7 Things That Happen When You Finally Break Free From Psychological Harassment

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By Maria Hakki

It just happens that sometimes either our partner or we prioritize ourselves and our feelings over the feelings of the other person. But this doesn’t mean they (or we) are narcissists. It could be a mood swing or a healthy dose of personality traits like selfishness rather than a manifestation of a narcissistic personality disorder.

What are the signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, then?

The word “narcissist” is widely used these days, particularly when a bad relationship ends. Nevertheless, there’s a difference between someone who is selfish and someone who is a serial narcissist.

A narcissist is someone who is projecting an idealized personality of themselves to avoid feeling or being seen as their true self. Deep down, behind that fake personality, there is a narcissist who is a very fragile individual.

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That’s one of the reasons why relationships with narcissists can be very harmful: These people are mainly interested in preserving their self-image and are never concerned about how they affect others. Those in a relationship with a narcissist often suffer from narcissistic abuse, which they inflict emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, spiritually, or sexually, according to Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and author Darlene Lancer.

That is why, if there is no give and take in your relationship, or if the person you see shows any of these traits, it might be better to end your relationship with them.

It’s true that every breakup is more or less painful and stressful, but a breakup with a narcissist could actually have a positive effect on you.

Below are seven positive changes that you might experience as you get over a breakup with an abusive ex who has narcissistic personality traits.

Here are 7 things that happen when you finally break free from psychological harassment:

1. You can focus on your life

Sex therapist Stefani Threadgill explains that the constant need for attention provokes most narcissism. “Their ego is entitled and approval-seeking,” Threadgill says. “They are easily bruised by your failure to notice, praise, or compliment, and are highly reactive to being ignored.”

Even though narcissists claim to be emotionally independent, they become highly emotional and sensitive when it comes to their close people’s opinions and especially the view of their partner about the things they do and whether their partner pays attention to these things or not.

Anything that takes a narcissist out of the spotlight is a threat to their ego.

That is why one of the positive effects of splitting up with such an individual is that you won’t need to listen to someone else’s problems all the time. After parting ways with your narcissistic partner, you are free to pay enough attention to your own life and needs. Something that couldn’t have happened while you were in a toxic relationship with such a person.

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2. You can restore your emotional balance

A relationship with a narcissist could be dangerous for your self-esteem as these people are incredibly manipulative. Narcissists feel the need to control others, and this is especially true when it comes to their partner.

According to Senior Matchmaker and Dating Coach Lori Salkin, if you go on a date with a narcissist, you are not going to get a clue about what you are going to do together. If you make a suggestion, it’s going to be ignored.

“Your suggestion of cooking dinner together and catching up on Game of Thrones is immediately shot down with ‘we are going out to dinner,’” Salkin says. “There is no consideration or even acknowledgment of your interest in a different plan."

Sadly, a narcissist only cares about the way they think and feel and would have little concern for you and your emotions. Their entire ego depends on it.

So, ending your relationship with such a person is not only a positive outcome but also a necessary step to take to reestablish your mental health and emotional balance.

3. You can now find a reliable long-term partner

All narcissists share one trait in common when it comes to relationships — they pursue you intensely at the beginning of a relationship, but finally, when you become close, their attention starts fading away. Here is what Threadgill says about that.

“Narcissist prides themselves on their emotional autonomy. Thus, they see emotional vulnerability as weak, pathetic, and needy and avoid emotional intimacy,” she explains.

A narcissist could disappear once they start feeling emotionally attached, and such a partner is not capable of maintaining a long-term relationship which is another reason to let them go.

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4. You start feeling relieved

“The narcissistic relationship is exhausting,” says psychotherapist Joanne Bagshaw. “Constantly tip-toeing around your partner to avoid their raging, confusion about what’s real, managing preferential treatment, and the consequences of rule-breaking can all take its toll on you.”

It might be better for you that you’ve stopped dating a narcissist because now you won’t have to put up with the weight of their poisonous personality.

5. You don’t need to be careful about what you say anymore

People who’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist have felt like walking on eggshells all the time because they always need to pay attention to what they say and how they behave in order not to hurt their narcissistic partner.

“You have to be very careful about what you say and how you say it,” says Bagshaw. “Narcissists have a fragile ego; their presentation of over-self-confidence masks feelings of emptiness. One wrong word, tone, or misstep will have the narcissist enraged.”

So, once you break up with such a partner, you can start behaving normally and be the person you are which is hugely relieving.

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6. There's no more gaslighting

“‘Gaslighting’ is a way that narcissists alter your sense of reality,” says Bagshaw.

Narcissists could persuade you they never said something that they did, or that you’re overreacting when you are not. Hence, breaking up with a person who causes you such strong psychological harassment means that you are actually protecting yourself from serious consequences that could lead to permanent traumas.

If any of these things listed above have influenced you negatively, then you’ve done the right thing by ending your relationship with a person who most probably is a narcissist.

7. You can start helping people with the same issues

Once you recover from the split-up you could start supporting people who are going through such a relationship and cannot find the inner strength to put an end. Sharing your experience and the positive changes you’ve been undergoing might help them cast off the burden of narcissistic “love.”

We shouldn’t forget that dating a narcissist could have a severe impact on our self-esteem. In addition to ending the relationship, it might also be essential to seek out someone to talk about the issues you had while dating such an individual.

To help you deal with the breakup and recover from it faster below is outlined some piece of advice related to the right behavior after a split-up with a narcissist.

  • Recognize that the relationship was toxic and you are much better off without it.
  • Unless you have to keep in touch with the narcissist because of children or for legal matters, the best way to deal with the split-up is to not communicate with them at all.
  • If you cannot avoid contact with them, try not to get involved in the manipulative games narcissists play all the time. Keep your distance and focus on your life without them.
  • Ask for support from your loved ones or people who’ve been through the same. One thing you could do is let others know that you are trying to cut all ties with the narcissist. Ask them to hold you accountable.

No matter how painful things are, you should never settle for a relationship that not only doesn’t live up to your expectations but also damages you psychologically. A better, more loving relationship is around the corner.

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Maria Hakki is a writer and translator. She has been featured in I Heart Intelligence, Australian National Review, and more.

This article was originally published at I Heart Intelligence. Reprinted with permission from the author.