Complex Post Traumatic Stress is a Common Response to a Narcissistic Relationship

My ‘friend’ of 2 years.

Ill discuss this as it pertains to the narc. My God! My Dear God! I couldn’t breath. I prayed daily for peace, for escape, for resolution. I prayed that he’d remove the narc as far away from me as he could and cast him to hell where he came from and belongs.

To describe the narc’s presence in my life as TORTUROUS is an understatement. I was constantly being hounded, attacked, accused, shamed, put down, checked up on, my relationships (friends and family) were being attacked and invaded. Narc’s stir up and instigate trouble with your loved ones to discredit you as part of their smear campaign and to isolate you as part of their keep you manipulated campaign. Either way, the narc calculates their deviant, evil strategies then goes about exacting them regardless of who it hurts.

When someone you are so “open” to emotionally goes about systematically killing your soul, stealing your identity and trying to super impose their evil badness upon you, You WISH you were going crazy just to escape it. I used to sit and just hug and hold myself. Soothing my tattered nerves. Caressing my battled psyche. Imagine living with a relentless enemy who knows no boundaries. Someone who hates themselves so much, that they destroy those around them who have ANY sense of themselves left. I was always on guard for the next attack. I recall never feeling safe in his presence. Short of breath, fearful of what was going to upset him, prepared with a ready made “answer” to justify what I was again…”doing wrong” according to his standards.

I tried a million times to escape; in anyway I knew how. Yet the narc was always there with ready made excuses and tactics to keep me in it. Only until they moved on to their next victim, did they finally stop trying to manipulate me to keep me as a trapped victim, but even then, the relentless smear campaign and involving others (abuse by proxy) still kept his evil motivations somewhere near my doorstep. I had to change jobs. He found out where I worked and vandalized me the same day.

Everything I did to remove myself from him, he infiltrated with no concern, thought or remorse that he was actually committing these evil and illegal acts against me. It just doesnt matter to a narc. Another human being is not separate from narcs. We unfortunate victims are NOT acknowledged as having our own persona, life, feelings, thoughts, needs, rights, etc. We’re nothing more than objects to maneuver. I often told narc I felt like a vase on a shelf. Only allowed to exist when he wanted to take me off the shelf to look at me or use me. Listen to what I’ve written. Does this sound like “Love”? When you’re involved with someone and you don’t have this psychopathic disturbance, it’s PAINFUL! We empaths are good, loving people. We believe the best about others.

We stay with these disordered psychopaths and bear the brunt of the trauma; thus, CPTSD. The reality and rational thinking does NOT gel with the craziness of the narc. The longer you stay with them, the crazier you become just be being in their presence. Now, having the freedom to be around normal people, with normal responses and boundaries – I understand the narc’s psychopathy relative to normal men and relationships. The thought that I could be around someone like that makes me very sick to my stomach and scared. I never want to encounter that evil again.

When I now see the initial traits of the narc in others – I RUN! I bolt and I dont care how it makes them feel. Narc’s are toxic and dangerous; the ONLY thing for a normal person to do is to run to safety. Im still dealing with the traumatic after effects of CPTSD. As far as relationships go, I’ve thankfully got a number of very good, honest and supportive friendships, family members, ex mates and a special person who’s allowing me to relax and trust again. I’m so hopeful and thankful that I feel such safety in his presence after someone terrorized me so badly.

I wish the same for you. Be patient with yourself. It takes time and much self love to achieve. You must be your own most supportive, loving caretaker of yourself. Validate your feelings. Give yourself knowledge of this specific form of abuse. Educate yourself on the narc and their psychopathy, it will help you understand just how intensely you were abused, in such an underhanded manner that things will make sense for you, the fog will begin to lift and you’ll run towards the light as if you’re saving your life.

Much Love and many blessings to you,

  1. I can relate to this so much, I mean word for word! But this sounds like an intimate relationship. But I have had to endure this from A FAMILY MEMBER. I try to tell people, but I don’t think they understand the extent and how serious this is. It’s not normal, not ok! I lose sleep, have nightmares wondering what is going to happen when she catches me. I hide from her, change phone numbers just to get away from the drama and say nothing. She threatens me, directly and to others, and minutes later makes social media posts about “having a great time with her family ” this woman is sick. She does all sorts of things to others, too. Either they don’t know, or just forgive, or don’t know how to handle it. Some do know, tried to warn me, me being family, I defended her and dismissed it. I honestly think she will kill me one day I just have to tell someone. I could just be paranoid, but have good reason to because she is clearly a sociopath, doesn’t take rejection well from anyone, claims people don’t like her because she’s “so pretty” (not so much, horribly scarred from all the fist fights) Anyway, she has ties to gangs, and no one believes she’s a monster (5’2, 110 lbs) so just venting in case she kills me.


