Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD)

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Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) – Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological injury that results from prolonged exposure to social or interpersonal trauma, disempowerment, captivity or entrapment, with lack or loss of a viable escape route for the victim.

C-PTSD Introduction

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape, such as in cases of:

  • domestic emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • childhood emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • entrapment or kidnapping.
  • slavery or enforced labor.
  • long term imprisonment and torture
  • repeated violations of personal boundaries.
  • long-term objectification.
  • exposure to gaslighting & false accusations
  • long-term exposure to inconsistent, push-pull, splitting or alternating raging & hoovering behaviors.
  • long-term taking care of mentally ill or chronically sick family members.
  • long term exposure to crisis conditions.

When people have been trapped in a situation over which they had little or no control at the beginning, middle or end, they can carry an intense sense of dread even after that situation is removed. This is because they know how bad things can possibly be. And they know that it could possibly happen again. And they know that if it ever does happen again, it might be worse than before.

The degree of C-PTSD trauma cannot be defined purely in terms of the trauma that a person has experienced. It is important to understand that each person is different and has a different tolerance level to trauma. Therefore, what one person may be able to shake off, another person may not. Therefore more or less exposure to trauma does not necessarily make the C-PTSD any more or less severe.

C-PTSD sufferers may “stuff” or suppress their emotional reaction to traumatic events without resolution either because they believe each event by itself doesn’t seem like such a big deal or because they see no satisfactory resolution opportunity available to them. This suppression of “emotional baggage” can continue for a long time either until a “last straw” event occurs, or a safer emotional environment emerges and the damn begins to break.

The “Complex” in Complex Post Traumatic Disorder describes how one layer after another of trauma can interact with one another. Sometimes, it is mistakenly assumed that the most recent traumatic event in a person’s life is the one that brought them to their knees. However, just addressing that single most-recent event may possibly be an invalidating experience for the C-PTSD sufferer. Therefore, it is important to recognize that those who suffer from C-PTSD may be experiencing feelings from all their traumatic exposure, even as they try to address the most recent traumatic event.

This is what differentiates C-PTSD from the classic PTSD diagnosis – which typically describes an emotional response to a single or to a discrete number of traumatic events.

Difference between C-PTSD & PTSD

Although similar, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) differs slightly from the more commonly understood & diagnosed condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in causes and symptoms.

C-PTSD results more from chronic repetitive stress from which there is little chance of escape. PTSD can result from single events, or short term exposure to extreme stress or trauma.

Therefore a soldier returning from intense battle may be likely to show PTSD symptoms, but a kidnapped prisoner of war who was held for several years may show additional symptoms of C-PTSD.

Similarly, a child who witnesses a friend’s death in an accident may exhibit some symptoms of PTSD but a child who grows up in an abusive home may exhibit the additional C-PTSD characteristics shown below:

C-PTSD – What it Feels Like:

People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel un-centered and shaky, as if they are likely to have an embarrassing emotional breakdown or burst into tears at any moment. They may feel unloved – or that nothing they can accomplish is ever going to be “good enough” for others.

People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel compelled to get away from others and be by themselves, so that no-one will witness what may come next. They may feel afraid to form close friendships to prevent possible loss should another catastrophe strike.

People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel that everything is just about to go “out the window” and that they will not be able to handle even the simplest task. They may be too distracted by what is going on at home to focus on being successful at school or in the workplace.

C-PTSD Characteristics

How it can manifest in the victim(s) over time:
Rage turned inward: Eating disorders. Depression. Substance Abuse / Alcoholism. Truancy. Dropping out. Promiscuity. Co-dependence. Doormat syndrome (choosing poor partners, trying to please someone who can never be pleased, trying to resolve the primal relationship)

Rage turned outward: Theft. Destruction of property. Violence. Becoming a control freak.

Other: Learned hyper vigilance. Clouded perception or blinders about others (especially romantic partners) Seeks positions of power and / or control: choosing occupations or recreational outlets which may put oneself in physical danger. Or choosing to become a “fixer” – Therapist, Mediator, etc.

