25 big ways dating a narcissist changes you

Narcissists can be some of the most charming people to date, but they may also wreak havoc on your self-esteem and emotional stability.

Whether you’re currently dating a narcissist or you’ve just gotten out of a relationship with one, being with them has undoubtedly changed you.

Some of the changes are positive, others aren’t.

Let’s take a look at the big ways dating a narcissist changes you.

Here we go:

1) You lose your sense of identity

This is one of the biggest changes dating a narcissist can cause. You may start seeing yourself as their little plaything.

They have a way of making you feel as if you are lucky to be with them, and that no one else would put up with you.

What’s more, a narcissist likes to dominate the relationship and for their partner to be submissive to them.

This makes you lose sight of who you really are, and damages your self-esteem.

You may also start to act more like the narcissist in order to keep them attracted to you. You’ll work hard to impress them and make sure they think highly of you.

The narcissistic person will make you feel small and unimportant in order to elevate themselves.

In fact, one of the most common ways narcissists treat people is like children because they are projecting their own feelings onto them.

2) You end up enabling and defending abuse

Here’s the ugly truth:

When you date a narcissist, they will abuse you mentally, emotionally, and maybe even physically.

You may find yourself making excuses for their behavior or defending the abuse when other people ask about it. This is because victims of abuse often defend their abusers as a coping mechanism.

You may even blame yourself for their bad behavior. This is known as victim-blaming and is common in relationships with narcissists.

You may think to yourself, “They wouldn’t be acting this way with someone else.” Or “I must have done something wrong to make them treat me this way.”

3) You become anxious

Narcissist has a way of making everything about them, and you are expected to fall in line with their plans and desires. If something doesn’t go the way they planned, they’re quick to blame you.

But that raises the question:

Why does love so often start out great, only to become a nightmare?

And what’s the solution to being in an abusive relationship?

The answer is contained in the relationship you have with yourself.

I learned about this from the renowned shaman Rudá Iandê. He taught me to see through the lies we tell ourselves about love and become truly empowered.

As Rudá explains in this mind-blowing free video, love is not what many of us think it is. In fact, many of us are actually self-sabotaging our love lives without realizing it!

We need to face the facts about the person we’re dating:

Far too often we chase an idealized image of someone and build up expectations that are guaranteed to be let down.

Far too often we fall into codependent roles of savior and victim to try to “fix” our partner, only to end up in a miserable, bitter routine.

Far too often, we are on shaky ground with own selves and this carries over into toxic relationships that become hell on earth.

Rudá’s teachings showed me a whole new perspective.

While watching, I felt like someone understood my struggles to find love for the first time – and finally offered an actual, practical solution to why I was in a relationship with a narcissist.

If you’re done with unsatisfying dating, empty hookups, frustrating relationships, and having your hopes dashed over and over, then this is a message you need to hear.

Click here to watch the free video.

4) You feel helpless

Because of the way you’ve been treated, you start to feel both helpless and hopeless.

You may be unable to see your way out of the relationship because you’ve been brainwashed into thinking there’s no one else out there for you – that nobody else will want you.

It gets worse. The more time you spend with your partner, the more they will isolate you from friends and family, making it harder for you to get help.

5) You may have trouble developing new relationships

After being with a narcissist, you may find it difficult to develop new relationships – both romantic and platonic.

What started off as something wonderful, turned into a living nightmare, so what if the same thing happens again? What if someone who seems perfectly sweet turns into another monster.

In short, you’ll probably be scared of coming across another narcissist and I don’t blame you.

6) You become isolated

People dating a narcissist will often find themselves isolated from their friends and family.

This is because narcissists are possessive and jealous and will work hard to keep you from seeing anyone else.

They don’t want you to talk to anyone but them, and they need to make sure you don’t talk about them. That’s why they’ll use a bunch of different techniques to isolate you from friends and family.

7) You become insecure

One way narcissists abuse their partners is by putting them down and making them feel bad about themselves.

You’ll start to question your own self-worth.

You will feel like you’re not good enough for anything.

You’ll feel insecure about the way you look, the way you talk, and even the way you think.

Despite the fact that they often treat you poorly, you will continue to seek their approval and acceptance.

So how can you overcome this insecurity that’s been nagging you?

The most effective way is to tap into your personal power.

You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it. We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.

I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.

He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your own inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.

Because true empowerment needs to come from within.

In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of and increase attraction in your partners, and it’s easier than you might think.

So if you’re tired of living in frustration, dreaming but never achieving, and of living in self-doubt, you need to check out his life-changing advice.

Click here to watch the free video.

8) You have trust issues

Because you’ve been with a narcissist, you may have trouble trusting others.

