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When she looks back on that time in her life, she can’t believe she wasted so much time. There are years of her life that she will never get back.

Back then, she was in the prime of her life. Yet instead of opening her heart up to love, she was caught in a merry-go-round of horror. She was the proverbial donkey chasing the carrot and stick.

She was involved with a narcissist.

It’s hard to believe, but statistics say that narcissists are only present in .5 percent of the U.S. population. Yet, if you search online, you’ll believe they are everywhere.

What is a narcissist?

Narcissists are people with no empathy. They manipulate people like pawns on a chessboard. They love-bomb you until you think you’ve found the love of your life. You’ll be on top of the world.

Then they’ll start pulling away. You’ll wonder what happened.

They’ll become critical of everything you do. They’ll run hot and cold and plunge you into a state of perpetual uncertainty. Their gaslighting will have you questioning your sanity.

Then they’ll bring their new supply around and enjoy triangulating you. Eventually, they’ll discard you for the new supply.

It’s not over yet. When they’re bored, they’ll hoover back to you. They’ll lure you back into the madness. It’s a nightmare.

After you dig up the courage to leave this person who has damaged you so much, it is a long road to recovery. There’s a constant danger that you’ll repeat the unhealthy pattern with someone else.

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After all, codependent tendencies draw people to the narcissist. And for some people, it takes years of therapy to recover.

These are the long-term effects after the relationship with the narcissist has ended.

You have a difficult time trusting others and yourself

After such a disaster, you may want to never date again. After all, if someone who appeared so perfect shattered your heart, why try again?

You wonder what’s so wrong with you that you could have been so blind. Especially when all of your friends saw the truth. They warned you, yet you were so in love that you didn’t want to believe it.

You look back on that time, and you’re embarrassed. How is it a friend could tell you were so in love and saw the other person wasn’t? Why didn’t you see it?

You wonder if there is some flaw in you that drew you to a person who didn’t care if you lived or died. They only wanted you around to serve them. You were being used.

Now you’re concerned that your judgment is flawed. How can you ever trust yourself again?

You feel anger at wasting your best years with someone who doesn’t even care that you’re gone

You feel cheated out of life. You think of all the other romantic prospects that wanted you, and you brushed them aside. One of them could have been right for you, but you were so enthralled with the narcissist you couldn’t even see them.

So much wasted time went by that you could have been enjoying your life, yet you were swept up in the narcissist’s drama. Your entire world revolved around them.

You think of all the family and true friends you neglected. These friends tried to support you but grew frustrated that you couldn’t see the light. They listened to you vent for hours that none of you will ever get back.

Now your best years are gone, and you know it’s your fault. You should have left the narcissist a long time ago.

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You may keep going back to it trying to make it work

Once you’ve endured the cycle of abuse, and then rewards, and then abuse again, you become trauma bonded to the narcissist.

Your ex will get bored with the new supply. They’ll shoot you a text to see if you’ll respond.

You may keep going back, trying to get the relationship right. You believe they’ve changed, and things will be good between you again.

Yet, they haven’t changed. They seldom change, and the next discard will be even worse.

It’s an endless cycle of suffering until you dare to put it to an end. Don’t let yourself get reeled back in.

Your self-esteem is in the toilet

Once you’ve had enough and go no contact, you’ll feel even more worthless than when you started.

It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you let yourself be mistreated by your ex for so long.

You’ll wonder what was wrong with you. What’s this flaw you have that prevents you from having the loving relationship that you want?

You need to realize that you’re not alone. Many people have been put through the wringer by narcissistic people.

There is nothing wrong with you. You were drawn in by a charismatic, manipulative person. It happens to many.

Don’t blame yourself. You wanted to be loved as most people do.

If you don’t resolve your issues, you may end up with another narcissist

There’s a reason the narcissist gravitated towards you. You might have had a codependent type personality where you gave too much. You were warm and empathetic.

Or you may have been going through a difficult time in your life, and they sensed your weakness. They took the opportunity to dive in for a new source of supply.

You must forgive yourself and move on. Therapy and self-analysis are helpful. It’s important to realize why you fell for the narcissist so that you don’t repeat that behavior.

After being accustomed to constant drama, normal relationships may feel boring to you. Don’t immediately reject someone because they don’t give you the highs and lows you were used to.

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Give a new relationship time to develop. Go slow, with your eyes wide open. Know what you’re getting into.

If you start noticing narcissistic behavior, don’t go any further with them. You don’t want to waste time with another relationship that will go nowhere.

And when you’ve finally experienced real love, you’ll realize that love with the narcissist was never love at all.

This post was previously published on Medium.


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The post The Lasting Effects of Narcissistic Abuse appeared first on The Good Men Project.