5 Effects of Narcissistic Abuse on Future Relationships (2023)

When you manage to wriggle out of a narcissistic relationship, don’t assume you are out of the woods. Sadly, the worst is not yet over for you.

Depending on how long you have been in the narcissistic relationship and the nature of narcissistic abuse, the aftereffects are vast and varied. In some way or the other, this will also affect your future healthy relationships.

Narcissistic partners expect their victims to be absolutely devoted to them without questioning their authority and endure the abuse inflicted on them without a murmur. Years of conditioning this way will alter your behavioral patterns and even result in brain damage.

Difficulty in trusting, inability to build meaningful connections, trouble in offering and accepting love, paranoia, and more serious mental health problems are all consequences of a narcissistic relationship.

A narcissistic partner with deformed character traits subjects their victims to physical and verbal abuse besides emotional abuse. This can have a permanent impact on the behavior and thought patterns of the victims, making them unable to act normally.

(Video) How Narcissistic Abuse Affects Future Relationships & Dating

The fallout of this situation is that you will treat your future partner the same way. That is bound to create trouble in your new relationship because there is no narcissistic element involved in it.

This article attempts to list the typical effects of narcissistic abuse on future relationships. Here you will also find tips and suggestions to overcome these aftereffects and lead a normal life.

Forms of narcissistic manipulation/abuse

When one of the partners in a relationship has narcissistic tendencies, they tend to take advantage of the other partner and subject them to various kinds of abuse. Narcissists are well-known for their inflated egos, exaggerated sense of self-importance, lack of empathy, and self-centered behavior.

The most common narcissistic abuses seen in relationships are criticism, gaslighting, and manipulation. Victims are belittled, trivialized, and emotionally blackmailed. Self-projection, silent treatment, twisting of facts, withholding and denial of affection, lying, sabotage, and neglect are commonly seen in narcissistic relationships.

Victims of narcissistic manipulation have to endure isolation, love bombing, and excessive control from their narcissistic partner. When they try to regain control of their lives or make efforts to end the relationship, the narcissistic partner will tone down their aggression and go back to the appreciation stage.

A narcissistic partner will use all tricks in their armor to keep their victims under their control. They make it impossible for their hapless victims to leave them for good.

How does narcissistic manipulation affect a person?

When one partner has narcissistic tendencies, they tend to take advantage of the other and often abuse them for personal gains. If you are at the receiving end of narcissistic manipulation, you would feel that you are being pulled down constantly, abused, criticized, gaslighted, and your feelings ignored and even ridiculed.

Narcissistic abuse involves the domineering individual taking over the reins of the life of the docile partner. Narcissists make victims feel worthless, humiliated, and powerless. Narcissistic manipulation will make you uneasy and distrustful of your partner.

(Video) Life After Narcissistic Abuse | What All Victims Struggle With

If narcissistic manipulation continues for longer, you may withdraw into a shell and stop socializing and interacting with others. Slowly all these negative behaviors you developed as a result of narcissistic manipulation will become an integral part of your personality, which you will carry into your future healthy relationships as well.

Victims of narcissistic abuse often develop mental and emotional health issues. The most common among them are anxiety and depression. Low self-esteem, insecurity, and feeling of being isolated are also common. The victims have a hard time sticking to jobs and relationships.

In extreme cases of narcissistic manipulation, even brain damage can occur. A consistent and repeated onslaught of emotional and verbal abuse can have a permanent impact on your brain resulting in brain damage. Brain damage from narcissistic abuse symptoms includes lack of focus, confusion, disorientation, memory loss, and difficulty in maintaining impulse control.

Healing after narcissistic abuse is vital. You should undergo narcissistic abuse recovery with counseling and therapy sessions.

How does narcissistic abuse hinder your future relationships?

The consequences of an abusive narcissistic relationship are not restricted to the particular relationship alone. It can have far-reaching consequences. You will have to bear the brunt of narcissistic abuse on future relationships.

1. Innocent remarks of the partner may trigger trauma

If the new partner is unaware of the full extent of the narcissistic manipulation you endured at the hands of your narcissistic ex-partner, they may be at a disadvantage when interacting with you. Something they innocently say may remind you of the dark old days. This can push you into depression and negative thinking.

This can make your new partner unsure of what to say or do. This may even end up causing permanent damage to the new relationship.

