Falling in Love with a Narcissist Changes You

Being involved with a narcissist on a closer level inevitably changes you. You not only change your daily routines for them, but also adjust your morals, views and behavior – a necessary measure in order to be able to live with their deceit and manipulations. In addition to that, you tend to become easily irritable, depressed and not much fun to be around. Your willingness to change in order to please the narcissist and survive in a narcissistic relationship can reach worrying levels. After a certain amount of time, you begin to feel as if you are slowly losing touch with yourself. However, since you are usually so busy with catering to the narcissist’s needs and dancing to their pipes, you don’t spend too many thoughts on your own well-being. You might be aware of the fact that you are changing and that you are no longer your old self. However, you don’t really pay much attention to it. All of our attention is focused on figuring out the narcissist’s ambiguity and on trying to make them act with more consideration and commitment towards us. Our own wishes, desires and ambitions are turned into concerns of secondary importance next to our unconditional dedication to the narcissist.

When I started dating the narcissist, I almost immediately turned into a completely different person. Before meeting him, I was doing fine. Sure, I have always been a people pleaser and my lack of self-confidence has repeatedly caused me to be very insecure in my interactions with others. However, no one has ever exploited my tendency to be self-sacrificing to the same extent as the narcissist did. In my interactions with him I felt like a leaf being blown around by winds: I completely adjusted to his schedule. I changed my daily routines, my morals and behavior in order to keep him satisfied and to be able to survive in a narcissistic relationship. In the back of my mind, there was always the nagging thought that I was completely losing touch with myself and that I was throwing all my core values and beliefs overboard. However, I was usually too busy making sense of his behavior and dancing to his pipe to really take those thoughts seriously enough. I was apparently fine with losing touch with myself, as long as it enabled me to stay with the narcissist. I made the ultimate sacrifice: I willingly threw away my integrity and emotional well-being, in order to be able to hold on to an unhealthy and damaging relationship.

First of all, when you are dating a narcissist you often have to change your daily life, your routines and schedule in order to adjust to their needs – because the narcissist sure as hell won’t adapt or pay attention to your needs. If you want things to work out, you have to be the one making the sacrifices, being flexible and changing your plans to meet his schedule. As all of our energy and brain capacity is usually focused on them, we tend to neglect all the other areas of our daily lives: We cancel dates that we had arranged with friends and we neglect our hobbies, because we want to be constantly available in case the narcissist suddenly communicates a desire to see us. More often than not, they don’t, and we cancelled our plans in vain. It starts to get frustrating and heartbreaking very soon, but still we are often unwilling to adapt our behavior in order to shield us from further pain. We spent a lot of time sitting in front of the phone, waiting for a call or a tiny message – and turn into frustrated, irritated beings in the process. While I dated the narcissist I adjusted my entire schedule to his needs. I neglected my friends, I didn’t go to my sports courses anymore, because I jumped at every opportunity to see him. Of course I was often the one having to do all the travelling, spending hours on trains just to see him for a short time. My mind was so constantly occupied with making sense of him and obsessing about his ambiguous behavior that he started to define my entire life. Everything was always about him, he was constantly on my mind and the thoughts of his unavailability and distance were keeping me busy. In short, I was completely losing touch with myself, as I was turning him into the center of my world, changing my ways to adjust to his will and schedule, doing everything it took to make things work.

However, far worse than changing your schedule and your daily routines is the fact that you also tend to change your morals, views and behavior. In order to be able to hold on and survive in a narcissistic relationship, you begin to accept things that would have seemed unimaginable to the sane mind you had still possessed prior to being with the narcissist. I’m still amazed at the extent to which I was willing to adapt my values in order to be able to stay in a relationship with a dishonest and manipulative man. I submissively accepted the shady treatment received at his hands and repeatedly downplayed his ambiguous and shameful actions. I would never have imagined that I would agree to following a guy to a hotel room in order to have sex, and then to allow him to send me back home after he got what he wanted. As it turned out, I was prepared to go to that hotel – only feeling slightly uncomfortable – and was able to swallow my frustration over the fact that he sent me back home pretty easily. I still can’t believe that I was willing to bend my morals to such an enormous extent. I’m ashamed that he made me lose my integrity and that he brought me to do things I never thought I was capable of. You might feel assured of your values and beliefs. However, the narcissist is still able to make you change them in order to adjust to his shadiness and unavailability.

