Surviving Trauma With a Narcissist: 3 Tips to Deal With Narcissism From an Abuse Survivor by Arielle Spring

Mental Health
3 months ago

Surviving Trauma With a Narcissist: 3 Tips to Deal With Narcissism From an Abuse Survivor

On top of suffering from undiagnosed PTSD and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) for decades, a key person in my life, my narcissistic mother, had a negative impact on my healing. Her treatment of me re-opened old wounds disallowing my wounds to heal. The degrading and deflating nature of treatment from this narcissist perpetuated me to repeat the same unhealthy behaviors and choices in my life creating my C-PTSD.

When a family member should be your top supporter, yet due to her narcissistic traits, my trauma was not a priority. As a result, I didn’t have:

  • A voice.
  • Self-confidence.
  • Self-esteem.
  • A chance at life.
  • An understanding of who she was.
  • The ability to value her incredible assets.
  • The ability to speak up for her wants and needs.
  • Clarity on who she was or what she wanted.

The traits I experienced from my narcissistic mother include:

  • She needed to be the center of attention UNLESS the attention on others made her look “good.”
  • She was negative and extremely critical of me UNLESS my success made her look “good."
  • She did not “see” me for who I was, but rather saw me as a shadow of herself.
  • She rarely had time for me.
  • She bestowed a dark secret upon me so that she could brag about the secret.

Through my healing from my abuse and trauma, and eventually my PTSD and C-PTSTD, I worked hard to have a relationship with my mother. My experience in this area has been a long and winding road of pain the "shrinking to fit," which left me feeling small and worthless and wondering who the heck I was. The only way I was able to have a successful relationship with a narcissist was to dig really dig into MYSELF to do my own work. It’s a natural thing to want the other person to change, but the ONLY way to change a relationship with a narcissist is to change yourself.

I could not count on her changing. Her deep "narcissistic wound" prevented her from looking within herself. And if she did, she certainly was not going to share her pain or insight with me.

Here are three tips to deal with a narcissists in your life: 

  1. Do your inner work so that you don’t fall victim to the narcissist’s self-centered, self-promoting ways.
  2. Learn to recognize your triggers that the narcissist evokes so that you can develop your opinions and the ability to voice them.
  3. Uncover your “true self” so that you can create the life you’ve always wanted and were meant to have which will allow you to free yourself of the need of validation from the narcissist.

Photo of book cover courtesy of Arielle Spring and FSR Ventures.

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Elisa Schmitz
Thank you for sharing this insight and perspective. So many people go through this and never feel heard or seen. We appreciate you giving voice to a very difficult topic so many endure.
I’m sorry for your pain. Narcissists are the worst.
If anyone has a narcissist in their life, it’s better to get them out of your life!

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