2. Your narcissistic ex-partner will be present as a third party in your new relationship

Whether you want it or not and like it or not, the trauma of narcissistic abuse will continue to haunt you for a long time to come. The more you try to shake it off, the more it will remain with you. It will continue to affect the way you think, feel, talk, and do things. You will feel your narcissistic ex-partner’s constant presence in your life and new relationship.

(Video) 10 Signs of Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

3. Your new partner will feel as if you’re accusing them.

The aftereffects of the narcissistic abuse you endured will make you say and do things that your new partner may consider insulting or accusatory. Unless they are mature and understanding, they may take this the wrong way, often resulting in a breakup.

Your new partner needs to understand that all your anger, despair, and frustration are not aimed at them but at your former partner. So long as your partner can realize this simple truth, all will be well. If not, your new relationship is headed for a disastrous end.

4. You might need constant reassurance.

During all the years you spent with your narcissistic ex-partner, you were completely lost, insecure, unstable, and in a mess of mammoth proportions. With your narcissistic ex-partner, you never knew where you stood the entire time you were together. You always felt on edge and unsure of what comes next. You never felt loved or cherished.

You are fully aware that your new partner is nothing like your old one. Still, there are moments when you need to be reassured of their love and affection. You would want them to remind you how important you are to them.

If your new partner doesn’t understand your need for reassurance, your relationship may end up in jeopardy.

5. You might feel an aversion to intimacy at times.

This is another serious fallout of narcissistic abuse. Why you feel so, most probably even you may not know. You may find it hard to make sense of this feeling. But unfortunately, you cannot control it or do anything about it.

At times, the pain of narcissistic abuse surfaces in your mind for no apparent reason and wreaks havoc there. When this pain becomes too intense, as a coping mechanism, you might develop a dislike for your new partner. You might not want to be touched by them or be anywhere near them.

Having a compassionate and thoughtful partner may help you overcome this situation.

(Video) You Must WALK AWAY From These People! (Heal From Toxic Breakups & Betrayal) | Dr. Ramani

Bottom line

Your new partner needs to understand that your insecurities are not frivolous; they are real. Despite ending the relationship a long time back, the narcissistic abuse will continue to haunt you. You may experience bad dreams, nightmares, and insomnia. Anxiety, depression, and anger may flare up in you for no reason without warning.

Once a victim of narcissistic abuse, you may suffer the consequences lifelong. It can wreak havoc and seriously harm your future healthy relationships. Unless you find someone who can accommodate your unpredictable behavior, a healthy relationship will remain a dream for you.

Related:50 symptoms of narcissistic abuse syndrome

(Video) The 5 Signs Someone Has Suffered Narcissistic Abuse


How does narcissistic abuse affect future relationships? ›

Trust Issues

After experiencing narcissistic abuse, your trust levels will likely be very low. While this can seem like a good thing (in some ways), it could also hinder your future relationships. This issue may lead to other problems such as social anxiety.

What are the long term effects of narcissistic abuse? ›

Some examples of long-term effects include mood and anxiety disorders, physical ailments such as headaches, stomachaches, or body aches, the inability to get a good night's sleep or having nightmares, and a lowered sense of self-worth. Is it possible to fully recover from narcissistic abuse?

What are the signs that someone has suffered from narcissistic abuse? ›

Victims of narcissistic abuse have been reported to experience symptoms similar to PTSD, known informally as narcissistic abuse syndrome. Symptoms include intrusive, invasive, or unwanted thoughts, flashbacks, avoidance, feelings of loneliness, isolation, and feeling extremely alert.

What are typical behaviors of narcissistic abuse survivors? ›

The aftermath of narcissistic abuse can include depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, a pervasive sense of toxic shame, emotional flashbacks that regress the victim back to the abusive incidents, and overwhelming feelings of helplessness and worthlessness.

Can you get PTSD from dating a narcissist? ›

Psychological trauma from their abuse will not just go away. In fact, this type of abuse can cause long lasting post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The abuse from a narcissist is overwhelming. It is hard to identify and sufferers tend to blame themselves and continue to suffer long after the relationship is over.

Why is it hard to date after narcissistic abuse? ›

Not only are you reeling from the trauma of a toxic relationship, you're not even sure you ever want to date again. Any survivor of narcissistic abuse can tell you that it's exhausting to even think about being with another person after the mind games he or she has gone through.