I always considered lies and deceit to be absolute deal breakers. However, being with the narcissist I slowly learned to live with deceit, and I even allowed him to draw me into his world made of lies. When I realized that he was lying both to me and his exgirlfriend I was outraged and felt humiliated. Yet, I was again able to live with it after only a short amount of time. I somehow came to the conclusion that in order to be able to stay with him, I had to learn to come to terms with the lies. I not only accepted it and tried to live with it, but I was also turned into a liar myself. When I talked to his exgirlfriend on the phone, I tried to evade her questions and didn’t stick to the truth. I so desperately wanted to avoid getting the narcissist into trouble that I hid the truth from her. I knew that telling her the truth would have made her freak out and possibly throw him out of her apartment. To save his skin I was throwing my scruples overboard and served her with lies. I felt like shit, but didn’t know how else to solve the problem. I never chose to be drawn into their interactions with one another and to become a part of the unsolved conflicts between them. With his penchant for triangulation, the narcissist drew me into their craziness, and I lacked the resolve and integrity to withdraw.

Apart from adjusting your daily routines to their needs and bending your morals and core values, you also change because the narcissist’s behavior turns you into an easily irritable, depressed and frustrated mess. As an effect of enduring their ambiguity and of being repeatedly dealt with harsh blows, we are no longer our old, happy selves and annoy others with our gloominess. It doesn’t really come as a surprise that our frustration begins to show after we have been hurt and humiliated repeatedly. Narcissists suck all joy out of our lives and everything around us suddenly causes us to either get sad or irritated. I was always on edge and on the verge of crying while I was dating the narcissist. My best friend got an earful whenever we met. And even though she didn’t really show it, I know that I wasn’t much fun to be around at the time. I’m still thankful for the patience and understanding both my best friend and my family extended towards me. My constant sadness and gloominess was making me very aware of the fact that being with the narcissist was enormously damaging to my emotional balance. Yet, even though I was aware of how miserable he was making me with his unavailability and ambiguity, I still held on to him, because I was too afraid of being lonely again.

However, narcissists not only make us change for the worse, but after the end of the relationship we often find the strength to change our lives for the better. Because they have left us broken and shattered, we feel the need to completely reassess our attitude towards relationships and ourselves. We are so paralysed by pain and exhaustion that we realize we need to change in order to never feel that way ever again. While I was with the narcissist, I definitely changed for the worse. But now, looking at everything in retrospect, I can say that all in all, being with the narcissist made me change for the better. The pain he caused me and my willingness to accept his shadiness were eye-opening and made me question myself. I started trying out new activities in order to distract myself from the heartbreak: I’m now taking yoga classes and I generally try to be good to myself and to be optimistic about life. Sure, there are still setbacks. But I’m thankful that the pain of being with a narcissist forced me to reassess my attitudes and my willingness to sacrifice. I guess it is true: being thrown to the ground often makes you re-emerge as a stronger and better person. So instead of just being frustrated and sad about what happened to me, I’ve also learned to appreciate the opportunity for personal growth offered to me by going through emotional abuse.

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39 thoughts on “Falling in Love with a Narcissist Changes You

  1. You did a great job of describing how the narcissist slowly coerces you to conform, no, obey – or else he is leaving you. Period. The sitting by the phone, waiting for a crumb of attention because he promised you that tomorrow would be your day together, using you for sex… all of it is a pattern that people with NPD use for control. If it happened on the second date, of course you would have rejected him. But it was a gradual building you up and pushing you down. I can totally relate to changing from happy-go-lucky to generally pissed-off all the time. But I want to disagree with one thing. I am not grateful for crossing paths with an NPD monster. I think there are other ways to learn self-confidence and I would have preferred something else! Maybe an art therapy class or healthy reinforcement… I am happy that you are turning your situation into a win, and I hope to do that, too, one day – but I will not say that what the narcissists do to their targets is okay or for our own good. They have no empathy or compassion. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I totally agree. It was probably wrong to say that there was a positive side to having been with a narcissist. There are indeed better ways to get stronger and more self-confident. But at least being with the narcissist was like a wake-up call for me…because I realized that I couldn’t go on like that…that my attitudes towards relationships and myself were questionable…without that knowledge I would have probably stumbled into the next unhealthy relationship. Now I at least now I need to protect myself better. But you are definitely right: you can learn valuable lessons without having been with a narcissist! I will also never think that what the narcissist did to me was okay…I just think that it opened my eyes. Thank you again! You are making a very important point and I couldn’t agree more.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It can take a long time to recover from such a relationship. It’s been a year for me. I’m almost there, but still have some residual weirdness popping up every once in a while. Be patient with yourself!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much. I’m so glad to hear you’re almost fully recovered. You are right: it will take time. I know I will probaby still be affected by it for quite some time. There are still setbacks and gloomy thoughts lurking in my head. But I’ve already come a long way since the end of the relationship. I was a mess back then. Now I at least can be happy again at times. Thank you again for your kind and encouraging words!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Because they have left us broken and shattered, we feel the need to completely reassess our attitude towards relationships and ourselves” ~ This is so true. There’s nothing like an experience with a narcissist to make you remove the rose coloured glasses. In a twisted kind of way, the experience can be a blessing in disguise.

