How A Relationship With A Narcissist Can Cause Lifelong Trauma + How To Heal

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Originally published on mindbodygreen on 2020 07 16 by Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy

If you’re fresh out of that relationship, you’ll blame yourself and fall prey to their requests to meet because they’d love to apologize and thank you—during which they’ll hook you back. They’ll intermittently appear and disappear from your life, especially when you’re starting to live better again, because they don’t want you having a good life without them. Sometimes, you’ll miss them and want to reach out. Or you continue keeping in touch because you think that’s the polite thing to do, and that’s how the narcissist continues to subtly poison you, impeding your healing.

But the effects of having dated a narcissist can continue to linger even after you’ve cut off all contact and your legal entanglements with them are over.

The thing about trauma is that our brains need closure. And so sometimes we end up in similar relationships, or what we call “repetition compulsion” in psychology. It feels like a bad magic spell, and we feel more helpless and hopeless with time. 

Or, fast-forward decades. You can be in an amazing relationship with someone who loves you, but you’re always looking over your shoulder. You’re haunted by the trauma and anxiety, which you may manage by medicating yourself with work, overthinking, or praying, but it’s always in the background. You wonder why people hurt you and why you can’t trust most humans. And one fine day, the trauma catches up with you, and you break down. 

This trauma can even pass on to your next generations—some evidence suggests that unresolved trauma passes on genetically and energetically within the family line so that it can be resolved by one’s descendants eventually. In the case of narcissistic abuse, that means people later in your family line could end up being involved in relationships with abusers, or become abusers themselves. In spiritual circles, the saying that the same lessons will present themselves over and over again until we’ve learned them.

Leaving is the first step; it’s staying gone that’s the real legwork of healing from a narcissistic relationship. Gone from them in your head, body, and soul. 

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Randy Salars News And Comment

Copywriter and marketing consultant. Author of 'Stories And Recipes From The Soup Kitchen.' Freedom lover, adventurer, and treasure hunter.

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