Avoidance – Avoidance is the practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.

Blaming – Blaming is the practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.

Catastrophizing – Catastrophizing is the habit of automatically assuming a “worst case scenario” and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.

“Control-Me” Syndrome – “Control-Me” Syndrome describes a tendency that some people have to foster relationships with people who have a controlling narcissistic, antisocial or “acting-out” nature.

Denial– Denial is believing or imagining that some factual reality, circumstance, feeling or memory does not exist or did not happen.

Dependency – Dependency is an inappropriate and chronic reliance by an adult individual on another individual for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well-being.

Depression (Non-PD) -Depression is when you feel sadder than your circumstances dictate, for longer than your circumstances last – but still can’t seem to break out of it.

Escape To Fantasy – Escape to Fantasy is sometimes practiced by people who present a facade to friends, partners and family members. Their true identity and feelings are commonly expressed privately in an alternate fantasy world.

Fear of Abandonment – Fear of abandonment and irrational jealousy is a phobia, sometimes exhibited by people with personality disorders, that they are in imminent danger of being rejected, discarded or replaced at the whim of a person who is close to them.

Hyper Vigilance – Hyper Vigilance is the practice of maintaining an unhealthy level of interest in the behaviors, comments, thoughts and interests of others.

Identity Disturbance – Identity disturbance is a psychological term used to describe a distorted or inconsistent self-view.

Learned Helplessness– Learned helplessness is when a person begins to believe that they have no control over a situation, even when they do.

Low Self-Esteem – Low Self-Esteem is a common name for a negatively-distorted self-view which is inconsistent with reality. People who have low self-esteem often see themselves as unworthy of being successful in personal and professional settings and in social relationships. They may view their successes and their strengths in a negative light and believe that others see them in the same way. As a result, they may develop an avoidance strategy to protect themselves from criticism.

Panic Attacks – Panic Attacks are short intense episodes of fear or anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as shaking, sweats, chills and hyperventilating.

Perfectionism – Perfectionism is the practice of holding oneself or others to an unrealistic, unsustainable or unattainable standard of organization, order or accomplishment in one particular area of living, while sometimes neglecting common standards of organization, order or accomplishment in others.

Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia – Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia is the use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.

Self-Loathing – Self-Loathing is an extreme self-hatred of one’s own self, actions or one’s ethnic or demographic background.

Tunnel Vision – Tunnel Vision is the habit or tendency to only see or focus on a single priority while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.

C-PTSD Causes

C-PTSD is caused by a prolonged or sustained exposure to emotional trauma or abuse from which no short-term means of escape is available or apparent to the victim.

The precise neurological damage that exists in C-PTSD victims is not well understood.

C-PTSD Treatment

Little has been done in clinical studies of treatment of C-PTSD. However, in general the following is recommended:

  1. Removal of and protection from the source of the trauma and/or abuse.
  2. Acknowledgement of the trauma as real, important and undeserved.
  3. Acknowledge that the trauma came from something that was stronger than the victim and therefore could not be avoided.
  4. Acknowledgement of the “complex” nature of C-PTSD – that responses to earlier traumas may have led to decisions that brought on additional, undeserved trauma.
  5. Acknowledgement that recovery from the trauma is not trivial and will require significant time and effort.
  6. Separation of residual problems into those that the victim can resolve (such as personal improvement goals) and those that the victim cannot resolve (such as the behavior of a disordered family member)
  7. Mourning for what has been lost and cannot be recovered.
  8. Identification of what has been lost and can be recovered.
  9. Program of recovery with focus on what can be improved in an individuals life that is under their own control.
  10. Placement in a supportive environment where the victim can discover they are not alone and can receive validation for their successes and support through their struggles.
  11. As necessary, personal therapy to promote self discovery.
  12. As required, prescription of antidepressant medications.

What to do about C-PTSD if you’ve got it:

Remove yourself from the primary or situation or secondary situations stemming from the primary abuse. Seek therapy. Talk about it. Write about it. Meditation. Medication if needed. Physical Exercise. Rewrite the script of your life.

