That feeling of being stuck and unable to move forward – the ups and downs of healing from trauma after abuse!

From MY Book: From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist.


Because many of us have never truly experienced or understand the extreme trauma associated with this abuse we imagine that healing from the psychological and emotional abuse and the associated effects of the trauma is like healing from a physical wound. With a physical would, every day that passes the wound gets a little better and hurts less until it heals and then finally disappears. Usually it may need medical attention or require some stitches, a topical antiseptic, bandages and some extra care so it can heal correctly, but for the most part the body naturally knows what to do to heal itself. When you are healing from trauma, or an injury to the mind it is like slowly reemerging from a catastrophic event where you have taken cover from something that is so unfamiliar or something that you have never experienced. The mind does not know how to heal itself with the trauma. You temporarily find a small safe place that is limiting and where change or moving forward seems impossible. With trauma you are basically hiding out to protect yourself without a real direction. It becomes limiting to you because you know you have to somehow move forward but you don’t have the real knowledge to heal the wound from the traumatizing event. The mind is very resilient but with trauma it becomes overloaded.


With trauma there are definite physical changes in both the brain functions and normal hormonal activity that correspond to being in a trauma based reaction. The human nervous system is in a highly agitated state with trauma or continually remaining in the ‘fight or flight’ state. All of this basically leaves the body and mind in a state of restlessness, powerful anxiety and depression, and racing and incoherent thought processes. Several key parts of the brain shut down, including the section responsible for perceiving the passage of time, and the part that allows for self-reflection. The physical aspects of trauma has a direct effect on adrenaline functions and causes rapid heartbeat, erratic or shallow breathing patterns, and increased blood flow to major muscle groups. Trauma can also cause you to isolate yourself from the world – in essence to feel safe or having to protect yourself. So with trauma there are both physical and mental aspects involved that require specialized help. It is a physical state as well!


Even though you are in a self-protecting mode you will eventually have to move out and back into the real or functioning world. Unfortunately without proper perspective the trauma seeds itself into your world and will remain there until properly treated. In other words the trauma doesn’t heal itself naturally like a wound to your body would. This can happen in the form of lingering trauma triggers as a direct response to the original trauma that sends you right back into looking for a place to escape or running for cover. It could be defined as a setback, but it is not as simple as that. These trauma triggers can stay with you your entire life if not dealt with – for example not trusting life in general. Taking cover as a response from these trauma triggers will limit you in many areas of your life and real change will seem impossible to you in time. Staying in this state of trauma will also harm you physically with the constant anxiety and depression that correspond to it. You will feel the need for ‘fight or flight’ or running for cover and isolation. Basically escaping the trauma triggers.


Trauma makes you feel like you are trapped in the moment where change doesn’t seem to be a possibility and more than likely blaming yourself becomes a prevalent thought process as well. It is an overwhelming and confounding state to be in. One of the most important aspects AFTER being abused is understanding that this trauma plays a major factor that limits your recovery that can last for many years. Because the situation violated you in such an unnatural way, your thought processes only allow you to avoid a common factor or what the reason was that caused these intense feelings of fear that never existed before. Sometimes we confuse this with having something terribly WRONG with us instead of being a direct result of the psychological and emotion abuse from a Narcissist. Within this thought we inadvertently allow the abuse to conquer us and affect our lives forever. Recovery from the trauma involves many steps to familiarize ourselves with the real reason we got to this point and purging out the abuse and educating ourselves by understanding that the abuse so totally confused are normal functioning mind that we are left frozen in this state. We are searching for those answers to release from this horrific, fearful, and high anxiety state and we question and question until we do and about face and reengage our thoughts around our abuser. Basically we connect to the abuse trying to get to an understanding of its effects on us by trying to understand the Narcissist, reengage them, or look for closure. As long as we stay engaged with these thoughts we remain forever in a state of ambient abuse and never disconnect from it completely.


We can recover from the trauma but it is important that it happens early on so that we don’t allow the trauma to seed itself in us and surface later throughout our life. Education is where we start this journey and support is where we get the help from others to guide us to recovery. You can desensitize the trauma effects and repurpose yourself back into life. Fear is at the basis of what you are feeling. Fear of other human beings, fear that you can no longer trust people or better yet trust life. The abuse was situational and from a personality disordered Narcissist. There is goodness out there and you once knew this goodness and you can know it again. Human beings are resilient and the mind can heal from the trauma. If you are feeling stuck, please reach out to find the support and help you need – you DESERVE to have your life returned to you and you deserve HAPPINESS once again. Don’t allow yourself to pay a debt back to the Narcissist that did this to you for the remainder of your life. Greg

