Do you find yourself wondering if you’re dating a narcissist?
Is your partner constantly putting themselves first, with little or no consideration for others? Or perhaps they seem more interested in what’s happening to them than how their actions affect other people around them?
According to experts, these are the signs that may indicate you’re dating a narcissist:
Avigail Lev, PsyD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Bay Area CBT Center | Co-Author, “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Interpersonal Problems“
Love bombing is one of the biggest red flags at the beginning of a romantic relationship
Love bombing is when your partner puts you up on a pedestal, idealizes you, and moves the relationship very quickly. Love bombing is a common strategy for people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
One sign that you’re being love-bombed is if the person tries to move the relationship very quickly and says they love you, wants to move in together, get married, or starts talking about having kids too soon.
If someone tells you that they love you within the first couple of weeks of the relationship, that is a red flag.
That is not representative of them knowing who you really are, so be cautious if you hear these types of statements early in the relationship:
- “I’ve never felt this way before about anyone.”
- “You are like the male/female version of me.”
- “I’ve never met anyone like you in my life.”
- “You are perfect. I’ve never been this attracted to anyone before.”
- “You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever been with.”
- “I feel like I’ve known you my whole life.”
Related: 25+ Signs You Are in a Narcissistic Relationship
The person tries to isolate you by triangulating you with others
“Your friend is a bad friend. She talks about you behind your back; she’s not trustworthy; she’s jealous of you.” These are signs that the person is attempting to isolate you from your friends and wants you only to trust him/her and no one else.
The person frequently makes statements that distort reality and facts that occurred
Examples of these comments include, “I never said that I don’t remember, that’s not how it happened, that never happened, you never said that we didn’t agree to that.”
The person acts inconsistently or doesn’t follow through with agreements
The person runs hot and cold. One moment they seem like they’re crazy about you, and the next moment they seem indifferent.
Villainizing their exes
Listen very carefully as to how they talk about their exes.
- Do they discuss their ex as a three-dimensional person?
- Can they help you understand why the relationship ended and what they learned from it?
- Are they villainizing their ex and blaming everything on them?
- Are they able to take responsibility for the issues that ended the relationship?
- Are they speaking in detail about their ex, or are they being vague?
The most effective way to assess whether you’re dating a narcissist is in the information that you gather about their previous relationships.
Derailing or avoiding answering questions
Are they answering your questions, or are they being vague in such a way that you never feel like your questions are being answered? People with NPD hide information, distort information, or just lie. Therefore, you want to listen to any inconsistencies in their stories.
How do they speak about their family?
Are they able to see both negative and positive qualities, or are they splitting? Splitting is a defense mechanism that people with NPD use excessively. Splitting is when you see someone as all good or all bad.
People with NPD use black and white thinking and either idealize others or devalue them. Assess whether they can speak about their family members in a way that sounds balanced and can describe both negative and positive qualities.
Clinical Psychologist Specialty in Marital and Family Therapy | Author, “Riding the Edge: A Love Song to Deborah“
The narcissist reflects the conversation back to what interests him most—himself
Who was Narcissus?
Once upon a time, during the Golden Age of Greece, a youthful and handsome god called Narcissus was longing for love. One day, Narcissus happened upon his own reflection in a pool of water. Never had he seen such astonishing beauty. Before his eyes was a form so flawless that only Zeus, Himself, could have sculpted its magnificence.
Thus, his search for love ended by that reflective pool, for he had discovered his perfect and incomparable love object: Himself.
From then on, he longed for nothing more than his own reflection.
A contemporary narcissist
So now, let’s fast forward approximately 3500 years to 2021 and ask how we can recognize the contemporary iteration of Narcissus.
Unlike the original Narcissus, who achieved total fulfillment by obsessively reflecting on his own perfection, the newer version craves the admiration and attention of his admirers, who confirm his self-worth and greatness.
But here’s the secret: The narcissist and the admirer don’t realize how insecure and empty the narcissist feels.
