Toxic Relationships & Narcissistic Abuse

Trauma-Informed, Virtual
Coaching and Christian Counseling

Do you feel like you just can’t do this anymore?

Have you been endlessly Googling or watching videos to stop the pain and figure out what to do?

Has the information helped, yet you’re still struggling?

Are you noticing the abuse is impacting you in nearly every way?

Are you dealing with abuse that’s nearly invisible to everyone else?

Do you feel stuck and alone and unable to get out of a relentless cycle of pain and confusion?

Impacts of Toxic and Abusive Relationships

  • muscle tension
  • headaches
  • asthma
  • panic and anxiety
  • cardiovascular problems & high cholesterol levels
  • adrenal fatigue
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • heartburn
  • diabetes
  • sleep disturbances
  • male/female issues
  • aches and pains
  • Excessively intense emotions 
  • Unable to feel anything in situations that normally would stimulate an emotional response
  • Difficulty labeling or understanding emotions
  • Avoidance of emotions
  • Persistent sadness
  • Explosive or inaccessible anger
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Chronically numb
  • Lack of appropriate emotional response in certain situations
  • Unable to manage sudden changes in emotions
  • Struggle to calm after high or low emotions are experienced
  • Emotional reactions disproportionate to the present situation (emotional flashbacks)
  • Believe they are all bad or fundamentally flawed
  • Take personal responsibility for what happened to them
  • Believe they did this to themselves, so they are unworthy of kindness, love, or help
  • Think they are nothing more than what happened to them
  • Think they are in the way or are a burden to those around them
  • Believe they differ completely from other people
  • Believe that the person they were before the abuse occurred is gone forever
  • Poor memory of traumatic events (even ones previously recalled)
  • Remember traumatic events in an order different than they occurred
  • Feel disconnected from their own body or thoughts
  • Feel unreal or that everything has suddenly changed (Example:  things seem brighter in color, larger, farther away, or like a movie)
  • Lose chunks of time
  • Chronic but often intermittent difficulties with memory
  • Emotional flashbacks
  • Body memories
  • Profound feelings of isolation and difficulties knowing how to relate to others
  • Difficulty trusting anyone or knowing who can be trusted
  • Trust too easily and indiscriminately
  • Constantly search for someone to rescue them
  • Unintentionally seek out people who are hurtful or abusive
  • Abruptly abandon relationships that are going well
  • Continue relationships that are hurtful or abusive
  • Surrender control to one’s abuser
  • Believe they will always be under the abuser’s control
  • Believe the abuser knows better than they do what is best for them
  • Experience deep sadness or profound guilt after having left the abuser or even thinking about leaving
  • Deep attachment to the abuser’s charming or public persona
  • Believe that since everyone else likes the abuser, they must be the problem
  • Believe is it shameful to think badly of the abuser or that it will make something bad happen
  • Incessantly longing for the abuser to love them
  • Excessively working for the abuser’s love and approval
  • Persistent anger or hatred for the abuser
  • Recurring thoughts of revenge
  • Incongruent feelings toward the abuser (feeling that dramatically shift and can be polar opposites like love and hate)
  • Difficulty believing (or even hoping) that justice will ever be served
  • Doubt there is any genuine goodness or kindness in anyone
  • Believe that all goodness has selfish motivations
  • Believe they must have come into this world to be one of the ones that are only meant to be hurt
  • Profound level of despair
  • Inability to assign meaning to suffering
  • Inability to believe life can get better
  • Dramatic shifts in beliefs about life (there is reason and meaning to one’s existence vs. life is pointless)

If any of these painful and devastating impacts resonates with you, I want you to know that these reactions to abuse are entirely normal. 

You’re not “crazy”! It’s “crazy” what is happening to you! The immense impacts can leave even the strongest individuals struggling to survive. 

Some people aren’t sure if they are experiencing abuse, and they need help to sort that out. Others feel frozen and unable to move forward or leave an abusive relationship. 

Maybe you have reached out for help before, only to be given answers that don’t apply to your situation and leave you feeling more helpless, misunderstood, and alone. 