  2. Wow….I lived through the same horror!


  3. Awakening in Narcisse’s Mirror

    How does anyone really describe what it is like to awaken from years of denial? Wrinkled, withered, and worn by sleepless sleep, I did, yet I don’t fully comprehend how this slow awakening came to life as aware, alerted, and alarmed truth. Denial, of course, is just a synonym for lie. If it is not truth, and we don’t want to call it a lie, what then are we comfortable calling our denial? Self-deception? Self-vindication? Self-sacrifice? Self-abuse? Victimization? Compensation? Rationalization? Justification? Fear? Pain? Anger? Loss? Grief? A psychological disorder?

    Perhaps it takes us so long to awaken from denial’s coma as we resist leaving the illusionary comfort or safety of sleep, or the hopeful dreams a denier holds dear, or in real nightmares of daytime we so valiantly, yet tragically deny? Perhaps it is because we believe ourselves powerless to release the grip of our own denial from consuming what is left of our lives?
    Denial is a dirty mirror through which we cannot, or will not see a true reflection of ourselves. In denial, we see images resulting from our denial. Our real self disappears under shadowed light covered by dust and decades of fingerprints searching through dark images for answers. Age marks appear in the mirror’s veneer, where pain rubbed away life’s brilliance. Subtle cracks splinter like short life lines, only changing direction once in a while to find more space for life’s continuing splinter. We bind ourselves in denial, surrounded by a decaying frame fragilely holding splintered shards together.

    Most humans throw the word “truth” around as if they are the purveyors of truth. Rather, we are the interpreters of experiences filtered through each individual’s perception of “truth.” Only the courageous human soul journeys to test our perceptions, or better stated, our deceptions, against fact and choose to act differently if our deceptions are not valid. Cowards blame other people and never bother to reflect inward, seeing their empty holes, terrified in the depths their own true reflection exists no longer. Others pay the price for what cowards are unwilling to do or not do, all the while calling their cowardliness, love.
    So, how might we find a common ground with which to view life clearly, objectively, and most significantly, with honor, integrity, and truthfulness? We look at factual substantiation or provable facts with valid and reliable evidence, particularly evidence repeated over time, manifesting as life patterns.

    Then why do we choose denial, or lie to ourselves when faced with facts? Each human knows why they tell themselves lies. Most of us vainly attempt to hide what is too painful, risky or costly in terror of clean mirrors reflecting our true selves. Few of us know the costs of our lies, and the sacrifices we make to live the lies, not only in how self-lying affect us, but what it costs the people around us. We have every “right” to subjugate ourselves to our lies, but not other people. This is simply not moral or ethical. We have a moral and ethical responsibility to live life truthfully, because to do otherwise is abuse of self and of others. Life splinters built on lies. Eventually, mirrors fall apart under splintered fragments of reflections once whole.

    My lie? Which one? I stepped away from the mirror, closed my eyes, and saw my soul, like Sisyphus, pushing my denial up a massive, jagged hill, only to be run over by the weight of denial. My lifeblood oozes out in each sweating drop of blood and tears, fighting uphill in an effort to escape the realities of denial no longer deniable. Like a cartoon character flattened under crushing rock, I resurrect myself, puffing up my denial, readying my courage to climb the mountain again, still gasping as I breathe the suffocating rancid air of absurdity. A crazed maniac’s laugh exhausts non-existent air – that is what cartoon characters do. We cartoons never grow smarter; we just repeat what we do and put ourselves in the path of killer rocks while the world accuses us and laughs.

    When denial struggles its way up the mountain, Narcisse waits at the top with his arm rigidly stretched out, and without taking his gaze off himself, prohibits Sisyphus from seeing his own reflection. There is no room in Narcisse’s pool of self-absorption to illuminate anyone else’s presence or disturb Narcisse’s love for his own reflection. His only reality exists within his own adoring gaze; the rest of humanity exists in the farthest edges of Narcisse’s awareness, mattering not unless they disturb his fixation with self-interest.

