How to know if you are dating a narcissist
9 Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist — and How to Deal with Them
Individuals who have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) believe they are superior and unique compared to others. Signs you could be dating an individual with NPD include the fact that they have very few or no friends, lack empathy, and often gaslight you.
When someone posts one too many selfies on their social media or talks about themselves constantly during a first date, you might call them a narcissist.
But a true narcissist is someone who has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Individuals who have NPD believe they are superior and unique compared to others, and they expect to be recognized and treated as such.
They are often unable to recognize the opinions and needs of others and are dismissive of others’ problems.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists nine criteria for NPD, but it specifies that someone only needs to meet five of them to clinically qualify as a narcissist.
- grandiose sense of self-importance
- preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- the belief they’re special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
- need for excessive admiration
- sense of entitlement
- interpersonally exploitative behavior
- lack of empathy
- envy of others or a belief that others are envious of them
- demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes
What it boils down to, according to licensed therapist Rebecca Weiler, LMHC, is selfishness at the expense of others, plus the inability to consider others’ feelings at all.
Like most mental health or personality disorders, there are varying degrees of NPD severity.
“Narcissism falls on a spectrum,” says Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish, the author of “The Self-Aware Parent. ”
In outpatient settings, for example, people who have a narcissistic personality disorder may be high functioning and relatable, but in the inpatient settings, they can be aggressive and challenging. A person’s aggression typically indicates the severity of the disorder.
Additionally, people who have NPD often experience other physical and mental health conditions, like substance use disorder and anxiety, which may further complicate close relationships.
All that said, knowing the “official” diagnostic criteria doesn’t usually make it easier to spot someone with NPD, especially when you’re romantically involved with one. A qualified expert will typically have to administer a standard psychiatric interview to determine if someone has NPD.
Still, knowing the signs of NPD may help give your relationship some context. Here are some signs to look out for and tips to handle them.
People who have NPD gravitate toward grandiosity and fantasy. Your relationship might have felt like a fairytale at first — maybe they complimented you constantly or told you they loved you within the first month.
Maybe they tell you how smart you are or emphasize how compatible you are, even if you just started seeing each other.
“Narcissists think that they deserve to be with other people who are special, and that special people are the only ones who can appreciate them fully,” says Nedra Glover Tawwab, LCSW, the founder of Kaleidoscope Counseling in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Weiler’s advice: If someone came on too strong at the beginning, be wary. Sure, we all love to feel lusted for. But real love has to be nurtured and grown.
“If you think it’s too early for them to really love you, it probably is. Or if you feel like they don’t know enough about you to actually love you, they probably don’t,” Weiler says.
People with NPD will try to manufacture superficial connections early on in a relationship.
People with NPD have an inflated sense of self-importance and are prone to exaggerating achievements and expecting to be recognized as superior.
“Narcissists love to constantly talk about their own accomplishments and achievements with grandiose,” says psychotherapist Jacklyn Krol, LCSW, of Mind Rejuvenation Therapy. “They do this because they feel better and smarter than everyone else, and also because it helps them create an appearance of being self-assured.”
Clinical psychologist Dr. Angela Grace, PhD, MEd, BFA, BEd, adds that narcissists will often exaggerate their accomplishments and embellish their talents in these stories in order to gain adoration from others.
They’re also too busy talking about themselves to listen to you.
The warning is two-part here, says Grace. First, your partner won’t stop talking about themselves, and second, your partner won’t engage in conversation about you.
Consider these questions: What happens when you do talk about yourself? Do they ask follow-up questions and express interest to learn more about you? Or do they make it about them?
Narcissists may seem like they’re super self-confident. But according to Tawwab, most people with NPD actually lack self-esteem and require excessive attention and admiration.
“They need a lot of praise, and if you’re not giving it to them, they’ll fish for it,” she says. That’s why they’re constantly looking at you to tell them how great they are.
“Narcissists use other people — people who are typically highly empathic — to supply their sense of self-worth and make them feel powerful. But because of their low self-esteem, their egos can be slighted very easily, which increases their need for compliments,” adds Shirin Peykar, LMFT.
“The main difference between folks who are confident and those with NPD is that narcissists need others to lift them up, and lift themselves up only by putting others down. Two things people with high self-confidence do not do,” Peykar says.
As Weiler explains it, “Narcissists punish everyone around them for their lack of self-confidence.”
Lack of empathy, or the ability to feel how another person is feeling, is one of the hallmark characteristics of a narcissist, Walfish says. People who have NPD are often unable to apologize and understand the feelings and perspectives of others.
“Narcissists lack the skill to make you feel seen, validating, understood, or accepted, because they don’t grasp the concept of feelings,” she says.
