What Dating A Narcissist Feels Like? | Experience & Effects

Narcissists and narcissism are two terms gaining rapid popularity. And now you find yourself in a possible romantic liaison with someone who fits the dictionary definition of these terms. Is dating a self-absorbed and self-centered person as dangerous as your friends are making it out to be?

Dating a narcissist is a toxic and painful experience that will shatter your confidence to pieces. Not only it’s emotionally exhausting, but you’ll take a long time to heal mentally, emotionally, and maybe even physically if you’re caught in the trap. You’ll often feel stuck with a narcissist.

This article will explore how narcissists make you feel and how deeply they can impact your life even when long gone. The objective is to help you avoid any traumatic experience.

Feelings Experienced While Dating A Narcissist

Narcissistic relationships often start too fast, followed by quick and blatant devaluing and disrespect.

While a person often feels powerless when falling romantically for another person, dating a narcissist will also leave you emotionally drained along with feeling like a puppet.

You may find yourself stuck in the rollercoaster of negative emotions, unable to get off the ride.

1. You Feel Undervalued

People with solid narcissistic behavior have low and fragile self-esteem. To cope with that, they need to feel better than others constantly.

Thus, in an attempt to feel superior, they always try to put other people down in some way or the other, leaving them feeling unappreciated and undervalued.

While dating a narcissist, you’ll often be made to feel useless and shown how you constantly fall short of expectations.

This negativity will affect your self-worth in the long run, leaving you scarred forever in some cases.

You Feel Undervalued

2. Powerless And Controlled Like A Puppet

Manipulation and controlling behavior are the key traits of a narcissistic person.

They sometimes go out of their way to make others feel special – not because they value something about them, but rather to manipulate them.

They want to control the other person, and their sense of entitlement seems logical to them.

Failing to win your complete loyalty leaves them frustrated and angry.

Their controlling behavior makes you feel suffocated, and you lose the sense of better decision-making.

You’ll feel powerless and a victim of invisible forces, leaving you in a spiral of self-doubt.

3. Ignored And Unheard

Although dates are two-way streets, narcissists tend to focus all conversations on themselves.

While dating a narcissist, it may feel as though you have to fight even to express yourself.

They enjoy being the center of attention and often pay no heed to their partner.

When you do talk about yourself, they become visibly bored and disinterested, making you feel ignored and unheard.

The psychological effects of being ignored by someone you like are disheartening and mentally torturous.

4. Strong Anxiety And Trauma

There is a strong correlation between anxiety and dating a narcissistic person. They will pick on you constantly.

Initially, it feels like teasing, but their words become really mean with time. They often knock you down with insults and try to belittle your problems.

The significant stress you encounter can trigger persistent feelings of worry, nervousness, and fear, especially when you never know what to expect from your date.

Their unpredictability which attracted you to them in the first place, would now be something you’ll fear.

According to The Handbook of Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Theoretical Approaches, Empirical Findings, and Treatments,

Narcissism has complex effects on romantic relationships. It predicts both success at initiating relationships and significant problems in ongoing relationships (e.g., low commitment, game-playing, infidelity).

Amy B. Brunell and W. Keith Campbell, 2011, Narcissism and Romantic Relationships: Understanding the Paradox, Chapter 30.

A narcissist looks all charming and fun on the outside but can cause significant pain and trauma to their partner, leaving them anxious and depressed.

5. Feelings Of Hopelessness And Submission

Narcissists try to brainwash you to suit their agenda.

To avoid being dumped if and when you realize how they are abusing you, they deliberately target your self-confidence and try to feed you with lies about yourself to gain a mental edge over you.

They make you believe that they are the best you can ever get.

Their toxicity can be even more damaging if you are already dealing with identity, self-worth, and self-acceptance issues.

The narcissist knowingly exploits your weaknesses to exert dominance. You are forced to submit.

You could have been the most optimistic, confident, and happy person before entering the dating period and the relationship.

Yet your thoughts quickly become negative and self-deprecating as you move ahead with a narcissistic person.

6. A Spike In Insecurity Levels

Narcissists are experts in throwing all the repressed feelings they can’t handle themselves on other people.