Although blind to his reality, the narcissist is nothing without his pool of devotees—an imposter unconsciously pretending to be impeccable, terrified without grasping that he’s nothing more than an empty shell dependent on the veneration of others.
All that adds up to one thing—the contemporary narcissist only sees his reflection. Therefore, to be in a relationship with a narcissist, you’re either a mirror or you serve no function.
The characteristics of a modern narcissist
- Usually attractive, generally charming, and quite intelligent. (Let’s be real: you can’t fool anyone if you don’t dazzle them.)
- Doesn’t have obvious flaws except if not listening, controlling the narrative, and only speaking about what interests the narcissist are shortcomings in your mind. If you know all that, you’d be long gone.
- Deflects any uncomfortable, personal discussion.
- The narcissist reflects the conversation back to what interests him most—himself. (Sometimes herself, but males seem to lean toward narcissism more than females).
- The narcissist rarely asks of the other:
- “What would you like?”
- “What would make you happy?”
- Narcissists hate confrontation and will resort to emotional abuse and—on occasion—physical abuse, especially when you expose their warts.
- Narcissists don’t say, “I’m sorry.” (And mean it.)
- They blame. You can forget about a narcissist taking responsibility for their behavior.
- The narcissist doesn’t see you, doesn’t have empathy for you, and doesn’t know how to love you.
- When no one exists other than the narcissist, how can you expect the narcissist to understand or know you?
- Remember: To the narcissist, you’re a reflecting pool, not a unique individual deserving love and appreciation.
Why you may be vulnerable to a relationship with a narcissist
- The narcissist checks off all the right boxes: successful, attractive, talented.
- It feels comforting for someone else to take control.
- You enjoy being entertained.
- The narcissist knows how to impress, and you feel impressed.
- The narcissist’s positive assets blind you to the fact that he’s not relating to you; he’s charming you.
- There may be some insecure part of yourself that craves being with someone seemingly so perfect.
- If you don’t know what you want in a relationship, you might believe that being a mirror for a narcissist is a form of intimacy.
- If you were raised by a narcissist, you might be vulnerable for a narcissistic relationship.
- If you’re accustomed to being an enabler, i.e., you had an alcoholic parent and/or a parent(s) with psychological issues, then you could be fair prey to a narcissist.
- You’re probably quite attractive. Most narcissists accessorize themselves with good-looking partners.
How might you know if you’re with a narcissist
- You’re feeling lonely.
- You feel confused about the narcissist’s behavior.
- You don’t feel he’s interested in what interests you.
- You start resenting being part of his fan club and want more from the relationship.
- He never apologizes or takes responsibility.
- You don’t trust him. You’ve caught him in lies which he denies.
- You often feel rejected and emotionally abused.
- You feel like you’re losing yourself.
- The narcissist becomes increasingly controlling and demanding.
Related: What Is Narcissistic Abuse?
How do you get out of a relationship with a narcissist
- By acknowledging that you will never get your needs met, being with a narcissist.
- By getting professional help to find the strength to break free.
- By having loving friends who can give you the support to get out.
- By letting go of whatever fantasies you may have that the narcissist will change.
- By saying no to the drama of being with a narcissist and saying yes to your healthy self.
- By telling yourself repeatedly that you deserve better than this.
Related: How to Get Over a Narcissist
In a truly loving relationship, you become a better version of yourself. You mutually give and receive support, kindness, and intimacy. Trust builds over time, and the love you create together doesn’t make you crazy.
Unlike what you have with a narcissist— a tempestuous relationship bursting with high drama, uncontrollable emotions, and constant warfare.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker | Psychotherapist
You’re constantly working towards finding solutions for your partner
It seems like you’re constantly working towards solutions for your partner, hoping that eventually, it will be your turn to be the focus.
Often narcissists expect those around them to rally around their struggles and put in efforts for solutions. The partner is showered with praise for helping the narcissist. The partner hopes after this ‘one thing’ is solved, the relationship will become more balanced, but it doesn’t happen.
