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9 Harsh Realities of Loving a Narcissist

A woman who feels stuck loving a narcissist, sitting with her boyfriend while he puts his hand on her shoulder.

So you finally realized that the person you’re dating could be a narcissist. Ugh, I’m sorry. Loving a narcissist is often something you don’t have control over, but you do have control of how you move forward. If you choose to stay in the relationship, know that you won’t be able to change their behavior. And, it’s also important to realize the kind of relationship you’ll have if you stay with this person. It won’t be easy and definitely won’t be fulfilling.

If you’re with a narcissist, here are nine harsh realities you need to be ready for:

1. You’ll feel empty, alone, and depressed very often.
A narcissist’s inability to connect emotionally by expressing empathy or feeling authentic compassion often leaves their partners feeling very alone. 

“There won’t be a deep, emotional connection where you feel understood, validated or loved unconditionally,” says Shirin Peykar, a licensed marriage and family therapist.

2. You won’t get rational or reasonable behavior from them.
Narcissists act in the way that benefits them, and don’t take into account how their actions affects others. This is never good for anyone in their lives but it can be especially draining for those in a relationship with them.

“They simply do not care if they hurt, damage, or cross others’ boundaries,” explains Peykar. “Their sense of entitlement is what drives them, not the well-being of the couple.”

3. You’ll feel like your feelings don’t matter.
That’s because narcissists are incapable of validating your feelings and emotions.

“It’s not because they don’t want to validate your feelings and emotions it’s because they lack empathy,” says Jenn Bovee, a licensed counselor.  

This means that if you feel they did you wrong in any way, they likely won’t acknowledge it, or care. In fact, they may even put the blame on you. 

4. You’ll have lower self-esteem.
“Being in a relationship with someone who uses gaslighting, bad-mouthing, triangulation, and silent treatment abuse tears down your self-confidence and self-worth,” says Bovee. “You doubt yourself because they have created a deep seeded doubt within you.” 

5. They’ll never doubt themselves and will always be right.
“People who are narcissists live with a high level of arrogance and don’t have the emotional space to doubt themselves,” says Bovee.  

This means that you will always be going along with what they say and want to do. This often leads to codependency—a state where your needs and wants cease to matter and you’re soul purpose becomes building up and supporting the narcissist in the relationship.

6. There is little to no intimacy.
“Narcissists inevitably center on themselves, which makes it nearly impossible to experience mutual intimacy,” explains Stacey Herrera, an intimacy and relationship coach. “Your needs will never be prioritized enough for you to feel close to a narcissist. A narcissist may enjoy the feeling of being intimate, but they cannot provide intimacy for others.” 

7. Even if it doesn’t feel like you’re being manipulated, you likely are.
“Narcissists are always working an angle and asking themselves, How will this benefit me? If they’re expressing kindness or consideration, it’s never about you,” says Herrera. “Narcissists see everything as a means to an end, and you’re just a casualty of their self-indulgence.”

8. You probably won’t ever receive an authentic apology.
Narcissists are unable to take accountability for their actions when they’ve hurt their partner.

“An apology means that they have done something wrong, which is a threat to the self of a narcissistic individual because their ego is so easily bruised. They do not believe that they’ve done anything wrong,” explains Peykar. “In fact, it will be projected onto their partner, blaming everything on everyone else. If you do receive an apology, it usually is because there is an incentive for the narcissist.” 

9. You’ll feel like you’re constantly serving them.
Loving a narcissist means being in continuous service to their wants, needs, and desires.

“You’ll be expected to spend your time engaging in activities that they enjoy. You will talk about the things that interest them. Very little, if any, time and attention will be afforded for the things you like and enjoy,” says Herrera.  

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