What not to do about it:

Stay. Hold it in. Bottle it up. Act out. Isolate. Self-abuse. Perpetuate the cycle.

What to do about it if you know somebody else who has C-PTSD:

Offer sympathy, support, a shoulder to cry on, lend an ear. Speak from experience. Assist with practical resolution when appropriate (guidance towards escape, therapy, etc.) Be patient.

What not to do about it if you know somebody else who has it:

Do not push your own agenda: proselytize, moralize, speak in absolutes, tell them to “get over it”, or try to force reconciliation with the perpetrator or offer “sure fire” cures.

  1. So true. Great article…. This information needs to get out… To families, courts, counsellors! Lived through it… Still healing and trying to move forward. I’m a mother of older children who have experienced the carnage of a father who has narrsisistic personality disorder. SO damaging… Like an atomic bomb went off

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  2. Oh myy…..this is me:'(

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  3. Makes me so sad! I love you

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  4. After suffering years from a narcissistic husband as a CPTSD victim I still have to every day mindfully self check to stay steady but I have finally the found peace I craved by soothing myself from inside out. Knowing faith in God helps me me stand my ground and I am so proud I was courageous enough to fight and get out of that relationship. I wish I could have taken my kids from the control as well but they will have to learn their own path out when they are ready. I suffered with pervasive gas lighting mind manipulations from someone
    cruel to the core who understood plausible denial. I know my limitations and avoid exposure but prolonged abuse left scars.

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  5. My narcissist abuser is my older sister, and it has been a long and VERY terrible road. A shaky and curvy road that I had been on for 29 years. Finally, when she tried to ruin my wedding I decided I had enough. I have not spoken to my sister in over six months and I have never been so proud. Each month I feel prouder. Today, she sent me another text message, and, of course, like narcissist always tend to do: never really say they are sorry. My sister drinks a great deal of alcohol, as many narcissists do, and that is when she always contacts me. The messages don’t really make a whole lot of sense and are always sent to me late at night. I almost gave in tonight and responded to her text, and thank god my husband came in the room and caught me. He has seen me go into very dark depressions over her and feels very strongly that I should avoid contact with her. I feel that way too, but sometimes it is hard. What do I do about Christmas? What do I do when her daughter has a birthday? Do I just forget about the pain? Do I just tell myself that I can handle it? If I told my dad or my younger sister that I think I have c-ptsd from my older sister they would probably just think I was being dramatic. My younger sister has suffered from my older sister’s abuse, but I was her most prominent and favorite victim. But, I think about how happy I have been in the past six months, and, guess what? the only time I feel down is when I remember her. All these horrible flashbacks enter my mind. But, now, these flashbacks actually work for me, and not against me. They remind me why I continue to keep her out of my life. I hope there is somewhere out there that can relate to this, in fact, I know there is. Stay strong!!!

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    • I relate to you very much:-) I have the same situation with my own mother. The longer I’m away the more I feel empowered. It’s been 3 years minus our COURT meetings ….I don’t give her the time of day to even look at her In court ….. As a child I realized that I wasn’t the most important person I was just an annoyance. She made a decision to drug traffic when I was 4 years old. UNTIL 16. She is a Felon who still does not care about anything or anyone ….well unless they have something she wants.she is still willing to commit fraud…don’t worry she be back in the pen where she belongs…I was just another dude …a thing and tool , a punching bag ,a yelling board ,a person to share deep dark abusive true stories with …..not a son. I was Dropped off at a aunt’s house or a grandparents for months during summer time growing up. I was NOT in the know for sure. Very naive…I got bullied at every school all 3 states and 10 of them! My mother had to hide the ring leader who happens to be her older brother from prison so began the running from the feds. On the run???? I didn’t do anything wrong!!! They did…It was always scared of everything including cops. I was told to lie to the cops ….No real love just control, judgement selfishness[ if you don’t????? I’m going to !!……….. {{{{And guilt.}}} No wonder I left looking for some kind of family or camaraderie. Semper Fidelis! Just always feeling like no one really cared about me the only child in a broken family with a humongous extended family….. absolutely huge. but I’m a outsider who is part of the bad side of the family so I don’t matter to them either. Although I have repaired and custom built computers for all the extended family they don’t care and also all listen to my mother who says negative stuff about me…..where was or is the love? At a young age… My grandma did and later on in young adulthood my step grandfather did. But they were tired and old and they passed on so that’s it. Take what’s left. A meager amount. I have major issues with those people and always will therefore I shall never be around them as they are all unassuming spineless creatures of habit. I’m just someone who needs to see what real love is. No real examples for me yet.

