Results of Dating A Narcissist: Thoughts From a Narcissism Therapist

Results of dating a narcissist

Results of Dating A Narcissist

Many people do not understand the negative results of dating a narcissist. The trauma and the changes in your thinking, as well as behavior, can be long-lasting. Changes such as how you view yourself, your ability to trust yourself and others, your expectations, and many other changes may last years. These changes will impact how you react to situations moving forward. This brief article will cover some of the most common results I see in my work as a mental health professional when counseling those who have had previous relationships with narcissists. 


Results of Dating A Narcissist, Top Priority at All Costs

One of the results of dating a narcissist I have noticed is making the narcissist the top priority above all else. Even to the extent of feeding yourself and becoming second to your narcissistic partner. You will change your career goals. You will drop out of school or enter a rigorous educational program. You will change how you look, think, and act. You’ll put family and friends on the back burner. 

This behavior becomes problematic when trying to exit the relationship. Oftentimes what I see is the same behavior with the next partner. You learn that to survive in the relationship, you must put yourself second. That your wants and needs do not matter. So much so that when you find yourself alone, you do not know what to do. Instead of putting yourself first, you find someone else to put first and repeat the process. 

Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111

You No Longer Expect Emotional Safety

Another result of dating a narcissist, you learn to not expect emotional safety. This occurs as a result of the abusive behavior presented by your partner. You lose trust in humanity. I have seen my clients lose trust in specific populations and genders as a result of dating a narcissist. The more experience you have in this type of relationship the longer it will take to regain trust. Since you no longer trust others as you used to, you will notice a challenge of connecting with new people. This feeds into being isolated and alone. Even when you meet new people and they offer you kindness, acceptance, and patience. You will see yourself keeping a safe distance. If nobody is safe, then you must remain ever vigilant and guarded. 

A Need to Continuously Please Your Partner

Since you have experienced various forms of abuse by putting yourself first. You survived by constantly trying to please your narcissistic partner. If they are not happy, you will not be happy either. They will dangle their acceptance and care as if you are a horse trying to reach the carrot. For you to feel accepted and safe, they will need to be happy first. Since you can do nothing right and you are always wrong, you will constantly try to please them. 

After the relationship is over, this behavior has become a habit. You will likely repeat the same behavior with other people. I have had many clients repeat the same behavior with me. A therapist who is there for them, the individual. Since you learned the only way to be safe in a relationship is to keep your partner happy, you will continue to act accordingly. Be it friends, family, romantic partners, or even your therapist. 

Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111

 Results of Dating A Narcissist, Low Self-Esteem

Another indicator is low self-esteem. I see this all the time in my clients. You received so much negative feedback that all you see is how wrong you are. You are wrong for not being good enough to keep the relationship going. Not attractive enough physically or mentally. You’re boring, stupid, and undatable because there is nothing good about you. This type of self-criticism continues long after you exit the relationship. 

You have lost trust in your ability to make healthy decisions. You doubt anything and almost everything. No matter what choices are open to you, you struggle to decide which choice is “right”. Since you are wrong in almost every way, so too are your decisions. You develop anxiety as a result of the mental gymnastics you do as you continuously flip back and forth 

Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111

Socially Isolated

Narcissists are skilled at getting you under control. This requires you to be socially isolated. No friends, family, colleagues, or acquaintances. Those are all variables they cannot control. So they manipulate you into cutting everyone off. After all is said and done, all you have is yourself. A battered and abused version of your past self. Trying to pick up the pieces of your past self you realize you have nobody to help you. You’re alone with your pain, trauma, thoughts, and feelings. You look at yourself in the mirror and you do not recognize the person looking back at you. 

You Change Into a Person you do not Recognize

Due to the manipulation, the abuse, the gaslighting, and your need to constantly please the narcissist in your life, you become someone you do not recognize. Your clothes, hobbies, the way you talk and anything that defines you has been altered. You feel lost, hopeless, and confused. You no longer know what you need or what you want from day to day. Whatever the narcissist wanted and needed, became your needs and wants. Without the narcissist, you feel hollow. 

Results of dating a narcissist

Develop Trust Issues

You stop trusting people after being in a relationship with a narcissist. Not only do you stop trusting others, but you also stop trusting yourself. Few things feel secure. During the process of you dating a narcissist, the rug has been pulled from underneath you so often nothing feels secure. Your social environment suffers the most. You do not know if others will stick to their word, abandon you, lie, cheat, or steal. You want to have people close, but you are not sure if you can trust anyone. 

You Date Other Narcissists

If you have spent enough time dating one narcissistic person, you will likely date more. That is because they are familiar to you. Their behavior to you has become predictable. You put yourself into a predictable environment helps you feel secure. Even if that environment is controlling, abusive, and neglectful. You at least know what is happening. I often see this in my clients. The goal is to break out of your comfort zone. Doing so will allow you to be around people who are kind, caring, and trustworthy.

Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111

Paranoid About Them Coming Back

It is not uncommon to have paranoia about them coming back. Narcissists often exhibit stalker behavior. On top of them typically being controlling. So odds are they know your habits, routines, your commute, and passwords. They follow you on all social media accounts and have a habit of waiting for you outside work. You could have received some threatening messages. Perhaps you notice you keep running into them. You stay up late thinking about them finding you. How you would handle yourself in that situation. Or thinking about what they might do to you. You spend hours looking over your shoulder. You avoid any of their usual hangouts. Disconnect from any of your shared friends or their friends. All to avoid them finding you again. 

Loathe Yourself

By the time the narcissist is done with you, you hate yourself. You hate how you behaved. How you reacted. You no longer recognize yourself. You dislike yourself as a whole. You feel a sense of shame and guilt. You are confused as to how you let yourself become a person you loathe. In the end, you are both alone and miserable. Wondering what to do next. Hopefully, you decide to rebuild your life. Hopefully, you seek out professional help. 

Learn more about Narcissism here.

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