If you’re struggling in a toxic relationship or you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse recovery, there’s a really good chance you might be experiencing anxiety attacks. Many survivors of narcissistic abuse don’t really understand anxiety attack symptoms – but knowledge is the first step to learning to resolve these issues.
Are you having an anxiety attack?
Did you know that anxiety attack symptoms can sometimes mimic physical problems? It’s true! Anyone who has ever been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist knows intimately what it’s like to be anxious. The scary thing is that the physical symptoms of anxiety and stress can be quite detrimental to your health. Unfortunately, many survivors of narcissistic abuse may be so stressed that they don’t even realize the extent of it or the impact the stress and anxiety could have on their health.
In some cases, the more stress or anxiety you go through, the less likely you are to recognize it. You might have even become so accustomed to their level of stress, and the physical symptoms it produces, that it just feels almost “normal” to you. That’s why learning about and tuning into the symptoms of stress and anxiety can help you to identify potential triggers in your life and in turn help you to better manage them and alleviate the stress and anxiety in your life.
What is Anxiety?
What is an Anxiety Attack?
An anxiety attack is similar to a panic attack. It’s what happens when the sudden onset of extreme, intense fear and/or discomfort hits you like a ton of bricks, and it usually peaks within a few minutes. In order to qualify as an anxiety or panic attack, the episode must include at least four of the following symptoms: Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate. Sweating. Trembling or shaking. Shortness of breath or smothering.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
The physical symptoms of anxiety and stress can vary from one person to the next. Some symptoms may be more serious than others and can even be life-threatening. Some symptoms you experience may be short-term while others may be long-term symptoms.
Short-Term Anxiety Attack Symptoms
Short-term symptoms of anxiety attacks include the following:
- Cold hands and feet
- Dry mouth
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heartbeat
- Increased sweating
Generally, these short-term side effects appear when your body is responding to a perceived threat. This is how your body helps you prepare to either stay and fight the threatening situation or flee from it; a response is commonly known as fight or flight. While this rush of adrenaline and emotions can be helpful in a truly life-threatening situation, it can have negative impacts during times when there is no immediate danger. It’s not always necessary for modern-day humans, but it’s sort of a leftover automatic response our ancestors needed to survive. For survivors of narcissistic abuse, it can leave you feeling frozen or on-edge all the time.
Long-Term Anxiety Symptoms
Over time these physical symptoms can damage your self-confidence, disrupt the quality of your life and reduce the pleasure you get from your work. In addition, when the body is exposed to these physical symptoms over a long period of time your health can actually start to decline. Long term side effects of stress and anxiety include:
• Sexual disorders
• Changes in appetite
• Frequent illness
• Back pain
• Digestive problems
Remember, that one symptom by itself may not necessarily indicate the presence of either short term or long term stress and anxiety. There are other reasons that can result in a single symptom, such as certain medications. The presence of multiple symptoms; however, can indicate a problem. If you notice multiple physical symptoms of anxiety and stress, remember that stress and anxiety management techniques can help you to reduce those symptoms and get back to your old self. Consider checking in with your physician or another medical professional to be sure that you’re not misdiagnosing a bigger problem as anxiety.*
Top 10 Warning Signs That You’re Having an Anxiety Attack
HelpGuide.org lists the following as the top 10 warning signs you’re having an anxiety attack.
- The surge of overwhelming panic
- The feeling of losing control or going crazy
- Heart palpitations or chest pain
- Feeling like you’re going to pass out
- Trouble breathing or choking sensation
- Hot flashes or chills
- Trembling or shaking
- Nausea or stomach cramps
- Feeling detached or unreal
Anxiety attack symptoms can be very scary to go through, but they can be managed with the right tools you need to learn how to cope with the anxiety. Yes, it’s scary, but you don’t have to live in the fear. There is help available.
Self-Help Techniques for Overcoming Anxiety Attacks for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional and nothing on this website should be taken as medical advice. See full disclaimer.
Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support
- The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
- Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups – We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
- One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
- Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.
- Where Are You in Recovery? You might not be sure exactly where you fit in and what level of recovery you’ve achieved. If that’s the case, you’ll want to check out this self-assessment to help you determine exactly where you fall in the stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse. Once you finish and submit the assessment, you will be given resources for your own situation, along with recommendations of which groups to join.
- Which Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program is Right for You? If you aren’t sure which program you want to utilize to facilitate your recovery from narcissistic abuse, this self-assessment will help you decide.
Helpful Reading for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors
- Take Back Your Life: How to Control a Narcissist
- Take Back Your Life: Stop Letting Your Narcissist Parents Control You, NOW!
- Love a Narcissist? Stop Gaslighting in its Tracks With This Foolproof Trick
- Shocking Truth: This is Why Even Very Smart People Can Be Gaslighted
- Toxic Love: 44 warning signs that you’re being emotionally abused
- Codependent-Toxic: Portrait of a Narcissist’s Significant Other
- Let’s Talk About You: 10 Signs YOU Might Be a Narcissist
- Triangulation: Why you should never try to fix an argument for a narcissist
- Toxic Relationship? How to Stop Feeling ‘Dead Inside’
- Toxic Narcissism in Relationships: Top 10 Warning Signs You’re Being Gaslighted
- Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: What You Need to Know
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.