Every relationship alters you in some way, but how does dating a narcissist affect you? Although a narcissists’ purpose is to wear down their partner’s self-esteem in order to exert control, this connection has a number of more complex side effects (and some of them can even be positive).
We’ve put up a list of the psychological effects of dating a narcissist so you can spot the warning signals of emotional abuse and start yourself on the road to recovery. Continue reading if you’re prepared to change for the better.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DATING A NARCISSIST
- Dating a narcissist can result in low self-esteem, identity loss, relationship uncertainty, loneliness, self-doubt, or worry.
- Not all effects of dating a narcissist are negative; survivors of narcissistic abuse report greater self-respect and compassion for others.
- To rebuild your self-esteem and get past a narcissistic spouse, set clear boundaries, make time for your loved ones, and get expert mental health assistance.
ARE YOU DATING A NARCISSIST? SIGNS YOU ARE DATING A NARCISSIST
Recommended: 10 GLARING SIGNS YOU ARE DATING A NARCISSIST
Am I dating a narcissist? Does this new relationship require me to worry? Thoughts are positive, but there are also some warning signs. Why do I need to know this then?
In contrast to normal relationships, being with a narcissist frequently feels unique. This difference may initially feel completely ecstatic. You might think you’ve found the world’s most wonderful individual.
They seem to be paying close attention as you speak! Every chance they have, they laud you endlessly! They give you sweet fits and compliment you on how unique you are.
Particularly if you have a history of turbulent relationships in the past, it might feel overwhelming. Even if you could have transient worries about things getting too severe, you should try to control your negative thoughts. After all, feeling wanted is satisfying.
Here are some key signs that you’re dating a narcissistic man or woman:
THEY ARE FAST
People who make narcissists feel important and validated tend to attract them. They are accustomed to feeling abandoned at the same moment. Because of this, individuals frequently develop a mistrust of other people and develop paranoia about being harmed by others.
They are trying to “avoid” the prospect of being rejected or abandoned by moving quickly. They wish to secure their preferred lifestyle. When they have their sights set on anything, they will stop at nothing to make sure they have it.
THEY PROMISE YOU EXTRAORDINARY THINGS
Narcissists have lofty expectations for their future. They believe they are naturally entitled to anything they desire. They then frequently initially put those visions into their relationships.
As a result, even when they lack the funds, they may make remarkable claims about wanting to buy you a luxurious home or car. Even if they have only recently begun in a new role, they may go on and on about a promotion they are due to obtain.
Last but not least, they frequently turn your own impulses against you. For instance, soon after you threaten to terminate the relationship, they will swear they are ready to begin trying if they know you really want a child.
THEY GASLIGHT YOU
You’re positive they promised to wash the laundry that morning. When you get home, it isn’t finished. You enquire to them about it. Their reaction? Never have I said that. I had meetings all morning, as you are aware. Why didn’t you simply handle it?
Sometimes, you might be convinced that they are lying. But when else? You might feel uncertain or perplexed. Were you dreaming, or what? Did you get it wrong?
Gaslighting is a common tactic used by narcissists to mislead their loved ones and keep a hold on power. Gaslighting frequently begins subtly, but it can build up over time.
You consequently experience insecurity. You never know how your spouse will feel, and you frequently feel like you are trying to anticipate all of their demands while also playing a huge guessing game.
THEY CAN’T STAND FEEDBACK FROM YOU
Narcissists enjoy challenging and criticizing other people. But what about incorporating the feedback they have provided? Disregard it. Any small act of hostility frequently sets off a big narcissistic fury.
Their egos are exceedingly fragile, despite the fact that they seem too arrogant. They consequently experience their own sense of inferiority as paralyzing. When other individuals notice their incompetence, extreme reactions like gaslighting or slander occur.
JEALOUSY IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY
The paradox of narcissism can be perplexing. Why, after all, would a person with such self-assurance be so envious of everyone else?
Narcissists are unable to truly feel joyful for other people because they are unhappy with themselves. They place more emphasis on what others can offer them than anything else. Thus, even if the narcissist isn’t aware of it, other individuals also become a source of rivalry.