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  6. The worst part for me is that I was dumb enough to believe him. A self-assured woman was drug into the con and I was powerless against it. No matter how badly he treated me, I loved him. I twisted myself into a pretzel to please him and failed continuously. And the weird things he did, like I’d fall asleep on the couch and wake up to see him staring directly into my eyes. I’d scream and he’d laugh insanely. I eventually couldn’t determine fact from fiction. He had me convinced I was the problem. He would tell me things I knew I hadn’t said and somehow have me believing I actually had said them. He was a monster. I finally escaped and moved 2000 miles. I’ve been free a year, yet his taunting continues in my mind. I haven’t heard him say one word in a year, yet he never ever shuts up. One day at a time…

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    • I know how you feel. I don’t speak to my abuser but I hear him all the time, when I get up, when I get dressed, when I see friends I wasn’t allowed to see. He controlled my every move and I don’t know how to get him out. I’m sorry for what you went through but its helpful to know others understand this feeling. You’re not alone.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My narcissistic husband of 15 years is divorcing me. With two children and having MS, my stress level is off the charts. He stayed living with us for 2 months to try to get some dirt on me to use to get custody. And I now have a civil protection order because of domestic violence. I am having a hard time with all the premeditation he’s been doing to me for the past two years. How do I cope?

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    • I have the similar situatuon. My husband/partner of 12 years spent three years crazy making premeditated plans to divorce me. He would record our conversations and I thought I was losing my mind, he would say I didn’t hear things, or my mind was illogical, or that I said things I never said. In the audios he has one I found where he actually talks into the recording while I am not in the room and speaks about how he will “pretend to be asleep” while I am left crying and confused so that “all hell will break lose”.

      He gave me psychedelic drugs to “cure” me of my supposed prescription drug addiction. He then would make records of me and confuse me mentally and gaslight me. He would take me out to party then when we got home he would take pictures and make notes sayin (“she was out all night again, passed out and she is no longer herself I have lost her. I am so afraid for her life”). He would threaten to call my family if or when I left the house after an “episode”.

      All of this was done very intermittent with him being very loving and kind, taking me to the best places/dinners, New Zealand and South America etx. he suprise trip and renews our wedding vows in Vegas, then out of nowhere the pity party plays, the testing of me and my love or support (I wasn’t supportive enough or normal), follows with public displays of how I am the “best ever” can’t live without me. The other abuse was financial, leaving me months on end then returns, sales our primary business behind my back, sends me out of the state for “rehabilitation” while filing and lying the the courts that he doesn’t know where I am. All this while telling me he is busy with work and “let’s keep talking. I love you and I am so scared for your life. Your in a safe place right now.” He would define my reality and say…I am “always angry” and I am “never happy” enough. I “want to be unhappy”…then me trying to prove constanly that I am not unhappy or unhealthy. After four years finally in woth a therapist that specializes in sociopath/narcissistic abuse she says it is the worst case she has ever seen.

      He has gone on in a very public way with a smear campaign. I was court order of protection and could not even go to the home I personally own (it’s empty…he doesn’t even live in it). I could not call a single friends because I am “dangerous unstable and want to murder him”. He took my messages out of context over years and pulled off such a con with the court. It is hard for me to even imagine the mind involved in premeditated actions to hurt me, make me craxy, make me react. I was suicidal and now diagnosed with Complex PTSD. I have spent four months institution and almost a year in solitude. I had no idea how unhealthy I was. I lost myself completely. Humiliated and trauma bonded just in hopes of his return of kindness.

