Your heart is racing as you watch the time on the clock tick closer to arrival. You are double checking everything in the house, with dinner, your appearance. Looking the kids over to make sure there is nothing wrong with what they have on. Your house is far from perfect. Some of it lack of interest on the abuser’s part to make it a home that both of you can enjoy, some of it on you because of the scrutiny you live under. You are tired of trying to make things perfect so you can have some normalcy in your life. You crave acceptance and partnership but instead you feel like you are driving a car with suddenly no brakes. That is panic. You remember when you first got married and were excited to hear his car pull into the driveway. Your heart would race. You could not wait to hug and kiss your husband but that quickly came to an end when he shunned you and denied you even that small gesture. Now, you are cooking dinner, starting to feel the panic rise in you. Will tonight be okay? Will he pay attention to the children? Will he be happy with dinner? What didn’t you get done today that will set him off? You let dinner cook and again scan the house. You have a right to be panicked. It could be a great family night where he sits at the table and dinner is what he wants and you all laugh and talk about your day. It could start out okay and something could be said that sets him off and he leaves the table angry and in a huff while the kids and you sit there wondering what the hell happened or he could absolutely refuse to eat dinner with the family, choosing to sit alone in the living room or refusing to eat at all because he doesn’t like what you made. You never knew what would happen, so the panic would set in before the arrival. Followed by fear when he walked in and had that look on his face.
PTSD and panic attacks are common when you have been abused by a narcissist. The one thing you have to do to stop the panic attacks are to immediately try to relax and self-talk. Remind yourself that right now, this is not an emergency. Simply someone in a mood and you have handled it before. You can do it again. If you start to feel as if your heart or head are about to explode, which often happens with panic attacks, try something grounding like stepping outside in your bare feet. Let the earth take some of that energy. If it’s too cold out, go out and put your bare palms on a tree to ground yourself. Keep your nightly routine and stay as close to your routine as possible for your sake and the kids. Don’t let the darkness of the narcissist consume you. It always helped me to remember that I was the healthy example for my children.
Remember that your panic is what the narcissist is feeding on. He wants you to feel what is his panic. Narcissists have a huge fear of being alone and when they are feeling insecure and scared or stressed, they love to make others feel the same way. They spend so much time during their lives trying to inflict harm on others or on their target at least, that inevitably, the narcissist ends up alone in the end with no one to love or care for them. People start to treat the narcissist with the same indifference they treated them and they often die alone with not one soul caring that they are gone. Don’t feel bad about this. They created it.
Seek medical help for panic attacks and start to use whatever method works for you. The last thing you want is for the narcissist to affect your health. The stress the narcissist causes take a terrible toll on your health. Take care of yourself. It’s the only way you are going to make it through.