Think about it:

You thought you were a good judge of character and you don’t understand how you didn’t see the narcissist for who they really were.

You were manipulated, shamed, and abused by someone you trusted, no wonder you have trust issues.

9) You develop self-esteem issues

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As if trust issues weren’t enough, dating a narcissist may also damage your self-esteem.

The narcissist will constantly criticize your performance, appearance, and intelligence. They’ll tell you how awful you are, and how you’ll never amount to anything.

You’ll start to believe them and develop low self-esteem and self-doubt.

Your ideal self-image is shattered, and you begin to make yourself out to be more flawed than you really are.

What’s more, you’ll start to question yourself and your abilities. You could even develop eating disorders and drug and alcohol problems.

In short, being with a narcissist may affect every aspect of your life.

10) You blame yourself for everything

All of the abuse you’ve suffered is all your fault, right?

You’re lazy, sloppy, and so on. You blame yourself for not seeing the signs that things were changing. You should have known better, right?

The thing with dating is a narcissist is that you tend to blame yourself for everything that goes wrong – from the narcissist’s dissatisfaction to the way they treat you – you’ll feel like you deserve it.

11) You feel small and insignificant

Dating a narcissist will leave you feeling small and insignificant.

You’ll feel like if you disappeared from the face of the planet, no one would miss you.

It’s only natural to feel this way when someone is constantly putting you down and making you feel like an idiot all the time. But remember, you’re not small and insignificant, you matter and there are people out there who love you and care about you.

You can do whatever you set your heart on. You can make a difference in the world.

12) You become conflict-avoidant

You may find yourself acquiescent a lot of the time in order to avoid an argument or any kind of conflict.

You don’t want to deal with the narcissist’s drama and you’re afraid of saying or doing anything that could trigger an argument.

Ultimately this is not good for you because you’re depriving yourself of a voice. You need to be assertive and even confrontational when necessary because it’s important for your mental health.

13) You become clingy

In my experience, you’re not just afraid of conflict, you’re also afraid of being alone.

Because you’ve been isolated and controlled by the narcissist, you may be afraid to cut the cord and move on. You think nobody else will “love” you or want to be with you.

You don’t want to be alone and you can’t handle being away from them for too long.

You’re dependent on your partner for all of your emotional needs and without them, you feel lost.

14) You become subservient

The more time you spend with your partner, the more they will try to control you and make you their little puppet.

Do I have your attention?

You’ll lose your voice and ability to choose and make decisions for yourself.

You will also get manipulated into doing things you don’t want to do, or that you feel are wrong.

You may begin to lose your morals and values and start compromising yourself and your own beliefs.

15) You develop PTSD

After being in a relationship with a narcissist, you may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

You could get terrible nightmares, flashbacks, and even begin to dissociate.

If you’ve been dealing with a narcissist for a long time, it’s not surprising that you experience these post-traumatic symptoms.

You’ve been dealing with a lot of mental and emotional abuse, maybe even physical abuse. It’s only natural that you’d experience some trauma as a result.

You can recover from PTSD, though it may take a while. The important thing is to be patient with yourself and consult a therapist.

16) You may become depressed

After being with a narcissist, you may become depressed because of the trauma and abuse.

You may feel disappointed with life and have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.

You may have suicidal thoughts and fall into a deep depression. You need to find support ASAP, whether it’s from friends, family, or a therapist.

17) You may become paranoid

You might start to believe that the narcissist is going to come back into your life.

You may start to have delusions and imagine seeing them wherever you go – you’ll think that they’re stalking you. You’ll think they’re out to get you, that they want to sabotage you.

You may even begin to doubt other people around you and assume that everyone has ulterior motives.

18) You become stronger!

I know the list above is looking pretty grim but it’s not all bad – dating a narcissist can make you stronger and more resilient.

You see, you’ll learn from the experience.

You’ll develop healthy boundaries, trust your instincts, and have an early warning system when it comes to bad relationships.

You’ll know what to look for in a partner and you’ll be less likely to get involved with another narcissist.

You’ve been through a lot but if you’re in the process of healing from dating a narcissist, there is hope for you yet!

19) You learn to cope with grief

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be hard because they’re emotionally, mentally, and physically destructive. They’ll chip away at your self-esteem until you have very little left.

Being with a narcissist, you’ll go through a lot of loss – of identity, self-esteem, trust, and even hope.

As a result, you’ll come out of the relationship knowing how to deal with grief. All part of coming out of the relationship stronger.

20) You get better at spotting red flags

Here’s another positive aspect of having been in a relationship with a narcissist.

You’ll know what to look out for when you start dating other people – you’ll be looking out to make sure that they’re not a narcissist or something similar.

You’ll be able to spot the little things that are wrong and will know when you’re being manipulated.

