Those with narcissistic personality disorder tend to share a few traits in common: the relentless need for admiration, a sense of entitlement, and a total disregard for the feelings of others. Naturally, then, the people who love them tend to suffer immensely. While the simple answer seems to be “just stop loving them”, anyone who’s been in love knows that it’s not that easy. You don’t get to choose who you do and don’t love. But you do get to choose who you keep in your life, whether you love them or not. Here are the ways that loving a narcissist destroys you.
- It drains you. Loving a narcissist drains you of your energy. People with this condition just don’t understand anyone’s perspective but their own, so it feels like you run into the same problems over and over again. Most of the time, they don’t learn from their mistakes. You have to have to the same arguments frequently. And you always end up being the one to say sorry, even when you’re not at fault. The longer you stick around in a relationship like this, the more exhausted and drained you’ll feel.
- It destroys your self-esteem. If you let them, narcissists can destroy your self-esteem. They make comments designed to get under your skin and hurt your feelings. Or they dull your sparkle when something good happens to you. The more this happens, the more likely you are to start to adopt those beliefs about yourself too. Especially when you love them, you’re more likely to take on board everything they say as the ultimate truth. It’s easy to feel like you really are unlovable when a narcissist constantly makes you feel like you are.
- It makes you question your own sanity. A relationship with a narcissist can also have an effect on your mental health. Narcissists tend to gaslight, making you feel like you’re losing your mind for calling them out on their BS. They make you feel like you can’t express yourself, otherwise you’re being too outspoken. And you can’t get upset with them, otherwise you’re overreacting. It’s easy to get to a place where you start to believe them and question your own sanity, even though they’re the ones with the issue.
- It alienates you from your positive relationships. Sometimes, loving a narcissist can alienate you from the positive relationships in your life. Your friends and family might not like spending time with your partner, so they might socialize with you less and less. Or they might not like seeing how your partner treats you and feel frustrated with you for not leaving. Often, you’ll find that your other relationships will fall away before your eyes. When that happens, you’re left with no one but your narcissistic partner to turn to.
- It fills your life with disappointment. One of the saddest parts about loving a narcissist is that they don’t change. These signs very rarely learn or manage to care about others before themselves. Even when they apologize, they usually end up repeating the same bad behaviors. That leaves you—the person who loves the narcissist—feeling extremely disappointed. And after a while, disappointment leads to stronger emotions. You might end up feeling hopeless. It could seem easier to just never expect anything good from them so you don’t have to go through the disappointment another time.
- It stops you from concentrating on your other goals. Being in a relationship with a narcissist is distracting. Often, you’re so upset about how they’re acting or what they’ve done to you that you can’t function with your normal life. It’s not uncommon for people to find that their studies or their careers fall behind when they get caught up having real feelings for a narcissist.
- It fills you with fear about love. Bad experiences with love can often affect the way you think about love in the future. Once you’ve been heartbroken, you might fear that all your relationships will end the same way. Similarly, after loving a narcissist, you might expect everyone you date afterwards to be the same. This can leave you with major trust issues or a fear of intimacy, which will then make it harder to form a bond with other people.
- It makes you question your power. Finally, loving a narcissist makes you question your power. You realize after a while that you aren’t strong enough to change the narcissist you love, so you assume that you’re not strong at all. You assume that you don’t have any power. But the truth is you do have more power than the narcissist you’re with wants you to believe. And though it may not feel like it, you’re always powerful enough to walk away. You just have to find that inner-strength.