    I am a co-dependent to a narcissist. The problem isn’t the narcissist. If I am a co-dependent and married to a narcissist I am the problem. In not seeing myself as responsible for choosing to tolerate how a narcissistic spouse treats me, I’ve made a choice. Just like the narcissist, the co-dependent likely carries with them the weight of a lifetime affected by other flawed human beings, sometimes called parents, who, when they and we were children, saw the reflections of others’ treatment of us as validation of our true self, internalized these reflections, and accepted the “truth” of how a loved one values us (treats us). Because, after all, as children we trusted them for our safety, security, and belonging, simultaneously compensating or denying the harm our parents may have caused us. We amass our lies, pushing rock after rock against gravity until we amass mountains too high and seemingly impossible to conquer.

    If you do not leave your “rock” behind and push up the mountain seeking your own true reflection in the waters of life, and not Narcisse’s fouled waters, you will push rocks uphill the rest of your life. Leave the rock, struggle to the top of your mountain, and look out into the expanse of the world where self-interest gives way to communion with life and others. If you dare, you will see your true self, and not see yourself as a reflection of Narcisse, which, in the narcissist’s world, means you are invisible and meaningless. There is no reflection of you in Narcisse’s mirror except Narcisse. But one day, just like Narcisse, you will awaken and discover you didn’t love a man, but a reflection of someone who was in love with themselves at the expense of all else, and everyone else. Narcisse’s mirror is a lonely and loveless place to exist.


  4. The N is attracted to whatever it is about you they can use or take to improve their image. It’s all about the N–always. And don’t dare try to think any part of it is about you.

    If you step over the boundaries established by the N, loyalty at all costs (remember, the N is the only one allowed to have boundaries), and try to become a party to the “relationship” you share with the N, watch out! You will be punished– but only in private. The world will only see how wonderful the N is.

    But don’t think your sacrifice will be rewarded in any way. The day will come when you are used up by the N. The N will have already gotten everything out of you the N can.

    If the N doesn’t leave the relationship, the N will force you out, But remember, the N has been planning. While you are crawling away, the N will run screaming and crying to everyone you’ve known making sure they all know how you suddenly up and left the N when the N has been so wonderful. Of course, the N already has a replacement for you; and if there is money involved, the N has taken control of it. Meanwhile, you’d been loyal to the N throughout the relationship, riding an emotional roller coaster, sharing only little bits and pieces of what was happening with others (partly out of love for the N/hope for the N’s change, and partly out of fear of the N’s punishment).

    It is only after you’re outside and trying to find help and support that you learn the N has been lying about you to everyone you and the N both knew; and you learn the meaning of projection. Ns are masters at it. Ns are skilled at claiming your good qualities as their own, and projecting their bad onto you, and the N will do so convincingly to anyone who will listen. Ns are thieves and master manipulators. They will steal your money, your reputation, and your identity and never think twice abut it. And if you have children with the N, you can expect them to do the same thing to them. The error in our judgement comes in forgetting that Ns don’t play by the normal rules of society. To the N, it is ALWAYS about the N.


    • Excellent comment!


    • Word for word this could have been my life with a N woman. My divorce ended last week. Jun 10th 2014 was my D-Day or should I say V-Day. It wasn’t until after we separated that I, on a path to trying to figure out whats wrong with me, discovered my ex-wife of 18 years was a N. It connected every single dot, filled every empty blank. I found . After so many years and knowing the end was coming soon I started planing. I closed our joint account taking control of my money, I documented everything. I kept voice mails, text messages and emails. I documented when she had the kids after separation. I was Dad and Mom. I’m a big guy. I’m an ex-Paratrooper. This person broke me down. The emotional neglect, verbal and physical abuse brought me to the point of suicidal thoughts. Even planing a date for an accident to happen to me. I was numb to everything. All that is in the past. Something changed along the way. I decided I was giving her all the power and I needed it back. I’m a very empathetic and intuitive person (INFJ with the MBTI). She preyed on that. So I turned off my empathy. I told her I’m not going to put up with her anger and attitude for the rest of my life. So she found a boyfriend and started cheating (not the first time). She even tried to control the divorce. She said I was crazy for getting a lawyer and we should do it all through her lawyer. I could go on and on. She didn’t get anything she asked for and I was clearly the reasonable one. Her lawyer settled quickly because she knew they couldn’t win in front of the Judge. She is still trying to control and dictate things but it’s not working. Every time she tries it and I say no, I feel so strong. And it’s funny to see she pretends everything was her idea. It’s all about appearances. She’s always the victim. I don’t care about appearances as long as the kids are better and I have people who love me on my side.