    Great post, hugsy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are right…at first I was only deeply frustrated because of what happened. I’ve learned to also see the positive sides: At least, I was forced to call into question some of my attitudes and modes of behavior…if I hadn’t done that I surely would have jumped right into the next unhealthy relationship. Thank you for your comment. I always appreciate your kindness ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Because of our evolution, we are hard-wired to adapt. The human ability to adapt is usually a biological advantage – until it’s not. One of the things narcissists are good at is choosing people for whom adaptation and the acceptance of change is not a difficult prospect. They also look for other particular behaviours, too, but a penchant for adaptation is almost necessary in order for them to get control.

    I’m glad that you are starting to see the growth that can come from such a relationship. Recovering from narcissistic abuse is a steep learning curve, but it seems to me that you are really learning about yourself. Good post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are right. My penchant for adaptation gave him total control over me…you really need to be willing and able to adapt in order to stay in a relationship with a narcissist. I was unable to set up some boundaries and thereby invited him to treat me disrespectfully. Thank you so much for your commet. Your insightful and kind words are always appreciated.

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  5. I found your blog through 18mitzvot and I am so grateful. You beautifully describe how it works with a narcissist and how everything is bent to their needs and desires. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and your journey !!! I am now a happy follower of your blog and very much looking forward to read from you ! hugs to you !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so so much! You are incredibly kind! I’m really glad to hear that you enjoyed reading my posts. It’s a pleasure to get such amazing feedback. Thank you for following me 🙂 I hope you won’t be disappointed. Lots of love ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The way you talk about what you went through with your narc ex, truly amazes me. I have tried to talk about my past shitty relationships with men on my blog but I always seem to fail. The one who put me under a lot of heartbreak was the one I mentioned in my last comment on your blog that i dated on and off for four years. I remember going for counselling because his unavailability was on the verge of making me go nuts. I wanted him to love me but he constantly mistreated me. And his was the silent mistreatment. The one which hurts the most and makes you doubt your sanity. I remember bending my rules to the point of having sex with him while on a period never mind that he made it look like I was the one who had seduced him. Afterward, he quickly got up and said “now is not the time for sleeping” after f****g me while on a period. He didn’t even bother cuddling me or spending any more time with me in bed. And I ended up feeling like a slut afterward.
    At that period, I hardly knew what was right for me in a relationship no wonder I put up with such shit. I had been transformed into a desperate co-dependent who was always at the beck and call of a man who hardly cared about me. Till date, I still meet with his friends and feel slightly embarrassed because I know they had full knowledge then of how silly I was then following a man around who never loved me.
    I understand perfectly all you have described here and i’m happy you are out of that relationship with tha sorry ass man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing a part of your story with me! I’m so sorry to hear that you have been treated like that. I can fully relate to what you said in your comment. They make you do things you normally wouldn’t be okay with….you throw all your morals and boundaries overboard for them and later you feel like shit because of it. We bend our behavior to keep them satisfied and as a reward they keep disrespecting us…So I think I know how that made you feel. I often felt the same way. It is heartbreaking and frustrating. We are giving them everything and still never get what we need or want. I hope you are feeling better by now! Thanks again for sharing. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luckily for me, I recently found out he got married and I was glad that I wouldn’t be hearing from him ever again. It was more of a sense of relief for me because I was by then fully aware that we would never have anything healthy between us. We had since gotten into a cycle of disrespecting one another. I wish I had known earlier, I wouldn’t have wasted as much time as I wasted on that guy. And yes, I’m finally at a better place. When I think of him, there are no deep hard feelings. Simply a realization that he wasn’t the right man for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I totally understand what you mean…I also wish I had known earlier that the only thing I would ever get from the narc was heartbreak…I wouldn’t have wasted so much time and energy then. We keep hoping that our efforts will one day be rewarded…the realization that it will never happen is painful and frustrating…but at least we can finally move on after having reached that insight 😉

