Side effects of dating a narcissist

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  1. Related coverage
  2. The Aftermath Of Dating A Narcissist
  3. Moving On: Life After Dating A Narcissist
  4. How Do You Recover from Dating a Narcissist?
  5. More From Thought Catalog

It's having a healthy self-esteem. It's what makes us pick ourselves up after experiencing failure and going on towards the next goal. It's what gives us the ability to help each other, and to love someone - as we already know how to love ourselves. Yet, Pathological Narcissism is an ironic twist of this healthy state. Outwardly, it appears that these people love themselves too much - to the exclusion of anyone else. It is as if they are God himself and those around them must recognize their omnipotence, supreme knowledge, and absolute entitlement and power. Rules don't apply to them.

They are interpersonally exploitive and have absolutely no understanding of empathy or compassion. They are neither kind nor benevolent gods. And those who live with them end up paying the price. While there is a range of narcissistic behaviors lying between level 1 and 10 on this scale, one doesn't need to have full-blown NPD to do incredible damage to those in the inner circle. The early days of the dating is fast, furious, and vastly romantic. Oftentimes marriage proposals come within a few weeks. The "victim" sees the narcissist as the "Perfect Partner".


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She's never met someone so wonderful in her lifetime and falls head-over-heels in love. The two go on to live happily ever after - or so she thinks - until the "real" partner surfaces. The once wonderful Dr. Jekyll turns into the dangerous Mr. Hyde who quickly instills fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and total confusion to the relationship.

The change can be quick and powerful or slow and insidious. We are all way too familiar with overt narcissists: They feel it is their God-given right to beat, abuse, and otherwise threat their partner in whatever method they deem necessary and no one can tell them otherwise. Then there is the verbally abusive and controlling narcissist - the one who uses emotional abuse as his weapon of choice. He tells his victim who she can see, what time she needs to be home, and when she can go to bed. Or in the case of Jamie, whose husband makes her recite every day, "I'm only worth 29 cents - the price of a bullet," he erodes her self-worth to nothing to keep her under his control.

Who else could possible want such a worthless woman as she? With that belief, she will never leave him for good, although she makes many brief attempts to do so. The brainwashing that continues day after day is emotionally exhausting, draining, and vastly unhealthy.

Yet almost worse is the "Stealth Narcissist," so sinister and silent in his ability to drive his partner crazy that she doesn't suspect anything bad is happening until it's too late. He is the master of the little digs - "Honey, why on earth would you cook eggs in butter? NO ONE does it that way. What's wrong with you? He may "forget" birthday or Christmas presents, year after year. He may show up hours late and his partner is just supposed to understand, with no explanation even offered. He may have another woman on the side and feel quite entitled to do so. Yet, to those outside his inner kingdom he looks like a saint.

Only a psychiatrist can diagnose a narcissistic personality disorder, though the broad definition of a narcissist is someone who:. The only way narcissists can satisfy their grandiose ego and create the illusion of superiority is by putting others down. The reason was that he gave me intermittent reinforcement.

Most of the time, he was self-absorbed and obsessed with himself, alternating between feeling he was the best ever and the worst ever. But when he took the love and affection away, he was so distant, so self-involved, and I felt like the problem was me, that it was my fault. We understand narcissism well enough to know that if you are dating a narcissist, or someone with narcissistic tendencies, you will very likely feel unsupported and put down. Your partner will not empathize with you and will not be there for you.

Narcissists expect all the attention and will steal your good ideas, making them theirs. They will almost certainly get angry when you disagree with them. If you experience any of these feelings, you should get out of the relationship. There is lots of information available to help you figure out if you are dating a narcissist.

I strongly suggest you learn what you need to know and move on. There is nothing to be gained by spending a lot of time on a person who is causing you so much grief. Before you can move on, the most important thing to understand about narcissists is that underneath their apparent self-confidence is a profound lack of self-esteem. Narcissists do not think well of themselves, and to make themselves feel better, they choose partners who doubt themselves and their capabilities. Let me put it this way: If you had strong self-esteem and confidence in yourself, you would not be chosen by a narcissist as a possible partner.

