Just like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), PNSD is a disorder which occurs after one has been involved, or maybe even lived, with a narcissistic person. Sharing a life with a narcissist is certainly not one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling, and rewarding experiences one can ever have. Rather, it’s tough, painful, and draining at all levels.
Narcissists are highly dangerous, manipulative, and abusive people. They’re incapable of creating healthy, meaningful, and happy relationships with other people. All they care about is taking advantage of others. They lie, gaslight, and guilt-trip other people to satisfy their own selfish needs. To get what they want, they’re ready to do everything in their power and they don’t care about whether they will hurt someone in the process.
Yes, sharing a life with a narcissist is hard and painful, and breaking free from them is, more often than not, even harder. After a person has managed to liberate themselves from a narcissist’s toxic influence, they can often experience a period of anxiety, depression, anger, despair, or helplessness.
Here are 3 revealing signs that someone is suffering from Post Narcissist Stress Disorder:
1. They’re experiencing flashbacks.
A person suffering from this disorder can occasionally have flashbacks to the period when they were with the narcissist. The flashbacks can appear so realistic that it feels as if they’re living through the difficult and painful experience all over again.
A lot of people who have PNSD may also have difficulty opening up to others as well as understanding the feelings of other people. This can even lead to paranoia, where the person suffering from PNSD wonders if the people around them have ulterior motives. They may feel like everyone around them is trying to manipulate them and take advantage of them.
2. They practice avoidance.
Someone who has PNSD may start practicing avoidance of people, things, places, activities, and even emotions.
Narcissists tend to gain control over their victims by manipulating and guilt-tripping them. Therefore, oftentimes, the person who has managed to break free from the narcissist’s toxic influence will try to avoid anything that reminds them of the narcissist’s manipulation, anger, gaslighting, and criticism. They may even become emotionally distant because they had to learn that the only way to survive the narcissist was not to feel anything.
3. They have a hard time returning to normal life.
After a person has liberated themselves from the power and damaging influence of a narcissist, they may find it pretty hard to adjust to a new, normal life. They can be prone to experiencing different hardships – from panic attacks to depression, to paranoia. They may even start doubting their own logic and perceptions.
Returning to normal life may be difficult for people that go through traumatic events. Yet, if they’re willing and determined to take good care of themselves, they can easily manage to adjust to a normal and better life.
How can you help someone suffering from PNSD?
If you know someone who has survived a narcissist, you can make their healing process easier by attentively listening to them. Listen to them actively and show interest in what they have to say to you.
Additionally, make sure you validate their feelings. If they tell you that they are feeling afraid, angry, or hurt, help them accept those feelings. In this way, it’ll be much easier for them to overcome them.
And last but not least, make sure they know that they can always rely on you for your help and support. Knowing that they have someone by their side will mean to them more than you can imagine.