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  7. For some reason this post really moved me. Well, it’s not really “for some reason”, it’s because I’ve just had a “fight” with the narcissist. Nothing major, I’m too strong for him to really upset me but it *still* amazes me that he can’t help but accuse me of being the one who wrecked things between us, that he still blames me for everything, that he just won’t take responsibility for any of his awful behaviour. Anyway, I’ve had my own writing session today and got out all my frustration so it’s all good – he’s not going to be happy when he visits my blog (he does regularly) and reads it but….who cares, right? 😉
    Sorry about the venting, on to your post: you are absolutely right about our entire life changing because of the narcissist. I was never that type of inconsistent person before him but I slowly and gradually became it, because of him. He made me cancel plans with friends all the time because it was “the only time he was free.” I now suspect he was sometimes doing it just to stop me seeing certain people, god narcs are so controlling! So I cancelled plans and sometimes for nothing, like you, because he would then be “too busy” after all to see me. Or he would have “forgotten” we were supposed to meet.
    And yes, because of this inconsistency, we end up short-tempered, we snap at people – narcs do suck all the joy out of our lives. You’ve explained it all so well and I love that you ended it on a positive note. It is true that we end up complete wrecks after encounters with narcs but it does make us re-evaluate everything – it takes time but we emerge stronger after such experiences.
    Thank you for this post, it did me a world of good to be reminded that I’m not the only one who went through such an awful journey 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think I can thank you enough for your comments. I always love reading them because they make me feel less alone in what I’ve been through and they confirm that there is indeed a pattern in the narcissist’s behavior. You are right: narcs are unable and unwilling to take responsibility for anything. The only think my narc ever owned up to was that he didn’t treat me with the “respect and consideration I deserved”… I was amazed about that confession, because it was so unlike him.
      I’m so glad to hear that you are too strong to let your narc upset you. I don’t know if I had that strength right now…so i’m glad I don’t have contact to the narcissist. Makes it easier for me to get over him. Thank you again! I’m really grateful for your insightful contributions ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re so very welcome, I love reading your posts because they’re so thorough and clear – it’s like re-living what I’ve been through, but in a good way, like therapy I suppose.
        Your narc obviously had one clear moment of lucidity when he made that confession, they do have them even if they are very rare. Mine also admitted a couple of times that “I deserved much better” but those moments don’t last and they’re soon back to denying that they’ve done anything wrong. Like mine did yesterday “I’ve said I’ve sorry so many times, what more do you want? Anyway, you’re not blameless yourself, actually, it was YOU who drove me out of town with your craziness, overreactions to everything, etc…..” so in the end the apologies that last for about 5 seconds mean nothing. But that’s what they are like and there’s nothing we can do about it.
        What you said about the experience having made you stronger, I think that was very insightful, because when you’re finally over this, properly, you will be much stronger than you’ve ever been. There is something to be said about hitting rock bottom – if it doesn’t kill you, it definitely changes you for the better.
        Keep writing and keep on being happy 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • You again put a huge smile on my face 🙂 you are right: their little moments of clarity don’t last very long. I also never felt as if his confession was really heartfelt. Everything he said was always so contradictory and ever-changing…I never knew what to believe. I was always plagued by insecurity and his ambiguity was one of the most painful aspects of our interactions. Thank you so very much ❤ I really hope I will emerge out of all the heartbreak as a stronger person…and I hope this strength will save me from attracting more shady guys.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ambiguity, uncertainty…..they are killers and they shouldn’t be part of any relationship.
        You *will* emerge stronger and next time you will recognise the signs straight away if you are ever unlucky enough to attract such a damaged soul again – you will kick them into touch right away 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the encouraging words 🙂 I hope you are right. At least I can say with certainty that I have changed…and that I never want to be used and tortured with insecurity and unavailability ever again. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hugsy,
      It sounds like you were a victim of triangulation. It is not just in romantic relationships that narcs use triangulation. Mothers can pit to kids against each other. Narcs can pit an ex spouse against a community and their other family members. It gets complicated. Sifting out the truth. Often with romantic relationships it seems from email that we have gotten that a lot of people in recovery from narc relationships are just beginning to re-examine all the stories about the ex gf, the reason the second wife left, etc…. and the accusations made by these partners against the narc… who told it all to the new love interest from a victim’s point of view. Oh she suspected me of this… it was not true. Then after things get really weird… and you get away.. you remember those conversations and wonder. Hmmm I wonder if she was right… and you were cheating, or were you just triangulating her emotionally and making her think maybe you could cheat to mess with her… what in the heck were you really doing? One will never know.

      https://emuseclub.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/empathy-disorders-triangulation-and-venting/

