When I went to see a Psychologist after a long three year relationship with a narcissistic personality I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Not knowing much about the disorder at the time I was confused because I always associated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with was what war veterans had. I didn’t realize that it is very common amongst victims of abuse. With Victims of abuse it is considered Complex PTSD.
The thing that was most confusing for me was that it didn’t seem like I was in an abusive relationship. It was crazy making, at times, and very painful, a lot of the time, but he never physically abused me nor was there any obvious verbal abuse.
Narcissistic abuse is so very subtle that we don’t often recognize it as abuse and we don’t recognize what is happening to our emotions and our bodies. Stress can be looked upon like a form of pressure, like when you put weight upon a rope and it begins to fray, one fiber at a time until it finally breaks. We are like that rope. We don’t notice when we are being dismantled one fiber at a time. If someone were to come right out and smack us in the face, then there would be many fibers broken, perhaps the whole rope so we recognize what has just happened.
With Post Traumatic Stress, we really feel the stress when the relationship crumbles. It is often when there is a break up or an affair or something major that brings us in touch with reality.
War Veterans have to stay alert during battle and are operating on a constant state of adrenalin. When they are finally home and don’t have to operate from adrenalin anymore then they have the opportunity to recall just what they went through. It is like the after shock.
It is the same with Narcissistic abuse. We can exist in a constant state of stress and really not be aware of how we are being affected by it until the stressor is removed. Then we feel those fibers all coming unraveled at once. Suddenly we feel what we never allowed ourselves to feel before, out of our need to survive on the battle field. Like soldiers on the battlefield some of us have been existing on adrenaline and now our adrenal glands are fried.
I didn’t fully understand the consequences of an over taxed adrenal system until recently, when I went to a chiropractor for reoccurring pain in my head, neck and back. He did a series of tests and found out that my adrenal glands weren’t working properly and I had a type of adrenal fatigue.
The adrenal glands are what help us to deal with stress in our lives. If our adrenals are burned out, we have no physical method of coping with stress. Although the major stressors in my life were removed a long time ago, I had never dealt with the fact that my adrenal glands were fried over the course of several abusive relationships and I was no longer able to copy effectively with stress. Now when I was dealing with every day stress I would have body issues like headaches and other physical symptoms, including physical exhaustion. The exhaustion was worsened by the fact that I repeatedly woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep.
The Chiropractor put me on a nutritional supplement for the adrenals and is working with getting my body aligned and functioning properly. Although I’ve always been pretty health conscious I am not focusing on a diet that is good for restoring adrenal function.
Restoring adrenal function can take six months to two years or more so it is a process rather than something that happens over night.
If you are in recovery for narcissistic abuse you need to focus on restoring your physical health as well as your emotional health, as it all ties in together. Put together a plan for diet, exercise, sleep, supplements, meditation and whatever else is necessary to get you to the point where you are feeling the best you can.
Information on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
If you went through a traumatic experience and are having trouble getting back to your regular life and reconnecting to others, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When you have PTSD, it can seem like you’ll never get over what happened or feel normal again. But help is available – With the “Rewind Technique victims are finding a significant reduction in their sypmtoms in only one session. Learn More….