Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie

After I went no-contact with my narcissist, a funny thing happened. I kind of got my life together (eventually) and I dropped more than 100 weight gain and narcissistic abuse have a connection

When my PhD friend heard about this, she reached out to me and mentioned that she, too, found herself uncomfortably overweight after her narcissistic abuse experience. 

And, she said, that “without any effort at all (no dieting),” she had managed to drop 40 or more pounds once she’d escaped – all of which she has kept off without effort since.

Like me, she said she just didn’t “see it” in the mirror – and that though she can look back and see it in old photos today, she really didn’t realize how heavy she’d become. She also noted that she sees a very sad and depressed look about her when she looks at those photos. 

If you ask me, she was wearing her pain, just like I had been doing.

“During the marriage, there were many discards, and I did seem to lose significant amounts of weight during these phases, only to put the pounds back on when he would decide to re-cycle me,” she told me in an email, adding that she wondered if this was a pattern I observed in narcissistic relationships.  “It would be interesting to see if there is a pattern of weight gain over the years of time spent with a narcissist.”

I agree with her, and I’m going to start with an informal poll.

POLL: In the comments below, please tell me: do you believe that weight gain is a side-effect of narcissistic abuse? Why or why not? 

Share your thoughts and experiences and help me help you. Let’s dig into this research together, shall we? 



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28 Responses to Do Weight Gain and Narcissistic Abuse Have a Connection?

  1. hmmmm, for me, I don’t really think so. I was overweight before I met him and ended up losing weight toward the end of our relationship. Through the recent divorce I have actually gained weight, I think due to my entire life being turned upside down and trying to find my new rhythm. I couldn’t focus on myself and just felt a bit like a drowning woman trying to just keep myself from going under. Eating healthfully and working out were on the bottom of my priority list.

    • Sarah, do you think there was a correlation between your weight loss and the confidence you gained and your decision to leave? Did feeling more confident about yourself offer you the strength you needed to leave?

    • Yes yes, I’ve gained 20 lbs. It does make sense what everyone states, about how it effects hormones, thyroid, etc

      • I couldn’t get rid of my weight and I want even eating much (very little actually). Then when he broke up with me, I lost tons of weight. My family members saw my this Thanksgiving and they were worried. They never saw me this skinny. They were encouraging me to eat. The truth is that I’m eating just about the same amount while I was with him, but I have less…stress maybe.

  2. Yes, I do believe that weight-gain is a side-effect of narristic abuse. The stress that was experienced was so high my hormones became very unbalanced, hence weight gain, fatigue and anxiety. It was a dominio effect on my adrenals, thyroid and my body’s ability to process insulin correctly. I had know idea how bad it was until I saw the test results. The narcissit husband was suppose to be the one man in this world that loved me more than any other, right? Well instead of being concerned why I gained 30lbs in a month in a half he made it clear I was a lazy fat a$$. True narcissit support right there!
    We divorced in February but still saw each other most everyday. Yesterday I moved with our daughter two states away ( big states in the west 😉 )
    Today is my first day of freedom! 🙂

    • Hi Nicole! First, I just want to say congrats on your move! That must be an amazing feeling! Second, I think you’re on to something and Kim Saeed from Let Me Reach actually said something similar. There is definitely a physical component. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with me. ♡

  3. Yes, yes, yes! Absolutely!! I used to be 125/130 I’m pushing 150lbs. Weight I had aquired while being with the narc.

  4. I believe weight gain can also be a physical reaction to the mental/emo strain as a sort of attempt at making a barrier….a form of “armor” your body puts on in a desperate attempt to protect your core self. Once the threat is removed, you drop the weight, etc. You know, cus in nature the larger creature is less frequently attacked.

  5. yes I gained 50 pounds in less than a year! I now also have several autoimmune diseases that I attribute to stress. Now I am working on my plan to divorce and hopefully I get my health back after 12 years of hell.

  6. I believe so. I know after I got with my narc at 16, I gained a good 20 lbs maybe a little more. I didn’t know what a narc was at the time & definitely didn’t think of his behavior as abusive. It wasn’t until I was 23 when I gave birth to our daughter. He seemed to have turned into a monster over night. It was then I realized something is not right with him. I know I put on more weight. He would indirectly call me fat all the time & sometimes directly call me fat. Then would I wanted to lose weight, change me diet, & work out he would say that I’m perfect the way I am. But next day or 2 later he start poking fun at my weight again.

    • Sounds like a narc. They want to keep you “stuck” so they chip away at your self confidence. Then I’d they see you start to fix it, they love bomb you so you forget or let it go. And that means you stay stuck – dependent, unconfident. Unhappy.

      Good for you for recognizing it and getting wise to the tricks. Hugs! Stay strong.

  7. Yes I was a size 8 au when I met him in the beginning he would fill me up with food and the fridge would be full however during his cycles he would let me starve buy nothing and would hardly eat himself as if to say to me you will eat when I do. I went upto a size 10 au and have been having fluctuations in my weight since being away from the crazy. I also have food allergies and he would make me eat food that made me sick then he would blame me for it.