What happens when you heal from narcissistic abuse? ›

While healing from narcissistic abuse can be daunting, it is possible. You might go over and over in your head what you could've done differently. You might replay specific scenarios where you search for ways you could have handled things differently. Worse, you may even have the urge to rekindle the relationship.

What is life like after narcissistic abuse? ›

After the break-up, people will experience an obsessive longing for their abusive partner (drug), debilitating emotional pain, and often engage in self-destructive behavior. This emotional response is why some people feel incapacitated by the hurt and obsess about hooking up with an ex-partner for more abuse.

Will I ever be the same after narcissistic abuse? ›

Even if you manage to escape narcissistic abuse, its effects are long-lasting and can follow you for years and years to come. It shifts our world perspective and can even result in major changes to our personality — changes which can have a major impact on our lives.

What does narcissistic abuse do to the brain? ›

Children of narcissists also, like their parent(s), form brain damage from maltreatment. When children suffer at the hands of a narcissistic abuser, some crucial brain regions are affected, including damage to the hippocampus and amygdala. These changes lead to devastating effects on the lives of these children.

What does years of narcissistic abuse feel like? ›

You have symptoms of anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression commonly develop as a result of narcissistic abuse. The significant stress you face can trigger persistent feelings of worry, nervousness, and fear, especially when you never know what to expect from their behavior.

How long does it take to recover from narcissistic abuse? ›

Recovering from narcissistic abuse takes time, so you will have to remain patient. This process could take months or even years, but it's worth all of the hard work and effort. You can and will move on to find healthier and happier connections with others.

What happens to the brain after emotional abuse? ›

Emotional abuse is linked to thinning of certain areas of the brain that help you manage emotions and be self-aware — especially the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobe. Epigenetic changes and depression. Research from 2018 has connected childhood abuse to epigenetic brain changes that may cause depression.

How do you overcome being a victim of narcissistic abuse? ›

  1. 15 Tips to Help You Heal from Narcissistic Abuse. ...
  2. Label the Abuse. ...
  3. End the Relationship (If You Haven't Already) ...
  4. Set Clear, Defined Boundaries. ...
  5. Avoid Retaliation. ...
  6. Seek Immediate Support. ...
  7. Create a Consistent Schedule. ...
  8. Anticipate Grief.
7 Dec 2021

Do narcissist care about their victims? ›

Narcissists dont have any desire to focus on the victims needs. He/she needs a partner who is willing to have no needs, that way, he/she can always make sure only the narcissist is taken care of. Overly Responsible. Victims of narcissistic abuse tend to take on the responsibilities of others without even realizing it.

Can living with a narcissist make you mentally ill? ›

Living or working with a narcissistic person can be incredibly challenging, often leading to feelings of inadequacy, self doubt, and anxiety. In more extreme cases, exposure to a narcissist can lead to clinical depression from the emotional abuse and torment a person has had to endure.

How does a narcissist traumatize you? ›

Through ongoing gaslighting and demeaning of the partner, the narcissist undermines the individual's self-worth and self-confidence, creating extreme emotional abuse that is constant and devastating.

What it's like to be a complex trauma survivor of narcissistic abuse? ›

Complex trauma survivors can become socially withdrawn and self-isolate due to the abuse. Since they never develop a sense of safety, they distrust others while simultaneously searching for a “rescuer” who can finally give them the unconditional positive regard they were robbed of in childhood.

What are some signs that you are healing from a narcissistic trauma and abuse? ›

Signs of Healing
  • You feel “lighter” literally and figuratively. ...
  • You smile, genuinely, sometimes for no reason.
  • You feel a sense of relief.
  • Some chronic physical symptoms may begin to alleviate (joint pain, stomach aches, headaches, autoimmune disease flare-ups may reduce in frequency and severity)
5 Dec 2019

How do narcissists end trauma bonds? ›

Although the survivor might disclose the abuse, the trauma bond means she may also seek to receive comfort from the very person who abused her.
  1. Physically separate from the abuser. ...
  2. Cut off all lines of communication as far as possible. ...
  3. Acknowledge you have a choice and can choose to leave the relationship.

Why are healthy relationships boring after abuse? ›

“The mind has never been used to safety and stability, it is used to an emotional rollercoaster — a cycle of immense pain and then love-bombing. When the pain is intense, it is intolerable, and then the love-bombing is so overwhelming that they think they can't leave the person,” says Chatterjee.

