Sometimes when abuse gets especially bad, it can put a person into shock. This can be expected when someone is beaten or raped, especially by someone known to the victim, but it comes other times as well.
In cases of narcissistic abuse, a narcissist can be much like a machine gun of abuse- shooting out abuse after abuse in a short period of time. A victim doesn’t have the time to cope with one episode before another comes along. Or, the abuse can be so outrageous that it is simply unbelievable. When this happens, victims can go into a state of shock
I believe this happens because the brain is trying to protect the victim. Shock gives a person time to come to terms with the fact something awful has happened. Unfortunately though, it still can be difficult to go through. Focus & concentration can be hard to come by. You may feel very “spacey”. You also may miss things you normally notice such as if someone is making a joke. And, you may not be able to identify your emotions.
During the last few weeks of my father’s life, due to the constant abuse I received for not saying good bye to him as well as my own grief, I experienced shock like I’ve never experienced before. (That’s saying something too since I experienced it on a regular basis growing up due to constant abuse, especially in my late teens.) At the time of me writing this, my father has been dead for about six weeks now, & the shock is still there. It’s finally starting to diminish a little bit. One plus at least is I’m learning how to cope with shock, so I thought I’d share what I’m learning with you, Dear Reader.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to get over shock right away. It happened for a reason- to protect your mental health. Don’t try to force yourself to get better right away, because obviously you aren’t ready to cope with what happened just yet. It reminds me of repressed memories- forcing them to come back to the forefront of your mind can cause you more suffering than is necessary. Just let the shock work itself out.
Try to take care of yourself. I say try because as an adult child of narcissistic parents, I know self care isn’t easy. Try it anyway. Get plenty of rest, eat good food, & don’t neglect your physical health. Shock can take a toll on your body as well as your mind, so treat it well.
Do things that make you feel nurtured. Drink herbal tea, coffee or cocoa. Spend a day curled up in your favorite blanket & watch funny movies all day. Buy yourself little treats like a new book or CD you’ve been wanting. Simple little gestures can help you to feel better.
In time, the shock will lift, & you will need to face what you’re feeling after your trauma. Don’t forget to continue taking good care of your physical & mental health when that happens! Emotional work takes up a lot of energy, so you need to take care of both your physical & mental health as you heal.
I noticed something about my situation that I wonder if others have faced as well. During the worst of the shock, I stopped remembering my dreams. This was very odd for me as I’ve always had very vivid dreams that I clearly remember. I believe that is because my brain was trying to come to terms with the daily traumas I endured for that time. I finally started remembering some of my dreams about five weeks after the last traumatic episode surrounding my father’s death happened.
I find dreams to be extremely helpful in understanding my emotional health. I strongly advice paying attention to your dreams once you begin having them again. Write them down. Look up dream symbols to help you to understand what your dreams are about. Personally, I like http://www.dreammoods.com . Also ask God to help you to understand them. You may find some valuable insight in your dreams.