You have CPTSD: Now What?
Narcissistic abuse is so insidious that it is common to not realize what is going on before it is too late. By the time you realize something is wrong, you have already fallen victim to the manipulations and abusive tactics of the narcissist in your life and are suffering from the symptoms of complex post traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). It is common for the victims of narcissistic abuse to think they are going crazy and to not even suspect the narcissist as the one causing their problemss. We will often stumble upon the truth by seeking help to fix ourselves and our relationships with others.
Some of us will get diagnosed by a therapist, and some of us will conduct our own research of our symptoms to find information that will explain what is happening to us.
The first time I discovered that my mother was a narcissist I googled "why do I hate my mom?" I honestly couldn't put my finger on why I was feeling that way. I couldn't bring myself to blame my mother for the way I was feeling. This is because of the trauma bond, also known as Stockholm Syndrome, that I had with my mom. I thought there must be something wrong with me to feel that way about her.
When I found information on narcissistic mothers my eyes were opened to not only what had been occurring in the few years since my dad died, but also what I had endured my whole life.
Now that you have figured out that you have CPTSD, what can you do?
AwarenessThis is the most important step. When you realize what is going on, the new awareness you have is the first step you need towards healing. It is also referred to as an "awakening" or the "red pill moment". This is the stage where you are becoming consciously aware that you have been abused, and that it is the real reason for your mental health issues. You begin putting the pieces together and understanding clearly what you have been through.
EducationThis is the stage where you will want to consume all the knowledge about narcissistic abuse and CPTSD you can get your hands on. This stage is an important one because it helps you to accept what you went through. The more you learn, the more it will help you to accept that you have been abused and to understand that it wasn't your fault. It also helps you to understand the narcissist and what they have done to you. This is important to help you break the trauma bond you have with the narcissist. Accepting what they did to you is the key to breaking that bond. Grieving your loss is an integral part at this stage as well.
Sharing Your StoryIt is important for us to talk about what happened to us. If you can find a good trauma therapist, I encourage you to go that route. If you are finding it hard to find a good therapist, or your symptoms prevent your from it, you can still share your story on the various online support forums, write a blog, make youtube videos, etc. The important thing is to find somebody to talk to that will validate you and make you feel heard. That validation is very important for our healing. In his book, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, Pete Walker refers to this as "verbal ventilation".
"It is speaking from your feelings in a way that releases and resolves your emotional distress" Pete Walker
It is my hope is that somebody out there will find this information helpful in some way for their healing journey from narcissistic abuse and CPTSD. At the very least, I hope you will feel less alone.
~ Poking Holes