What A Relationship With A Narcissist Is Truly Like.

Coming away from any relationship is hard enough. With a narcissist, it is beyond devastating if that was your parents, a close friend, a family member or your partner.

Those painful memories of the past, slowly putting the pieces of reality back together, often while the narcissist in your life is still playing some form of a manipulative game. Trying to destroy you when you’re already down and at rock bottom, trying your absolute best to pick yourself back up, and they can hit you with smear campaigns, lies, and more false promises of change.

A narcissistic relationship can often leave people with lots of things to overcome.

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Adrenaline fatigue.
  • Physical illnesses.
  • CPTSD.
  • Trauma bonding.
  • Anger.
  • Guilt.
  • Pain.
  • Loneliness, and so many more.

Often you are left feeling like you’ve gone crazy with little or no self-esteem. Losing jobs, money, homes, your possessions, some lose their children and their sanity.

Trying to work out what actually happened and fitting the pieces of your life back together is hard enough. Working on ourselves and changing who we are to who we want to be is a big enough job on its own. Yet, with the trauma bond, the fact they can play nice, your reactions at times from being provoked, struggling with the reactive abuse To now creating boundaries, going no contact, and putting your life back together, you can be left feeling as though you’re fighting for your life and no one understands. Unfortunately, far too many of us go through this in silence. You are not alone in this. People have recovered. There is help and support out there. If they were a narcissist or not, abuse is abuse, and you don’t deserve to be treated this way. Toxic people are energy drainers, and they create so much misery and mayhem in our lives. It often leaves us with more self-doubt, so here are a few things narcissistic people do in relationships.

  • A narcissist will continue to change you in horrifying, unexpected ways, so if it was your parents, you might have never truly felt like you fitted in or known who you were. A partner, you might have felt your true self slip through your fingers. As you regularly changed who you were to please them, this also happens with friendships as you lose your boundaries continually trying to do right by them, not always realising you are doing wrong by yourself. Most children grow up with no real sense of identity if they had narcissistic parents. If your partner was a narcissist by the time you get out, most of us have lost our sense of identity and feel completely broken. From all their mind games, causing you to never know where you stand with them, often you end up letting go of who you are and doing all you can to please them, walking on eggshells in case you set them off in anger, rage, silent treatments, arguments. When what we have to learn is we are not responsible for their behaviour towards us. That is on them, we are only ever responsible for our own actions, and sometimes we get it wrong. We are human. We learn from our mistakes. Changing ourselves to be who someone else wants us to be, is never going to work. We have to be who we want to be, and with good intentions from ourselves, genuine people will accept us for who we are. People love to judge others when they should be looking at what they need to fix within their own lives instead of judging how we want to live ours. Never again let another’s judgment of you change you. You know if your hearts are in the right place, and that’s all you need to know.
  • A narcissist will tell you they love you. Some narcissistic parents might not always be forthcoming with this. Partners will be very quick to tell you how much they love you. They idealise you, and they love bomb you to earn your love, as they need to use that love against you. A narcissist “I love you.” Means “I’ll use you.” It’s relatively easy if someone says they hate you and treats you like garbage to know you don’t need them. It’s messed up when someone tells you they love you, offering intermittent play nice and treating you so well when they treat you wrong with the added words of “If you hadn’t.” And “If only you.”Gaslighting your mind into believing they love you, so you must have caused it. No, you did not cause this. Someone who genuinely cares for you wants to see you rise. They may call you out on things to help you to better. They don’t try to bring you down, hurt you, and then leave you empty and feeling broken. Remember, you’re not broken. You’re rebuilding yourself for a better life.
  • With parents, you trust them and look up to them for guidance and support, yet as you never really honestly know where you stand with them, you grow up with little trust within yourself, not understanding what true trust in a relationship feels like. With friends and partners, they’ll earn your trust in the start, treating you better than anyone ever has. You open up to them, you confide in them all your weaknesses, all your insecurities, all your strengths, as you want to believe the good in everyone. Once they’ve earned your trust, they’ll slowly start to manipulate you. They will then begin to use all your vulnerability and weaknesses against you. They even make you doubt your own strengths. In life, we will always come against the opposition, yet when that opposition is the very person Claiming to love you, it’s hard to see you’re dealing with the enemy. Usually, they don’t start bringing you down until you’re in too deep to simply walk away.
  • Most narcissistic people will try to isolate you, and if they don’t isolate you, you are left feeling so confused and lost, with so little trust in others and in yourself, so tired and drained, you end up isolating yourself. Friends and co-workers, partners, parents with their own children will use triangulate to pit you against other people. They are smearing your name to others. Or telling you things they’ve said about you, which most often they haven’t. Parents will play siblings off against each other and usually the healthy parent against you. While you’re so young, you don’t even realise it’s happening, and narcissistic partners will also try to isolate you from your support networks, keeping you with them as you’ve nowhere to go and no one to turn to. A narcissist likes to be in control, and they want to divide and conquer so that everyone turns to them for the reality check. There is always somewhere to go. You will find a way.
  • They trap you, be it parents, friends or partners, and they want to make you so weak that you no longer know reality and can only turn to them. They trap you by using your fears and weaknesses against you by gaslighting you. Isolating you, lying to you, then blame-shifting it all into you, so you believe you are the one at fault, and you need to change for them, and you need them as no one else will have you. They will tell you. “No one will ever love you.” To gaslight you into believing this. They use the intermittent play nice to love bomb you at times, including some narcissistic parents. They’ll treat you so right and lift you up, just to bring you crashing back down.
  • They will destroy you, your self-trust, self-love, self-worth: self-respect, self-esteem. Who you are will be taken apart bit by bit. A parent will make sure you don’t know who you are. A partner or friend will manipulate you so much you no longer know who you are. They can destroy you financially, mentally, physically and always emotionally.

