Have you ever been in a relationship with a narcissist or someone with narcissistic characteristics? If so, you may be familiar with their inability to empathize, consider your needs, make compromises, or express genuine concern for your wellbeing. Relationships with narcissists can drain you physically and psychologically. Even though ending these relationships can be very beneficial to your mental health, leaving can be challenging.
Long-term narcissistic abuse leaves many scars, including a vast sense of insecurity that seeps into personal and professional spheres of life. Dealing with anxiety, second-guessing yourself, and doubting your decisions stem from lost confidence that has been stripped at the hands of the narcissist in your life. So how do you get it back? Where can you find your confidence again after loving a narcissist and losing what feels like a core piece of yourself in the process?
How Does Being in a Relationship and Loving a Narcissist Feel?
Narcissistic people tend to be the brightest in a room and will undoubtedly be charming, romantic, and charismatic in the early stages of a relationship. People with pathological narcissism may fall in love and be quick to commit to romantic relationships, only to be unable to maintain their devotion for the long term.
Further into the relationship, you may begin to see the red flags of narcissism present in the way they treat you and others. Your first sign might be that they seem to think they’re always right and have a tough time admitting fault. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to get them to admit this at all. Small interactions begin to add up to the truth as they see it: they are in the right, they know better than you, you would do well to listen to them.
Self-absorbed, arrogant, and manipulative behavior may cause you to question their actions. Still, they generally “say the right things” when confronted about their behavior, so you believe that you are the problem, not them. There may be brief periods in which they appear to care about you, but it will be after you have done something that fulfills their needs or serves their greater purposes.
Throughout this time, you may begin to feel:
- Extremely lonely in your reality as you know it to be
- Used as an accessory to make them look better
- Unimportant or that your needs and desires are irrelevant
- Disconnected from yourself in that your self-image and feelings begin to reflect the negativity you experience from the narcissist’s attitude
- Inadequate in that you can never love, appreciate, or support your partner enough
- Overwhelmed by their constant demands for attention
- Frustrated that your relationship is feeling more and more one-sided
- Worthless and love-deprived
- Stuck in a cycle of empty promises and little change
Impact of Having a Loved One Who is a Narcissist or Has Narcissistic Traits
Being with a narcissistic partner can be overwhelming and challenging, both physically and emotionally. Typically, people experience emotional distress, grief, and decreased mental health. Further, your friends and family may avoid being around both of you due to their behavior. You may turn to alcohol or substances, face difficulties at work or school, or experience depression or suicidal thoughts as your self-esteem plunges.
Narcissists often blame others in attempt to offset their sense of insecurity and deal with uncomfortable feelings like being wrong or making a mistake. It’s no surprise that when you are in a relationship with them, you’re the one who suffers. Living with this dynamic long term may lead you to take the blame and apologize for things even though you did nothing wrong. As a result, you may begin to believe you are responsible for everything.
What Now? Navigating the Aftermath of Narcissistic Relationships
You may be wondering how likely you can get yourself back together again. Maybe you’re asking yourself: Can I ever love myself after this mess? I don’t want to get stuck in this situation again. Can I build myself up so that I won’t have the same problems in the future? Does this mean I have to go to therapy?
We hear you. We know that seeking support or going to therapy feels intimidating. But, we also know that if you stick with it, you can slowly build a stronger, more secure foundation and find yourself en route to happiness and authenticity. Self-love after abuse is possible.
How to Recover Your Confidence After Your Relationship with a Narcissist
As we all know, confidence is a critical component of successfully navigating your professional and personal lives and forming a healthy relationship with yourself. Developing confidence will also facilitate self-exploration and rebuilding parts of yourself that were previously shut down.
The following suggestions are ways in which we can help you rebuild your confidence, and you’re on your way back to knowing that self-love after abuse is within reach.
- Group Therapy: Abusive relationships can make a person feel isolated and alone. You may no longer have contact with your family or friends. We offer group therapy because it validates, supports, and exposes you to others with similar experiences. It also provides a safe and supportive environment where you are not judged, criticized, or dismissed. This can prompt growth in ways you may not have been expecting.
- Anxiety Reduction: When you have been in an abusive relationship, you may feel anxious, overthink everything, and have trouble sleeping. Anxiety therapy will help you better understand the causes of your anxiety and triggers. In addition, we will explore how to convert those negative thoughts into positive and constructive acts or ideas, which will help you feel more confident and experience less ambiguity when facing complex challenges.
- Depression Reduction: In stressful, demanding, and traumatic relationships, you might find yourself experiencing depressive symptoms. To help you deal with this, we offer depression therapy, which uses specific techniques to eliminate the internal dialogue that holds you back from being happy. Moreover, we teach how to focus on the present moment and identify thoughts and opportunities that you may not have previously considered but will assist you in improving your attitude or situation.
To begin your self-love journey or find out how to initiate your loved one’s self-love journey, contact us through our website or phone at (860) 385-1574. We offer you a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your needs so that we can get you in the right place, right away.
Between now and then, consider or answer these questions:
Consider your feelings of appreciation, respect, and care. Which of these do you need in a relationship? Have your needs been met? Is this relationship affecting your self-esteem and confidence?