSD-affected person demonstrates that they have a good understanding of the event, they then understand that they’ve been suffering stress because of their thoughts about the situation. If this is something you are personally dealing with, it might help you to know how the therapy-focused treatment and guided self-help coaching options work.

In general, you would work with your therapist or coach to develop a plan for your healing or a self-help plan to address the effects of and overcome your issues related to PTSD or C-PTSD.

Change Your Mind to Change Your Life: Reprogramming Your Brain

You know by now that narcissistic abuse and the complications of it, including C-PTSD, changes you. The fact is that a toxic relationship involving a malignant narcissist changes who you become. It changes what might have been a happy, confident, secure person into someone who doubts their worth and their value every day. It takes away your ability to have a healthy, full life and causes you to hyper-focus on it as you try in vain to resolve it, repeatedly, over and over again. What happens during a relationship with a toxic narcissist to lead to these changes?

This video will walk you through some of the most common feelings and experiences that lead to the loss of self in a toxic relationship, plus we will talk about self-help techniques you can use to heal and start to find yourself again.

The next step is to learn to replace the frightening and negative thoughts with less traumatic thoughts and put the incident into perspective. These therapy sessions will help you learn how to cope with fear, anger, and guilt that often plague people after a traumatic experience.

Neuroplasticity and Healing After Narcissistic Abuse-Induced C-PTSD

Did you know that narcissistic abuse causes your brain to literally change its structure? The good news? You can change it back, thanks to a recently-discovered concept called neuroplasticity. Here is an introduction to neuroplasticity that can help. By using this simple sort of “brain training,” you can overcome the effects of abuse – including panic attacks, stress, depression, fear, and more.

Neuroplasticity offers a new kind of hope for survivors of narcissistic abuse, this is how our brain can “rewire itself” by forming new neural connections throughout life. This means that the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain can compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. Even better, we can intentionally control this process if we choose to do so.

Exposure Therapy

Eliminating fear is one of the goals of exposure therapy and is based on the theory that after a traumatic event happens, a person learns to be afraid of thoughts, feelings, and circumstances that remind him of the traumatic happening. This can work with PTSD, but not generally with C-PTSD.

  • A therapist can help you control those thoughts and feelings and learn how not to be frightened of the memories associated with the event. If you have PTSD, you might spend a lot of time focusing on memories of the event and reliving it.
  • Exposure therapy can help “desensitize” your reaction to the memories and replace them with less stressful thoughts. Relaxing is key to successful exposure therapy and the therapist might use breathing exercises to help with this.

Support Groups

A supportive group of people can help PTSD and C-PTSD-affected people overcome their fears and emotions. A group can be family members since they are most affected by the person’s PTSD.

  • A good therapist will help the PTSD and C-PTSD-affected person and their family communicate with each other and voice concerns. Honesty is paramount in family group therapy and can help mend and foster relationships that are repairable.
  • Supportive group coaching and/or therapy may also be with those who have experienced the same or similar traumatic experiences. Sharing stories and emotions with others who are in the same boat helps each person build trust and self-confidence and realize that he’s not alone.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) 

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a way of enhancing communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. This is a modality that is often used to help in healing from narcissistic abuse.

There are three main components that create the human experience: neurology, language, and programming.

Our neurological system regulates our basic bodily functions, while our language determines how we interact with the people around us. And then our programming is what helps us to perceive the world – it determines literally what we experience in our lives. So, NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming, basically means using the fundamental dynamics between your mind (neuro) and language (linguistic) and how the combination of those two things affects our body and behavior (programming).

In other words, to use NLP for personal change is to intentionally choose to change your thought patterns and processes in order to achieve the life you really want – and not more of what you don’t. Read more about NLP here.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

An experienced, trauma-informed counselor trained in EMDR can help you change reactions to remembering a traumatic experience by focusing on the memories while performing certain actions.

  • Actions you might perform could be eye movements, sounds, and tapping.
  • The documentation isn’t totally clear as to how EMDR works to solve problems, but studies suggest that PTSD and C-PTSD-affected people will often experience fewer symptoms after the therapy.

