Healing After Trauma | Narcissistic & Psychopathic Abuse
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Cruelty, psychological games, and danger are never love. This is why the breakup period or aftermath with abusers will usually require a recovery process. Healing. It is not a matter of a broken heart, but a broken spirit; a damaged soul.
Unlike normal relationships where the pain naturally (and often quickly) fades with the passage of time, these relationships take work to feel whole again.
Abuse is often traumatic for the brain and trauma causes neurological responses that can change the psychological state of the one who was victimized. This is true for most living beings. For some, this can lead to problems such as,
The brain is one of the only organs of the body that is immediately responsive to the environment and who is in it. In an instant, we can be changed forever.
Therefore, an abrasive, callous, manipulative person can cause the emotional and neurological state of another to disintegrate into a psychological illness. With prolonged exposure, a disintegration of physical health can follow.
Our brain does not adjust well to the presence of a person who is violating, manipulative, callous, and narcissistic and will therefore need help to recover.
Yes. Psychological symptoms can be healed or improved if the non-pathological individual approaches the aftermath of an abusive relationship differently from a ‘normal’ relationship. In normal relationships, all it often takes is allowing for passage of time. But waiting, does very little to heal from violations and mind games.
What works at the end of a non-abusive relationship is only minimally effective after narcissistic or psychopathic abuse.
For the person who was traumatized by their partner, it is imperative that their first focus is on safety. There can be no healing if you are currently at risk of harm.
[The list that follows is applicable to individuals who have been out of the relationship for some time and not in an emergency situation. The time for healing is not in the midst of a crisis or potential risks to safety.]
Here are some tactics to healing:
- Education regarding the pathology and behavior patterns of the abuse.
- Implementation of boundaries [to prevent further abuse]
- Openness to think about the situation in a different way. [It can sometimes be difficult to come to term that one might have been in an abusive relationship.]
- Treatment with a well trained and skilled mental health provider, preferably with a strong background in the area of personality disorders, neuro-treatment strategies, and the aftermath of relationships of this type.
- A healthy, gentle support system.
• Rhonda Freeman, PhD | Clinical Neuropsychologist