This is because narcissists like to control and feel superior. People with healthy self-confidence who make the mistake of entering a relationship with a narcissist quickly become aware of the emotional abuse and cut the relationship short. Most importantly, they refuse to take the blame.

Instead, knowing they are unhappy, they focus on themselves and deal confidently and quickly with a relationship that has no value. When you doubt yourself and lack confidence, you become the perfect target for a narcissist. Narcissists are appealing at first. They give the impression of strength and confidence. Their goal is to charm you and make you think it is all about you. Of course, if you had known this in advance, you would not have entered the relationship.

To avoid entering another relationship based on your self-doubt, ask yourself: How can I take care of myself better? Nearly put me in a grave. I was married for 20 years to a narc man. I freed myself several years ago, and then read everything I could about the illness. One shattering thing they tend to do— and what was done to me—is that a narc will pick a person who has attributes they secretly envy and want for themselves. I was intelligent, tall and very good-looking, and the way my family lived made it look as though we were rich.

None of this mattered to me, I had low self-esteem and narc parents. I was also very naive. How I wish I could turn back time. This man wished for the things I had growing up —as HE saw them. He grew up poor, 7 years older than me and a custodian. Not true, because of my self-esteem. I ended up just feeling bad that his esteem was so low. So he finished his demolition work and destroyed me, as I no longer fed his narc food anymore.

I ended up pithed, scooped out like a melon. I no longer had friends. I lost most my teeth because he denied me dental care— even when I carried the insurance! And yet I was a trophy for him to show off This is my gorgeous, talented, father-is-a novelist and art collector-wife! All that time, too, he had been cheating and doing really awful stuff. They take, then discard. If ever you have doubts about a partner, and they are not taken seriously. If you see flashes of extreme envy toward yourself especially! If your achievements are not really celebrated. If you are cut down while the other is raised up.

When you wonder why this person loves, or even likes, you. They seem to have no sense of shame, and force things to go their way. When there is anything hidden, like finances. Run away, as fast as you can. Your life will be strangled, your gifts and true goodness warped or lost. Your sense of direction, your moral compass, your vision of the world—skewed, smashed. I was scared for my life, as were my siblings. His assault landed him in court, where I had to testify while he stared me down with the most evil look.

A 2 year restraining order, and some assault charge that carried no jail time, was put on him. He stopped pursuing me. After that, I saw him only from afar, a few times, for those two years— but I always looked over my shoulder, I was afraid to go to the city where he had told people I had narced on them turned out that was a lie, and many of those people actually liked me and felt really sorry for me!

For two years I struggled to get some life back. He immediately moved a lover I knew nothing about into my house and onto my dirty sheets and used towels! At the end of those two years, to the very date, he showed up at my work, all sentimental smiles and flowers! I told him no, and never to bother me. But he kept popping up, acting all nice and— I realized his narcissism could not bear to have me in the world, hating him. These people are so dangerous. He once gloated over me, while we were divorcing, that I had been so easy to deceive the whole thing is your fault, he said, because you were so easy to manipulate.

These people are killers, too. I have one friend who died suddenly, and I knew her husband was a narcissist. He sold her car and most of her stuff before the funeral cremation had a new girlfriend really, a lover from his office in the house in a month. Moved to a new state far off in 5 months.

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My friend had some medical problems but— no autopsy. That could have been me, or you. I really think he killed her. I think that is a true risk with these people. They can be so enchanting, charming, almost addictive—as my ex was. Watch yourself while you are with them, then when you leave them— if they are not done with you yet, and you decide to leave, they will be absolutely wounded, and a narcissist is capable of things you would not even think of.

I think you covered the nearly exact version of my husband and me — with the exceptions my husband was a very good looking underachiever from a broken home — what my friends called a loser but whom I thought was capable of everything he said he wanted. I am 61 and abandoned after 23 years — and yes, he says I was just stupid to believe him — they do not have the same values and they will leave you for dead — because you being alive is just one more proof they arent what they say they are. Not be treated like they are diseased serial killers. Dont run from someone you are in love with, help them through it.

