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Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be traumatizing, to say the least. Because narcissists are individuals incapable of empathy, and also individuals who are selfish and cruel, they are abusive.

Unfortunately, in most cases, a narcissist can be emotionally and physically abusive. Various studies have observed this, showing a major link between narcissistic personality disorder and domestic assault and violence. And even when a narcissist doesn’t resort to physical violence, their emotionally abusive nature is enough to leave a very deep mark.

In turn, many people who have withstood a narcissistic relationship end up showing signs of what many experts refer to as ‘Post Narcissistic Stress Disorder.”

If you or someone you know has endured a relationship with a narcissist, and they show the following symptoms, they are likely dealing with this disorder.

1. Hyper-vigilance.

Hyper-vigilance is what happens when you have been so hurt in the past, that you are always looking out for someone to hurt you again. In turn, you may constantly be analyzing every situation that you encounter to see if it is a threat to you in some way. And put simply, when you are hyper-vigilant, you are far more likely to be extremely sensitive to your surroundings.

2. Flashbacks.

For those that endured extreme trauma at the hand of a narcissist, flashbacks can be quite common. A flashback is basically when you relive a bad situation from your past over and over again. And when I say relive, I don’t mean just to simply remember, I mean they are taken back to that moment, experiencing it over again as if they are taken back to the moment of the trauma.

3. Massive responses to traumatic triggers.

A traumatic trigger can be anything that reminds you of a traumatic moment or a traumatic situation. For some, this may be smelling the cologne of an abuser, for others, it may be hearing a song that was playing during a very traumatic moment. These triggers can set someone back to the period in which they endured the trauma.

4. Low self-worth.

Narcissists move through a pattern of idealization and then devaluation with their victims. In one moment, they will tell you that you are the best thing that ever happened and in the next, you are worthless and stupid. After being emotionally assaulted for a long period, it can begin to damage how you view yourself.

5. Avoidance.

After being traumatized severely, some people’s first instinct is to protect themselves through isolation. If they avoid people altogether, they will never get hurt again, right? Unfortunately, this removes the support system necessary for the healing cycles to overcome the abuse. If you are feeling the need to avoid people altogether, this can make the unbearable pain inflicted by the narcissist that much worse.