Anyone who has been with a narcissist likely knows how much the experience will change you. Narcissists are not like regular people, and their behaviors and abuse most definitely leave a mark.
Narcissists are those who have a personality disorder characterized by a lack of empathy and a dysfunctional way in which they navigate interpersonal relationships. Additionally, narcissists are self-obsessed, and will typically do whatever it takes to get what they want.
Unfortunately, these abusive behaviors and traits of the narcissist can be damaging to those who come into contact with them. Before healing from the abuse, you will find that you are changed in a myriad of negative ways. However, once you heal, there are some positive changes as well. I’ll list some of both.
Here are 12 ways narcissists change you (the good and the bad.)
The Negative Impacts
1. You begin to accept things you wouldn’t have accepted before.
For most people who end up being a victim of narcissistic abuse, they once thought they would never put up with the behaviors of a narcissist. “I will never allow someone to treat me that way,” they say. Then, they meet the narcissist and fall in love with the mask the narcissist puts on. By the time the narcissist begins to abuse them, they are often left confused, thinking “Maybe this isn’t the real them. They were so kind and loving before.”
2. You defend the narcissist and their abuse.
When other people bring up the fact that the narcissist is abusing you, you may find yourself coming in at their defense. Even when deep down, you know something is off, it can be hard not to defend someone you love.
3. Your sense of self is lost.
Throughout the relationship with the narcissist, the narcissist will work to tear you down and break you. They will put you through experiences you’ve never endured before, and work to undermine your sense of self.
4. Your self-esteem is destroyed.
In the beginning, narcissists will build you up. However, not long after, they will begin belittling you and emotionally abusing you. Part of this may be withholding affection, stonewalling you, or giving you the silent treatment. In turn, your self-esteem will be shattered.
5. You begin to fear conflict.
Narcissists don’t have ordinary conflicts. Conflict with a narcissist can reach physical levels, in which they will physically harm you. At the very least, they will verbally and emotionally assault you. This can be very traumatic, and in turn, will cause you to fear conflict.
6. You have a hard time trusting others.
It can be hard to trust after dealing with a narcissist. They show you one of the worst sides of humanity. And because of their abuse, you will likely have a hard time believing anyone is good.
7. You doubt yourself.
And because you ended up falling prey to the narcissist, you will begin to doubt yourself. The words of the narcissist will also reverberate throughout your inner dialogue, which will only add to your self-doubt.
The Positive Impacts
8. You learn to trust in yourself.
After leaving the narcissist and beginning your journey towards healing, you will finally begin to trust in yourself again. The trust you gain back will be far more than you ever had in yourself, because you survived the narcissist.
9. You realize how much boundaries matter.
After having someone invade all of your boundaries for so long, you will realize just how important boundaries are. Not only that, but how important it is to stand by your boundaries.
10. You learn how to cope with grief.
After you leave the narcissist, you will endure a cycle of grieving. Because you loved them so much, it will hurt to let go, even if they did cause you harm. It will take time, but through this, you will learn how to cope with grief.
11. You rebuild your support system.
During the relationship with the narcissist, it’s likely that they worked to isolate you from others. Once you have let go of them, you will begin to rebuild your support system, stronger than ever. And through those real human connections, you will learn what healthy relationships are again.
12. You are more careful about who you invite into your life.
Perhaps one of the greatest lessons you will learn when letting go of a narcissist is being more careful about who you choose to interact with. This is one I had to learn, after dealing with a very toxic friend. I was once someone who saw the best in everyone, now, I realize that not everyone has a good side.