You can move past this and rebuild who you are and create who you want to be.

For those who are incredibly toxic, no contact, parent, friend or partner.

Those who are less toxic, and it would mean cutting off other family members, limiting your time around them, giving them no reactions, understanding who they are why they do what they do.

Ways to recover.

  • Work on your self-trust, listening to your instincts and not others telling you what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
  • Rebuild your confidence. Start by smiling at people, then saying hello, then paying someone a compliment.
  • Rebuild your boundaries. If it doesn’t feel comfortable to you, say no and mean your no.
  • Rebuild your self-love, and you are perfect as you are anything you don’t like about yourself, work to change it, and make sure it’s something you don’t like and not what others have planted in your mind. Only ever change yourself for yourself, and not because of what others think of you.
  • Rebuild your self-esteem, find a vision, Create new hobbies and new routines that suit you, and try new activities to see what you enjoy and who you are.
  • Anxiety work on your triggers, so you can see them coming. Tell yourself, “I am safe now,” have an anchor, though. Or bring yourself back into the present moment.
  • Getting over that trauma bonding is like weaning yourself off a drug, get addicted to something else, something positive, painting, singing, dancing, learning, anything that fills at least three of your human needs in a positive way, contribution, growth, significance, certainty, uncertainty, love and connection. You can do this by connecting with others who have been through it, helping others who’ve been through it, and meeting new people along the way.
  • Self-respect, again, your boundaries are building them back up, learning what your own values and beliefs are.
  • In moments of doubt, find one thing you are grateful for. Then as you take the baby steps, when you have a wobble, find two. The more you progress, find three.

Often in life, we come across opposition and desperate situations, and these, while we focus on them, can keep us locked within them. Old pathways don’t lead to new destinations. We have to deal with whatever we have to deal with at that moment. Then we have to let it go. If it’s not going to serve our future, we must leave it in the past, even if that’s just changing the way in which we respond to things, not changing our response to please others, responding to please ourselves. Not to harm others, when someone keeps inviting you to an argument, you don’t have to take part, when we take part in arguments trying to defend ourselves, we are the ones left feeling inadequate, when we leave them to think what they will of us and choose a new direction in life, we become happier, there is no wrong in defending yourself to those who’ll listen, no wrong in listening to those who defend themselves who are hurt. For those who don’t listen or care for your feelings, it’s time to close that door on that chapter of your life, so you can start opening new ones that work for you.

Keep going. You’ve got this, and you are worthy. You are beautiful.

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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.

Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.


Lovebomb, devalue, discard, hoover and repeat.

Smear campaign.

Handle yourself around a narcissist.

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