Instead, the narcissist focuses on another one of their priorities and expects the partner to once again assist or solve the narcissist’s problems. If the partner makes it clear they expect equal attention on their issues or asks to sit this round out, the narcissist will accuse them of being selfish.
They may expect you to cut off people they do not approve of
The suspected partner has a history of epic cut-offs with others, whether that be coworkers, family members, or friends, where the partner decides to exact revenge on the estranged person.
A consistent smear campaign takes a malicious focus that does not bode well for the new partner. They may expect you to cut off friends, family, or coworkers they do not approve of. This can be seen as a loyalty test by the narcissist, and they may express feelings of betrayal if you do not comply.
They can sabotage get-togethers with friends and family by creating a crisis to keep you from attending or causing a scene at the event.
They cannot accept feedback on how they impact others
Narcissists are extremely sensitive to feedback and can perceive criticism even when it is not intended. They can often use the feedback as evidence that you are not a good partner and bring it up in a confrontation even when the situation does not apply to the feedback given.
They expect constant praise and approval
They can become aggressive and offended if there is a difference of opinion, even if it is not over ‘deal breaker’ issues in the relationship. They may obsessively try to bring up the topic with a campaign to get you to agree with them. They bring up the disagreement in front of others and try to solicit them to agree with them.
They may not acknowledge this behavior is embarrassing or inappropriate but consider themselves justified.
They expect to have the last say in issues that they do not have a stake in
They may expect that you follow their advice on your career decisions, family relationships, and friendships. If you do not follow their unsolicited advice, they can become offended, behaving as if you personally attacked them. They may expect you to take up their hobbies and disregard your own.
Adult and Child Psychiatrist | Assistant Clinical Professor, New York Medical College | Author, ”No Shame”
Your partner always needs to be the center of attention
Narcissists have a very fragile self-esteem, which is built from early childhood and comes from something called cognitive schemas.
When you’re a child and observe the world around you, you constantly gather data points to put in your schemas. When great things happen and you receive praise from people, you then put those into buckets in your mind. However, when negative things happen and you don’t get praised, those things create self-defeating schemas.
Narcissism comes about when parents express love inconsistently, not because the parents overpraise the child. As a result, narcissists need constant praise and admiration; they need to be the center of attention.
Related: How a Narcissistic Parent Affects a Child
Narcissistic partners may also feel disappointed if their partner doesn’t live up to their ideals of beauty and achievements and does not want their partner to be their own authentic self.
Your partner is always right and you are always wrong
The narcissistic partner may find it very difficult or impossible to see situations from viewpoints other than their own. Their lack of insight as to how their words and actions affect others is also a telltale sign of narcissistic traits.
Even when explicitly explained how they may have hurt or offended someone, a narcissist will likely have little to no empathy for the affected party. Narcissists rarely or never admit wrongdoing, always shifting the blame on others and forcing their partner to either take the blame or drop it to have peace.
Your partner’s love for you is dependent upon superficial qualities
They may overpraise the wrong traits like beauty, money, or winning. They deprive love and praise for things like nurturing others, kindness, or individuality. This makes it difficult for the individual to partner authentically.
As the non-narcissist partner in this dynamic, it can be incredibly difficult to experience a love that is so conditional to behaving a certain way. It can feel like being forced to live a lie.
Your partner lets you know they are superior to others
Narcissists believe they are superior to others. If you are on their good side, you are believed to be superior too. If you don’t behave the way they want, then you are terrible. This is called splitting, which means a narcissist doesn’t allow for people to be made up of good and bad qualities as a cohesive whole.
You are either all good by behaving as expected or all bad if you misbehave.
When they idealize or devalue their partner, they don’t have to face the uneasiness they feel within themselves if they have to confront their own shortcomings. For example, if a narcissist asks you to prepare a dinner for a group of friends, and you burn the chicken, it might be seen as a complete failure even if the souffle for dessert came out perfectly.
They might blame you and accuse you of having done it on purpose because you don’t care about their birthday.