Posted on April 14, 2016, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Hi Greg, I am in my late forties and in a divorce process. I realised too late that I had married a narcissist and later learned that I was ‘blind’ to the signs because of being violated in my psyche by my narcissist mother. I was used to the gaslighting and didn’t know anything about it then. Dealing with and getting healed from my pain over the years was a gradual processs, and is ongoing. However I realised this week that my emotional boundaries are still not strong enough. When I look at my teenage daughter handle conflict, stress and people’s actions and attitudes, I see her natural responses to life are done with intact boundaries. She know where she’s at and is very calm and quick to assess people. She is non judgmental but she is sure about what is right and what is wrong. I am very proud of her and proud to have managed to raise a strong, empathic girl. Even in a 20yr marriage to a narc. Whereas for me, it is difficult to act without analysis because I feel unsure of what response would be too strong or too weak or too biased or too this or that. She just ‘knows’. I don’t. It is an effort for me. I am beautiful, talented and have managed to keep my mother out of my entire adult life as far as possible, and managed to make a tough decision to divorce, yet I still doubt myself so easily and battle when I perceive that people don’t have faith in my abilities to do something well. Thanks for the article above it is so helpful.


  2. yo greg I find your writing brilliant and very informative bro, just hoping that you have also healed or are healing my friend. e mail me I would love to talk. also have anne mcrea as a friend..thanks mate


  3. Well I am glad I was well aware of the fact because (don’t mean to offend) but, I found this pneumonic device for personality disorders helped me to remember called A.H.B.N. aka; Asshole Before Not including Anxiety, Histrionic, Borderline, Narcissism. All of those refer to the fact therefore reason that a person acts like a psychotic social asshole all the time and before not so much, were not always that way. In this case, this goes for Narcissism. I am glad I was aware of it because had not realized it I wouldn’tve found this page supporting the cause. Thanks for the article. I will try to remember the last paragraph for next time including: “Sometimes we confuse this with having something terribly WRONG with us instead of being a direct result of the psychological and emotion abuse from a Narcissist.”
    Thank you so much for the wonderful insight b/c I used to ask myself this all the time and even before reading this it dawned on me-how frequent of circumstance:It’s not always me, like hes never at fault-maybe its him, he always starts stoking the fire I just wish someone would put it out. Still, sometimes I would think what’s wrong with me or I would get so angry it would take me about a day to cool off. I even took a test online in his and my perspective. Mine first and his second. I scored low and he scored very high for narc. He is yet to be diagnosed and this person has been driving me mad/crazy lately. I am wondering are here any support groups online or somewhere else where a person abused can go to discuss this? If not, I may let a relative know about this in the future. Thanks again for the wonderful insight and I think I’ll bookmark this next time I need to refer back to this when the time calls for it. Thanks again, cheers.


  4. Thank you.
    I know it all from personal experience …


    Please help this dad who may lose his kids to a narcissist


  6. Greg, I know that recovering from the trauma early is important and Ive been trying to educate myself by reading and talking to people. I know a fair amount about the subject but I still feel like I’m emotionally stuck. I vacillate between depressed and angry and a lot of different emotions. Thankfully I wasn’t romantically involved with this person but he was the leader of a support group that I attended and he counseled me for a while. we’re a close group, like family) . I struggled to believe what I was seeing and with how people were being hurt…much cognitive dissonance. When I tried to point it out, I felt that people didn’t believe me or didn’t want to deal with it I realize, now that he’s leaving, that some people in the group, that were in a position to hold him accountable knew what was happening but didn’t . they encouraged me to speak up and he verbally lashed out at me multiple times.I knew the consequences when I spoke I feel like I shouldn’t blame was my choice ( I couldn’t stand by and watch what was happening)..but I am angry..maybe I should have compassion because they were afraid of retaliation. I question myself about my decisions, everything.I have trouble trusting people.We’re getting a new leader and everyone is excited and hopeful..I feel like I’ve been fighting an extended battle and we may have won on some level.but.I feel like I lost something on another. I cant get excited..I just keep replaying what happened. and I cant seem to move forward.I’m a little angry at myself for not being able to let it go. Any suggestions?


  7. I identify with every post on this subject. In fact, the information provided here is in direct correlation to what I thought about the previous day…mind-blowing. Greg, thank you for your insight and deep empathy regarding narcissists in our lives.


  8. You nailed the feelings of fear, I know of all to well. Finding the right help was next to impossible, & even my physical health has suffered, at the desires of my heart to kill me.
    I am so glad you covered this aspect of healing the mind from the narcissistic abusive trama. It truly has been a 7 yr struggle for me. Searching for answers the first 6 yr’s in all the wrong ways & places like so called friends, even paid counselers, & doctors to no avail. Practically walking away from humanity. This last year I’ve slowly began to seek understanding by reading web site’s, basically about liers. Yes, low down sorry good for nothing liers. From there narcissistic behavior, & now understanding why I felt the way i did for far to long. It takes someone very special to help get over this life stalling injury. You are the best I’ve found. Still work to do but a lease I know I’m headed in the right direction. Thank you so much. Dale.


  1. Pingback: That feeling of being stuck and unable to move forward – the ups and downs of healing from trauma after abuse! – "But I Play One on TV"

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