Because of this, narcissists frequently harbour the greatest jealousy toward the ones they profess to love the most. This explains why they minimize other accomplishments and even undermine individuals’ efforts.
THEY LACK REAL EMPATHY
Narcissists have a terrible time showing empathy. It’s challenging for them to relate to other people since they prioritize their needs over all else.
Although they can appear to be empathetic, their behaviour is frequently deliberate and logical. For instance, it could appear as though they are simply giving you what you want to hear while reading from a script.
However, empathy is sadly missing most of the time. When someone else’s predicament conflicts with their own, they may not always feel compassion for them.
THEY WERE LOVELY AT FIRST
NPD patients tend to favour fantasy and grandiosity. At first, your relationship might have seemed like something out of a fairytale; perhaps they showered you with compliments or declared their love for you within the first month.
Even if you’ve only recently started seeing each other, they might compliment your intelligence or draw attention to how compatible you are.
Early on in a relationship, people with NPD will attempt to create flimsy bonds.
THEY DOMINATE THE CONVERSATIONS BY BRAGGING ABOUT THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Individuals with NPD have an exaggerated sense of their own importance. a Reliable Source who is prone to inflating their successes and seeking superiority.
Additionally, they are talking too much about themselves to pay attention to you.
Reflect on these questions: When you do talk about yourself, what happens? Do they follow up with inquiries and show an interest in finding out more about you? Or are they making it all about them?
THEY FEED OFF YOUR COMPLIMENTS
Narcissists may appear to be quite self-assured. However, the majority of NPD sufferers truly lack self-esteem and want excessive care.
If you don’t give them the praise they need, they’ll look elsewhere. Because of this, people look to you for affirmation that they are awesome.
Narcissists make use of others. People tend to be highly empathic in order to give them a sense of worth and to make them feel strong. But because of their poor self-esteem, they are more susceptible to having their egos wounded, which makes them more in need of compliments.
People with NPD and those who are confident generally vary in that they require people to pull them up, and also lift themselves up by pulling others down.
Everyone nearby suffers as a result of narcissists’ lack of confidence.
THEY HAVE FEW (IF ANY) LIFELONG FRIENDS
People with NPD frequently argue with others, which is common. If you look into their connections more, you can find that they don’t have many close buddies.
NPD sufferers may also be overly sensitive and insecure. They could accuse you of not spending enough time with them, make you feel bad about seeing your pals, or criticize the kinds of friends you have.
THEY CONTINUALLY PICK ON YOU
Perhaps it started out as teasing but quickly turned cruel. All of a sudden, they are bothered by everything you do, from what you wear and eat to who you hang out with and what TV shows you watch.
People with NPD often exhibit antagonism and antagonistic behaviour, which has a significant negative impact on other people.
They’ll make fun of you, insult you, hit you with hurtful one-liners, and crack crude jokes. In order to boost their own confidence because it gives them a sense of power, they seek to undermine others’ self-worth.
Furthermore, responding to what they say could serve just to legitimize their actions. A narcissist enjoys a response. That’s because it demonstrates to them their ability to have an emotional impact on others.
If someone attacks you after you accomplish something deserving of celebration, go immediately.
A narcissist may cite some justification, such as “You were able to achieve that because I didn’t sleep well,” to make it seem as though you had an advantage over them.
They want you to understand that you aren’t superior to them. Because nobody is to them.
Now that you know that your partner is a narcissist, let’s take a look at how dating a narcissist partner changes you.
WAYS DATING A NARCISSIST PARTNER CHANGES YOU
YOU MAY HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM AND LOSE CONFIDENCE
Narcissistic spouses behave as though they are always correct and you are mistaken. At first, you might have been upset and defensive, but now you might have developed a bad opinion of yourself.
Your self-esteem suffers as a result of the insults, and you can begin to believe that you are less worthy or valid than other people. You can feel embarrassed about your peculiarities, preferences, or future ambitions.
As your self-assurance wanes, you can start hiding these characteristics to prevent embarrassment. The treatment of others as less significant, competent, useful, skilled, or special is one of the characteristics of narcissism.