Callisto Adams, Ph.D.
Dating & Relationship Expert | Relationship Coach, HeTexted
They have a lack of empathy
Lack of empathy is one of the basic traits of a narcissistic person. They lack empathy towards you, towards people, animals, etc. Pay attention to the way that they treat you and others.
For example, suppose you’re at a restaurant having dinner, and for some reason, your partner isn’t satisfied with the service (anything included in that). In that case, if they’re a narcissistic person, they’re very likely to put anger and range on the staff of that restaurant.
That’s because they want to be seen as superior, and they won’t consider other people’s feelings to achieve that superior image of themselves. They don’t have empathy to stop for a moment and consider how their words or actions may affect others.
They’re expecting special treatment from others
Since a narcissistic person wants to be seen and wants to feel superior, they’ll expect to be treated that way. They want to be the exception; they want to be that special person that gets the special treatment because it contributes to their wanted/desired image of themselves.
If your partner constantly seeks to be treated special and not ordinarily by everyone, then keep this as one of the signs.
They have their focus on their outer image—superficial
They’ll focus entirely on superficial and ‘image-y’ things. If your partner is narcissistic, they’ll have a hard time focusing and seeing deeper into surfaces to understand and do things deeply.
They won’t bother to dig deeper and be in touch with their feelings and others’ feelings. They’ll just go for things that make them look good from the outside, for things that give them superiority among other people.
They’re also concerned about your appearance
They’re not only concerned about their appearance, but they’re also concerned about yours and whoever they surround themselves with.
To have a certain image, they’ll also need certain people surrounding them. Again, they don’t care much about the depth of the people they choose to be with; they care about how those people make them (the narcissistic person) look like, instead of what those people make them feel like.
This may lead you to feel like you’re not doing enough and that you have to keep improving your appearance and behavior to fit the standard and be enough for your partner. It can lead to insecurity and very low self-esteem.
They make you question your reality
Another trait that narcissistic people are very known for is gaslighting. To put it in simple and understandable words gaslighting stands for the behavior(including verbal language) of someone towards you that makes you question your reality.
You might be dealing with a narcissistic partner if you felt the need to check and question your sanity. In some worse cases, if you felt the need to tape your conversations just for the sake of proving yourself (or your partner) that you or they said/did something that your partner is likely to strongly deny in the next discussion.
You don’t feel heard nor seen by your partner
They don’t seem to be willing to sit for a few minutes and consider your feelings, consider your thoughts, or your wellbeing. Every attempt to talk to them and to be visible in their eye seems to be pointless.
That’s because, again, a narcissistic person lacks empathy and only cares about the superficial. Hence, they won’t take your needs, wants, desires into their consideration. Or if they do, they’ll do it for ‘image’ purposes instead of that being beneficial to you and your wellbeing.
They treat you differently in public
They’ll treat you better once you’re in public, so much that almost everyone around you has this sense of ‘the perfect couple’ when they see you two together.
They might even tell you things like:
- “you’re so lucky to have them in your life.”
- “you must be so happy to be treated so well.”
When you get back to just the two of you, then it’s a whole different attitude. If you notice this very often, then keep an eye on it and the other signs.
You constantly feel the need to be careful about what you say and how you behave
A narcissistic person will be triggered easily to pour rage and anger when their needs aren’t met or fulfilled by others. You’ll notice this when you prove them wrong; when you try to address a behavior of them that was hurtful to you; when you say “no” to them when they have a specific request from you, etc.
You’ve noticed this becoming a pattern; hence you feel the need to be careful about the things you do and say when you’re around your partner. This happens because a person with a narcissistic personality wants their image protected at all costs; they want to be protected at all costs.
Related: How to Talk to a Narcissist
Proving them wrong or ‘winning an argument’ would make them look vulnerable and would damage their image (or their wanted image of themselves). Hence, they get overdefensive and overdramatic about the smallest disagreements.
