Living with a narcissist can be a complex and draining experience, and it can leave long-lasting effects on the victim, leading to trauma. Narcissistic abuse can come in many forms, including emotional, physical, and even sexual. It's often challenging for people experiencing narcissistic abuse to recognize what's happening to them as it can be masked by the perpetrator's gaslighting. Fortunately, with the right therapy, healing is possible. In this blog post, we'll explore narcissistic abuse and trauma, how it affects people's mental health and well-being, and how therapy can assist in your healing journey.
Narcissistic abuse is often defined as a pattern of behavior that's controlling, selfish, manipulative, and emotionally abusive. Individuals that experience narcissistic abuse typically feel confused, disoriented, and experience feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. While the abuse can manifest in physical forms, for instance, punching, choking, or slapping, the psychological abuse is more challenging to discern- the narcissist employing methods such as gaslighting, financial control, and creating a false narrative of reality. Individuals suffering from narcissistic abuse often need some level of therapy to come to terms with their mindsets and emotional states resulting from this abuse.
The effects of narcissistic abuse can be far-reaching and damaging, leading to long-term trauma. Survivors of narcissistic abuse have often had their mental health disrupted, experiencing depression, anxiety, and even C-PTSD, which is Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Individuals suffering from C-PTSD can have flashbacks, nightmares, and self-destructive behaviors, alongside substance abuse. Therapists employ various models such as CBT, DBT, and EMDR, among others, to help survivors of narcissistic abuse recover from C-PTSD.
One of the more debilitating effects of narcissistic abuse is trauma bonding, also known as Stockholm Syndrome. Trauma bonding is a psychological condition where the victim identifies and becomes attached romantically to the abuser despite the mistreatment. It's common for individuals undergoing narcissistic abuse to feel trapped as they have been manipulated into believing they need the narcissist. Trauma bonding requires intensive therapy to help the victim understand the dynamics and differentiate their wants from their abusers' wants.
Therapy can come in many forms, depending on what the survivor needs. Some survivors might require individual therapy, where they receive personalized, one-on-one attention to develop healthier coping mechanisms. Others prefer group therapy where they can share their stories and experiences in a safe and non-judgmental environment. The key to successful therapy is to find a therapist that aligns with your needs and delivers sessions remotely for your safety and convenience.
In conclusion, narcissistic abuse is a severe form of abuse that can leave long-term effects on an individual's mental health. Survivors of narcissistic abuse need to get assistance as soon as possible to aid in dealing with the trauma. With the right therapy and support, survivors of narcissistic abuse can regain their self-esteem and confidence, enabling them to lead a fulfilling and happy life. Book an appointment today with Orlando Thrive Therapy, a Winter Park counseling service, to start the journey towards a happier, healthier life.
Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.