Light Therapy

One of the problems with PTSD and C-PTSD is that sufferers have trouble sleeping. Light therapy has been shown to drastically reduce symptoms of PTSD and C-PTSD and is a very inexpensive method of treatment.

  • Bright lights affect a person’s internal clock and metabolism and also cause positive reactions to inflammation, the immune system, and stress such as that caused by traumatic experiences.
  • Depression can also be alleviated with light therapy.

Dog Therapy

It may seem out of the box, but dog therapy has been found to seriously help those who may be suffering from PTSD. A dog is known as a “soldier’s best friend,” and many dogs have had specific training to help soldiers with PTSD as a result of combat stress and experiences. They can benefit victims of narcissistic abuse the same way.

  • Dogs can help PTSD and C-PTSD-affected people express and feel love again, they are great companions for those who feel alone and they can help reduce stress, frustration, and feelings of loneliness by encouraging outdoor walks and socialization with new people.
  • Dog therapy for PTSD and C-PTSD-affected people hasn’t definitely been proven to be an effective treatment for PTSD, but you may talk to your doctor or therapist about acquiring an emotional support dog that has been trained to help provide companionship for the PTSD or C-PSTD-affected person.

Yoga

Even the military is now using this ancient Eastern practice to treat soldiers with symptoms of PTSD and recognize its ability to help PTSD and C-PTSD-affected people to gain an awareness of their feelings and heal from the experience.

  • Yoga brings a sense of calm to both the mind and body and those who suffer from PTSD find that it helps them see things differently and recover enough to go on with their lives rather than reliving the past.
  • Anxiety caused by PTSD can also be relieved by practicing Yoga. The poses, stretching and meditative thoughts soothe mangled nerves and allow the person to calm him or herself without using medication, alcohol, or other means to seek relief.

Recovering from PTSD

Recovery from PTSD can take a long time, depending on how fast it’s recognized in the PTSD or C-PTSD-affected person as a problem, and the treatment is obtained. There are health professionals who specialize in the treatment of PTSD and can diagnose and prescribe the treatment that’s going to be of most help for a child, woman, man, or soldier.

Most types of treatment last from six to twelve weeks, but it could take more time, depending on the severity of the disorder. Even though good and helpful treatments are available, the person with PTSD may not recognize they’re having a problem.

Sometimes PTSD can be treated by an antidepressant medication or SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) that can help with feelings of sadness and worry. Much of what causes PTSD are the chemicals in the brain – and the lack of serotonin – so medications can be used with some success.

If you or a loved one is under treatment for PTSD, make sure you ask the therapist or health care professional how long the treatment may take and what you can expect from it.

It’s very important that loved ones or others close to the PTSD or C-PTSD-affected person and help get them to a therapist as soon as possible. That’s why helping someone realize they’re affected by PTSD or C-PTSD can be so vital.

Due to the importance of treatment, whether the person in your life who might be C-PTSD-affected is yourself or someone you love, it’s important to research and discover all you can about the symptoms of PTSD, treatment, and recovery options.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse-Induced C-PTSD Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

Have you or has someone you know been affected by PTSD or C-PTSD during or after a toxic relationship with a narcissist? 

Related Articles for People Dealing with C-PTSD Related to Narcissistic Abuse

Related Video: Trauma Bonding and C-PTSD in Narcissistic Abuse

How Two Women Took Revenge on a Cheating Narcissist: The Shocking True Story

How Two Women Took Revenge on a Cheating Narcissist: The Shocking True Story

This is a true story of how two former co-victims, Tracy and Liselle, managed to take revenge on a toxic narcissist.

Payback’s a B*tch!

But these ladies didn’t pull any punches – and together, they took a huge step toward creating positive change for themselves and our fellow victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse in relationships.

Listen to the story of these two beautiful survivors who took revenge on their (unknowingly) shared narcissist in the most beautiful way you can imagine – it’s unbelievably delicious!

A few points of interest:

  • Tracy and Liselle both happened to be dating the same narcissist – and when they discovered it a few weeks ago, their lives changed for good.
  • Because of the gaslighting and manipulation they were subjected to by their narcissist, Tracy now has a police record and Liselle had to get a restraining order lifted in order to even be here with us for this interview.
  • After Liselle was “unceremoniously dumped via Facebook messenger” by the narcissist she’d thought she’d been exclusive with for the past two years, Liselle decided to contact Tracy – and you won’t BELIEVE what happened next. 
  • Learn about “the incident” that led to Tracy being arrested and that eventually led the two to meet. And learn how Tracy quite literally saved Liselle’s life
  • Find out how these two are taking back THEIR lives and how they’re ethically taking revenge on a narcissist.

