Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after someone goes through a traumatic event in their lives. It causes them to feel unsafe, afraid, or hopeless even after that event is over. In the same way, people who’ve shared their life with a narcissist can have similar problems later on. This is known as post-narcissist stress disorder or PNSD.
Cutting someone narcissistic out of your life is difficult. Although you may have thought that their power over you would have gone by now, sometimes it can still hurt for a while after. Here are 4 signs that you’re suffering from post-narcissist stress disorder.
1. You’re Anxious
During the entire time that you were around that toxic narcissist, you felt on-edge constantly. They purposefully made you believe that you can’t trust yourself or anyone else. Along with that, since they were unpredictable, you were always waiting for something bad to happen.
Although you may have hoped that this constant anxiety would go away, it hasn’t yet. You still find it hard to trust others and are always second-guessing yourself. Even worse still, you may be suffering from panic attacks or physical pain as a result. Because of your past trauma, you can’t relax for even a moment of peace.
2. You Keep Having Flashbacks
One of the most common and most well-known symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder is flashbacks. Just like with PTSD, PNSD can also cause you to have vivid flashbacks. More often than not, these are terrifying and can feel as if you’re actually back in whichever memory you’re visualizing.
These flashbacks are usually of the narcissistic rages that you were once forced to be around. Along with that, these images or feelings of reliving the traumatic event can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Similarly, you can even have horrifying dreams about your past trauma.
3. You’re Avoiding Everyone
A narcissist wants everything to be about them. Likewise, they want everyone’s attention to be on them all the time, and that’s exactly what they forced you to do. They made you drop all your friends and family just so that you could spend all your time on them instead. To do that, they even convinced you that the people in your life don’t like you and that you’re just a nuisance to them.
That feeling of social isolation can be hard to shake. Sometimes, you still feel like the people that you love despise you and want nothing to do with you. When you’re invited to a social event, you avoid it like the plague. Sadly, this can even lead you to feel completely hopeless and alone.
4. You Have Frequent Fits of Rage
In some ways, humans are a bit like elastic bands. When someone pulls you to your absolute limit, you’re eventually going to push back. Not only that, but you’ll end up pushing back at full force. That’s exactly what’s happening to you right now. The narcissist in your life did terrible things to you, and now you’re fighting back. The only problem is that you’re not fighting with them, you’re fighting with everyone else instead.
It makes sense that you would find yourself in a random fit of rage every once in a while. Since you spent so long in defense mode, your mind is ready to unleash all the pent-up anger. Now, you can end up snapping at the people that you love or screaming at someone who bumped into you on the street. Sadly, that fury is hurting the people around you and making you feel like a terrible person.
If you’re going through PNSD then please know that this won’t last forever. Despite how much it may hurt now, that pain will pass with time. Look to the people that you love most for support through this difficult journey. Most of all, remember to be patient with yourself. This is a healing process, and you cannot heal if you are still putting yourself down.
Do you know someone who might be suffering from PNSD? If so, share this article with them to help them recognize the signs. Support them in their time of need and be there for them. What they need most right now is your love and kindness.