And entered myself into therapy through an anger management program after my divorce left me feeling betrayed and unable to consider why my wife of 5 years and 2 daughters could possibly do what she did to me. I learned that I suffer from narcissistic behavior, and that I was torturing her. And a woman, even a good one can only handle so much.


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I have learned a great deal about myself since that time. Dedicated to staying sober and celibate I began my journey to correct my behavior. Now 10 years later, I have found myself in a wonderful relationship with the most amazing woman I have ever met. We have many differences yet we have managed to have an amazing relationship.

And now with a recent promotion at a new job, we spend less and less time together and I have noticed an increase in alcohol use. We have an increasingly difficult time communicating and I am so afraid that my behavior is becoming tortuous to her. She suffers herself from depression issues and she is also divorced. She has been off her medication for more than a year. We have both agreed that we need to see a therapist. However the financial stresses of life make that a difficult choice. My income is so tight due to child support and ex house payments.

Yet I am aware of my behavior and find it difficult to constantly monitor. It is very difficult living as a narcissist. It took 15 weeks of therapy just to accept that this is a reality of myself. I really want to do this right. I do not wish to torture my mate. And find it increasingly difficult to bite my tongue and just listen. The frustration is that it seems like I am the only one that does listen. I have a very good relationship with my 2 girls, but for how long if my behavior is not corrected. I am doing my very best in finding outlets to my behavioral disorder.

However working around the clock and only seeing my lady in passing through the week is challenging.

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The Aftermath Of Dating A Narcissist

I have a history in substance abuse.. In my childhood I had a wonderful family. My little sister has a wonderful husband. My mother passed away at the age of My father is a pilot and flies all over the world. I am so proud to call him dad. Yet I am the black sheep. I moved out of my parents house when I was 16, married at 19, and divorced at Now 32 with 13 and 11 year old daughters that live more than an hour away, I am finding myself falling back into the same patterns.

Hi Margaret, If I can give you any advice after the last 9 months of being with a narcisist that I loved dearly is. I have studied this now, spoken to many people. The the narcissist is not going to help you. You can only help yourself. I met a woman through friends who I feel in love with.

The first real love connection since my divorce 4 years ago. This woman is one of the most attractive and intelligent women I have ever met. I would have children with her. She told me that she loved me but. I have never felt so alone as when I was with her. I couldnt understand how this person could say she loved me yet act in the reverse. I had to look at what she did not what she said. So always seeking the attention of men it was embarrassing.

As of I was not there. When it was in her interest, she would considered and loving, when we had no plans, I could get no attention from her. For my own sanity I had to leave. Constantly on Facebook posting photos and looking for attention. Rated how well get life was going by the number of likes. In the end I found her on to website that sought financial arrangements for love.

She blamed me that I was not giving her enough attention. My daughters could not understand why a grown up would behave the way she did. In the end my eldest daughter would joke. Walk away from someone who in done ways was so beautiful but in others so ugly and hurtful. She will not change. She will continue to hurry the next man and the next and the next. Confirmation for me was that the day we broke up, she went out that night and smeared herself all over Facebook with another man and disgusting comments of what they may have got up to.

I did not see them and the next night she claimed she was ill and she asked me to come over and stay the night so she had company. She had no words but just blame. But do much for the best. It hurts today still at the moment. She was mentally ill. I deserve to be happy as well. You must leave and find happiness. I was married to a Narc who was 15 years younger than me. I met her when I was She was very attractive and following a whirl wind romance, we got married six months after we met.

This was crazy behaviour but I had fallen completely in love with her and she told me that she loved me also. It took me about 2 months to realise that things were not right. Her behaviour was really odd — always seeking the limelight and on a high one moment and crying with despair the next. She was manipulative and Had a massive sense of her own self importance. We had three beautiful daughters who are the love of my life. I provided my wife with everything that she wanted but in the end we split in very acrimonious circumstance and I have not spoken to her for 5 years.

