Post-Separation: Starting to recall innocuous memories with PD Ex-H? (C-PTSD)

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Hi all,

I've been v.low contact with my NPD/BPD(?) ex-husband for 6 months now (after being together for 20 years); I've also been diagnosed with C-PTSD as a result of his abusive behaviour.

I'm wondering if anyone else has had the following experience?

I've been aware for several years of an inability to recall past memories - whether positive, negative or neutral.

However in the past couple of weeks, innocuous, neutral memories of  my past life with PDXH have been popping into my head - randomly, with no obvious trigger or reason. As I said, these memories don't have much emotional content either - they're usually of just being in a particular place, or doing a certain mundane thing, etc.

Apart from wondering if I'm the only person to experience this, my main question is - why now?!
Why seemingly meaningless incidents?
And is this a positive or negative thing?
(Btw I have zero interest or intention to get back together with PDXH, in case that's relevant).

Any comments, experiences, advice gratefully received!
Thanks x.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 08:03:02 PM by BlackBox »



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Hi BlackBox and welcome,

I'm sorry for what brings you here, you will find a lot of wisdom and encouragement.  I too was married 20 years to covert-NPD/ASPD type.  I have experienced what you describe, the inability to recall at times, and now the surfacing of memories.  I can't speak for others, but I have heard this topic discussed on this forum many times.

Intimate relationship with a PD person is exhausting.  The amount of energy required to deal with the mind games, confusion, gaslighting, walking on eggshells, and various forms of abuse causes us to focus energy on survival.  Once removed from this environment, the brain relaxes because it is not having to deal with constant threat, therefore things float to the top, IMO.  This is why some people must go NC.

I would say this is a positive sign of healing, so I chose to welcome these memories and sort though them as they came.  I won't lie, sometimes it wasn't easy.  Thankfully, it seems to be intermittent, it would be hard to absorb in one lump. 

I found it helpful to have a good T to help sort the mess and stay on track.  However, I find that what helps me the most is what I learn here combined with listening to podcasts and u-tube (hope its ok to reference).  At times, I saturate myself with talks on PD from these qualified professionals.  This helps me calibrate my thinking, forces me to not bury it, and keeps recovery at the forefront. 

Check out "books" and "media" resources here at OOTF. 
Lately, I've been streaming Dr. Ramani.  She's doing a series called '30 days of Narcissism'.  She hits a lot of topics that align with my experience, and therefore very relatable.  I also enjoy Dr. Les Carter.  Most importantly, find good resources that can help you along the way.

~take care



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Dear Blackbox,

Yup, it happened and is still happening with me.  Married 32 years to OCPDxh and also diagnosed with PTSD.  In therapy for years and found it very helpful to cope and unpack the memories.

While married, my memory was awful.  Short-term memory was a nightmare.  I thought it was due to chemo but now that I am almost two years out, my short term is fine.  Do I still have some trouble now, yes, but no more than a middle-aged person usually does.

As for memories, they float back at weird times.  Like when my brain is resting while washing dishes or vacuuming or driving - then I will get this intense memory and sometimes it's a gut punch.

It also, at times, makes me wonder if I did the right thing.  Was it as bad as I remember?  Was I too hasty?  and on and on.  Then I read my journal and my posts here and I know I did.  But sometimes (wistfully stated) those memories sneak in and do their damage

Free2Beme is right.  Now that I am able to rest and no longer on alert 24/7, my energy has exploded.  Not the type of energy that fuels you in a 5K, but for me, my creativity is spilling over and I have never slept better.  So to have those memories bleed through makes sense.  It's like my mind says I can now process it.

I am finding that mindful meditation helps.  Keeps me present and I don't go following those memories.  But it takes some practice.  Yet the peace that gain when it works, is incredible.



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Its not at all uncommon.

When i was seeing a therapist and was trying to recall my childhood, I couldnt recall great chunks of it neither good nor bad, just nothing. He explained that i was probably disassociating.  Its a way of protecting yourself from what is really going on. Its a form of self protection to protect against trauma (C-PTSD).




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I have nothing to add, but am enjoying the reading of these experiences.  Some day, I may be in this exact same situation and this thread may assist me with my own experience at the time.  Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading additional post-separation stories.   

Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.