      The most difficult part is the premeditated actions. Things that made no sense for years now make sense, but I have lost years of my life and he just left on as if nothing happened. He was able to justify taking everything. In fact he has sympathy from others because I was labeled a “drug addict”, “bipolar/crazy” and abusive.

      The scariest episodes were the psychedelic “cures” the one recording I actualky have he is brainwashing me and telling me literally “you are no longer you…the old you is gone.” And saying that he can’t connect to me because I am a stranger in my body. I have no recall of the events.

      This has been my life sorting out memory’s and madness for 2 years. The divorce is still not finalized and I am out of money.

      He is so good and able to convince everyone because to look and talk to him no one would ever believe that this is possible. We had 10 stronger years where publicly I was normal and appear very happy with him.

      We have no children so it makes it seem I am just after his money.

      I have 2 friends and parents who believe me, and to the rest they either have no idea where I went.

      I am scared and I have nightmares, I don’t know that I can ever work a job like normal, I have severe emotional attacks or panic out of the blue and it’s unpredictable. I over react to slights and my startle response is massive. It is taking a lot of EMDR, therapy and drugs to help and I still feel hopeless.

      Before I was bright and quick mind, full of love and hope, always believed in the best. I, had a great career (supported him actually he was in debt), I was very social, great health and nutrition, wanted to go back to school for a master’s degree.

      Now I am just getting through the days hoping I can get to the store and back without dissociation where I keep driving my car and get lost…going on 2 years of the symptoms that bad.

      I know how bad it can get.

      I want to get well and devote my life to helping others. I am at the very beginning of a long road back.

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      • Oh my god. I think I just realized that I don’t have all the mental illnesses my husband has told me I have……..Ive been reading on CPTSD & PTNS all day today because I keep feeling like something is wrong with me or someone wouldn’t be so blatantly MEAN to me. He has taken a second lover because “they are positive and Im nothing but a depressing mess”. I used to be the light in the room, but now I just think everyone is talking about me all the time and I finally left a while ago and filed papers and he lied and had people say i was a drunk/drug addict/depressed/suicidal mess. He sent me to “rehab” too because he said I needed help and it would fix everything. Then said I HAD to go because I was a danger to my kid when I WAS THE ONE WHO FILED FOR DIVORCE. He had “friends” write letters about how horrible of a person I am and how I hadn’t ever even read a book to my kid or fed him or anything and that he basically came home (from where ill never know, he never had a job. . . I DID) and that i would be passed out drunk on the floor with my son running around in shambles. NONE was true. NO physical proof. . . But aha! I was the one who went to rehab. RIGHT THERE ON PAPER. Goodbye custody. Judge said “drop the kid off by 4pm or you will be arrested” ???!!!!!??????!!!!!!! Yep. Within weeks he was begging me to come back and “fix our family”. There was a short period where I seriously was SO HAPPY. It was like everything I ever wished for in a marriage or family. Then we went out to a really nice amazing date one night and he told me he was in love with someone else………………………………………………………………yeah. Refer to “taking another lover” as referenced above. I feel insane every day and he neglects me but sleeps with her and tells me because she is happy and fun and im depressing and mean. But he made me like this? When I try to say “but maybe im reacting to how you are treating me” he says “Oh god always the victim arent we?” and says thats another trait of me that “turns him off”. Ive told him I should seek therapy if this is really how I am and he says “oh yeah because you are weak and cant do it on your own. not everyone has the luxury of therapy you know. there you go again trying to be better than everyone” And its like? But shouldn’t I WANT to get better if there is something wrong with me? Why am I still so MADLY INSANELY in love with him? Shit.