      So all that said I am in a very healthy and empowering relationship now. But even with it all over I get nightmares involving my ex-wife where I wake up yelling and even kicking, hitting or otherwise thrashing. I have moments in my sleep that my heart rate and breathing get very rapid. My wonderful girlfriend reaches over, wakes me just a little and holds me. I mean, I’m a grown guy, ex-military, a father with and 18yo daughter and two teenage boys and she still haunts me in my sleep. She used to call and my heart rate increased, I would go pale, and my hands shake. No more but I was a wreck anytime I had to deal with her especially if I had to confront her. My family now have a code word for her… Jabba as in Jabba the Hutt. Due to the type of abuse and the fact I am a male and males usually hide this kind of thing has made it hard to find others with the same experiences. I have self diagnosed myself with Complex PTSD. It too connects a lot of dots like why I can’t cry or express emotional reactions to some things. Why I can’t easily sleep and I have these dreams. My memory is shot and its hard to focus. I say all this because if there are other males out there I want them to know they’re not alone. Females too. I despise abuse of any kind. Anyone can contact me if they feel like talking.


    • Very accurate


  5. Great article Ana, I left a 23 year marriage to a man with NPD and I wish I’d done it sooner. If you’re in a relationship like the one described above, LEAVE and don’t look back. They will NEVER change. Please take my words to heart. It will get better.


  6. Hi,
    I am in a relationship with a Narcissist since a year and a half, and I can’t break the vicious circle of breaking up/making up. I know he is a narcissist, I have quit my job two times for our “projects together” since we are from two different countries, and I am the one who has nothing left now but despair and sorrow.
    I feel there is no closure with him, every time I decide to leave, he comes back and he gaslight me with attentions and loving words, and I fall into the trap again.
    I can’t take it anymore, I have cried every day since I have met him. I am again unemployed, depressed and he doesn’t care about it. He even had the courage to say “I’ve put myself in this situation!!!!”
    I am desperate and about to loose myself.


    • It’s been almost a year. I wonder how you are now. I just want to recommend you read about something called “cycle of violence” or “cycle of abuse”. That’s when we leave and the narc comes to entrap us again. The “loving” words are all part of the same thing: violence. Hope things got better for you.


    • Get out someone else will really love you ask what r u get out of this. Get away from him for a week a long weekend “lose” your phone do something that makes u feel good stay close to friends build new connections keep educate yourself about narcs know u can have a different reality narcs are great at create magical moments makes them feel even more grandiose but they never capable of adding to your life they just take run save yourself


  7. Being an empath should be a valuable trait in this selfish world. For it to be ruined by selfish ego maniacal creeps is unfair. Instead of helping others, we are trapped trying to overcome the damage they have done to our hearts and minds, no longer able to trust others enough to open up. They just get away with it. No one cares enough to pay serious attention to what you tell them. It’s our imagination running wild or we’re just bashing. It’s a lonely cycle that never ends.


  8. OMG,OMG,OMG!!! I have had a sociopathic narcissistic mother, a narcissistic father of my children and another one in a relationship thereafter..they were all nightmares and I got caught up because I am a bleeding heart empath..these people should be lobotomized!!!


  9. Hi. Thanks for your article. I was in a relationship with a narcissistic woman for 4 months. I thought she was the love of my life. I soon realized that there was something wrong. It’s been two months of no contact. I feel like I have PTSD. The pain is sometimes very difficult. My friend says time heals all wounds. I meditate and have started therapy. I never imagined that there are people like this, people without conscience. All the cluster B’s are just horrific and I agree. Trust your gut and if you realize you are with one–run for your life!



    Narcissist, so that’s what you call it, great to know that this is a recognised thing, you think your alone at the time and very much trapped when dealing with the consequences of a narcissist


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