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Dating Someone Who Was Abused By A Narcissist

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

Narcissistic abuse is a type of emotional abuse in which the abuser uses actions and words to manipulate their partner’s emotional state and behaviors. 

But what happens after? What’s it like Dating Someone Who Was Abused By A Narcissist?

Dating Someone Who Was Abused By A Narcissist

The effects of this can be long-lasting. So, even when a victim leaves a narcissist, the relationship can still significantly impact them.

This can have an impact on their future relationships. 

In this article, we will discuss the realities of dating someone who was abused by a narcissist.

We will cover the effects of narcissistic abuse and what you can do to help. 

If you’re interested, read on for more. 

How Does Narcissistic Abuse Impact Victims?

Victims of narcissistic abuse can be impacted in many different ways. It is important to note that people are unique and will react differently to trauma.

However, here are some common examples of the impact narcissistic abuse can have. 

Distrust Of Others

A victim of narcissistic abuse may deeply distrust others, their significant other in particular.

The victim in question may have fears of being betrayed, abandoned, and abused by another person. 

As a result, a victim of narcissistic abuse may feel the need to control all of their future relationships. 

Depression And Anxiety 

Depression and anxiety are very common consequences of being in a relationship with a narcissist.

The effects of this depression and anxiety can vary, but common consequences include not wanting to leave the house, not wanting to speak to others, finding it difficult to take care of themselves, having panic attacks, and having difficulty sleeping or concentrating. 

Emotional Distance  

Victims of narcissistic abuse often put up walls to protect themselves.

They often guard themselves emotionally because they are too afraid to get close to another person and open up to them, just in case they are abused or hurt again. 

On top of being emotionally distant, victims of narcissistic abuse are also hypervigilant and always analyzing their new relationships for signs of abuse. 


PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is another result of narcissistic abuse. A victim may experience their trauma once more through nightmares and flashbacks.

On top of that, they may find it difficult to remember certain parts of the abuse or react in an unexpected way because of triggers. 


Victims of narcissistic abuse may begin to isolate themselves from family and friends.

Examples include canceling plans, not communicating well, and withdrawing from social activities. 

Difficulty Setting Boundaries

Victims of narcissistic abuse may find it difficult to set boundaries, especially with their significant other.

They may feel they need to say “yes” when they want to say “no.” 

Low Self-Esteem

Victims of narcissistic abuse often have low self-esteem and a low sense of self-worth.

This may result in them blaming themselves for the abuse they experienced and feeling as though they do not deserve happiness or love. 

Dating Someone Who Was Abused By A Narcissist: What To Remember

Dating Someone Who Was Abused By A Narcissist What To Remember

If you are in a relationship with someone who was abused by a narcissist, there are some important things that you need to remember.

We will explain these in more detail below. 

Your Partner May Be Competitive

In many cases of narcissistic abuse, the abuser will use unhealthy competition to devalue the victim.

For example, a narcissist will often try to one-up their victim in an attempt to make them feel inferior.

This results in competitiveness from the victim carrying over into their future relationships. 

In future relationships, victims will be competitive to try and prove their worth to their partner.

They may also compare you to their abuser and find ways in which you are inferior or superior. 

In these situations, honest and open communication is vital, as this will create a space where your partner feels comfortable enough to express their feelings. 

Your Partner May Struggle To Trust You

Because of their past experiences with abuse, your partner may have trouble trusting you and your intentions.

Even if your feelings and intentions are genuine, victims of narcissistic abuse will find it difficult to believe that you will not hurt them. 

In these situations, you will need to be understanding and patient if you want to earn their trust. 

They Will Need Reminders And Reassurance 

Narcissistic abuse survivors will need reminders that they are in a safe space.

Relationships with narcissists are emotional rollercoasters; the victim never knows what to expect. This can result in PTSD and anxiety. 

So, it is best for you to remind them that they are in a stable and safe environment to help ease this PTSD and anxiety.

On top of that, it is a good idea to verbally reassure them when they are feeling anxious or expressing negative emotions. 

Your Partner May Have People-Pleasing Tendencies

It is very common for people who have survived narcissistic relationships to express people-pleasing behavior. 

This is often because the victim has low self-esteem due to the relationship and does not think they are good enough.

To compensate for that, they have a need to please others in order to feel accepted. 

In a relationship, this can result in them sacrificing their own needs to make you happy.

Of course, it is important to consider the needs of others in your relationship.

However, your own needs should not be sacrificed, and you should encourage your partner to do things for themselves.

This will help them become more confident and rebuild their self-worth. 

Your Partner May Feel Vengeful 

Revenge is a common desire for those who have been emotionally abused to feel towards their abuser.

Revenge allows survivors to feel a false sense of control when the alternative is feeling helpless. It is a coping mechanism to deal with the pain of the abuse. 

If your partner feels like this, then it is important to be supportive of them and help them to understand that revenge may feel like a good idea but it will not make them feel good and is not often conducive to healing. 

Final Thoughts

Victims of narcissistic abuse may often experience negative side effects as a result of abuse.

For example, they may have PTSD, depression, or anxiety, they may find it difficult to trust others, have low self-esteem and the tendency to people please, and can often feel vengeful towards their previous partner or not want to open up to their new partner.

If you are dating someone who a narcissist has previously abused, then it is important to be patient and understanding.

You need to support them by showing them that they are in a stable and safe space so they will be comfortable enough to open up to you and begin to trust you when they are ready. 

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