How Being With A Narcissist Changes You, From My Experience

Last updated by Katie M.

Now, after years of taking active steps to move on and recover from this ordeal, I’ve finally found the strength to say that I was in an abusive relationship for over 2 years. Dating my abusive ex broke me for a certain period, but it always made me want to pick myself up and encouraged me to start living my life for myself. You’ve guessed it, being in a toxic relationship was both my downfall and my motivation for rising back up again. Despite feeling much stronger after turning the page on the manipulative behavior, being with my narcissistic ex has certainly changed me in just about every way possible, but getting to this point has been a journey.

How Being With A Narcissist Changes You, From My Experience
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My experience of dating a narcissist definitely wasn’t pretty…

If manipulation was an Olympic sport, then my ex-partner would have won gold with next to no effort. Over the years, he had managed to cut me off from lots of my friends and family members, leaving me completely isolated, vulnerable, and with no one to talk to about what I was going through. Of course, I couldn’t speak to him about my feelings, and suggest working on our issues because his lack of empathy meant he was incapable of taking my emotions into consideration. Plus, his sense of entitlement ensured he was unable to put anyone else first or even feign interest.

He destroyed my inner peace over the years

As a champion gas lighter, my narcissistic partner always made me feel guilty about everything and anything. He’d always refuse to take responsibility when we argued, and was way too proud to ever apologize for his wrongdoings. The bottom line is that he made my life a living hell and totally crushed my spirit and soul with his spiteful remarks, childish games, and intimidating threats. I’d never really had much luck in love or long-term relationships, so I often found myself making excuses for him in hope of things working out. 

Ashamed

The final straw for me was when he humiliated me in front of all my coworkers at an office dinner party. I think being made to feel so insignificant and small pushed me to take action, break up with him, and above all seek treatment for the scars he had inflicted on me.

> Discover the traits of a narcissist here <

5 Ways being in a narcissistic relationship changed me forever

1) I developed serious trust issues

When you’ve loved someone with an abusive personality, trusting is definitely an ordeal afterward. No matter how genuine and perfect people may seem, you’ll always have that little voice in your head, whispering to you that you are about to be duped and taken in again. People with NPD are masters in the art of lying and deceit, and after being under their thumb for an extensive amount of time, you’ll be forgiven for being suspicious of anyone new that you meet. After all, my ex never showed his true colors at the beginning of our relationship and I naively actually thought he was the perfect partner because he seemed so interested in me. Looking back, I now realize it was a case of him exercising control over me.

2) My mental health worsened

For months after breaking up with my narcissistic pervert ex, I felt down in the dumps, depressed and generally unmotivated. I didn’t want to do anything and felt completely empty inside. Even the simplest of tasks like getting out of bed and getting dressed became unthinkable challenges that took virtually all of my strength to accomplish. Dealing with a narcissist for so many years had completely exhausted me and turned me into someone that, scarily, I barely recognized. After finally seeking help, my mental health improved and my therapist played a huge role in helping me put my experiences into perspective.

3) My confidence slipped away

I’ve never been the most confident person around, but now my self-esteem has definitely taken a huge hit. Even though I’ve always been relatively shy, before dating my ex, I felt comfortable talking in public and meeting new people, however now it’s a totally different story. Now I struggle to deal with people’s opinions and constantly worry about not being good enough. It seems that years of being criticized on a daily basis has certainly had an impact on me and my self-image and perception.

4) I found it hard to connect with people afterward

The truth is, I felt embarrassed and almost ashamed of what I’d allowed myself to go through. I’d always considered myself as being a strong and independent woman, so how could I have let this happen to me? How could I have missed the red flags along the way? And, how could I ever work up the courage to tell my friends and family what I’d endured for so long? Surely they’d think I was weak or, even worse, completely crazy to have accepted to live through this form of hell. In fact, having such a hard time opening up is what encouraged me to consult an impartial professional.

5) I’ve now decided that I’ll always put myself first

One of the biggest positives to emerge from this chapter in my life is that it taught me that I needed to put myself first before anyone else. Now, I know that this might sound a little selfish, but I just can’t allow myself to slip back to that dark place where I constantly felt threatened, afraid, and worthless. Whether it’s in relationships or a friendship, I need to consider my feelings first and do everything possible to preserve my mental health. I’ve worked too hard to get to a healthy place, and I’m not prepared to let my efforts go to waste.

Can being with a narcissist turn you into one?

Being in a relationship with a narcissist won’t turn you into one, but it will leave you with plenty of scars. Narcissistic personalities are formed in childhood, therefore no adult can just become one from one day to the next. Let's face it, we all develop wounds during our childhood. No one escapes them, but we all learn to deal with them differently, depending on our experiences and our education. In the case of toxic personalities, this wound seriously taints their self-esteem. So much so that they feel weak, worthless, and inferior to others, but they can't stand the idea of being vulnerable. So much so that they try to build a huge shell to avoid suffering from this deep inferiority complex. They bury their most beautiful emotions far away, leaving only anger, rage, envy, jealousy, and so on. They also have a lot of fears related to their pain, but also related to the false identity they are constructing.

Editor’s opinion — Being in a narcissistic relationship will inevitably lead to heartbreak

Having a narcissist in your life is harmful, but being in a relationship with one is even more dangerous and soul-destroying. Although there are different levels of this behavior, when these people feel threatened, they’ll do anything to get their own way and won’t think twice about wrecking your mental health and making you feel terrible about yourself. A relationship with someone suffering from this disorder can never be healthy, so it’s best to cut things off as quickly as possible and go your own separate ways. Although walking away will be painful at the beginning, you’ll soon realize that it’s for the best.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!

#BornToBeMe

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