Clinical Psychologist | Speaker | Author, “Date Smart: Transform Your Relationships and Love Fearlessly“
They will lie or manipulate to get whatever they want without regard for how this affects others
Most people have a healthy level of narcissism as this vital quality allows us to care for ourselves and tend to our needs, yet narcissism occurs on a continuum. Those who are truly narcissistic—individuals with narcissistic personality disorder—tend to be highly self-absorbed and lack empathy.
Although often intelligent and capable of success in the external world, narcissists have very little capacity for personal insight; this makes self-growth and personal development very difficult for the narcissist.
Other traits include a need for constant and excessive approval and affirmation.
The true narcissist loves being “on stage,” whether as the clown, the drama king, or the superior expert. Narcissists tend to have an elevated level of self-importance and may exaggerate or focus on their own achievements, talents, and perceived superiority.
Narcissists, while often highly charismatic, especially when in the public eye, tend to be highly critical, contemptuous, and even demeaning of others. Due to their self-focused nature, narcissists expect absolute compliance with their directives and have little tolerance for the needs or input of others.
Narcissists also tend to demand “the best” for themselves, such as the finest watches, cars, or latest gear. Not surprisingly, narcissists tend to have difficulty in their intimate relationships due to a lack of concern or interest in another person’s needs, thoughts, or feelings.
One of the most appalling traits of a narcissist is their willingness to do whatever “must be done” to get their personal needs or agenda met.
The narcissist will lie or manipulate to get whatever they want without regard for how this behavior affects others. Narcissists may be prone to temper tantrums and anger outbursts when they don’t get their way; they have difficulty regulating their emotions, particularly in intimate relationships.
The narcissist, sadly, has a core that is deeply rooted in feelings of shame, insecurity, and inferiority. Their inner vulnerability is cloaked by a bullying, often-arrogant, exterior. Yet, underneath the superior façade is a sad, lonely individual who is easily slighted by even a mild dose of constructive criticism or feedback.
Hannah Guy, MSW, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Revive Therapy Services
You are changing who you are for them
You only feel comfortable sharing parts of yourself. With time, you will notice certain topics trigger an unwanted response from your partner.
Instead of being able to work through the initial response, you’ve learned to modify yourself to fit them and themselves. You’ve learned that no matter what, they are always right, and it’s not worth trying to convince them otherwise.
You are only a priority if it benefits them
It might not seem like it but look for the intentions behind their actions. It may feel like they are being kind and loving, but there could be ulterior motives. At the end of the day, their needs will always matter more than yours.
You might find yourself pushing away the ones who care for you most
Because of this, you become more dependent and reliant on your partner, which is exactly what they want. A narcissistic partner will have you question your relationships. Supportive friends/family will most likely start seeing red flags in your relationship and will point them out to you. Your partner will not like this whatsoever.
In order to be with them, you will have to push away the relationships that matter most.
Neuro-Psychologist | Owner, The Narcissistic Life
Narcissistic behavior in a relationship is a very difficult thing to overcome and can be tricky to spot the signs as most people think their partner simply has a big ego.
However, narcissism is much more than this and can be detected with these signs:
They are manipulative
People who are narcissists will do whatever it takes to get their own way. Even if it means emotionally hurting their partners by telling them they could never leave because no one would want them or making you feel constant guilt over something you shouldn’t.
A common trait with manipulation is gaslighting, which those with narcissistic behaviors tend to use frequently. They want you to constantly feel doubt about yourself and everything around you, making you feel stupid or small. Putting you down makes them feel like a bigger and better person.
They do not have long-lasting or meaningful friendships
If your partner frequently has falling outs with friends or does not have meaningful connections with others, this is most likely because they push everyone away with their behavior.
Narcissistic people use their traits in all aspects of their lives, and it is a major turn-off. No one wants a self-absorbed friend who only thinks of their own needs!
They have an unhealthy obsession with their reputation
People with narcissistic behaviors care deeply about how others see them, from appearances to employment and relationships. They need to seem like they have it all and that their life is perfect even though it generally is far from it.