They constantly try to hide their insecurities, fears, and natural response to rejections from everyone, even themselves.

They often provoke negative emotions to keep you insecure and off-balance, which becomes essential to a narcissist’s pretense of self-esteem.

Ultimately this makes it impossible for them to be completely real and transparent with the people around them, leading to a great sense of insecurity in their partners.

A Spike In Insecurity Levels

7. Isolated And Distraught

Dating a narcissist is mostly all about them and very little about you. Even when it is about you, somehow, the attention finds its way back to them.

They are more interested in receiving than giving.

Turning to them for your needs leaves you disappointed every time, and you often end up feeling lonely.

You may feel like you’re the only one who’s emotionally present and invested in the bond. This is because they never care enough.

Narcissist people expect you to compromise all the time, giving you no room to express your concerns.

This is another reason why you feel isolated even when you are with them physically or otherwise.

8. Frustration Due To Emotional Neglect

At first, a narcissist begins ‘love bombing’, i.e., they shower you constantly with texts, compliments, and presents, making you feel the most important person in the world.

However, their behavior flips after some time as they become less attentive, self-centered, and inconsiderate about your feelings.

It becomes painful and difficult for you to keep up with their neglect, and time spent with them feels like a burden.

Emotional neglect involves failing to provide emotional support even when you ask for it.

They often disregard your emotions because they are not affected by things the way you might be.

You should always be aware that a relationship full of disregard and neglect can become a cause for your profound unhappiness.

9. The Onus Lies Only On You

Dating narcissists can take a toll on you as they try to hold you responsible for everything that goes wrong in their life.

They will hold you guilty for all ups and downs and put the burden of their failures on you.

Such accusations are not limited to relationship-only issues.

They transcend boundaries, which create a negative environment and restrict you from growing in life. As a result, you end up with a perpetual feeling of guilt.

Furthermore, you may have to put in magnanimous effort to cover up for their lack of intent just in the hopes of maintaining a healthy atmosphere.

10. Conversation Become Increasingly Difficult

Narcissists tend to kill day-to-day conversations by not allowing enough space of expression for their partners.

They do it just to show themselves as superior and knowledgeable, and that profusely affects your mental health.

They try to force their opinions and beliefs on you and manipulate or strongarm you into agreeing with them, leaving you with no other choice.

If you try to disagree, they may start a spat rather than understanding your point of view. You may just start frequently caving in to avoid any confrontation.

11. You Feel Perpetually Trapped

You may feel trapped as there is nothing for you in terms of romance, companionship, love, and being admired and adored.

The longer you associate yourself with a narcissist, the more frustrated and demotivated you’ll feel in life.

They will deliberately manipulate you to make you feel that you’ll always need them in life. In no time, you’ll find yourself completely dependent.

A narcissist will create such situations wherein it will become difficult to leave them even if you start feeling suffocated.

You Feel Perpetually Trapped

12. There Is Confusion All-Around

Another standard behavior among narcissists is their tendency to run hot and cold with their partners.

One day they shower you with all the love and attention, only to withdraw it entirely for several days.

Being treated so inconsistently can be nerve-wracking, frustrating, and exhausting.

They hold on to you as long as convenient for them and will blow you off without any regrets.

Their cold indifference adds to the pain, making the journey to recovery very difficult and lengthy.

In addition, this ambiguous behavior can create a strong sense of confusion, as we never know why we are being treated in such a manner and where are the two of you heading.

13. You Feel Cranky Most Of The Time

Not being heard and being constantly accused of illogical and irrelevant things by your narcissistic partner may make you feel angry.

This can severely affect your mental peace. Furthermore, if not addressed for long, this hampers several spheres of your life.

Being mad at your partner not just affects your life but also those who are around you.

Over time, your crankiness and anger erode all your relationships with your loved ones to the extent where there is no scope for salvation.

14. The Imposter Syndrome Sets In

While dating a narcissist, what other people think about you will bug you all the time.

The beauty is that you’ll feel as if you got too good a deal and maybe aren’t worthy enough of your partner.