I was completely outclassed in deception and it is with some regret that I know it will never happen again. My life was nearly destroyed by this narcisicist but I managed to break free and I can now look ahead with a degree of confidence about my future. I think i may have just been in a relationship with one. I would like to talk to someone who knows more about this because i have never experienced anything like it until now. My girlfriend went out to run an errand on July 22nd and just now messaged me, she only wants her clothes back.

Is this at all a good idea, or will this just give her another reason to keep jumping into my life as pleases? I am planning on leaving the state any day now, I need distance and reduced access to lick my wounds. I am so sorry to hear about your situation. Rita of Cascia endured years of abuse. I will keep you in my prayers and remember, none of this will matter in years time!

Pray for me too please James. I am a Christian married to someone I suspect is a narcissist. Read up on narcissism. I was once in your position.

Moving On: Life After Dating A Narcissist

I started my blog to help people like you NOT have to go through what I did!!! Margaret, leave the relationship. The sooner the better. But it is not real, or healthy by any means. I have been going through this for 16 years never married and always tried to fixed the problem. Even though its hard!!! I have to do it for my son…all the best! It would be helpful to learn why you ended up in such relationship, to understand your own issues. This knowledge will be helpful in your healing. There is plenty of info on internet. But I ted to over analyze details to be able to apply them.

Can someone please help me identify my personal behaviors. I find the description to vague , great deal possible the denial side is in high gear here. I also dated one before him. I just wanted to say…. There is nothing there. We had relationship problems mainly with the red flags I was seeing. My observations of her behavior led me to believe she was cheating. She ultimately lead me to believe I was crazy and put me on a massive guilt trip for having called her on my suspicions. In all of this she made it about her putting on a big show about how much pain she was in due to me accusing her of cheating.

It was really pretty weird cause if you think about it, if your partner accuses you of cheating, and you are not, and they are clearly certain that you are… based on their obvious mental state…. Instead she made it all about her, with a total inability to be compassionate and put herself in my shoes, to share my feelings and my hurt. I went on this torrential reading spree devouring every self help book I could get to try to understand and find center, regain my reason and wait for it???

Try to fix the situation. I was excited by the prospect of us working through the methods together to improve our relationship!!! She showed little interest. Now to address what another said earlier, being in this relationship is a very lonely situation. She tells me she loves me in monotone with no visible emotion and yet the elephant in the room is her complete emotional unavailability! Did I mention the passive aggession and the silent treatment?

Acts different at home and out in the world… constantly worried about her image. In case of confusion about my post above. I end up questioning in my own mind everything she says, not actually physically questioning her cause that would create a war zone here. See if you can get into therapy with someone good. Nicole, your post was a long time ago but for anyone wondering if you yourself are a narcissist just take this survey. I can totally empathise with your experiences and I believe the comment about taking responsibility is very accurate.

I too have experienced narc relationships. My father is narc and very adept at making you feel responsible. I played this role for many years as did my mother. When I challenged it I was cut off ignored. My siblings have spent too long with my father and have adopted the same patterns, so I have withdrawn, which has been my saving grace. Be assured your ex will look for someone she can control as thats her modus operandi, yours has been the rescuer cos thats been yours. All the best for a happy future.

How Do You Recover from Dating a Narcissist?

Dee, i have a question for you, since your father is a narc like you posted in your post, I have a friend that his mother seems to be one, and is very upset with me, and tells everyone that our relationship is not approved of by her, because its unhealthy. The only unhealthy part is when she is continuously yelling and screaming at one or both of us. He is a very very kind person, but he has this person, that will track him down, if he is not where he said he was going to be, or if he said something positive about me, she would come over and raise hell, I am not sure if i should continue to wait for him, or just let him go, my heart says to wait, but my head says to give up.

I am having a very hard time with this because of how close we have got, and all of a sudden one day he is not around anymore, and after every fight that his mom has put towards me and him, he has continued to tell me its not my fault, and to stay positive, and take care of myself, but yet I am worried sick about him, and his children, because I know way to much, that everyone in his family is denying the fact that I am right and she is wrong. Can you please help me?

