Toxic Relationships: Identifying and Managing Anxiety Caused by Narcissistic Abuse

Written by Angela Atkinson

If you have ever been in a relationship with a narcissist, you know that one of the side-effects is a crippling kind of anxiety – one that makes you stop talking to the people you once felt closest to and focus only on the narcissist’s needs, wants, demands and manipulative mind games.Dealing with narcissistic abuse and the anxiety it causes

Dealing with the symptoms that you’re experiencing, once you’ve admitted to yourself that you have become a source of narcissistic supply, is one of the first ways you can begin to heal.

Some people find that standard anxiety management techniques aren’t enough and they need a little help from anti-anxiety drugs prescribed by their doctors (or not). Others would take that option, but can’t afford it – and still others prefer to go drug-free when it comes to managing their anxiety, even if the standard management techniques aren’t doing the trick.

The No-Drug Solution to Anxiety-Causing Narcissistic Emotional and Mental Abuse

Okay, so we know that gaslighting causes anxiety, among other things. But taking medication isn’t for everyone and if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to take medication, you should be aware that there are herbal remedies for anxiety.

No one is immune to the mental and physical trouble that anxiety can bring on, of course, but none of us should have to put up with living that way. The longer the anxiety goes on without relief, the worse the physical symptoms can become – and I am not being overly dramatic when I tell you that the stress of the anxiety on your body can LITERALLY, not figuratively, kill you.

You can start with neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques, such as the ones shared here. 

Learn more about neuro-linguistic programming. 

How do you know if you are experiencing anxiety?

While everyone is different, there are certain symptoms of anxiety that are fairly common with most people who suffer from it. If you’re not sure, take a look at this list and see if you recognize the following symptoms and side-effects in yourself.

  1. Your Breathing Changes – Fast, rapid breathing is one side effect, heart feeling like it’s beating too fast is another.
  2. You Just “Feel” It in Your Gut – Feeling an almost overwhelming sense of doom is how some sufferers describe what they’re going through while battle a tense, nauseated tightness in the pit of the stomach.
  3. Your Body Goes on Alert – Tense muscles and having trouble paying attention and focusing on even simple tasks are some of the problems that anxiety can cause.
  4. You Notice These Symptoms at Certain Times Only – You can have all the symptoms or a few and they can come when a trigger that flips the anxious feelings is tripped.

*Important: I am a certified trauma counselor and certified life coach,  and that means that I am NOT a doctor or health care professional. There are many health problems that can cause anxiety so before you assume that yours is normal anxiety, go see your doctor. I cannot offer any medical advice and nothing on this site should be taken as such. Please see my full disclaimer if you have questions or concerns. 

Examples of health problems can make anxiety develop include the following.

  • trouble with the heart -an undiagnosed heart condition or disorder
  • anemia
  • diabetes
  • problems with the thyroid gland

Once you’ve been checked and ruled those out, AND your personal health care professional gives you the green light, ONLY then you can consider taking herbal remedies for anxiety and find successful treatment.

How can herbs help with anxiety?

For hundreds of years, herbs have been used to help heal a variety of ailments. While many over the counter and prescription drugs have dangerous side effects, when used the right way, herbs can be safely ingested.

If you’re not sure which herb to use for anxiety or how much of it to use, seek the guidance of a doctor or holistic healer who specializes in alternative medicine. You’ll find numerous doctors who practice naturopathic medicine.

Anxiety and Stress Go Hand-in-Hand

Anxiety and stress are bonded together like two sides of a coin. But though it can feel overwhelming, some kinds of stress can actually be good for you – for example, the stress of a project deadline. It keeps you steadily working toward meeting that goal and that’s not a bad stress to feel, ya feel me? But relentless stress can be counterproductive.

And RELENTLESS stress is exactly what you get from a narcissist, am I right?

Listen, you’re not alone. I’ve been where you are. I know how alone it can make you feel, and how hopeless. And how you wish you could just tell SOMEONE but you’re so embarrassed that you’re even putting up with it that you can’t bring yourself to do it – or maybe you’re worried about what your narcissist will do if you do spill the beans.

If you’re in it, or you’ve been in it, you know what I’m talking about – and you know that I get it.

Are you dealing with a narcissist? Tell me your story in the comments. 

Related: 12 Ways to Know If You Are Married to a Narcissist

If you’re dealing with a narcissist or you have recently ended a relationship with one, you might be interested in one of my ebooks on the topic, or in private narcissism support coaching with me. 

More Help with Narcissistic Abuse in Relationships and Gaslighting

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  • Angela Atkinson

    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 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 and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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What is NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming)?

What is NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming)?

If you're struggling to recover from narcissistic abuse, you might be interested in learning about Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP.  It's a surprisingly simple yet highly effective treatment for symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD)...

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