And that’s not all:

You’ll also be more aware of the people in your social circle and their behavior.

21) You develop a closer relationship with your friends and family

After ending your relationship with the narcissist, you’ll finally come out of isolation and turn to your friends and family for support.

It may not be easy at first, but eventually, you’ll realize that your family and friends always have your back and that you can rely on them for anything you need.

You’ll end up developing an even closer relationship with them than the one you had before the narcissist.

22) You become more compassionate

Dating a narcissist makes you realize that everyone is broken in some way or another.

You’ll be more compassionate toward other people and more understanding of what they may be going through.

23) You learn to say “no” (stand your ground)

You may be subservient at the beginning of your relationship with a narcissist, but by the end, you’ll have had enough.

You’ll be tired of saying “yes” to everything and being treated like a second-rate citizen.

You’ll be able to say “no” and you’ll know how to stand your ground and assert yourself.

24) You become a pro at setting boundaries

As a result of dating a narcissist, you’ll finally learn how to set boundaries.

Now, you may have had poor boundaries to begin with, which led to your relationship with a narcissist and letting them walk all over you.

You’ll become better at saying no, setting limits, and sticking up for yourself. You’ll be more confident in your own skin and won’t need other people’s validation or approval.

25)  You learn to love and respect yourself

And finally, you’ll be able to love and respect yourself – which is the most important thing of all.

After experiencing a relationship with a narcissist, you may have forgotten your own self-worth.

You’ll be able to have a healthier relationship with yourself and develop healthy coping skills.

You’ll come out of it finally feeling like – no, not feeling, knowing – you deserve to be happy.

How to recover after dating a narcissist

1) Reflect on how you got into a narcissistic relationship

Here’s the thing: To break the pattern and avoid falling into a relationship with another narcissist, you need to understand what you did to attract the narcissist in the first place.

This wasn’t your fault – the narcissist can be very charming. However, it will help you to recognize your own vulnerabilities and how the narcissist played on those.

You need to learn from your mistakes so that you don’t continue repeating them in future relationships – otherwise, you may end up with another narcissist!

2) Focus on healing

The truth is that there’s no quick fix for getting over dating a narcissist. You can’t just kick them out of your mind overnight.

You’ll need to focus on yourself and your healing, as well as take things one day at a time.

You need to prioritize taking care of your body and mind.

This means eating healthy, drinking a lot of water, getting enough sleep, exercising, and spending more time outdoors.

It also means being kind to yourself and being patient with the healing process.

3) Work with a therapist

A counselor is an incredible way to help you cope with being in a relationship with a narcissist.

Talk therapy is an incredibly useful tool for recovering from dating a narcissist. You’ll be able to talk about all of the things that have happened, with a non-judgmental person who can provide support and empathy.

Trust me, your therapist will help you understand the damage that the narcissist has caused and how to recover. They’ll be able to give you the comfort and guidance that you need.

4) Make time for yourself

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It’s important to carve out time for yourself during this difficult time.

You’ll need time to reflect, cry, and grieve, so that you don’t repress and hide your feelings.

We often keep our feelings bottled up during tough times, but this only makes things worse because it keeps the pain inside and doesn’t allow you to deal with it.

So find a way to make space in your life for you – whether it’s taking a bubble bath or going on a walk around the park.

5) Think positively and believe in yourself

You need to start thinking positively again. This will help you get through the darkness that the narcissist has caused in your life.

You need to focus on all of the good things in your life and believe in yourself again instead of doubting yourself all of the time.

It may help to come up with some affirmations to repeat to yourself each day.

And what are affirmations?

Affirmations are positive statements that you say to yourself over and over again, which help you to change your perspective and feel better about yourself.

Here are some examples of affirmations that you can use:

  • “Everything is going to get better from this point on.”
  • “This was a learning experience and now I’m stronger and wiser.”
  • “I am awesome and I have people that love me.
  • “I will get through this”
  • “I deserve to be happy”

Start saying these affirmations each morning and night. They’ll help you focus on the positive side of life.

6) Work on rebuilding your confidence

You need to rebuild your confidence and work on strengthening your self-esteem, which may be very low at this point.

Start doing things that make you feel good about yourself – like doing yoga, volunteering, or being active and social.

Spend more time with people who love you. Surround yourself with supportive people who will help you to feel better.

7) Remember that you’re stronger than you think

It’s easy to feel weak after being in a relationship with a narcissist.

They seem so powerful, whereas we feel so small and insignificant by comparison. But the truth is that you’re stronger than you think.

Narcissists have serious problems and they’re very troubled human beings, but they only have power over us if we let them.

So remember that the only one who decides what happens in your life is you.

You’ll get through this and you will thrive!

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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