Do you feel like you’re being emotionally manipulated and gaslighted in your relationship? You might be dating a narcissist. Here’s how dating a narcissist changes you.
How dating a narcissist changes you (19 Ways)
If you’re wondering how dating a narcissist changes you, here are some of the most common ways. Of course, not everybody experiences these symptoms since everyone reacts different.
But it’s still worth understanding so that you can spot potential red flags in your future relationships.
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1. You feel lonely and disconnected
Megan Walsh from Resonate Psychotherapy says:
Dating a narcissist brings an unexpected feeling of loneliness and disconnection within the structure of what is expected to be a reciprocal, loving, and supportive relationship.
The narcissist often has great difficulty tuning into the needs of the partner, which leaves the partner feeling isolated and abandoned.
The lack of safety within the relationship with a narcissist may leave the partner feeling vulnerable, insecure, and more disconnected from their needs and sense of self.
2. It robs you of your self-worth
Cierra from Healthy Habits Therapy says:
Dating a narcissist can rob you of your self-worth. Having low self-worth, or self-esteem, can not only change the way you interact with others but can affect your ability to succeed in both your personal and professional life.
Low self-worth manifests in relationships with a narcissist because a narcissist tends to make their partner feel like they’re not enough, that they are not loved or cared for, and that this all the partner’s fault that they feel this way.
Narcissists lack accountability for their actions and blame their partner for the way they feel, not the actions they have taken to make them feel that way.
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3. You begin doubting yourself
Celeste Labadie, Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist says:
When you date a narcissist, you’ll become unsure if you’re a good person or not. Doubting your own intentions and motivations.
You feel shaky inside and like you shouldn’t trust your own thoughts and feelings.
Narcissists are good at shaking the foundation of those they date. They often make “you” statements that over time erode the inner voice of those who they date.
And the way they make those statements will put their partner in a defensive position where they are made to feel off balance.
Then whatever they say in their own defense will be used against them at a later date. And the dynamic overwhelms their partner — who is usually an empath or sensitive type.
The narcissist-empath dynamic is quite common. And empaths or sensitives have a hard time maintaining clear boundaries which allows the DOUBT inside them grow.
4. You feel broken
Dr. Brenda Wade, Advisor to Online For Love says:
After dating a narcissist, you’ll feel broken, beaten, and confused with little to cling to at first. The person you made such an emotional investment in that was wonderful for a period now has treated you worse than you could ever have imagined.
It’s nothing short of surreal in the most nightmare-ish way, and you will not be yourself; you may even feel crazy!
And what you do after completely cutting the narcissist from your life will determine how much of an impact the experience will continue to affect you.
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5. You blame yourself
Narcissists are master manipulators, and they often use blame as a way to control their partners.
If you’re dating a narcissist, you may start second-guessing yourself and constantly wondering if you’re doing something wrong.
You may even start to blame yourself for the relationship problems. The constant criticism and gaslighting can take a toll on your self-esteem, leaving you feeling worthless and hopeless.
6. You become co-dependent and clingy
Narcissists make you feel unloveable and unworthy. This is how dating a narcissist changes you! They brainwash you into thinking that they’re the only person in the world that would ever love you.
And with time, you start to genuinely believe it. You become attached. And you become terrified by the idea that they would leave you. Because it they do, you’ll never find love again.
Of course, this belief you have is completely false. But when you’re in relationship with a narcissist, it’s difficult to think for yourself, let alone think straight.
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7. You become stronger
Dating a narcissist can be exhausting. They are always the center of attention and can never be wrong. They will try to control every aspect of your life and will take credit for your successes.
But! Having had the experience of dealing with a narcissist, you’ll come out of the relationship stronger and wiser than ever before.
You’ll learn how to stand up for yourself, how to set strong boundaries, and how to take care of yourself even when someone else isn’t doing it for you. This is how dating a narcissist changes you in a positive way.
What are some other effects of dating a narcissist?
- Your opinion doesn’t matter. They only care about what they think and feel
- You’ll become paranoid and jealous
- They will tear you down emotionally and make you feel like you’re not good enough for them or anyone else
- You start to avoid conflict
- You develop severe trust issues
- They make you believe that you’ll always be second best. No matter how hard you try
- You lose your sense of identity
- You start enabling and defending their toxic behavior
- Their inconsistent behavior makes you extremely anxious
- You may have trouble developing new relationships
- You could potentially suffer from PTSD as a result of dealing with a narcissist
- Depression takes over your life
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How does a narcissist react when they can’t control you?
Narcissists are known for their need for control. If they feel like they’re losing control over you, they can react in a variety of ways.
They might try to charm or manipulate you back into submission.
They might get angry and lash out.
Or, they might simply withdraw and try to ignore you altogether.
No matter what their reaction, it’s clear that narcissists don’t like it when they can’t control someone. So, if you’re ever in a situation where a narcissist is trying to control you, just remember that you have the power to resist.
Stand your ground and don’t let them push you around. Eventually, they’ll give up and move on to someone else.
How it feels to be in a relationship with a narcissist?
When you date a narcissist, everything is about them. They love the drama, and they always need to be the center of attention. Over time, you start to change.
You become codependent and clingy. You start to believe that their way is the only way. And when they eventually leave, it feels like your whole world comes crashing down.
But here’s the thing: you’re not alone. A lot of people have been through this before. And there’s a reason why so many people stay in these toxic relationships. It’s because we convince ourselves that we can change them.
We think that if we just love them enough, they’ll eventually see the error of their ways and change for us. But the truth is, you can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change.
So don’t waste your time trying. You deserve sooooooo much better!
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When a narcissist sees you cry
Every narcissist reacts a bit differently when they see you cry. But generally speaking, narcissists usually feel powerful and in control when they’re the reason for your sadness.
Watching you crumble under the weight of your emotions is a confirmation of their own superiority. It reassures them that they are the strong one.
They might see your tears as a sign of vulnerability and use them to try to control you emotionally.
Some narcissists will even see your tears as an opportunity to mock you and make you feel ashamed. They might say something like, “Aww, someone’s feeling sorry for themselves”, devaluing your feelings and dismissing them completely.
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Babe! You’re worthy of so much love!
I just want you to know that if you’re currently suffering in a relationship with a narcissist, you are worthy of so much more love than you’ve received from them! Truly.
You’re so much stronger than you give yourself credit for, and you deserve to be loved deeply and madly.
I hope you find the strength to walk away from this situation and find someone who will cherish you for the beautiful and freaking amazing person that you are!!
Don’t give up on yourself. Remember, you deserve to be loved unconditionally – and that’s something a narcissist will never be able to give you. So don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve : )