5 Signs You Have Post Narcissistic Abuse Stress Disorders


Surviving narcissistic abuse leaves you with a unique set of trauma responses that you would not see in other trauma survivors. By “other trauma survivors,” I mean survivors of different forms of trauma such as poverty, surviving a car accident, or war. Unfortunately, the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders) are different from the typical symptoms. Typical symptoms include hypervigilance, anxiety, stress, hyperarousal, nightmares, and flashbacks. However, the diagnostic criteria do not include atypical symptoms like cognitive resonance, trauma bonding, chronic self-doubt, and other similar symptoms.

Trauma Bonding and Cognitive Dissonance:

These two are atypical symptoms, meaning you would not see them in other trauma survivors like war veterans or earthquake survivors. Trauma bonding happens because of the hot and cold behavior of the narcissist. It has been described as a bond of Herculean strength, akin to addiction. You want to leave the narcissist, but simultaneously, you feel like you can’t live without them. This is a trauma symptom. Along with that comes cognitive dissonance, which is basically like inner splitting. One part of you knows the narcissist’s bad side, the monstrous side that you’re afraid of. Yet, the other part still wonders if maybe they’re not that bad, magnifying the good memories and leading to emotional confusion.

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