You’ll always feel as if people look down upon you and talk behind your back about how you trapped someone way out of your league.

Why are such thoughts constant? Remember how we told you earlier that narcissists always puts you down to make themselves feel better?

In no time, you’d lose the sense of wrong and right, believing that you don’t deserve such a great person.

Your guilt will make you feel ashamed, and the imposter syndrome will set in.

You’ll avoid discussing about your date even with your close ones. You might even continue dating this person despite knowing it is abusive and unhealthy.

15. Losing Your Own Identity

Dating a narcissistic person makes your life revolve around them.

They manipulate you constantly to make you feel that only their ideas and perspectives are the gospel of truth and often negate your thoughts, even on trivial issues.

Gradually, you may start giving in to their insane ideas and theories to avoid conflicts.

As a result, you start second-guessing your own decisions, making you think of yourself as a person who doesn’t even know what they really want from life.

You feel stupid most of the time.

What Are The Effects Of Dating A Narcissist?

The effects of dating a narcissist primarily include bouts of depression and self-doubt. Other effects are emotional exhaustion, confusion, insecurity, and disinterest in relationships. These effects can be mild to severe depending on the length of association, sometimes lasting a lifetime.

Here are is a detailed version of what you will fall upon you in case you find yourself with a narcissist:

1. Prolonged Depression

Dating a narcissistic person leaves you depressed and anxious. The pain and fear that has been bottled up inside you for so long come to life.

A narcissistic partner can suck energy and joy from your life which can be mentally exhausting.

You might end up feeling hopeless and lose interest in things that once made you feel happy.

After a long period of manipulation and ill-treatment, you may isolate yourself from everyone around, making the depression even worse.

Prolonged Depression

2. Self-Doubt At Every Step

Narcissists want to control their partners to meet their own needs.

So they try to manipulate you in different ways and create a false narrative, making you question your own opinions and judgments.

They eventually convince you that there is something wrong with you, blaming you for everything that goes wrong.

Unfortunately, dating a narcissist makes you doubt yourself now and then.

You may stop sharing your thoughts altogether due to fear of being judged by others.

You’ll let the narcissist take control of your life gradually and let them take all trivial and significant decisions for you.

3. Deep Trust Issues

After dating a narcissist, your trust levels take a dip leading to many problems like social anxiety.

In addition, their inconsistent and ambiguous behavior makes you wonder if they are being truthful to you or just manipulating your emotions to get what they want.

Developing such trust issues can affect your future relationships and might stop you from believing that you can be in a healthy or happy relationship.

4. Lack Of Self Worth

The most considerable effect of dating a narcissist on your personality can be the erosion of self-worth.

They knowingly try to put you down to hide their own imperfections and flaws, making you feel not good enough for anything.

You start believing that you are a loser in life, and their presence is the best thing that has happened to you.

You may have trouble making decisions due to low self-worth, making you feel lost and exhausted even further.

5. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress can occur anytime we are involved in an experience that fundamentally destabilizes who we are or what we believe.

This kind of trauma can be long-lasting and can even leave permanent imprints on your mind.

Difficulty in sleeping, flashbacks, hyper-awareness, low self-worth, and a misplaced sense of blame are some of the symptoms of PTSD.

Therefore, it is crucial to seek professional help if you or anyone around you suffers. This will ensure that you recover as soon as possible.


Dating a narcissist can be charming at first, but soon the dynamics change, and it can become your worst nightmare.

Narcissists are often arrogant, controlling, self-absorbed, and lack empathy. They do not see you for what you are.

Instead, they see you as an extension of themselves.

Such a volatile partner can leave you emotionally depleted, substituting your happiness with self-hate and sadness.

Even after distancing yourself from such a person, you may develop some negative behaviors which can take some time to heal.

Staying in a destructive relationship is more painful than the temporary pain cutting all ties from the narcissist and allowing yourself to heal from the abuse.

Shashank Verma

A trained theatre actor and a STEM graduate who brings perspectives and methods from these worlds into dating and relationships. Also a big time Krav Maga enthusiast and practitioner.

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