Both of these conditions tend to originate or stem from distress, but there are some important differences to note.
There has been many lengthy discussion on this website about narcissism, the effects of narcissism, and C-PTSD, along with other personality disorders. We discuss these things because they affect our everyday lives, and it’s important to know what, and who, we’re dealing with.
Firstly, let’s start with C-PTSD. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is defined as, “a psychological injury that results from prolonged exposure to social or interpersonal anguish, dis-empowerment, with constant feelings of no escape.” It is a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional damage over which a victim has little or no control.
C-PTSD sufferers may “stuff” or suppress their emotional reaction to shocking events without resolution either because they believe each event by itself doesn’t seem like such a big deal or because they see no satisfactory resolution opportunity available to them. This suppression of “emotional baggage” can continue for a long time either until a “last straw” event occurs.
Because people who have this disorder tend to shove their true emotions down so deeply, they can appear to have certain toxic personality traits. However, it is important to keep in mind they are not truly toxic, this is how they protect themselves.
Having C-PTSD means you have walls upon walls built to keep you safe. Your emotions may tumble out at any point and in order to hold everything back, you have to keep pushing things down, keep burying the pain, and constantly try to remember what it means to appear normal in front of others. These people have endured something so painful that their only way of coping is by either forcing a smile and pretending, or by denying their feelings completely. It’s unpleasant but there those few people out there who can manage to find moments of true happiness in their daily lives while continuing to heal from C-PTSD.
Since there has been a lot of questions regarding the connection to C-PTSD and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I thought we would clear a few things up.
Rudy Schmitz, expert on narcissistic relationships, has this to say on Quora, “to develop NPD, the person must have been traumatized over a significant period of time as a child, and therefor have also developed C-PTSD.”
“The major difference is that you can develop C-PTSD at any age. NPD only as a child and the impact in your behavior has more of a social impact and less of a fear and fright impact,” she continues.
While those with NPD will never seek out actual verifiable help for their condition, those with C-PTSD are always on the lookout for something to help them get over the things they fear they will never be able to conquer.
Jean Reitman, former Medicolegal Expert Reviewer on Quora summarized this muddled issue with a rather simple, yet accurate explaination, “As a gross oversimplification, the NPD believes their distress is caused by external forces, never an issue within themselves, while the CPTSD will blame themselves for what has been caused by external forces, and thus feel increasingly hopeless.”
There you have it. Those with C-PTSD may also have NPD, but that does not mean that all people with NPD also have C-PTSD. The childhood years are so vital to a healthy mental outlook as an adult. Remember this because it is what shapes our future generations.