This often means they will be very “loving” and obsessed with you at the start of the relationship as they want you and others to think highly of them. This phase does dwindle, though, and causes hardships and resentment.
Those with this behavior care about what strangers think, which can lead to many lies that break friendships and relationships.
They are very unreliable
Narcissists cannot be trusted to follow through on what they say. They tend to be all talk and will simply say what you or others want to hear, without any intention of following through. This makes it difficult to depend on them. They seem to have an endless supply of excuses and turn to more aggressive ways of avoiding responsibility.
Again, they will gaslight you to make you feel as though you are in the wrong and that they should not have to be accountable for their own actions.
Maureen Tara Nelson
Executive Level Certified Matchmaker & Dating Coach, MTN Matchmaking INC.
The moment they feel that you love them, they start to slowly knock you off that pedestal
- Was it an instant attraction? Did he make you feel fantastic right from the beginning by touching/hugging/kissing you?
- Did you feel a euphoric feeling when you thought of him? Did his compliments make you feel like you were on a pedestal?
- Did he go out of his way just to see you? Making any excuse and changing all of his plans so you could be together?
- In the beginning, did all of the conversations revolve around you not giving any information about yourself?
- Did he promise you the world and talk about making plans with you a year from now?
That is a narcissist and this is what happens:
- He stops going out of his way to see you, sees you less and less, and makes excuses for why he can’t make it.
- He stops asking about you and how you feel and makes the conversations revolve around him and his needs?
- Your ideas are now stupid, and things are now his way or no way.
Why does this happen? When it comes to dating, the fact that opposites attract is very true. Even more important is that dating your opposite is the worst thing for you. If you are a kind and loving person, your opposite can typically be a narcissist.
What is the one telltale sign of dating a narcissist?
Once they have you up on the pedestal and you are thinking that you hit the jackpot, the moment the narcissist feels that you love them, it is at this point that they realize they can do anything due to your love and devotion. Then they start to slowly knock you off that pedestal.
You are left thinking, “What did I do wrong?” “Did I gain weight?” “Am I not attractive anymore?”
You will soon begin to think that it is because of you why the relationship changed. Why? Because they will tell you it is you. It is not you, you are simply dating a narcissist, and they will make you think it’s all your fault.
What can you do when you’re faced with the knowledge that you are dating a narcissist? My answer is very simple, run. You will never change a narcissist. It would take years of therapy, and that is even if the narcissist wants to be helped. The odds of that happening are very slim.
Related: Can Narcissists Change if They Want To?
Just know that you did nothing wrong, and you need to be strong enough to move on to find someone that you will be compatible with.
Certified Mentor | CEO and Owner, Human Better 365
Coming from a long list of narcissists in my life, I have endured mental, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. What I have found is that individuals with high narcissistic traits share very similar behaviors in their relationships.
Narcissists love talking about themselves
While talking with a narcissist, very little time is spent talking about you, what you like or what your feelings are. Individuals with high narcissistic traits will steal the conversation from you by bulldozing their way into it, changing the subject randomly, or ignoring you completely until you stop talking so they can fill the silence with their own voice.
This constant fight for talk time will leave you feeling unheard, unwelcome, and ignored. If you mention this flaw in their conversation style, they will deny the claim and will often state that you are the one who talks the most.
This leads me to another trait that narcissists have.
Narcissist response to any sort of push back with what is called ‘gaslighting’
This technique is a high form of manipulation that is used to make you feel as if you are going crazy. They will insist that things you heard, things you know for certain, or things you said never happened. The argument will always be in their favor, and you will always end up looking like a fool.
You know for certain that you told your partner to be ready to leave by 5 pm to go to dinner with your family. When you arrive at their house to pick them up, they are still in their work clothes watching TV. When you explain that you have reminded them about these plans every day for the last 3 days, they do not apologize for forgetting.
Instead, they say something like, “You never told me that, you are lying, I have an excellent memory. I would have remembered you telling me that. You are unorganized; you need to plan things better. I am not going. I didn’t even know about this.”
