Getting through the Trauma After 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 often require a recovery process.
It is not a matter of a broken heart, but a broken spirit; a ravaged soul.
Unlike normal relationships where the pain naturally (and often quickly) fades with the passage of time, these relationships take work for us to feel whole again.
Time is no guarantee that all will eventually be well.
Abuse is often traumatic for our brain and trauma causes neurological responses that can change your psychological state if you were victimized. This is true for most living animal 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.
This means an abrasive, callous, manipulative person can cause our emotional and neurological state to disintegrate into a psychological illness. With prolonged exposure, a disintegration of our physical health could follow.
Our brain does not adjust well to toxic people. The presence of a person who is violating, manipulative, callous, and narcissistic will lead most to 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 the passage of time. But waiting, does very little to heal from abuse and mind games.
What works at the end of a non-abusive relationship is only minimally effective after narcissistic or psychopathic abuse. This is not a “just get over it” | “let it go” situation!
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 terms that you were 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. If they ask you to look at your role in the relationship, particularly while you are still in crisis mode – head for the door. This person does not ‘get’ pathological narcissism abuse.
- A healthy, gentle support system.
• Rhonda Freeman, PhD | Clinical Neuropsychologist