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Short version of why you are drawn back: Hello — I wanted to add to the above note. The website mentioned above has been tremendously helpful in giving me the knowledge and strength to leave the abusive narssistic man I have been involved with for almost 10 years. He is always right never wrong. My needs have never been met. He changed and started following a African religion, turned into a vegan, anything I say have no meaning since he changed. He gets a rise out of defending the mother of his son, and talking to other women on facebook saying he can do what he wants.

If I mention the women or his ex he protects them by making me feel like they are better than me. He may be pushing me away, because everything we had in common when we were married has gone. He stays on facebook morning to night, and does not have any kind of real conversation or communication with me. Then he told one of those facebook females that he blocked me from his page, so she could continue stimulating his intellect.

All in all, I live here with him and I have never felt so alone. I want nothing from him. I could have written exactly what you wrote! I just broke it off with a man who did almost EXACTLY the same thing… starting with how he gets a rise out of defending an ex… and talking to other women on facebook saying he can do what he wants…. I am rid of him!!! It does not change!!! It does not change. My spirit of fear, doubt, insecurities and judgement of others attracted this type of individual.

I was the perfect supply. When I began to love myself fully I was no longer fearful of the disrespect. The belittlement came stronger because they had to get me back to where I was. If you think on it…you probably know nothing about them personally other than how everyone disprespects them. They fall apart with any input that questions their knowledge. Just believe me…until they are tired of changing partners and running from the truth, they will not change. I was married for 14 years to an NPD. The reason Jeff went back, the reason people feel like helping NPDs is called codependency. You need to understand exactly why each of you has gotten into these relationships.

You all had an agenda… maybe it was to fill a void in your own lives. Dig deep, uncomfortably deep within yourself and the answers are there. Also look up co-morbidity definition. Wish you all luck, your answers are there, I promise you. Yea I realize melvin g. Is not worth it. He is a cheater n big liar. Sometimes u just have to walk away from people like that. I know I will find true love. I have been in a relationship like this for 16yrs. I have little strength to fight this person it seems i just have to wait until he decides he no longer requires me and lets me go.

Yes thank you to this website for making me aware. I actually was searching for answers thinking I was going insane. Whenever I am feeling sad about my decision of leaving this person I simply read this and it brings back all the terrible memories of why I had to leave. Thank you so much. The father of my kid is a total narcissist. I see the good in him too but he is very mean to me. He is constantly putting me down about my appearance, my intelligence my past everything you can imagine. I get ripped to shreds every day here about something and am relentlessly maligned for every slight misstep or just for not doing things exactly his way at all times.

He has zero concern for the emotional pain he causes me, the tears or the anguish in my face has never had any impact on him. Sad, sad and more sad. I have a seven and a six year old, a girl and boy, they are witness to his put downs and also are following his suit at times. I cant challenge his behaviours at all. My family live klms away, I cant tell them. I am in the same boat.

My husband is very careful of how he speaks to me in public with most people. He will shoot me down in front of his mother and others in his family. But not in cocles where his psuedo personality is more familiar to other people. He is vicious to me. Completely not anle to see how he is hurting me and we have three children. If I left I would be blamed as the one who broke up the family and he would definitly foster that belief into them. He would also screw mw royaly Im sure of it. Heafter 15 years of marriage he still refuses to put my name on our house. When we went for our closing something happened where we had to put just his name to close the deal.

And any time i ask he says. Im not paying someone ti add your name. A pool, a finished basement…. The worst part for me is the psycological abuse and torment. He twists everything that I say and Always has to have center stage. Im never hearing him according to him , yet he NEVER lets me say anything without cutting me off, correcting me, getting angry. He always has to be right and then twists it that hes not that way. He plays himself different in front of other people saying nice things about me as though he has admiration for me.