Secretly, narcissists have pitifully low self-esteem. They discredit others in every manner they can to boost their own egos.
YOU MIGHT FEEL LIKE YOU LACK IDENTITY
To fulfil their desires and uphold their principles, narcissists seek to control their partners. Over time, the fight is frequently not worthwhile. To avoid a fight, you can just give in to their unreasonable requests.
As a result, after the relationship ends, you could sense a little void. You may be so accustomed to judging yourself or putting aside your own wants that you are unable to identify your true desires.
When you have identity issues, you may suffer with:
- making choices.
- establishing sound boundaries.
- setting targets.
- Your sense of self.
YOU DEVELOP INTO A BOUNDARY MASTER
You will have mastered the art of creating and upholding boundaries by the time you emerge from a narcissist-filled relationship. You’ll be skilled. Having it is a great asset in both the social and professional spheres.
YOU ULTIMATELY CONDONE AND DEFEND ABUSE
The unpleasant fact is this:
A narcissist will mistreat you intellectually, emotionally, and sometimes even physically if you date them.
When others inquire about it, you can find yourself offering justifications for their actions or defending the abuse. This is due to the fact that as a coping tactic, abuse victims frequently justify their perpetrators.
You might even take responsibility for their unruly behaviour. This is a regular occurrence in relationships with narcissists and is referred to as victim-blaming.
They wouldn’t behave in this manner around someone else, you would think. The alternative is “I must have done something wrong for them to treat me this way.”
YOU MIGHT FEEL ISOLATED
Narcissists typically gradually and methodically isolate themselves from their partners. They will disparage others or make claims that a person isn’t really your friend to cast doubt on your other connections.
With the exception of your partner, you might experience a sense of isolation and find that many of your relationships with friends and family have been broken.
Narcissists work extra hard to exclude people from your life who are “onto them.” A lot of narcissists employ “triangulation.” They’ll frequently make comparisons to you to someone else or spread rumours to agitate your relationships.
On the plus side, being alone may motivate you to work harder at forming new relationships and getting more satisfaction from the ones you already have.
YOU FEAR CONFLICTS IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Because narcissists are so bad at handling conflict, their partners frequently learn to hide, lie about, or rationalize their emotions in order to maintain harmony in the home. These tactics frequently seem less difficult than dealing with the effects of their rage, even if they are ineffective.
And so you might be terrified of all kinds of conflict. In other relationships, you might be incredibly passive or passive-aggressive. Or, in an effort to regain control over your life, you might turn out to be extremely hostile and demanding.
Conflict feels unsafe in either case. And if you come across someone who is skilled at handling conflict, you might unintentionally ruin the atmosphere.
YOU MIGHT PUT YOUR PARTNER’S NEEDS AHEAD OF YOURS
Narcissists believe that their partners owe them special consideration. When you don’t grant their every request or make an effort to please them, they assume you are less valuable or self-centred.
You might eventually come to understand the narcissist’s need to give in to prevent confrontation, silent treatment, or narcissistic rage.
Narcissists fail to recognize your needs as an individual. You might eventually decide to stop speaking up for yourself in order to maintain harmony.
It can be exhausting to date a narcissist. Put your well-being and self-care first to safeguard yourself and maintain your relationship.
YOU MIGHT FEEL USED
Narcissists see people as tools to be used in their service. You might think that you aren’t treated equally as a partner. The narcissist will judge you according to what you do for them, your connections, and how you present them. It could make you feel like they are using you as a prop to keep up their image.
Narcissists lack empathy and won’t think twice about exploiting others to get what they want.
While some narcissists purposefully take advantage of those close to them, others are unaware of their manipulative tendencies.
SAYING “NO” MIGHT BE DIFFICULT FOR YOU
You might be accustomed to giving your partner all of your attention and resources. Perhaps you are now constantly busy, but the majority of your activities are for other people.
When asked to join a committee or lead a group, it might be difficult for you to refuse, and you might find it difficult to establish and uphold boundaries that would allow you to protect yourself.