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        • Word for word my experience when my wife divorced me one day before our ten year anniversary. I had saved her and our three little girls, and her sister and brother in law from a burning house in 2012, watching my pets burn alive around my feet when I saved my wife and thought I was saving her over one of our daughters who we thought was trapped in the bathroom which was engulfed. We had been homeless for about 8 weeks before moving back into our house. Renters had kept up our finances for about 3-5 months and after moving in my wife “accidentally” burned the house down in our sleep. This was January, 2012. Back up to about October of 2011, I had just recovered from an otherwise terminal autoimmune disease where I was paralyzed and all the nerves in my body were unraveling so I was in absolute pain at all times without medication. After the house fire my wife became far more abusive than before. It used to be all the brainwashing, blaming, labeling me with insane mental illnesses but not listening to my actual doctors, starvation, locking me out in the cold in Maine, leaving me hours away alone in the ER after being treated with nitroglycerin. Kicking me down the stairs twice in a month, after verbally abusing our 3, 5 and 8 year olds screaming what profanities at them. Trapping me in my house, blocking the door, sucker punching me to knock the wind out of me, keeping me up sleepless nights gaslighting, projecting, blanket statements, vicious suspicions, multiple suspicious near deaths for me always with saying I’m too sensitive and just need to be a real man and not care what happens to me. I was the sole breadwinner for ten years, a pastor, a recording artist, a father and a husband. When I discovered the cheating and that her mom and sisters where helping her to meet men who looked like me, and that her mom, her sisters and her brother had been cheating and there was a history of incest with my wife and her step-nephew (she was 12, he was 21), my sister in law and her full nephew who now have a baby passed off as another man’s. My father in law and my brother in law then in the divorce talked about murdering me. My ex’s boss got involved as well and was private messaging her on Facebook joking about how seriously her husband belongs in a concrete foundation. I was practically an invalid, I can’t pour my own cereal from pain and adrenal fatigue. My PTSD started when my dad took box knife to his arms years ago, and I had witnessed a pileup car crash at age seven and a lot of blood on air bags. My ex had initially left me our daughters (my mother was staying in town for home health care for me, and to transition the kids). My ex said she lived for fun now, had taken up partying, drinking, and apparently cocaine. Drinking and driving on our last family vacation… embarrassing me with the divorce at Disney World right where I proposed when we met in 2003 on tour with my Christian band (at the time), New Influence. But her parents bankrolled an attorney and she told me they told her she would look like a bad mother for not taking the kids. So then she took my vehicle and everything but our house which I had purchased after the house fire… she changed her mind later and is suing to take my house. I am in treatment, but my C-PTSD is so severe I can’t work, let alone focus to take my medication because I often forget to eat or drink and stare at the wall for 4 hours until someone alerts me. My ex wife’s new boyfriend immediately molested my two youngest daughters. My ex is enabling him despite what our kids said. When the trial started, she and her mother coached our children. I lost the trial and the boy friend returned. I am so sick with multiple health issues at 29 years old and now that I’m going to be homeless again and lose my rental income, I don’t have food. I lost 60 lbs when I couldn’t keep down water or broth and I’m wasting away. I was 284 at my heaviest. In the rare event I’m hungry, I lose my appetite as soon as I taste food. I sleep 15 minutes a night, two hours at times. When the abuse was just for me, I never reported it or talked about it because I was so convinced it was an illusion and I was crazy… But whenever I was well enough to work, I managed underwriting credit and customer service of financial advisors and investment bankers. I thought surely I couldn’t be crazy or imagining a false narrative since everybody I encountered outside of my abusers made me feel completely normal like before marriage. After our house fire our second home had a couple near misses with fire while I was at work and one involved our dryer again and my wife again just like our first house fire. After the divorce her childhood friends told me she was violent growing up. I just don’t know why she isn’t giving up if I don’t matter, unless the new guy isn’t a doormat. I was never a doormat before. And I’m not a doormat with other people. Oh and the medication rollercoaster in that relationship… ugh


    • OMG, my husband of 11 years met someone else and left me when I went on disability for MS! After I spent a decade taking care of him in and out of prison, this is my thank you. Thank goodness we have no kids, but I’m still so full of grief that he has done this to me and to us! I feel so victimized, yet there is no justice for me! He belongs back in prison for doing this and using me for financial benefit; if it were a complete stranger, he’d be charged…10 months later and I’m still so sad and angry! I am so alone, kids all grown and have their own lives, there are a lot of days I don’t want to be here any more!


