How Narcissistic Relationships Can Change You

Updated on September 17, 2018
SinDelle profile image

The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & a specialist in Cluster B personality disorders. Schedule an appointment today!

It's not uncommon for people in narcissistic environments or relationships of any kind to feel that they are different than they were when the relationship first began, or - if the relationship is family - to feel that they were prevented from being the person they could have been.

Narcissistic Abuse Is Stressful

Narcissistic abuse creates a huge amount of stress in someone's life. Pathologically narcissistic people are never satisfied. They are never happy and they often intentionally hurt others. The victim is left with the idea that nothing they do is ever good enough, that they must be perfect in order to be of any value. People who are subjected to narcissistic abuse are continuously required to push their own feelings, needs and wants aside. They are told that it is wrong to have these things, that they are selfish, cruel and abusive just for being human. Self-esteem and self-worth suffer immensely in a narcissistic environment precisely because nobody is allowed to just be a human being. There are no mistakes allowed in life with a narcissist. There are no flaws allowed and absolutely no failures of any kind. These things are severely punished. Not only will your own failures be held against you, but so will the failures of the narcissist. This results in a situation where people are repeatedly savaged and punished for no reason, which creates not just anxiety and fear but huge amounts of anger.

Many Narcissistic People Were Abused Themselves

A narcissistic environment can also become a situation where one person is scapegoated for the failures of all the people in the entire group. This is not uncommon at all in families or work environments, and it is caused by a narcissistic defense mechanism called splitting. For example, one person in the family - often a child - is chosen to carry and be responsible for all of the negative qualities of the entire family and is mistreated continuously.

Most narcissists are themselves victims of narcissistic abuse and/or emotional neglect. We can simply look to them to see the wreckage and damage created by narcissistic abuse. It creates a person who feels unloved, invalidated, invisible and very, very angry. They know they have been cheated and they want revenge. They want what they believe they are due. The difference is that narcissists take this anger and entitlement out on the entire world at large because they have no way to separate themselves from it and no perspective regarding their own feelings. For narcissists, their own feelings are the only thing that matters. People who are not narcissistic may still feel unloved, invalidated and angry, but they also understand that everyone in the world did not hurt them and is not deserving of abuse. They are still able to love and care for others. They are still able to understand the feelings and situations of others and keep their own feelings in perspective.

If the Relationship Changed You, It Doesn't Have to Be Permanent

Narcissistic abuse can result in feeling anxious or panicky, hypervigilant and distrustful. It can cause irritability, a general feeling of tension or fear, even insomnia or nightmares. Some people might find themselves emotionally burned out and unable to get close to others. They can feel stuck and unable to move forward or make decisions. They may find themselves inordinately focused on themselves, preoccupied with their own feelings or needs and otherwise exhibiting narcissistic tendencies or traits because again, narcissism is a defense mechanism. It is also not uncommon for those who have been exposed to narcissistic abuse for long periods of time to be diagnosed with PTSD.

These things can change a person. However, the good news is that it doesn't have to stay that way. Unlike pathologically narcissistic people, those who do not have personality disorders are able to see that there has been a change in the way they see things, and in their own behavior. People with personality disorders or very high levels of narcissism are of course unable to see a change in themselves because there has been no change. This is how they've always been. Those who are more emotionally developed and mature than narcissists are able to recognize the issue. They have a goal, a "normal" that they can focus on returning to. For narcissists, being broken, hostile, distrustful and paranoid is their normal.

You Can, and Will, Heal

This is why changing narcissistic behaviors or perceptions is much easier in people who are not pathologically narcissistic. They are whole, therefore they can heal. Pathologically narcissistic people are not whole. They are shattered personas walking around doing everything they can to get other people to fulfill their needs because they can't do it themselves. This is the key to recovering from narcissistic abuse, or anything else: recognizing that you can take care of your own needs and solve your own problems. You can sustain yourself. You don't have to wait around for someone to care enough to do it for you. The only other thing you need besides this knowledge is time.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pairedlife.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pairedlife.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)