Watch the exclusive interview, right here – and find out what happened the first time they met (when they were both still dating the narcissist).

Related: Should you contact the narcissist’s new supply?

Liselle will also offer a quick way to test your man and make sure you’re the only one in his life – you won’t believe how simple it is!

You’ll also hear what they’ve learned since then and the kinds of gaslighting and manipulation their narcissist used against them – including isolation, triangulation and of course the two-way smear campaign he used to attempt to continue to manipulate them both.

Subscribe to Tracy’s channel, right here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Koppconsulting2010

Get my books at http://booksangiewrote.com and pick up your free 5-day fear-busting email course (especially designed for narcissistic abuse survivors) at http://narcissismsupportcoach.com.

Can you believe it?? I was so SHOCKED! Share your thoughts in the comments section – let’s discuss this!

How to Be a Hot Guy: Go From Zero to Hero After a Toxic Relationship

How to Be a Hot Guy: Go From Zero to Hero After a Toxic Relationship

Men Can Be Abused Too:  Introducing Toxic Relationship Recovery for Guys

Dear Men,

You make up more than a quarter of my readers and YouTube subscribers, and I appreciate you. I want you to know that I am not “anti-man” or even a feminist (except in its true definition: someone who believes women and men are equal) – I have two sons and many other men in my life who I care about. 

With that being said, I know there a lot of you (probably more than even I realize) and I know that you are under-served in the narcissistic abuse recovery information and support that you need to get through this and to overcome it – partially because not a lot of people even realize that you can be abused by a woman. 

That’s why, in addition to making my videos mostly not just for women, I’ve started a special series on narcissistic abuse recovery that’s just for you. You matter, and I want you to know it. Here’s the first installment – take a moment and let me know what you think! Would you like to see more? Share your thoughts below, or email me at [email protected]

How to Be a Super Hot Guy: This is How You Can Attract HEALTHY Women (After a Toxic Relationship)

I hope you don’t hate yourself for not being a bad boy. Nice guys have one major advantage over bad boys – nice guys pay attention and care about a woman’s needs.

This is actually an advantage for a couple of reasons. First, you have a natural ability to be tuned in and caring – that’s valuable, and women love it! Second, because you have a bit of awareness, you’re also more able to discern if any given woman is going to be a good fit for you.

Because of your attentive nature and the fact that you do pay attention, you’re in a better position to determine whether a girl is right for you, and whether she’s a good girl or a bad girl.

Here’s something absolutely essential to keep in mind: Your hormones may try to misguide you! Sometimes, even if you’re a really good guy, your hormones will bog down your ability to think and even care if she’s a nice girl or not.

This is when you have to demonstrate some self-control and sound thinking. Before you find yourself in a situation that you may regret, you need to know how to tell a good girl from a bad girl.

A good girl dresses appropriately. That doesn’t mean she can’t look sexy, but she’s not letting herself spill out of her dress just for attention. She also has self control when it comes to drinking and even spending money.

Good girls pay attention to your needs, not just their own. She won’t rush into bed with you just because she thinks that’s the only way to get you to commit to her. She’s confident in her choices and decisions and doesn’t defer to you for everything.

Bad girls, on the other hand, try to win your affection by being overly promiscuous. She’ll dress too sexy, to the point you’re embarrassed for her, knowing every guy is assuming what kind of girl she is. She might also be flirting with every man in the room.

A bad girl also might need to get drunk or incapacitated in another way in order to relax and have fun (and we already know narcissists might also be addicts or alcoholics). She doesn’t control herself with money, either, spending too much and complaining that she’s in debt up to her ears.

You might meet a bad girl who pressures you into going to bed together on the first date. If she’s like this with you, she might be like this with any man! Some women think the only way a guy will commit is through sex, so put her mind at ease and take the pressure off from the very beginning.