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are so right…that was exactly what I experienced…he acted like the blameless victim of a hateful and totalitarian exgirlfriend…and I believed him without the shadow of a doubt…after the end of the relationship I began to question his role as a victim and tried to find the rationale behind her behavior. I began to suspect that he toyed with her feelings to the same extent he toyed with mine. I really didn’t know what to believe anymore. But I was definitely a victim of triangulation. And you are right: we will never know the truth…but one thing is certain: being part of a triangle is painful, confusing and humiliating. Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your insights with me ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Big hug for you hugsy. We are working on trying to get some healing tools available for people to help recover from this confusing stuff. Stay tuned. Keep telling your story, but also tell us how you were able to recognize and pull out of it and get back to yourself again. I

    Liked by 1 person

    • Big hug for you too 🙂 It’s so great to see there are people like you out there wo genuinely want to help people heal! Keep up the good work!

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  9. While it sounds horrible because it seems as tho I’m wishing this on someone else, it sure is nice to know you’re not alone. That there are others out there that understand what you’re going thru, or went thru when your friends and family didn’t.

    I was with my ex for 6 years. It’s been 10.5 months since the break up. I’m still not dating, mostly because I don’t get the opportunity to meet new people with my current job, but I’m OK. It took a while. Probably 5-6 months for me to stop obsessing over the fact I let him do this to me. That I was so gullible. That I let him wrap me around his finger. Screw with my life, morals, self esteem. Manipulate me in every way possible. I was basically a puppet on strings. But not anymore.

    I too sat by the phone, canceled plans (or didn’t make them at all) simply to make sure I was available for him. I got the whole “Tomorrow is our day, we’ll do ____” but when tomorrow came, he was ‘not in the mood’ or I was being difficult because I said good morning the wrong way. It was always something. And even when we DID get to the plans we made, he always found a way to turn it sour.

    I guess what I mean to say is, Thank You. Thank you for putting yourself out there so the rest of us in the same situation know that there is SOMEONE out there that understands. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you for writing this post! It’s good to know I’m not alone. I was involved with a narcissist as well – and had the same things happen to me. I compromised my morals, changed my life/work schedule to fit his needs, and did a 180 to become a nasty, selfish, person, replacing the loving me that entered the relationship. And interestingly, I did the same thing after it ended – I wallowed, devastated, then I did lots of self-reflection and finally started self-care. I slip at times, but I think I’ll keep this article saved to remind me of what I went through. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your experiences. It’s always great when people tell me they can relate and connect to my story. Makes me feel less alone ☺

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  11. “i made the ultimate sacrifice: i willingly threw away my integrity and emotional well-being, in order to be able to hold on to an unhealthy and damaging relationship …

    in order to be able to hold on and survive… you begin to accept things that would’ve seemed unimaginable to the sane mind you had still possessed prior to being with the narcissist …

    even though i was aware of how miserable he was making me… i still held on …

    after… we are so paralyzed by pain and exhaustion that we realize we need to change in order to never feel that way ever again”

    WAY TO SAY IT, Girl! although so disheartening to know more women out there go through this destruction and disassembly, it’s strangely comforting to know more of us are out there. ones who’ve made it to the other side. cheers to you- for making it out, and writing about it!
    the narrative of what it means to be abused needs to be changed. the more we speak about it, the more we can help those of us to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can relate to it all after a few years with a man I met through work. It comforts me to know I’m not the only one dealing with such a man.

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  13. Frustrated and Irritated became my normal state of being while with this aweful person. I spent 11 yrs trying to figure it all out and became someone I didn’t like at all! I screamed my head off every few days out of sheer pain and frustration, and as a singer almost ruined my voice! Of course I was blamed for all his bad behavior being told “your yelling made me cheat/leave” “you don’t know how to forgive” “you hate and I love” etc etc. I was triangulated, smeared, neglected, hit, called names,stolen from, lied to incessantly, devalued and discarded over and over… I was betrayed on every level possible in that wretched relationship. I am one year out of it and have been complete No Contact this time as he finally has left me alone. Of course he has a new live in girlfriend as I heal one last time from this crap…I feel a lot better about myself and life in general althought the residual effects are still there…I tend to get irritable more then I did befor I met him and my irritability is strong when it comes out. But it doesn’t surface as OFTEN as it did when I was with him. Thank you for such a comprehensible explanation of this horrible personality disorder and how it affects the partner. I related to EVERY SINGLE point you made. Well said. And I’m so glad you are on your higher journey out of this darkness as well. ♥

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