What is GREY rocking? ›

To “grey rock” a person involves making all interactions with them as uninteresting and unrewarding as possible. In general, this means giving short, straightforward answers to questions and hiding emotional reactions to the things a person says or does.

How do I rebuild myself after narcissistic abuse? ›

  1. 12 Powerful Ways to Love Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse. Move from surviving to thriving with expert advice. ...
  2. Love bomb and idealize yourself. ...
  3. Triangulate your story. ...
  4. Trust the pendulum swing. ...
  5. Take space to mourn. ...
  6. Get your emotions out. ...
  7. Strengthen your intuition. ...
  8. Journal daily.
9 Jun 2021

Why am I so tired after narcissistic abuse? ›

They often expend all of their energy trying to fulfill the narcissist's needs without getting any of their own needs met or even acknowledged in any way. This can leave you feeling exhausted and fatigued, even once you're out of the relationship.

How does being with a narcissist affect your body mind and soul? ›

Life with a narcissist can be extremely stressful, leading to depression or anxiety. It can also make you physically sick.

Why is it so hard to move on from a narcissist? ›

Because in a narcissistic relationship we have taken on so many of the other person's struggles and so much of their identity as our own, we may feel like we'd be giving up part of ourselves if we were to leave them. If they have become the center of our world, we may then feel lost without them.

What is narcissistic victim syndrome? ›

Narcissistic victim syndrome occurs when someone has lived with or spent a significant amount of time with a person classified as a narcissist. People struggling with this syndrome often have doubts about their sanity and self-worth and have concerns about their failures, flaws, and perceived shortcomings.

What part of the brain is damaged in a narcissist? ›

Narcissistic traits have been linked to structural and functional brain networks, including the insular cortex, however, with inconsistent findings. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that subclinical narcissism is associated with variations in regional brain volumes in insular and prefrontal areas.

How do I know if Im trauma bonded? ›

Signs of trauma bonding

agree with the abusive person's reasons for treating them badly. try to cover for the abusive person. argue with or distance themselves from people trying to help, such as friends, family members, or neighbors.

How do narcissists treat their children? ›

A narcissistic parent will often abuse the normal parental role of guiding their children and being the primary decision maker in the child's life, becoming overly possessive and controlling. This possessiveness and excessive control disempowers the child; the parent sees the child simply as an extension of themselves.

What does a victim of narcissistic abuse look like? ›

They say that they feel insane and often question themselves. They lose trust in those close to them, such as family or friends. They feel that the narcissistic person is the only person who deems them worthy. They're often feeling insecure or ashamed of their work or creativity.

What are signs that you are being devalued by a narcissist? ›

Narcissists will make you question everything about yourself, including the people around you and your sanity. It includes statements like, “There's something wrong with you,” “Everybody's worried about your state of mind,” “That's not what happened,” and “You're crazy”.

What is the victim of a narcissist called? ›

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can lead to narcissistic victim syndrome. This can affect the person's mental and physical health and damage their self-esteem and self-worth.

How does PTSD heal after narcissistic abuse? ›

For survivors of narcissistic abuse, people are often treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), prolonged exposure therapy, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.

Do I need therapy after narcissistic abuse? ›

There is no happy ending with a narcissist, but you have to find that out for yourself and to know your therapist is there for you wherever you need them to help work through the trauma and pain you're experiencing. There is no judgement in sessions, only support and therapy techniques that work.

What are the six long term effects of abuse? ›

Long Term Effects of Child Abuse
▪ bruises, cuts, bleeding▪ impaired brain development
▪ broken bones▪ chronic health conditions
▪ head trauma▪ death

What does emotional abuse do to a woman? ›

Staying in an emotionally or verbally abusive relationship can have long-lasting effects on your physical and mental health, including leading to chronic pain, depression, or anxiety. Read more about the effects on your health. You may also: Question your memory of events: “Did that really happen?” (See Gaslighting.)

What are 3 physical effects of abuse? ›

Physical abuse can cause many chronic (long-lasting) health problems, including heart problems, high blood pressure, and digestive problems. Women who are abused are also more likely to develop depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. Women who are abused may also misuse alcohol or drugs as a way to cope.

How do people act after narcissistic abuse? ›

After experiencing narcissistic abuse, many people find themselves stuck in a cycle where their abuser continues to contact them after the relationship has ended. They may act nice (also called hoovering) in an attempt to get you back, issue threats, or attempt to manipulate you by making you feel sorry for them.

