Are Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome and Complex PTSD the same?

By: Bonnie Ronstrom
Willow Life Coaching and Counseling, LLC

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a psychological disorder resulting from a traumatic event such as a severe car accident or an assault. 


What are the symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD symptoms include flashbacks, phobias, hypervigilance, depression, anxiety, nightmares, physical pain, and panic.

Long-term exposure to trauma such as child abuse, being held captive, living in a war zone, or psychological abuse can cause a more complex form of PTSD. 

Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) can include all the symptoms of PTSD and the symptoms of C-PTSD.

C-PTSD symptoms include difficulties with emotional regulation, dissociation, distorted perceptions of self, preoccupation with the perpetrator(s), changes in worldview, and significant relational challenges.

When someone develops C-PTSD from being in a relationship of any type with someone who has significant narcissistic traits, it is often called Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome.

While Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome and C-PTSD are not official diagnoses in the DSM, they provide helpful ways for survivors to talk about the impacts of their traumatic experiences.  

These impacts are normal and expected reactions to abnormal circumstances. 

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.



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.

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