  8. Michelle Skeen

    i just lost my husband to whom I was his caregiver for the last 5yrs. I couldn’t leave the house due to his illness and if I was able to leave it was for food,pharmacy,doctor and then hurry home. He had Jeckyl/Hyde syndrome which is what I called it especially after dialysis then the hospital stays, and lifting and all the other stuff and I love him dearly. Now that he’s gone I still can’t leave the house and I can’t feel happy anymore. I fake it in front of ppl that visit just so they will leave quickly so I can be alone again. I’m tired all the time quick to get angry or enraged at nothing. I just can’t seem to pull myself together to who I know I use to be. I’m forgetful not able to organize anything even my thoughts. I feel horrible. Thank you for posting this article. I hv sought out counseling to begin in June, I feel crazier when friends I hv 1 that thinks I should snap out of it now that he’s gone and automatically be HAPPY….NOT!!!!!
    I just want to laugh again.
    Thank you.


  9. I have been in a relationship with a strongly narcissistic person. I did not realize until after the damage was done, and now I feel the creeps by the thought of this person.

    Sometimes I find myself having very special nightmares where I am trapped in a feeling of being frightened and paralyzed. This is probably the feeling I mostly felt when being around him, although unable to recognize or act upon it.

    I completely let him control me and put me down in the search of wanting to feel safe. I went through a major illness because of this highly damaging situation, and I have been on the recovery from it since last summer.

    With hopes for a better future, with love, action and responsibility-seeking behavior.

    All the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have experienced everything that is known as CPTSD. It is so amazing how emotionally draining it can be. I also feel after reading more into this, I almost get ashamed or want to denies certain personality traits. Not because they are not true, but maybe i am unable to control the complex and hopelessness of the trauma. On the other hand what to me makes it so complex is not wanting to open up about painful or preventable problems i know still exist and yes i can learn to cope, teach and express traumatic events it is a learning process that is always going to be complex, my traumatic issue is post a stress i endured, It has to be recognized and treated to the worth and re-parenting process that is so worth every souls worth to practice honesty to stand up and feel safe and not let stress from past make your future complex. It is growth and proper regulations that complicate, We can control our on destiny not create it.

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  11. I have recently, within the last year or so left my narcissistic ex-boyfriend. I am having a hard time expressing myself emotionally. I blew up at my current fiancee last night because of my suppression of all my stresses and worries. I didn’t know I had this condition.I used to do the same thing as a child. My mother was a narcissist. I just thought suppression was a normal thing. I don’t know what is “normal” emotional behavior.


    • This is really common Lindsay. You’ll learn proper emotional regulation and expression, now that you (Im assuming) 🙂 have a HEALTHY fiancée that is open to listening to and responding to your emotions. Keep practicing your emotional honesty with safe people and you’ll begin to teach yourself how to express yourself and stand up for yourself. Hang in there, this is a reparenting and learning process that is so worth it in the long run. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for posting this. I have been struggling with this all my life

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This article IS NOT about PTSD. This is C-PTSD, they are two different critters, from different causes with different, treatments.


  14. I just got out of a very abusive relationship and I am going through almost all of the above symptoms. I am seeing a therapist and taking Wellbutrin. I am currently not working because I am so anxiety ridden some days I cannot even work. When does it get better and this awful pain go away. I feel at time I am loosing my mind. I have been away from him for 2 months.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Good god. Thank you. This is very validating and am glad to know I’m moving in the right direction.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I know I have suffered this 4 years ago (doesn’t time fly) and I was lucky enough to have a doctor who diagnosed me with PTSD!


  17. Thankyou f.or posting this succinct explanation of what is such a complex condition. It is frightening but also a relief to finally be able to give a name to something that effects me on so many levels.


  18. PTSD can take a very long time to heal. You will need some professional help to manage it. “:’*:

    My very own website


  19. This is exactly what I have been dealing with. Thank you for posting this!


  1. Pingback: Narcissistic Abuse Part I: When The Right Fit Is All Wrong - HolyVegGYogi!

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