One-on-one support will give you a safe space to catch your breath, sort things out, and find much-needed peace in your life. There’s no pressure. You’ll receive lots of support, validation, helpful information, gentle encouragement, and practical ways to overcome the impacts and calm the aftershocks. 

You’ll discover how the abuse has impacted you physically and learn how to release trauma stored in the body and help your brain and nervous system heal.

We all get to the point in our healing that we need personalized support that blends what we already know with our unique situation.

Do You Need?

Answers

Are you constantly confused and questioning everything? 

Get the validation and insights you need to unravel your individual situation and clearly understand the truth about what is happening.

Direction

Have you tried everything, but nothing seems to be helping?

Get the personalized guidance, effective strategies, and roadmap you need to confidently choose your next steps.

Healing

Are you realizing just how deeply you have been impacted?

Get the trauma-informed support and direction you need to overcome the impacts and move forward in your life.

Services

Important!

Willow Life Coaching and Counseling, LLC does NOT provide medical services. Please see a licensed medical provider if you need medical and mental health services.

About Me

Bonnie Ronstrom

I’m a certified life coach, victim’s advocate, and pastoral counselor. I specialize in walking toward healing with those harmed by toxicity, narcissism, and spiritual abuse.

My passion is to provide the validation, support, training, and resources individuals and organizations need to overcome the devastating impacts of toxicity and abuse.

Whether you need a one-time consult or a place to heal, I look forward to meeting you and exploring how we can best work together. I work with clients from all over the world through virtual, trauma-informed coaching, Christian counseling (non-medical), groups, training, and consulting services.

Contact Me

Frequently Asked Questions

Christian Counseling

Do you take insurance?

My services are not medical, so they are not covered by medical insurance.

Who do you work with?

I work with English speaking adults from diverse cultures, countries, and backgrounds.

If you didn’t see an answer to your question, the link below will take you to more frequently asked questions.

What does working together look like?

The various parts of us (body, mind, soul, spirit, emotions, personality, abilities, etc.) are so intricately woven together that all aspects of us are impacted when we experience hardships and trauma. For this reason, I believe the most profound growth and healing occur when all parts of us are part of the process.

When we first meet, I’ll ask about your goals and what you hope to gain from working together. Some people have a clear picture of what they want, while others are overwhelmed and focused on surviving today (an expected impact of abuse and trauma). If this is your situation, we can start with your immediate needs, such as helpful information, clarity, a safety plan, or strategies to calm the chaos and anxiety.

I let each person decide how often they want to meet (permitting time in my schedule) and if they prefer to meet via phone or video chat.

As we talk, I discover your personality, experiences, preferences, and abilities. Getting to know you is an essential part of helping me present options and strategies that will be effective for you. I don’t believe a one-size-fits-all approach works. 

 

Part of being trauma-sensitive is that I’m always listening for potential triggers and roadblocks so that together we can develop creative ways to help you keep moving forward and avoid being retraumatized. 

Trauma alters how our brain and nervous systems function. Even when we are no longer in a harmful environment, having “trauma brain” causes physical problems and makes everyday tasks and interactions difficult. An essential part of healing is helping your brain and nervous systems return to healthy functioning. Thankfully, our brains are capable of changing and developing new patterns. Even though trauma is devastating, healing is possible!

People are traumatized when they go through deeply distressing events. When these distressing events are ongoing (such as in the case of Narcissistic Abuse), the impacts are profound.

When there is stress, our brains temporarily change how they function to help us respond to the stressor and recover afterward. Prolonged trauma causes our brains to take on new patterns of functioning. Certain brain areas become overactive while others under-function. These changes are sometimes referred to as “trauma brain.”

Here are just a few of the signs of “trauma brain.”

Lack of focus

Memory issues, Forgetful

Fatigue, Unmotivated

Anxious, restless

Emotionally reactive

Difficulty feeling connected to anyone

Difficulty thinking through challenging topics 

More impulsive

Drawn toward addictions (food, shopping, drugs, researching, etc.)

Sleep difficulties

Loss of hope or difficulty thinking about the future

Jumpy 

Overthinking & obsessing

Headaches, stomach and intestinal issues, auto-immune disorders

Skeptical of everyone and everything

Recent Blog Articles