If she’s needy, she might be a bad girl in another way – as in high maintenance. What starts out as cute possessiveness turns into a raging jealousy that gets out of control and ruins your life. Find a woman who exudes confidence and interest in you (not one that seeks the attention of every man in the room).

Because, my friend, you know which girl needs the attention of everyone in the room, right?

Yeah. It’s the female narcissist. Female narcissists will use their bodies to get what they want, in many cases, and this includes their sexuality.

  • Female narcissists are more likely to have an eating disorder than male narcisssists.
  • Female narcs are more likely to have issues with getting older, especially when they use their bodies or sexuality to get what they want.
  • Female narcissists are more likely to secure their supply sources at home by controlling her family directly and using guilt to help secure her control.
  • Female narcissists tend to be less openly over-confident than male narcs, who get much of their over-inflated confidence from inside their own heads – but females are more likely to take secret pleasure in their own perceived superiority over others.
  • Female narcissists are more likely to spend money frivolously while males are more likely to believe that money gives them power, control, status and related conditions. (Neither concerns himself/herself with shame or remorse, of course).
  • While both female and male narcs are known to cheat, males are more likely to be serial adulterers. Females are more likely to idealize a guy and then emasculate him when they get him under their “spell.” In both cases, the more their partners give, the more they want and take from them – it’s an insatiable need for supply.

Next Time, Ask Yourself: Does This Woman Deserve Your Heart?

You’ve met the woman of your dreams – you think. You’ve been dating for some time and things are getting pretty serious. You’re at the point where you’re becoming exclusive (or maybe you’re thinking about making things even a bit more permanent).

Before you ask her to move in with you, or marry you, you have to ask yourself, “Does this woman deserve my heart?” Answer it completely honestly.

Remember, it isn’t only her judging whether you are worthy, but you deciding whether she is worthy of you. When the idea of permanence enters into your head, it’s time to take a few deep breaths and really think things through – even if it means that you’ll be putting off having the exclusive dating talk, or the moving in together talk, or the marriage proposal.

These things are a big deal and because of that, you absolutely need to take your time and know in your heart that she’s the kind of person you want to spend an eternity.

Here are some questions that you need to ask yourself:

  1. Are we truly compatible? If your intention is to make this relationship more permanent, this is a good question to ask. Not just if you both like dogs and macaroni and cheese and hockey, but are you compatible on a deeper level.
  2. Are you on the same page when it comes to the really important things like kids, spirituality, finances and other things that will eventually play a very important part in your life together?
  3. If you don’t see eye-to-eye, have the two of you figured out how you’re going to compromise or where your common ground will be?
  4. Is she good to you? This is something that some people forget to ask when they’re just plain head over heels in love or your family and friends like her a lot and are pressuring you.
  5. Is she kind to you?
  6. Does she respect your dreams, goals and ideas?
  7. How does she treat you when you’re out with friends?
  8. How does she treat you when you’re alone?
  9. Does she apologize if she’s made a mistake?
  10. Is she controlling?
  11. Is she loyal to you?
  12. Is she someone that you really, truly like? You have to be able to like this person, not just love her. Do you enjoy her company most of the time?
  13. Do you respect her and what she stands for?
  14. Are you comfortable with the way she treats your family and friends?
  15. Can you picture spending your life with her?
  16. Do you have visions of sitting on the front porch in his and her rocking chairs while your grandchildren play at your feet?
  17. Do you feel comfortable committing yourself to this person?

As you consider these questions, make sure you’re honest with yourself. Small differences can probably be worked out, and nobody is perfect. But if you’re uncomfortable with committing to something more serious, then wait until you’re sure you’re ready. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll have to get back into the dating scene. Just make sure you’re getting someone who you’re happy and comfortable with. Never settle for less than you deserve. Feel me? 

5 Minute Weekend Energy Shift for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors (Video)

5 Minute Weekend Energy Shift for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors (Video)

We all know weekends can be hard when you’re involved with a narcissist. In today’s narcissistic abuse survivor vlog, I’m sharing some tips to help you empower yourself and charge your way through the tough moments – because I’ve been there and I know how it feels to be counting down the moments to Monday.

Join SPAN at https://queenbeeing.com/span.

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