Dissociation after Narcissistic Abuse

Dissociation after Narcissistic Abuse dissociation after narcissistic abuse
Photo by Andra C Taylor Jr on Unsplash

When you are in an abusive relationship, you are feeling pain and you feel trapped in it. Because you’re traumatized and they’ve ruined your self-esteem, you feel that you will never break free even if the door is wide open. This feeling of helplessness when you’re in dangerous situation (you’re being abused and you can’t really ‘escape’ the situation) mostly leads to dissociation.

Dissociation is a coping mechanism where you detach from reality and there’s a mental disconnect among your thoughts, memories and actions. Your body and mind develops this defense mechanism so as to avoid feeling the pain you’re encountering especially when you’re trapped in a traumatic situation (mostly for a long time). It is a common symptom of being in a narcissistic relationship because you feel cornered to the point that you feel like you’ll live in that painful environment forever and there’s no escape for you.

The mind disconnects you from those thoughts, feelings, and surroundings as a it seeks to protect you from the overwhelming emotional or psychological trauma. It’s the situation where they might be yelling at you and calling you names but you just feel that you’re not really there, you’ve zoned out and you’re not really listening to what they’re saying.


When you don’t pay attention to what they’re doing or what’s happening in the environment, it provides some sense of ‘safety’ because the pain of soaking in the emotional or physical abuse you’re encountering is unbearable.

The unprocessed traumatic memories you’re being exposed to far much supersedes your ability to cope with them in them present moment. So, the best thing to do is to psychologically exit from the reality of the situation so as to minimize the overwhelming pain you’re feeling. It’s more of ‘escaping’ into an imaginary world or what mostly look like ‘out of the body experience’ so as to protect yourself from the overwhelming pain.

Some of the symptoms that you’re experiencing dissociation after being in an abusive relationship may include: –

Dissociation after Narcissistic Abuse dissociation after narcissistic abuse

Screenshot from Harley Therapy Counselling

The danger of being in this dissociative state for a prolonged period of time is you will miss out on reality (which is life in itself). When you’re dissociated, you’ve numbed the fear but at the same time you’ve also disconnected from meaningful and authentic interactions with those around you and your surroundings.

Another thing is a dissociated experience from the past does not simply go away or disappear into the thin air, it will play out through instances where you find yourself engaging in some undesirable behaviors which on ‘normal’ occasions you wouldn’t be engaging in. Those unprocessed traumatic memories will still look fresh to the mind and it will still try to protect you by maintain this dissociative state even long after you’ve left that traumatic environment.


How do I stop feeling Dissociated?

We first have to understand that dissociation and all those experiences you’re having in your present life are not who you are. They are just symptoms of underlying pain or painful memories which have not been processed. When you process past pain, you release that anchor that’s tying you to your past painful experiences.

The main challenge here is your mind (current identity) doesn’t want you to process those past painful emotions because the thought of it is unpleasant and uncomfortable. Your current identity feels more ‘safe’ and ‘comfortable’ with your current dissociative state because it sees that it’s able to at least ‘push’ away (avoid) pain.

The best way to counter this is to see dissociation as not really avoiding pain but carrying past pain with you. When you process past traumatic experiences, it’s like informing the same mind that, “Hey, we’re safe now and I can handle whatever life throws at me.”

In conclusion, the catalyst to your healing journey is commitment to processing those past hurts without putting into too much thought. It’s finding a safe environment to really go deeper and process those painful experiences so that you can reconnect with your authentic self. When you release past pain, you’re connecting to the present you.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.


1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/202102/what-is-the-dissociative-mind


3. https://www.btr.org/dissociation-symptoms/

4. https://praxisthriving.com/blog/2017/9/1/the-insidious-effects-of-emotional-and-narcissistic-abuse#:~:text=As%20much%20as%20people%20still,self%2Dblame%2C%20and%20isolation.

5. https://abusewarrior.com/abuse/symptoms-of-ptsd/

6. https://rolandbal.com/types-dissociation/

7. https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/dissociation.htm

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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