The silver lining is that once you stop putting others’ needs before your own, you may have grown to have a strong work ethic and be able to achieve great things for yourself.
Establish and uphold boundaries for your own self-care with others. If you consistently say no to requests, even narcissists will realize you won’t compromise on certain matters.
YOU MIGHT EXPERIENCE RELATIONSHIP INSECURITIES
To exert control over you, many narcissists purposefully incite your jealousy. In order to boost their confidence and make you work harder for their attention, they might compliment an ex or make out with someone right in front of you.
You might daydream about your relationship’s better, earlier times and strive to recreate them.
You might become fixated on increasing their love for you as their tactics irritate you. Lastly, you might start to act clingy (which is what they want from you).
YOU MIGHT HOLD ALL OF THE BLAME FOR YOURSELF
A narcissist holds their partner responsible for any setbacks. This attitude of blame may eventually come to be your default setting, whether you’re at work or out with friends.
Even when something is not your fault, you might constantly feel like you are to blame for what occurs.
If you consistently adopt a “this is my fault” mindset, others may start expecting you to find solutions to issues. Recognize that you don’t always have to solve every issue. You’re under no obligation to get involved if the situation doesn’t involve you.
YOU MIGHT CONSTANTLY HAVE SELF-DOUBT
Narcissists use gaslighting to induce self-doubt in their victims. Gaslighting is a technique used to manipulate a person into doubting their own sanity or reality.
It’s difficult to notice because narcissists change slowly over a long period of time. You might begin to believe them more as they continue to gaslight you. Your mental and emotional well-being may suffer if you eventually believe they are correct.
“I did it because I love you” and “No one will do things for you like I have” are examples of common gaslighting phrases. You’re being too delicate.
You’re imagining things or “You never told me about that”. To recover from gaslighting and regain your self-confidence, get in touch with reliable friends and family.
YOU MIGHT DECIDE TO SPEND EVERY LAST PENNY ON YOUR SPOUSE
An often-overlooked method of narcissist control is financial abuse. They may constantly demand expensive, name-brand presents and fine dining from you while hardly ever making a financial contribution.
Some people even coerce their partners into getting credit cards or borrowing money to make pricey purchases. Your narcissistic partner doesn’t take into account your financial situation due to their lack of empathy. They only ask that you give them money.
Consider how much you spend when you go on dates or buy gifts for your partner. Spending that is drastically out of balance is a sign of abuse.
YOU MAY THINK OF KINDNESS AS A BUSINESS DEAL
The only time narcissists are kind is when they are hoping you’ll help them. Even if you’re no longer dating your partner, you might still believe that acts of kindness require payment, favours, or even sex in return.
You might begin to doubt the goodness of others or experience anxiety whenever you are the target of their kindness. Being denied kindness can make you yearn for it in all its manifestations, which could tempt you to engage in more controlling relationships in the future.
YOU MIGHT EXPERIENCE MORE FREQUENT PHYSICAL OR MENTAL ILLNESS
Abuse and chronic stress have negative physical and mental effects. Because of the reduction in your social circle and decline in self-esteem, you might experience anxiety or depression.
Additionally, you might experience frequent GI problems, nausea, headaches, chronic pain, or other health problems.
Extreme conditions like eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder can be brought on by toxic levels of bullying and criticism (PTSD).
Consult a mental health expert to start recovering from your abuse if any of these issues are preventing you from working or taking care of yourself.
YOUR ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE “RED FLAGS” MIGHT IMPROVE
It’s possible that dating a narcissist sharpened your senses. Now that you’ve experienced narcissism firsthand, you may be able to recognize its symptoms in others.
This serves to safeguard you in your future relationships and might motivate you to help those who are being abused by narcissists.
Red flags are simple to miss when you’re in love. Dating a narcissist will make you understand that not everyone can have fulfilling relationships, though.
YOU MIGHT DEVELOP GREATER COMPASSION
You might behave deeply kind toward others after lacking empathy. Also, you might feel more empathy for suffering people and animals, or you might adopt a new moral stance regarding what is right or wrong.