What should you not say to a victim of narcissistic abuse? ›

If you know an emotional abuse survivor or someone who is still being abused, you may feel pressured to say the "right" thing to support them.
3 Things Never to Say to Verbal and Emotional Abuse Survivors
  • "Are you sure you're being abused?" ...
  • "I don't want to hear about it." ...
  • "You need to move on."
25 Jun 2018

Why do narcissists try to destroy you? ›

They want to see how much they can destroy you

They simply move on and do it to someone else, because that's the way they entertain themselves. "It's more like entertainment and control to be able to take someone who had this really great life and be part of watching them fall," Thomas said.

What kind of person attracts a narcissist? ›

In fact, narcissists are often attracted to strong, confident, and self-assured women. While this may seem counterintuitive, it is important to realize that the narcissistic traits of grandiosity and confidence are really a mask for deep insecurity.

How do narcissists treat their partners? ›

Narcissistic partners act as if they are always right, that they know better and that their partner is wrong or incompetent. This often leaves the other person in the relationship either angry and trying to defend themselves or identifying with this negative self-image and feeling badly about themselves.

How does being raised by a narcissist affect relationships? ›

Low self-esteem, shame, or insecurities: NPD parents may shame or ridicule their children, leading them to be insecure in adulthood. Trust issues in relationships and trouble being vulnerable: Secrets, insecurities, and emotions are weaponized by NPD parents and can lead to trust issues.

How long will it take to recover from narcissistic abuse? ›

Recovering from narcissistic abuse takes time, so you will have to remain patient. This process could take months or even years, but it's worth all of the hard work and effort. You can and will move on to find healthier and happier connections with others.

How does narcissism impact human relationships? ›

Their mates and children are only valued in terms of their ability to meet these needs. Narcissistic partners often lack the ability to have empathy with their partners' feelings. This lack of empathy leads to a lot of hard feelings. Yet many people are drawn to narcissistic relationships.

Can you have a healthy relationship after being with a narcissist? ›

Is it ever possible to have a healthy relationship with a narcissist? If we are talking about a person who meets the criteria for NPD listed above, the answer would have to be 'no'. It's difficult to have a genuine and loving connection with someone who makes everything about him or her.

What kind of children do narcissists raise? ›

The children of a narcissist are often children who grow up to be codependent, people-pleasers, and have low self-esteem. They are children who never feel good enough for their parents or themselves. This blog post will explore the effects of growing up with a narcissistic parent on children into adulthood.

What happens to the child of a narcissist? ›

Children of narcissistic parents generally experience humiliation and shame and grow up having poor self-esteem. Oftentimes, these children become adults that are high achievers, self-saboteurs, or both. Children hurt by this type of parent will need professional help to recover from narcissistic abuse.

Can a narcissist truly love their partner? ›

Unfortunately, narcissists are unable to put the happiness of anyone else ahead of their own. Nor can they offer unconditional love to another due to their own obsession with status and achievement. One of the narcissistic traits that makes it so hard for narcissists to love another is their lack of empathy.

What happens to a person that lives with a narcissist? ›

Living or working with a narcissistic person can be incredibly challenging, often leading to feelings of inadequacy, self doubt, and anxiety. In more extreme cases, exposure to a narcissist can lead to clinical depression from the emotional abuse and torment a person has had to endure.

What happens to the victim of a narcissist? ›

Anxiety and depression commonly develop as a result of narcissistic abuse. The significant stress you face can trigger persistent feelings of worry, nervousness, and fear, especially when you never know what to expect from their behavior.

How long do most narcissistic relationships last? ›

Hence, it is clear that a narcissist rebound relationship may last only a few months. Some break up after a short fling of two to three weeks, while others end the relationship after the sweet initial phase ends in just a few months.

Can a narcissist love their child? ›

The tragic reality is that narcissists don't (and can't) love their children in the way that ordinary people do. They will tell you that they do (and most likely they will believe that they do), but their love can only be of the transactional, conditional type, even with their children.

How do I reclaim myself after narcissistic abuse? ›

How to Heal From Narcissistic Abuse
  1. Acknowledgement. Keep in mind that narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) doesn't only affect romantic relationships. ...
  2. Practice Self-Compassion. ...
  3. Be Patient. ...
  4. Exercise Self-Care. ...
  5. Lean on Support from Loved Ones.
3 Feb 2022


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