Video: Overcoming Dissociation After Narcissistic Abuse

Written by Angela Atkinson

How does dissociation as a result of gaslighting and mental abuse affect your life? What symptoms are involved?

Though it may initially seem harmless, your ability to “tune out” the world, and though some people may almost find your “spaciness” rather adorable, the truth is that there are plenty of less than desirable consequences that come along with dissociation.

There are five pretty common symptoms of dissociation that can significantly affect your life, and there’s one that is less common but potentially more devastating in some ways.

  • Depersonalization: the sense of being outside of or disconnected from your body – feeling like you’re not in your body. You might even feel like you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror. You feel detached from yourself.
  • Derealization: when the world feels “fake” or contrived. People who are affected by derealization often describe this symptom as a “fog” or like they see the world from “far away” or through a veil. Some say it’s like watching a movie rather than actually participating in life.
  • Dissociative amnesia: a particular type of amnesia that is specific to people with dissociation that blocks out personal details, such as incidents of abuse and manipulation, blocks of time – from minutes to years – and more. Often, people say that they just forget what they’re talking about – but it’s not just your standard forgetfulness – it’s a significant issue that may even become embarrassing at times.
  • Identity confusion: a condition in which you experience seriously conflicted feelings within yourself; for example, you might find that you’re doing things that aren’t like you – such as driving recklessly or doing drugs; and while part of you find this behavior thrilling, the other part of you is disgusted by it.
  • Identity alteration: a shocking condition in which parts of you are very defined and separate from other parts – this is similar to a condition that used to be called multiple personality disorder. It’s far less common but does occasionally manifest in victims of narcissistic abuse.

Read more about dissociation and narcissistic abuse recovery.

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