This cycle of manipulation will have you questioning your sanity and feeling a need to record conversations to ‘prove’ to yourself and your partner that what you remember happening is real.
Which leads me to my final example.
Narcissists love to keep you isolated
Anything dealing with your friends or family will become a big argument as the months go by. They will insist they want to hang out with only you, and you may view this as romantic or sweet. However, these are early signs of your partner doing their best to isolate you from your close network.
Narcissists are masters at training you to act and react in certain ways. This is done slowly over time and will eventually look like you refraining from making plans to hang with your friends or family in order to avoid a huge blow out by your partner. Before you know it, there are no more arguments about it because you are no longer bringing it up.
Although there are over 20 signs that can be detected when dealing with a narcissist, these few traits are sure signs that you are dealing with someone that lacks empathy and does not have your best interest at heart.
Do not feel a need to rush into a relationship that does not feel right. Many times our intuition is stronger than we think. Take your time, look for the signs, and do not commit to anyone that does not fully support you and everyone that comes with you.
Certified Life Transformation Coach | Writer, Online Divorce
The narcissist is a personality type characterized by excessive self-idealization. Relationships with them are quite often like a roller coaster. Today they burn with passion for you, and tomorrow they behave as if they never knew you. This emotional swing is one of the clearest symptoms that you are dating a narcissist.
How else can you tell if your partner is suffering from the NPD? Below I will explain a few sure signs:
They lack empathy
Narcissists are not empathetic. They will not take your feelings or concerns seriously. The point is that the way narcissists experience emotions is different from how other people do. Narcissists are more superficial, it is very difficult and scary for them to look deep into themselves, so they suppress their feelings. As a result, narcissists are unable to empathize with others.
They are constantly manipulating
Perhaps this is the most comfortable line of behavior for any narcissist. Deprived of empathy, they will go to the most sophisticated manipulations just to get you to do what they want.
They are focused only on themselves
Narcissists have inflated self-esteem. They conduct all their conversations only about themselves. And even if you discuss your joint future with them, everything will come down to discussing their needs, desires and plans.
They do not accept criticism
A small comment can drive them crazy, as a result of which they start a huge scandal.
They require a special attitude towards themselves
Observe how your partner behaves with the service personnel. Narcissists always demand to be treated better than others. They seem to require others to adore their nature.
They think they’re special
Narcissists will always convince you that they are not like everyone else. They will frantically prove that they are special, majestic. Even if this is an unemployed 40-year-old man who lives in his mother’s attic, he will be absolutely sure that he is an enviable groom.
Typical narcissist’s expressions:
“I am above the rules.”
“I can do everything.”
“I am better than others, and they must admit it.”
“I am perfect.”
Relationship Expert & Certified Matchmaker, Select Date Society
Dating a narcissist can take a huge toll on your self-esteem and mental health. In fact, before working with a client who has been in a relationship with a narcissist, I always make sure that they have worked with a great therapist or coach to be able to move forward in dating successfully.
Here are some of the warning signs that you are dating a narcissist:
They demand your attention
Your partner will make sure that they are always the center of attention in your world. They will dominate the conversation and will become visibly jealous, bored, or irritated when you try to talk about something else. They have a sense of entitlement and believe that they should be the most important person in your life.
The relationship gets serious quickly
Narcissists are extremely charming in the beginning. They will “sweep you off your feet” and “love-bomb” you, often professing their love for you in the first few days or weeks of meeting. They will say things like, “I’ve never felt like this before.”
They are cold and can’t connect with you emotionally
Narcissists lack true empathy for others, which means that they will not be able to form a deep emotional connection with you. Although they will shower you with gifts and say how much they love you, you will never truly feel a deep connection.
They lack close friendships or close relationships with their family
They are charming and great at connecting with people on a surface level, but they lack the skills needed to maintain long-lasting platonic relationships. They are quick to cut people out of their lives, lacking the give and take that is necessary to maintain connections.