I was interrupti g his sleep. I had to have my mom come bring me to the hospital. He stayed home sleeping. It was gas but I had never know a chest pain so bad and Im a 48 year old woman with three children who depend on me. Another time I had a scary test for a lung xray. I was so freaked out and scared he acted like there was something wrong with me and ignored me. We had two sets of pastors and several therapists tried to help.

Futile, hes a good performer. The last councelor saw right through his bullshit and called him out on some stuff. He never wants to ho back to him. Says its a waste of time. Im up at 2: That might tell yiu alot about how much pain I am in. Get out, get out, get out!! I did it — same situation as yours. You will be strong enough to fight and gain custody, should this issue arise. All the very best — it can be done. Took me years and years — but I am free. This in hopes that Jorge will reply. His is the only post I have seen from an admitted Narc.

Jorge, I am curious as to when and how you realized you had NPD and how it made you feel. What your thoughts and actions were and whether you have come to terms with it. This sounds like I couldhave wrotethis almost word for word. My husband and I have been Married 11 years and I feel so so alone. He will do evervything in his power not to spend Quality timewithme or evenhave sex withme.

I dontknow what else to do. Inever linked it to narciccissitc before but maybe ontosomething. I just want to say that I have experienced so much of what is being discussed here. I especially want to say to Broken that I feel her pain. My N husband passed away a few months ago. Not only was he extremely verbally abusive at times, he had a drug problem that he tried to keep hidden. He could blow up at the least little thing and make a terrible scene, but he also was so lovable in the family and at church.

The relationship suffered and my love for him grew cold because I have never even heard anyone say some of the crushing things he said to me. As a Christian, I tried to forgive him as Christ has forgiven me, and at times, I do believe he was truly sorry but it was never going to stop completely. He fought the rage, but his diabetes and total dependence on pain medications and all made it very difficult. We did enjoy some things together and he did a lot of handiwork and woodworking around the house, maybe to make up for the bad stuff.

He was very talented on the guitar and creating his own songs and he won my heart so quickly. If you have much invested in the relationship and especially for your children maybe find a way to endure and pray for God to give you strength and peace. And pray that God will change his heart. He really will hear your prayers and answer. Go to Him in prayer when you need to escape. Go for a walk, take a drive, take the kids to visit the grandparents. I raised my kids in a 20 year marriage that was very lonely. So I know the pain you feel Broken.

These Are The Signs You're Dating A Narcissist

I could not take a risk of him trying to take the kids so I stayed until they were old enough to decide for themselves. My heart goes out to you and I wish I could help in some way. Trust God and He will be with you and show you the way. Dani, I know exactly what you mean. I know i had a mother who is very narcissist and very insecure. I, however, do not believe i am insecure. Where, i am going with this is, my one and only just broke up with me today. There were numerous times in the relationship that he told me that he is more right than ever wrong.

BUt now i feel like i am inadequate and not worthy of the very one person that meant the most to me and i felt that i could learn a lot from him. He did think about things and how it would effect me from time to time and worked to change those things. I just am no longer happy and felt like i was always walking on egg shells around him too. Then it turned into a situation where is tried breaking up with me several times only to take it back the next morning or get me to make the decision for him. Then he tells me things in the same conversation only to say he never said that all in the same conversation.

Everything i say is an argument to him. He tells me i wanted everything my way, but i really think i wanted it him to meet me in the middle. I know what you mean about being on egg shells. I take full responsibility for that. In the beginning i knew i how to handle him.

Then when i learned more and more about him and everything became harder and it was like no matter which way i stepped, i was never good enough. Plus all the assumptions he had about me in the beginning only goes to show you he wanted to be right so bad. In the end, i am sure i have some narcissist ways as well.

I work on those things already, because i know what they are especially when you come from the only woman role model in your life who showed you how to do things the wrong way instead of right. I chose to take that as a positive and make better choices. It has done wonders for me since growing up. I guess i never felt so insecure until i met this guy and got to know him further. He is not a bad person, he just thinks he is God. I never got confused about things until i could no longer get things right, ever. It felt like a game to me.