Signs & Symptoms Lists

Trauma-Informed, Virtual
Coaching and Christian Counseling


  • Frequently ignore you unless they want something from you
  • Doesn’t respect your need for space and privacy  
  • Try to “get even” for perceived wrongs against them
  • Change how they relate to you when other people are around
  • Make it very difficult to live your own life and have your own thoughts and goals
  • Frequently use guilt messages ( “If you loved me…”  “If you really were a caring person…”)
  • Shame you to get you to do what they want
  • Make love or provision of your needs dependent on your doing what they want
  • Take the credit for your accomplishments
  • Are obsessively involved in your life
  • Compete with you 
  • Constantly lie to you
  • Don’t really listen to you or take an interest in your feelings
  • Tell you that you are crazy, confused, a liar, or have a poor memory
  • Give compliments that are really put-downs
  • Put you in a parental role
  • Have a favorite child
  • React intensely to criticism
  • Project their own bad behavior onto you
  • Lack of genuine empathy
  • Fake empathy to manipulate
  • Insist on being right
  • Are incredibly likable in new relationships, but end up with all sorts of misunderstandings and failed relationships
  • You give more to the relationship than they do
  • Need attention all the time
  • Make holidays and birthdays miserable
  • Give gifts you don’t want or they attach strings to them
  • Are resentful when you are hurt or sick
  • Silently or passive-aggressively express rage
  • Conveniently forget on purpose
  • Pit people against each other
  • Triangulate
  • Confide in other people about you as a way to make other people think badly of you
  • Suck the life out of you
  • Initiate conversations and situations that make you feel crazy
  • Make conversations always come back around to them
  • End up the victim, no matter what 
  • Rage when something good happens to you or for you
  • Inadequately protected you from harmful people, situations, or things


  • Act resentful when you are hurt or sick
  • Don’t respect your need for space and privacy
  • Make it very difficult to live your own life and have your own thoughts and goals
  • Don’t really listen to you or take an interest in your feelings
  • Insist on being right
  • Make conversations always come back around to them
  • Don’t give as much effort to the relationship as you do 
  • Need attention all the time and want your life to completely revolve around them and their needs, and if doesn’t, they get angry or pout
  • Frequently make you feel unimportant by constantly being late, changing plans, not responding to your attempts to reach them, or not keeping promises
  • Claim to know what you are thinking or what is best for you
  • Give back-handed compliments and smug remarks
  • Have to “one-up” you or give insults disguised as compliments
  • Minimize accomplishments by comparing them to their own
  • Cause you to lose your self-respect for your own time and your needs
  • Ignores you unless they want something from you
  • Send guilt messages ( “If you loved me…”  “If you really were a caring person…”)
  • Shame you 
  • Tell you that you are crazy, confused, a liar, or have a poor memory
  • Tell you messages like you’re too sensitive or dramatic and just need to get over it
  • Project their own bad behavior onto you
  • Lack of genuine empathy
  • Blame you for nearly everything bad that happens 
  • Change how they relate to you when other people are around
  • Pit people against each other
  • Triangulate
  • Confide in other people about you as a way to make other people think badly of you
  • Gaslight when it comes to sex
  • Give you the silent treatment
  • Make you beg and plead for them to talk to you or care about you   
  • Believe the rules don’t apply to them
  • Try to get even for a perceived wrong against them
  • Conveniently forget on purpose
  • Fake empathy to manipulate
  • React intensely to criticism
  • Suck the life out of you
  • Call you a narcissist or tell you that you are always making it all about you
  • Cause a breakdown in your own self-respect for your time and your needs
  • Are hot and then cold, or nice and then nasty
  • Express silent or passive-aggressive anger
  • Are generous and altruistic only to manipulate people’s perceptions that they are a good, caring person, but they never do those things for you if someone isn’t watching
  • Constantly make you feel on-edge around them
  • Give gifts that you don’t want or attach strings to them  
  • Frequently give threats or dramatic ultimatums
  • Give praise and compliments only when they are trying to manipulate you
  • Forget about your requests on purpose
  • Rage when something good happens to you or for you
  • Want you to focus so much on them that over time you have lost yourself
  • Constantly have a condescending and patronizing undertone  (Example: using your name excessively. “OK! Rebekah! I heard you the first time, Rebekah.  You know, Rebekah…”)
  • Initiate conversations and situations that constantly make you feel confused or crazy
  • Consistently give less to the relationship than you do
  • Demonstrate they don’t actually want to get to know you
  • Create many situations where they end up the victim
  • Are incredibly likable in new relationships, but end up with all sorts of misunderstandings and failed relationships

When C-PTSD is caused by Narcissistic Abuse it is called Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome.  C-PTSD includes the symptoms of PTSD plus the following:

Difficulties with Emotional Regulation

  • 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)

Difficult with self-perception

  • 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

Interruptions in Consciousness and Dissociation

  • 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

Difficulty with Relationships

  • 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

Misperception of One’s Perpetrators

  • 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)

Disrupted World View and System of Perceiving the World

  • 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)

Do You Need?


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.


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.


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.

My Approach

I believe we are all beautifully unique, including YOU, so a “one size fits all” approach often isn’t helpful and can even be hurtful. So, instead of using a cookie-cutter plan, I enjoy working together with you to create a path forward that considers your unique personality, challenges, and strengths.

I believe that you are the expert on you. My role is to listen and learn about you so that I can provide the guidance and support you need to get to where you want to go. The best growth and healing occurs in a space where you feel free to ask questions, disagree, and talk about what is helpful and what isn’t.

I believe every person is valuable. Unfortunately, trauma often causes us to confuse the impacts of trauma with our identity. When this happens, we are left feeling deeply ashamed, hopeless, crazy, and weak. I value you, and I want to create a safe space where you can feel and know your value too!



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


Overthinking & obsessing

Headaches, stomach and intestinal issues, auto-immune disorders

Skeptical of everyone and everything

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