Post Narcissist Stress Disorder (PNSD) happens after you’ve been living with a narcissist. Narcissists change you and the way you perceive the world. They bully and manipulate you into becoming the person you never wanted to be.
Their toxic behavior consumes you and turns you into an insecure and scared person.
After you break free from a narcissist, your life doesn’t get better right away. There is a long journey and a lot of healing stages ahead of you before you return to being your old self.
You’re still going to be scared, you’re still going to wonder if he’s coming back or how to shut him out of your life for good.
You’re going to be depressed and anxious. You’re going to feel helpless, like you’re losing control over your life instead of getting it back.
This is what a trauma does to you. This is what a substantial amount of abuse can do to someone.
1. You’re haunted by the memory of him
One trigger is enough to get you back to the past. You can see or hear something that reminds you of him and your mind will instantly get back to a time when you were with him. The trauma he has caused you is just too big for you to forget.
You can try to repress it but something will trigger you back, something will remind you of all the pain you’ve been through.
You’ll dream of him and those dreams will seem like reality. You’ll wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night because you’ve dreamed of him molesting you and it seemed like it was really happening.
These dreams won’t go away that easily because your mind isn’t ready to let go just yet. You’ve been traumatized and you need to let time go by for things to settle down.
If someone gets upset or angry with you, that will probably trigger you to have a flashback of narcissistic abuse. When you fall into that state, you’ll lose common sense. You’ll start panicking and the paranoia you’ll be feeling will be overwhelming.
You’ll start questioning the authenticity of the people around you because after surviving narcissistic abuse, everything will look like a potential threat. Every person in your life will be a potential manipulator in your eyes.
2. You can’t trust anyone
Dealing with a narcissist can destroy you to the core. It can eat away at your personality and turn you into a shallow and empty person, ideal for manipulating. It gets you to a state of extreme vulnerability, which is actually perfect for people who want to take advantage of you.
You are aware of the fact that now, after you’ve survived a narcissist, you are an easy target. And that’s why you simply can’t trust anyone.
Nothing can assure you that you won’t go through the same kind of abuse all over again from the start. No one can convince you that they are only trying to help you.
Every new person in your life will be a potential manipulator in your eyes. This is what happens after narcissistic abuse but remember that it’s not your fault.
It’s normal that you don’t trust anyone because you trusted him and look what you got—insecurity, pain and an emotional fallout.
3. You are laying low
You don’t want to see anybody and you don’t want to talk to anyone. You’re hiding from people and from your own emotions.
You’ve learned in your relationship with a narcissist that you’re not supposed to feel anything. Because every time you felt something, he would suck those emotions dry and refill his energy, leaving you empty and broken.
So, in order to survive him, you’ve learned not to feel anything. You’ve learned to become completely uninteresting. The thing is, as long as you are interesting to a narcissist and as long as you show that you’re hurting, he will keep coming back to exploit that.
Once you become boring, he won’t have any reason to come back to you. Once you become uninteresting and indifferent, he’ll lose interest.
You’ve done it and you’ve chased him away. But now, you have to get back in touch with your feelings. You have to let your emotions back in. For now, you’re hiding from them, like you’re hiding from everything else.
4. You feel lost
For such a long time, he was behind the steering wheel of your life. For such a long time, he decided what you were going to do and how you were going to act. Nothing was up to you.
But now, all of a sudden, you are free to do whatever you want. You are free to act however you want and that scares you. You’re constantly looking around, to see if he is there to tell you to stop and do what he says.
You still can’t take control over your life. You’ve been manipulated for so long that you aren’t even sure how to get your life back. That’s why some women disobey the no contact rule and go back to a narcissist, because they feel lost.
So they go back to the only thing they know. Him.
This will pass too. You have to understand that some time has to pass, you have to let your body and your mind heal. Then, you’ll get back the control over your life. Just never make the mistake of going back to the man who abused you.
5. Normal life seems like a fairy tale
You’re experiencing all kinds of different emotions. You’re happy, sad, depressed and anxious. Your feelings are mixed and they change quickly.
After he gaslighted you, you’ll keep doubting yourself and that’s why you’ll have difficulties getting back to your normal life. You’ll question yourself about if you are good enough and if you’re sane and capable of living on your own.
He’s been feeding you with toxicity and now that he’s gone, you’re lost but most importantly, you’re free. Use the support and love you get from your loved ones and go through the healing stages after escaping narcissistic abuse one by one.