Recovery from narcissistic abuse is a long and complicated process, and there are so many factors at play. It’s also easy to focus too much on one thing—and ignore another important element of healing. And that often happens because we overthink things.
Feeling anxious and worried is pretty normal if you’re dealing with the most painful parts of narcissistic abuse recovery.
And, to be fair, “normal” thoughts, overthinking, and worry are difficult to distinguish in the beginning stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse.
If you find that your thoughts are stuck on one thing (or person) over and over again, however—especially if this feeling is accompanied by a racing heart rate or other physical symptoms like nausea—it may be time for some self-care.
What is the difference between “normal” worries and overthinking?
The difference between normal worry and overthinking is that normal worry is usually caused by a situation that is happening right now while overthinking is usually an issue that happened in the past or will happen in the future.
When does overthinking happen for narcisisstic abuse survivors?
Overthinking happens to everyone – but for narcissistic abuse surivors, it can really feel like it stops us from functioning.
When a situation, worry, thought, or idea about what we could’ve done differently or the depth of the abuse we experienced embeds itself in our brains, it can lead to thinking about it…too much.
This is mulitplied for so many of us when the narcisisst is involved – whether during the relationship or afterward.
Does your personality type make you more likely to be an overthinker?
We know that a lot of survivors of narcisisstic abuse are INFJs, and some studies suggest introverts lean towards overthinking more often than their extroverted counterparts.
Since introverts tend to be internal processors, they often spend more time in their heads, but no one is immune to the unrelenting impact overthinking can cause.
Worry is Normal; Overthinking is Not
Worry is a complex emotion that can serve an important purpose. It often alerts us that something isn’t right and helps us take action to fix it.
Still, overthinking rather than acting on what’s happening now becomes unproductive and burdensome if we get stuck in worry about the past or future.
Worry can be important. Our intuition often alerts us that something’s wrong, and worry can indicate that you need to pay closer attention to whatever is triggering it.
When worry crosses over into overthinking, it loses its benefits and creates a burden. That’s because overthinking can lead to a number of complications such as the following.
- Being afraid to decide on anything without asking for advice
- Distorted thinking and insecurity
- Mental exhaustion
- Physical health issues
- Struggles with sleep
Is overthinking stopping you from healing from narcissistic abuse?
Overthinking can rob you of today, worrying about tomorrow. It can hold you back from fully recovering from narcissistic abuse – and actually, it can keep you stuck and unable to move forward. Here are some important signs overthinking may be holding you back.
You replay conversations and interactions over and over in your mind.
Self-assessment is important. It’s good to replay our interpersonal interactions over in our minds to be sure we are showing up in the best way possible. You may be at risk of overthinking if you tend to fixate on interactions long after they are over.
Additionally, if you spend time dissecting conversations and reading between the lines, you could be setting yourself up for overthinking. Overthinkers tend to dwell on situations with a critical lens which can trigger negative thoughts and feelings.
You jump to the worst-case scenario
We’ve all heard how failing to plan is planning to fail. It’s good to give some thought to what may happen in a given situation, but jumping to the worst-case scenario and spending too much time thinking about what could happen can cause overthinking.
Overthinkers tend to create anxiety by looking at every possible thing that could go wrong rather than what’s neutral or could go right.
Your sleep and eating habits are off
When we worry, we tend to experience disrupted sleep and eat too little or too much. Worrying in and of itself can contribute to sleep and eating disorders, and many people aren’t aware of the connection.
Rather than attribute their insomnia or appetite to their thoughts, which can be changed, they fail to realize worry triggers their health issues. Overthinkers often suffer from lack of sleep, digestive issues, and difficulty managing their weight.
You may recognize worry as part of your everyday life and wonder if overthinking has become an issue. If you are experiencing any or all of these signs, taking a deeper dive into the habit of overthinking may be important.
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
- Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.
- Sign up for our free email newsletter service that includes a free guided recovery experience via your inbox.
- Start your narcissistic abuse recovery here with our free narcissistic abuse recovery support system and program.
- Join one of our free online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups!
- Join one of our private small coaching groups! (NEW groups that offer person-to-person talks 3x each week, plus DM support all week long. AKA: regular. life-changing support)
- Get our narcissistic abuse recovery app!
- Get private, one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery coaching or counseling.
- Get a therapist who will work with you online. Check out our guide to finding a therapist or psychologist who understands narcissism and narcissistic abuse.