How to Manage Emotional Flashbacks after Narcissistic Abuse

How to Manage Emotional Flashbacks after Narcissistic Abuse how to manage emotional flashbacks after narcissistic abuse
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Narcissistic abuse will leave you traumatized and with psychological scars. When not fully addressed, these scars can affect the quality of your present life. One common symptom you may experience is emotional flashbacks. There will be moments throughout the day when you have vivid and overwhelming sensations of past traumatic events you went through while in the relationship. These flashbacks occur without warning and may leave you feeling negative emotions that seem disconnected from what’s happening in your present moment. You may not even realize you’re experiencing one, especially if you haven’t fully addressed some of your past emotional baggage.

According to, it forces you to feel the same emotions you felt during that traumatic event from the past, but without you being able to remember or understand the memory connected to it. These emotions can be triggered by various stimuli such as certain smells (perfumes), sights, sounds, or even certain words or phrases — anything that ties back to the memory of the actual traumatic events.

Some of the emotions you may experience during a flashback include anger, grief, sadness, helplessness, panic, anxiety, and fear. Flashbacks are a normal occurrence for any survivor of trauma, and I am going to share with you some of the things you can do to help cope with those painful feelings.

How Do You Cope with Flashbacks After Narcissistic Abuse?

1. Labelling the Flashback

The first thing you can do is identify and acknowledge that you are experiencing a flashback. Remind yourself that you are not in any immediate danger and the emotions you are feeling are from past traumatic events. This will help you create some distance and clear distinction between your present moment and your past traumatic event. You will be able to realize that the emotions you are experiencing now are not tied to your current situation which ends up reducing the intensity of those painful feelings.

Labelling will also help you identify some of the triggers so that you can avoid them in the future. Additionally, by doing this, you will be able to prevent your mind from manufacturing new emotions such as shame as a result of those flashbacks.

2. Set, Uphold and Remind Yourself of Your Boundaries

The other thing that will lower the intensity of those negative emotions is understanding your boundaries or what is acceptable and not acceptable from others. This is where you know what you can or cannot tolerate from others or yourself. When you know your boundaries, you will have a sense of safety and control over your surroundings.

Boundaries can also help you identify what you feel safe and comfortable with in the present moment. For example, you can set boundaries around certain topics, actions, or conversations that are triggering to you.

3. Journaling

Another tool that will help you manage those uncomfortable emotions is journaling. You can develop a habit of practicing journaling every time you have a flashback or every day. You can write about what you are feeling, and this will help you make sense of it. Instead of letting those emotions take control, you can express them in your journal.

It is a great release that will help you explore those difficult emotions caused by the flashbacks. There’s no right or wrong way of practicing journaling but you can use prompts like: –

· What am I feeling now?

· How can I show myself more love and compassion?

· What am I grateful for today?

· How far have I come in my healing journey?

4. Grounding Techniques

One last practice that will help you manage those uncomfortable emotions is practicing grounding. These can include practicing meditation, using your five senses, counting, breath, visualization or just any other practice that will bring you back to the present moment ( you can read more about those grounding techniques here).

When you experience a flashback, your mind will veer off to a past event, and practicing grounding techniques will bring your focus more on the present. By focusing on the present, the distress will reduce, and you will become calmer. It is more about shifting your focus from the past to the present moment.


Emotional flashbacks are a normal experience for victims of abuse or for someone who may have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Being aware of them and developing proper coping strategies to manage those painful emotions and feelings is a great step in healing from the experience.

Lastly, it’s important to understand that flashbacks are symptoms of unprocessed pain. You can address those flashbacks permanently by finding a safe space to release and process those trapped memories. These wounds are trapped in your body and mind, and the flashbacks are more of a manifestation of your unhealed trauma. With commitment and the right tools, you can move to the other side of the fence permanently, where your past painful experiences don’t have a grip on how you live your life presently. A place where the memories of your ex don’t affect the quality of your life now.

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😊.

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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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