You understand that acts of sincere kindness are noteworthy and merit recognition. A newfound respect for those who are gentle, kind, and compassionate themselves may also come to you.
YOU COULD SET MORE RIGID PERSONAL BOUNDARIES
You might now place a higher value on your own health. When it comes to other people’s bad behaviour, many people who once dated narcissists insist on having “zero tolerance” policies.
Setting boundaries is unfamiliar territory, but it’s a sign that you’re regaining control over your own destiny.
It becomes harder for other people to control or manipulate you the clearer and more consistent you are about what you will or won’t do.
Even after their partners have left, narcissists typically attempt to maintain control over them.
To cut ties with them and uphold your boundaries, go “no contact” with them.
YOU MIGHT REGAIN RESPECT FOR YOURSELF
Following your relationship, you might discover newfound love and self-confidence. Your experience with emotional abuse may have made you grateful for your still-functioning emotional capacities, and you may be re-discovering your former hopes and dreams.
You might put more emphasis on taking care of yourself and believe that you deserve love. The path to healing is individual and nonlinear. While in a relationship, some people grow and gain new perspectives, while others require a breakup.
YOU DATE OTHER NARCISSISTS
Unfortunately, when it comes to relationship patterns, the past is simple to repeat. We frequently date what we are comfortable with. If you’ve previously dated a narcissist, you might be more likely to do so in the future.
This pattern typically occurs completely unconsciously. However, domestic abuse cycles frequently involve it. According to research, such abuse can be passed down through the generations.
Therefore, if one of your parents was narcissistic, it’s possible that you will still be in a narcissistic relationship as an adult with someone else.
YOU’RE TERRIFIED THAT THEY’LL RETURN
Narcissists frequently struggle to let go of their partners. They might still employ various hoovering strategies to entice you back into their mayhem even after you break up.
Of course, using these tactics could make you feel unsafe. For instance, they could make threats to harm your reputation. They might complain about you to their friends or relatives.
In some cases, they may return to try to persuade you that they have undergone a positive change by appearing to be a completely different person. When this occurs, you might be tempted to give them the benefit of the doubt, which frequently leads to more suffering.
YOU LOATHE YOURSELF
One of the worst consequences of dating a narcissist is this. Narcissists frequently emotionally devastate their partners. To feel better about themselves, they attack, blame, and criticize other people.
As a result, you might experience extreme insecurity and self-consciousness. You might believe the narcissist’s words to be true if you take them at face value.
You might continue to struggle with self-defeating thoughts after the relationship ends.
YOU’LL EXERCISE MORE CAUTION IN YOUR FUTURE RELATIONSHIPS
Trust problems occasionally have a positive outcome. For instance, you probably won’t have this mindset after dating a narcissist if you’ve always let people in without thinking about it. Instead, you will exercise greater restraint and discipline.
This stoic outlook has advantages. You’ll probably be able to read people more easily and detect relationship red flags with greater intuition. Even if it takes some time to get over something, your relationship may end up being healthier as a result.
YOU FEEL HELPLESS
You start to feel both helpless and hopeless as a result of the way you’ve been treated.
Because you have been brainwashed into believing there is no one else out there for you and that no one will want you, you might not be able to see a way out of the relationship.
Things worsen. Your partner will further isolate you from friends and family the more time you spend together, making it more difficult for you to seek help.
YOU DEVELOP PTSD
You might experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being in a relationship with a narcissist.
Also, you might experience excruciating nightmares, flashbacks, or even start to dissociate. It’s not surprising if you’ve been interacting with a narcissist for a long time that you experience these post-traumatic symptoms.
You’ve experienced a lot of psychological and emotional harm, possibly even physical harm. It makes sense that you would feel some trauma as a result.
PTSD is treatable, though it might take some time. Being patient with yourself and seeking professional help is crucial.
YOU LEARN TO LOVE AND RESPECT YOURSELF
And lastly, and most importantly of all, you’ll be able to love and respect yourself.
You might have lost sight of your own self-worth after being in a relationship with a narcissist.
You’ll be able to improve your relationship with yourself and learn effective coping mechanisms.