The Physical Effects of Narcissistic Abuse
Does narcissistic abuse merely hurt us emotionally or does it take a physical toll too?
Us vs. Them
There’s this idea that a full, rich life should be a rich panoply of experiences in pursuit of adrenalin-rushes. But those of us who’ve survived narcissistic abuse don’t relate to that. We’re the proverbial sticks-in-the-mud. All we want is a quiet life. A peaceful life. Rest.
And adrenalin rushes? Like Smeagol would say, “We hates ’em, Precious!”
So that made me wonder if narcissistic abuse takes a toll on us only emotionally or does it affect us physically too?
** Further research indicates that the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue may actually be
caused by hypothyroidism / Hashimoto’s disease. If you are suffering from
OCD, anxiety, panic attacks, etc…I encourage you to research hypothyroidism,
autoimmune, fatty liver, etc. **
While not an “officially” recognized ailment, adrenal fatigue is real to those who suffer from it. In layman’s terms, the adrenal glands that secrete adrenalin to help us meet emergencies are all sapped out. Over-used. Tired. Their get-up-and-go has got-up-and-left.
And why not!? Narcissistic abuse is extremely stressful. Where life can and should flow fairly gently, with narcissists its fraught with dread, fear and guilt. Everything is a crisis. A big deal. Living with a narcissist is like living with a seething volcano. You never know when they’re gonna blow.
After a decade or two of this, ya just can’t get going. And you hate yourself for it, mentally berating yourself for being lazy, lazy, LAZY (just like the narcissist said you were)!! Sometimes around either noon, 6 p.m. or when the sun goes down, something seems to go “click” and you finally get your mojo back enough to get a few things done. That goes on, day after day.
Get up. Feel “blah.” Hate your own guts for laziness. Mojo back. Rush to get things done. Get the blahs again.
It’s called adrenal fatigue and while there are antidotes, the best one is simply rest. And lots of it. Giving in to the so-called “laziness.” It’s not an option if you want your adrenal glands to recover.
Sheer, immobilizing dread. Sweaty-palmed fear. Nervousness. Is it just emotional or are there physical roots to it too? I read online about one woman who had severe anxiety and panic attacks. Nothing helped. Turns out, she was wildly low in B Vitamins. When her B vitamins were fixed, hey presto! So was her anxiety.
It’s not only doctors who need to consider and heal the whole person. Medical doctors need to consider the emotional and psychological roots of illness. Conversely, psychologists need to consider the physical roots of mental and emotional problems! Is it anxiety from abuse or anxiety from hypothyroidism, etc. Or both!?!
I knew of a gal who was thirteen when her parents temporarily separated. As you might imagine, it was extremely stressful for her. One day, her hair started coming out in gobs. It’s called alopecia.
Turns out, she’s not alone. Popular British model, TV presenter and actress, Gail Porter (pictured above), is famous for being gorgeous…and bald. Both she and BBC’s “Queen of Clean” Kim Woodburn (who had a horrifically abusive childhood) both suffer from alopecia. In Kim’s case, her dramatic hair loss was solved by Vitamin B12 injections.
Are we seeing a trend here?
It’s hard to sleep with narcissists in our home or, even worse, sharing our bed.
Falling asleep can be hard, especially if the narcissist is mad at us and won’t talk it out. Just the tension of being codependent to them and everyone else makes us so tense, so uptight, so nervous that falling asleep takes 1 to 2 hours every night.
We have nightmares. Flap our feet. Kick. Grind our teeth. Chew on our own tongues…and don’t know a darn thing about all the Drama in Dreamland until someone tells us.
It doesn’t help when you’re persecuted for being awake and ordered to go to sleep. It doesn’t help when you’re persecuted for peeing at night and waking them up. It doesn’t help when they’re always spying. It doesn’t help when you’re teased whether you wake up early or wake up late.
Like you, I’ve always had tension headaches. Agonizing. Pounding. Nauseating. Maybe they were migraines, but no one paid any attention. When I finally begged for meds, I was told to wait. “It might go away,” Dad always said. It never did.
Now, years into No Contact and hundreds of miles away from them, I don’t get tension headaches anymore. Ever.
A coincidence? I don’t think so!
There was a time when my body felt like one big infection. No matter what, I always got infections. If my clothing rubbed or galled, I’d get a cyst. If I pulled an errant eyebrow, I’d get an infection. If my OCD got the better of me and I indulged in dermatillomania, I got infections. No matter what I did nor how clean I was, I was constantly getting infections.
Once I moved away from them, everything changed. The constant infections magically went away and never came back. I joyfully stopped wearing heavy concealer, liquid foundation, powdered foundation and finishing powder. (Yes! My shame was so acute, I wrote four layers on my skin!) Today, my skin is (almost) flawless…naturally. No more infections, no matter how many eyebrows I pull!
Another coincidence? I don’t think so either.
Fibromyalgia & Other Autoimmunes
They say that childhood trauma sows the seeds of fibromyalgia. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. There does seem to be a link between fibro and trauma, but I’m convinced there’s more to the story. Be that as it may, fibromyalgia is a beeeatch.
My husband has fibro among many other auto-immunes and yes, his childhood was extremely traumatic and abusive. His bones hurt, especially when the weather changes. His muscles hurt, especially when he does, well, anything. On a particularly bad day he claimed his eyebrows hurt…but that was just hyperbole and I’m ashamed to say that the idea of eyebrows hurting made me laugh hysterically.
Luckily, we’ve found a few supplements that work with fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals. But, so far, there’s no magic bullet.
But one things for sure: we survivors of narcissistic abuse don’t seek out drama, dangerous hobbies and adrenalin rushes. Nope! We love our homes. Our quiet. Our rest. Our solitude. Is there joy superior to tucking yourself into bed with a good book, a hot cup of strong green tea and a gardenia candle!? Oh, and dogs. Always dogs.
I’m sure there’s many more physical symptoms of narcissistic abuse. This article just scratched the surface. Please share your physical challenges in the comments section below, as well as any antidotes that’ve worked for you and may help other readers.
As always, thanks for reading and please subscribe!
Thompson, L. (2017). The Physical Effects of Narcissistic Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism/2017/02/the-physical-effects-of-narcissistic-abuse/