  8. YES! I don’t know if it’s hormones, stress, anxiety, depression or what but he put me down so much I believed I was this worthless pathetic person. I got to a point where I wouldn’t wear make-up and barely did my hair. Last summer we went no contact and the weight just melted off. 40 pounds in six months. There were a couple other factors such as I started coaching Cheer again which made me feel better about myself. Also my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer which was hard and stressful. However, not in a constant worry if he was going to show up at my door, work or other activity helped me relax a lot. When he saw me of course the rumors started flying about how I lost the weight so I went to the doctor. A lot of tests were run and everything came out fine. With the exception of losing my mother, I just think I’m a lot happier knowing he won’t be a permanent fixture in my life.

  9. There is definitely a connection between weight loss/gain and narcissistic abuse. During our involvement with the abuser we eat uncontrollably to soothe ourselves, hence the weight gain. Then, during the recovery process after separating ourselves from the abuser, we naturally begin to shed weight because we no longer feel a need to make ourselves feel better by stuffing ourselves. We feel better about ourselves in many ways and our self-esteem begins to return to normal and we don’t feel compelled to overeat.

    • So agreed!!

    • Yes, I agree. This is what I have been doing. I also adopted his horribly unhealthy eating habits. I used to eat a super clean, super healthy vegan diet and lately it has been junk food, candy, chips, soda, etc. every day. I am 34 and was always a very thin person my entire life, always could eat whatever I wanted and never really gain weight until the last two years. I have gone up two pants sizes in the last two years. I used to work out daily and I have no motivation to work out at all now. I’m trying to go no contact (again) for good this time. I just want my life and my health (mental and physical) back… It makes me scared to think of what possible long-term damage I have done to my body due to this extreme stress on and off over the last 4 years with him. There were many weeks and months during that time period where he was ignoring me, so at least I had some periods of calm.

  10. I so do!! I am the Daughter of a narscissistic abusive mother. i’m 31 and I cut her off a year ago because I couldn’t friggen take it anymore and was afraid she was going to do something to my kids. While living with her for 21 yrs my weight was allover the place. Since she’s been gone this yr I’m not sure if I lost weight but I haven’t gained any. I think there has to be a connection! I haven’t changed anything besides finally being free. I wonder if it’s almost a depression thing, chemical thing, hormonal but I would bet on it

  11. It’s only been a few weeks since I moved out and I’ve dropped about 15 lbs or so. I am eating. I was barely eating when I was with him. He’d even tell people that. I truly do think all the stress and the hormones related to it kept me gaining and gaining. I’ve always been curvy but pretty slim, and then I blew up over the 4 years. I do think it makes the difference.

  12. I’m a scapegoat stuck living with a narcissistic family and I find no matter how well I eat or exercise I can’t lose weight; I think it may be the stress. I’m about 20 lbs over what I was and gained it after the abuse got worse.

  13. As soon as my narc bf moved in with me, I started gaining a lot of weight out of the blue and my eating habits did not even change. I went from size 8 all the way to size 16. We were together 11 years. Since we’ve been together, I have tried every diet out there (Nutrisystem, Atkins, Weight Watchers, etc.) and followed it to a “t” but I would only lost like 2 lbs in a couple months time. We are now getting ready to go our separate ways, I am anxiously awaiting to see the changes.

  14. This is true for me. Yes. I got to this web page while looking to find out if such a link exists.

  15. I have been with my narcissist for 23 years, tried leaving 3 or 4 times but just kept getting pulled right back in by guilt. I was a trim and fit size 8 and managed my weight fine all my life up until I met him. I tried everything to lose weight, gym 4 times a week, paleo eating, etc etc, nothing worked. I eat very little now and still I wake up every day with weight gain, it is so frustrating. I am in the process of leaving him but unfortunately both his parents are in our relationship, his mother is a narcissist as well. I have made a huge effort to ensure that my daughter doesn’t turn into one. I give her so much love and attention everyday to make sure this never happens, it would be total devastation for me.

  16. I gained 20 or more lbs during the last 6 months of a 1 year relationship with a covert narcissist. First, he used to attach himself like a leech every weekend so I had absolutely no free time to go work out. He’d make eggs and bacon every morning (I never used to eat that way) and because he didnt have money to go out all the time, I’d end up spending consecutive days at times stuck in my own apartment with him. Also, as the passive aggressive and inconsistent behavior on his part increased over time, I think without even realizing I was turning to food for comfort and most of my time was spent stressing and over focusing on what he was doing, why he wasn’t calling me, what I could do to “fix” thigs etc. And to make matters worse, he withheld sex the last three months before the discard. I was living in a constant state of hyper vigilance and always worrying. If you can believe, he had the nerve to pull up a nude photo of me from the first few months of our relationship and comment how he finally realized that I gained weight. I swear it looked as if he was deriving some kind of sick pleasure showing me that photo.

    Now I am 2 almost 3 months no contact after he broke up with me. I have lost almost all the weight! There is definitely a connection. There must be, right?

  17. For me, I gained weight when I left my narcissistic husband and moved across the country. During our relationship, he would even wake me up during the middle of the night to tell me I had put on weight, or he’d criticize what I was eating. When I moved, I felt I had the freedom to eat again and not be judged by it.

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