People who come out stronger after a narcissistic relationship tend to display these 7 qualities

Have you or someone you know come out of a relationship with a narcissist? It’s a tough ride, and getting through it is no small feat. 

But like most big challenges in life, there can be an unexpected upside, and that’s what we’re focusing on today.

We’re about to dive into the qualities that people who come out of a narcissistic relationship tend to display. 

Despite their struggles, they find a way to become stronger, not only surviving a tough ordeal but growing from the experience to become more empowered individuals. 

Whether you’ve been through this yourself, or you’re supporting someone who has, let’s see how many of these qualities you recognize.

Ready? Let’s get started.

1) Resilience

One of the biggest qualities you’ll see in someone who has ‘survived’ a narcissistic relationship is resilience. 

They’ve been through the wringer but instead of letting it break them, they come out tougher and more prepared for whatever life throws at them next.

Research and studies show that many factors come into play in building resilience, from your relationship with your parents to your outlook on life, as social worker and journalist Eilene Zimmerman noted in one of her New York Times articles.

According to the research outlined by Zimmerman, resilience in part “comes from exposure to very difficult — but manageable — experiences” such as being in a narcissistic relationship. 

The truth is: dating a narcissist is tough on anyone because they work to slowly destroy the person you are. 

Figuring out how to bounce back from that not only builds resilience but also makes you stronger and more equipped to face any future challenges.

2) Growth mindset

How do you handle life’s tough moments? If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist, you know it’s rough, but it can also change you for the better.

People who come out stronger from these relationships often develop a growth mindset

They don’t just see hard times as static obstacles; they see them as chances to grow as a person, and get stronger and smarter. 

Carol Dweck, the psychologist who came up with the idea of a “growth mindset,” has found through her research that anyone can start thinking this way. 

And that’s not all: studies also show that individuals with a growth mindset are less prone to mental health problems.

It’s no surprise that folks who’ve made it through a narcissistic relationship often develop this mindset because without it, moving forward and healing would be almost impossible for them. 

The truth is, as hard as it is, getting past a relationship with a narcissist really proves that the saying ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is true, all thanks to your growth mindset.

3) Self-compassion

Another quality you’ll find in someone who’s come through a manipulative relationship with a narcissist is self-compassion.

Narcissists can strip people of their identity and self-worth. They destroy it by manipulating and taking advantage of someone’s trust. 

It’s never the victim’s fault, but that doesn’t stop them from blaming themselves.

Self-compassion is all about treating yourself with the same kindness you’d offer to a good friend who’s going through a tough time. It’s about not being too hard on yourself.

Research shows that self-compassion can lower anxiety and depression, and it helps to heal from draining experiences. 

Getting through a narcissistic relationship is tough, but one of the silver linings is learning to be kinder to yourself. 

4) Boundary-setting

Are you the type of person who sets boundaries? Those who have been in a narcissistic relationship often learn the hard way just how crucial boundaries are to protect themselves.

We know that narcissists thrive on manipulation, overstepping, and crossing lines they shouldn’t, right?

So you’ve got to wonder, if strong boundaries had been in place, would some of the victims of narcissism have noticed sooner that someone was overstepping and trying to take advantage of them? 

Maybe, maybe not, but one thing is certain: after coming out of a narcissistic relationship, most people aren’t willing to take that chance again. 

They become very adept at setting and upholding boundaries to protect their peace and well-being. 

It’s like laying down clear rules that say, “This is where I draw the line, and you can’t cross it.” 

After going through so much, setting these boundaries becomes a top priority to ensure they can maintain their well-being and steer clear of similar issues in the future.

5) Self-awareness

youre more self aware People who come out stronger after a narcissistic relationship tend to display these 7 qualities

Self-awareness is another quality that often grows from the tough times spent in a narcissistic relationship.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can mess with someone’s sense of self because of all the emotional manipulation

Many find that to move on and take back control, they first need to clearly see who they are and what they stand for, independent of the narcissist’s influence.

The result? They often understand themselves better. 

This goes beyond just knowing their likes or dislikes; it’s about recognizing their emotional triggers, understanding their weak spots, and knowing what makes them happy.

With first-hand experience with a narcissist, this one hits home for me. After that friendship ended, I looked inward and really understood myself before being open to new friendships.  

This deep self-awareness acts like a shield and a guide. It helps everyone to make better choices and form stronger, truer relationships in the future. 

6) Assertiveness

If you’ve got someone in your life who has been through a narcissistic relationship, you might notice they’ve learned how to stand up for themselves. 

Assertiveness is a key trait that many develop after coming out of a narcissistic relationship. It’s about speaking up and being clear about what they need and deserve without being aggressive.

In a narcissistic relationship, where someone’s needs and opinions often get ignored, it really teaches them why it’s important to be assertive going forward, to ensure their needs are met.

This ability is crucial not only in personal relationships but also in professional settings, helping them navigate interactions more effectively.

Assertiveness gained from overcoming a narcissistic relationship can empower them, giving them the strength to enforce boundaries and advocate for themselves in all areas of life. 

This is just one of the ways they turn past challenges into present strengths.

7) Forgiveness

You might be surprised to hear that people who come out the other side of a narcissistic relationship often emerge more forgiving, but it’s true.

To truly heal, those who’ve navigated this challenging time usually learn the power of forgiveness

It’s not about saying what the narcissist did was okay; it’s about releasing themselves from the hold of those experiences, letting go, and freeing themselves from the burden of resentment. 

There’s also an important element of self-forgiveness involved; they have to forgive themselves for the parts they played, the moments they stayed, or the things they didn’t see sooner.

Here’s the kicker: research shows that people who embrace forgiveness lead healthier, more satisfied lives. They carry less anger and stress, leading to better overall well-being.

That’s why you’ll probably notice that people who’ve survived a narcissistic relationship and are now thriving have developed the ability to be more forgiving. 

Final thoughts

It’s pretty clear that even though no one should have to endure a narcissistic relationship, these tough times can surprisingly lead to developing qualities that make someone stronger, happier, and healthier.

Getting through a relationship with a narcissist can push people to grow in ways they never thought possible. 

Despite the pain, these experiences can kick-start a journey of personal growth and self-discovery.

While nobody would willingly face such challenges, going through the tough times of a narcissistic relationship can lead to a life that’s about more than just getting by, it’s about thriving.

Picture of Cat Harper

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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