They lack responsibility
They blame the other person for every failed relationship they’ve had. They manipulate you and gaslight you into believing things are your fault, never theirs.
Relationship Expert and Editor, Mantelligence
There’s a fine line between being confident and conceited, but how can you tell a confident, nice guy from a toxic narcissist? Here are five signs you’re dating a narcissistic guy:
They often have inflated but ironically fragile egos
A narcissistic man may appear all confident and tough, but deep inside, he is a fragile, insecure man who crumbles at every criticism thrown at him- good or bad. Narcissistic men often have inflated but ironically fragile egos.
You can’t tell them anything unless it’s a compliment or it’s going to be a fight. You can’t tell them what to do because it will be a fight if you do. You can’t call out their bad behavior because—you guessed it—it’s going to be a fight.
They lack empathy
And because they’re so full of themselves, a narcissistic person would not have the ability to sense other people’s emotions. If you two got into an argument or simply had a bad day, a narcissistic partner wouldn’t know how to comfort you or would respond in a very cold manner.
They’re over-critical of you
Narcissists tend to project their insecurities to other people. So if a partner constantly picks at everything you do or say, makes fun of you, and puts you down, then you might be dating a narcissist. They lower your self-esteem so they can increase theirs.
They lack commitment
Narcissists think so highly of themselves that they’re unable to settle down because they would always be on the lookout for a more eligible (in a narcissist’s view) prospect.
A relationship with a narcissist is never a win-win situation, so if you notice any of these signs, pull yourself together and get out.
Relationship Expert, My Ex Back Coach
- There is an imbalance of physical compliments between the two of you. You hardly ever hear that you are attractive, sexy, or have desirable physical features in their eyes, but it seems you provide such uplifting words to them regularly.
- Your pain seems to be more of an inconvenience to them than something that causes them to feel empathy or pain that you are hurting.
- Sometimes you feel that they think they are doing you a favor by being with you, being physically intimate with you, or by showing up for a date.
- Rather than appreciate your efforts to plan a meaningful evening or in getting them a special gift, a narcissist will criticize, sometimes just in passing, and cause you to feel that you failed to provide what they deserved.
- You note that you apologize to them for asking for things that you routinely provide to them.
- A narcissist will make you feel selfish for mentioning what they promised.
- You feel a sense of dread when you disagree.
- Your friends say that this person mistreats you, but you make excuses for them and feel that you have rarely, if ever, loved so deeply.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a narcissist truly love someone?
Although it’s difficult for narcissists to form deep emotional relationships because of their self-absorption, it’s not impossible for them to experience love.
However, their love might focus more on what their partner can offer them, such as admiration, validation, or status. This can lead to their love being conditional and transactional rather than based on genuine care and connection.
Is it possible for a narcissist to have a healthy relationship?
While it can be challenging for a narcissist to have a healthy relationship, it’s not impossible. If the narcissistic partner is committed to self-awareness, personal growth, and open communication, they may be able to develop healthier relationship patterns.
However, it’s important to recognize that change takes time and effort and that both partners must be willing to work together to create a balanced and supportive relationship dynamic.
Can narcissists change?
While change is possible for anyone, it can be challenging for a narcissist to change their behavior because they believe they may not have any problems.
Narcissists are often resistant to therapy or self-improvement and are less likely to seek help. However, it’s not impossible for a narcissist to change, but it’s an individual process that requires a lot of effort.
Can a relationship with a narcissist be harmful?
Yes, a relationship with a narcissist can be emotionally and mentally harmful. Narcissists often manipulate and gaslight their partners, putting them down and making them doubt their self-worth and sanity.
They may also be physically abusive. Staying in the relationship can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
Should I try to continue a friendship with a narcissistic ex-partner?
It’s generally not recommended to continue a friendship with a narcissistic ex-partner. Narcissists can continue manipulating and exploiting their partners even after the relationship ends.
It’s important to prioritize your own emotional well-being and recognize that you cannot change the narcissist’s behavior. The best thing you can do is to stay away from your narcissistic ex-partner altogether.
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