Common Causes of Brain Fog in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Written by Angela Atkinson

You’re feeling like it’s getting harder and harder to remember things. Maybe you have no idea where you put your keys, or if you already told your friend about a movie you watched.

As strange as memory loss sounds to people unfamiliar with brain fog, this is actually quite common among narcissist abuse victims.*

In fact, if you’ve ever experienced the ongoing abuse of a malignant narcissist in a toxic relationship, you’ve probably also experienced brain fog.

If you’re currently struggling with brain fog or any other symptom of C-PTSD, chances are that it’s at least in part due to the trauma the narcissistic abuser has caused you, and its symptoms are proof that you’re suffering from it.

What is “brain fog?”

Brain Fog is the feeling of dissociation or disconnectedness often experienced by victims of malignant narcissists during and after narcissistic abuse. Survivors describe it as feeling lost – like you’re not really there, or like you’re watching your life through a screen or a bubble.

The term is commonly used to describe short-term memory loss, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, confusion and difficulty thinking. Brain fog is a common symptom of C-PTSD, or complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

In other words, brain fog is exactly what it sounds like. A fog that clouds your thoughts, memory, comprehension, and judgment. See this video for more.

What happens to you when you have brain fog?

Brain fog can affect your sleep, professional life, and personal relationships, and lead to other health problems such as obesity. When you lack mental clarity, you make poor decisions and may take inappropriate actions.

If you suffer from brain fog, you are not alone. Brain fog affects roughly one out of every nine Americas during their lifetime. Some people also call brain fog mental fatigue.

How do you know if you’re dealing with brain fog?

If you aren’t sure whether you’ve felt brain fog, stick with me – it is a little confusing. For many people, it feels like you’re sort of “cloudy,” or like you’re not really participating in life.

You might feel like you’re sort of inside a bubble, or like there’s a thin barrier between you and everyone else. 

Learning the symptoms of brain fog can also help you to understand if and when you’re having episodes.

What are the symptoms of brain fog?

Check out the symptoms of brain fog below. Keep in mind the symptoms will vary from person to person but usually includes one or more of the following symptoms.

  •  Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  •  Emotional detachment
  •  Forgetfulness
  •  Headaches
  •  Inability to focus
  •  Insomnia
  •  Irritability
  •  Mood swings
  •  Lack of mental clarity
  • Low energy
  • Low motivation
  • Poor concentration

Why do we experience brain fog in narcissistic abuse?

Before I get emails and texts from people telling me that brain fog is only about narcissistic abuse, I’ll remind you that I’m well aware that it can also manifest for countess other reasons. Learn more about brain fog in this video,

Common Causes of Brain Fog and What You Can Do to Alleviate Them

Brain fog can be part of many issues, conditions, and illnesses. Here are four common causes of brain fog and what you can do about them. These issues can be affected by or even caused by long-term and ongoing narcissistic abuse.

Inflammation and Hormone Imbalances

Poor diet and exercise routines can lead to poor nutrition and vitamin levels that cause inflammation. Inflammation is by far the number one culprit of many diseases and symptoms. It restricts oxygen and blood flow needed for your brain to function at its best.

Consult your physician and request a complete blood count if you suffer from brain fog. In addition, low blood levels of vitamins such as D, B12, and iron can cause inflammation, lack of mental clarity, and difficulty focusing.

Stress and Anxiety

Oxidative stress or free radicals caused by environmental stressors such as pollution and heavy metals damage your cells and tissues.

These free radicals are responsible for many symptoms of stress and anxiety worldwide.

Vitamin E, flavonoids, and polyphenols are great resources to combat these free radicals. Chili peppers, whole grains, red wine, and fruits and vegetables are a few examples.

Poor Sleeping Habits

If you aren’t sleeping soundly and wake up feeling tired, you may have one or more sleep habits that are inhibiting a good night’s rest. For instance, you may be a night owl, suffer from sleep apnea or insomnia, have a varied sleep pattern, or have a poor sleep environment.

All of these can contribute to brain fog.

As an adult between 17 to 64 years old, your body needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night to give your body time to repair itself on a cellular level.

In advanced cases, such as sleep abuse related to narcissistic abuse, sleep deprivation can cause mood swings, depression, and even permanent brain damage due to constant overstimulation.

Electromagnetic Radiation and Overstimulation

Smartphones, personal computers, or any technology that requires radio waves, microwaves, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, x-rays, or gamma rays will cause problems when they are overused.

In other words, scrolling on social media or spending too much time in front of the television can cause strain on your eyes and affect your sleep patterns, ultimately leading to brain fog. Therefore, limiting time spent on or with technology is crucial.

Takeaway

Don’t let brain fog get in the way of living a successful, happy life. Many causes of brain fog can leave you with lifelong or permanent damage. Try these solutions with the consent of your doctor.

Be sure to seek the help of a physician or other medical professional to find the underlying cause of brain fog if you have it. 

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Nothing in this article or on this website should be taken as medical advice. Always check with your doctor or medical professional before attempting to use any advice found here or anywhere on the internet. 

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Author

  • Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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