How Dating a Narcissist Changes You

Most of us have had bad dating experiences. Some of us have found ourselves dating a narcissist and have had to get out of it. And it will change a person – in some negative ways and in some positive ways.

If you’ve had this experience, you’re definitely different because of it. And it’s not all bad! Once you’ve healed, you’ll notice you’re more compassionate than you were before dating them. You’ll also have more respect for yourself – and an increase in self-respect can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But you do have to heal after dating a narcissist. And understanding how you’ve changed as a result of having this experience can help get you on your way to having a healed heart.

So how does dating a narcissist change you? Here are the key aspects that can affect people who’ve had this type of horrible dating experience and some ways to help you heal!

Lowered Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence

After dating a narcissist, your self-esteem and confidence have probably taken a hit. That’s because narcissists have a notorious knack for acting as if they’re always right – and you’re always wrong. Having to deal with this over and over again will wear anyone down over time. Eventually, you’ll internalize a negative self-image and can lose faith in your own judgment. It can make you feel like you’re not worthy of making decisions because you obviously can’t get anything right.

Dating a narcissist is the opposite of getting the validation you need in love. You feel the opposite of being valued. It makes you feel like your opinion doesn’t matter and that no matter what you think or say, you’re going to be wrong. With that type of negative reinforcement, anyone would feel like a lesser person!

So how do you handle it? If you’ve gotten out of a relationship with a narcissist, it’s time to start re-building your self-esteem and confidence. Making your own decisions and acting on them is a great way to break out of this pessimistic mind frame. Do what you want, wear what you want, and enjoy the validation of watching things unfold well for you. With every successful action, your self-esteem and confidence will begin to grow again. You’ll be showing yourself evidence that you can make good decisions, you do have good judgment, and your opinions are valid. And the way to think and act can give you the life you deserve.

Isolation

Narcissists like to have you all to themselves. That’s because anyone who’s onto them or who might convince you to leave them are a threat to their ability to make you serve their interests and stroke their ego. They’ll take extraordinary measures to convince you that your friends aren’t really your friends, your family members don’t have your best interests in mind, or your co-workers are out to get you. Anything they can come up with to say about the people in your life that will tear you away from them, they’re liable to say over – and over – and over again until you listen.

This isn’t your fault! It’s the name of the narcissist game. After you get out of that relationship, it’s time to start re-building those connections – or get out there and make new ones. Whether through online dating or starting a new activity, any new supportive ties will serve you. And you’ll appreciate them more than you did before. This can lead to the formation of more meaningful friendships or romantic connections.

And re-building old connections can make them more robust than ever before. Those people you were cut off from missed you and were probably worried about you. They’ll be so happy you moved on from dating that narcissist, and this can lead to them appreciating your company even more than they did before!

Lost Identity

Narcissists are all about themselves. And their judgment. And their personality. Any qualities that are outstandingly you are liable to fade away in their presence. Over time, all the incredibly unique aspects of yourself that differentiate you from them can slowly fade away.

This can make you co-dependent. You shelf what you want and need to make them happy. At the end of the day, being in a relationship with a narcissist means pleasing them, which means anything you want goes out the window. Eventually, you could forget that you wanted anything different in the first place.

So after being in a relationship with a narcissist, you may need to discover what you want and need all over again. Remembering how you were before you dated them is a great start. Getting back to the old you can help you build a whole new you!

Listen to your heart, and accept the natural needs and desires you have. Follow them safely and reward yourself for taking that step every time. That will help you remember who you are at the core and slowly remove the narcissist’s remnants until your personality shines through and retakes control.

Avoiding Arguments

Narcissists don’t argue – they win. The slightest grievance, misunderstanding, or challenge can set them off in a big way. “Temper temper” – they’ve got it in droves. And you’ll learn to walk on eggshells in order to avoid dealing with their overreactions.

You’ve probably learned to avoid confrontation. Who wants to be called names, ignored, or attacked? Nobody! So when this happens constantly, you’re likely to learn how to put your feelings in the background to keep the peace. Narcissists need accommodating people, so you’ve been trained to become one.

But now – they’re gone! And you still find yourself avoiding arguments at all costs. That’s okay. This can be fixed. You won’t be keeping your opinion to yourself forever!

Start small. Express a different opinion when it comes up. Soon, you’ll notice that ordinary people don’t actually freak out when there’s a difference of opinion. After enough of these experiences are repeated, this fact will solidify in your mind. That erases the fear of arguments and gets you back to being your beautifully opinionated self!

The Inability to Say “No”

Making a narcissist happy is not an easy feat. You have to cater to everything they want you to, and refusal isn’t really an option. Over time, you can forget what the word “no” even sounds like when you say it.

The good news is, now that you’re out of that relationship with that narcissist, your work ethic is probably better than ever! You know how to make great strides, work hard, and get results – even ones that seem unrealistic. It’s time to take that power back and make it work for you now that they’re out of the picture!

They probably set strict boundaries for you when you were with them. Great – now you know how to operate under rigid boundaries, so set them for yourself! Make unnegotiable standards for yourself in terms of self-care. Treat yourself to all of the pampering attention you were giving to them. Imagine using all of the time and energy you took to please them to take care of yourself. That’s a recipe for success and probably fantastic hair and skin from the best night routine anyone’s ever seen.

Money, Money, Money, Hunny

Narcissists like money. They like to have it, and they like to spend it on themselves. And since you were like their servant, they probably helped themselves to more than enough – or even all – of yours.

Guess what? They’re gone. And that’s why all that money is suddenly showing up in your bank account – and staying there. What IS this life?

Use it to live your best life. Stay smart about it, and keep yourself a financial cushion if you can afford to. That way, you can know that if you get yourself into another narcissistic relationship, you can get yourself out. Spend it on yourself and your best interests. Enjoy it – you earned it, and now, it’s all yours!

You’re Just Not Well

Narcissists are bullies, and if you get bullied enough, your health will suffer – physically and mentally. And emotionally. Basically, you might just not be well all around.

Healing takes help sometimes. Whether you need to see a doctor, a mental health professional, or both, get the help you need to heal. Time with a narcissist takes a toll, and healing on your own might not happen quickly. It’s okay to get help. And you should! There’s no shame in calling in the professionals to get yourself back to zero so you can start over again, healthy and new.

You’re the Best Red Flag Spotter on Earth

Here’s a good one – you know all the bad signs all too well. You know precisely when your ears should perk up and you should head for the hills. You’re not likely to be surprised by someone being a narcissist ever again.

Put that skill to work! Once you get back in the dating game, you can be practically impervious to narcissists. While these traits might seem attractive and familiar, you can avoid them – because you’ll notice them. You’re a trained pro. Nothing’s getting past you.

The Experience Can Change You for the Better!

You’re armed with information. Re-building your self-esteem, confidence, identity, and habits can make them significantly stronger than before. Even if you don’t feel ready to take on the world again just yet, give yourself time. Small steps and wins add up to an entirely refreshed view of the world and yourself.

Get ready to be better than ever! It’s okay to be excited about the new you. Becoming your best self isn’t easy, and it involves healing. But you’ve been through the fire to come out as the most “you” you’ve ever seen. And one day, when you see how amazing you’ve become, you’ll be glad you dated that narcissist – no need to thank them 😉