Does your partner care when you’ve had a bad day at work, fight with your best friend, or scuffle with your parents? Or do they get bored when you express the things making you mad and sad?
Walfish says this inability to empathize, or even sympathize, is often the reason why many, if not all, relationships of people with NPD eventually collapse, whether they’re romantic or not.
It’s common for people with NPD to have frequent conflicts with others. Dig deeper into their connections and you may notice they have few close friends.
On top of this, people with NPD can be hypersensitive and insecure. As a result, they might lash out when you want to hang out with other people.
They might claim that you don’t spend enough time with them, make you feel guilty for spending time with your friends, or berate you for the types of friends you have.
Questions to ask yourself
- “How does my partner treat someone they don’t want anything from?”
- “Does my partner have any long-term friends?”
- “Do they have or talk about wanting a nemesis?”
Maybe, at first, it felt like teasing, but then it became mean. Suddenly, everything you do, from what you wear and eat to who you hang out with and what you watch on TV, is a problem for them.
Antagonism and hostility are well-documented traits in people who have NPD, and their toll on other people is large.
“They’ll put you down, call you names, hit you with hurtful one-liners, and make jokes that aren’t quite funny,” Peykar says. “Their goal is to lower others’ self-esteem so that they can increase their own because it makes them feel powerful.”
What’s more, reacting to what they say may only reinforce their behavior. “A narcissist loves a reaction,” Peykar says. That’s because it shows them they have the power to affect another’s emotional state.
A warning sign: If they knock you down with insults when you do something worth celebrating, get yourself out of there.
“A narcissist might say ‘You were able to do that because I didn’t sleep well’ or some excuse to make it seem like you have an advantage that they didn’t have,” Tawwab says.
They want you to know that you’re not better than them. Because, to them, nobody is.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation and emotional abuse, and it’s a hallmark of narcissism. People with NPD may tell blatant lies, falsely accuse others, spin the truth, and ultimately distort your reality — especially in response to perceived challenges of authority or fear of abandonment.
Signs of gaslighting include the following:
- You no longer feel like the person you used to be.
- You feel more anxious and less confident than you used to be.
- You often wonder if you’re being too sensitive.
- You feel like everything you do is wrong.
- You always think it’s your fault when things go wrong.
- You’re apologizing often.
- You have a sense that something’s wrong, but aren’t able to identify what it is.
- You often question whether your response to your partner is appropriate.
- You make excuses for your partner’s behavior.
“They do this to cause others to doubt themselves as a way to gain superiority. Narcissists thrive off of being worshipped, so they use manipulation tactics to get you to do just that,” Peykar says.
People with NPD are often described as being arrogant and having haughty behaviors or attitudes. That’s why fighting with a narcissist may feel impossible.
“There is no debating or compromising with a narcissist, because they are always right,” Tawwab says. “They won’t necessarily see a disagreement as a disagreement. They’ll just see it as them teaching you some truth.”
According to Peykar, you may be dating a narcissist if you feel like your partner:
- doesn’t hear you
- won’t understand you
- doesn’t take responsibility for their part in an issue
- doesn’t ever try to compromise
While ending the relationship is the best game plan with someone who has NPD, Weiler advises avoiding negotiation and arguments.
“The thing that drives a narcissist crazy is the lack of control and the lack of a fight. The less you fight back, the less power you can give them over you, the better,” she says.
And because they never think they’re wrong, they rarely apologize.
People with NPD are extremely vulnerable to humiliation and shame, and they often lash out at others when they feel their self-esteem has taken a hit.
If you insist you’re done with the relationship, they’ll make it their goal to hurt you for abandoning them, Peykar says.
“Their ego is so severely bruised that it causes them to feel rage and hatred for anyone who ‘wronged’ them. That’s because everything is everyone else’s fault. Including the breakup,” she adds.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who has NPD, chances are you’ve already experienced quite a bit.
Being in a relationship with someone who’s constantly criticizing, belittling, gaslighting, and not committing to you may feel emotionally exhausting.
How to prepare for the breakup
- Constantly remind yourself you deserve better.
- Strengthen your relationships with your empathetic friends.
- Build a support network with friends and family who can help remind you what is reality.
- Urge your partner to talk with a therapist.
- See a therapist yourself.
“You cannot change a person with NPD or make them happy by loving them enough or by changing yourself to meet their whims and desires. They will never be in tune with you, never empathic to your experiences, and you will always feel empty after an interaction with them,” Grace says.
“Narcissists can’t feel fulfilled in relationships, or in any area of their lives, because nothing is ever special enough for them,” she adds.
Essentially, you’ll never be enough for them, because they’re never enough for themselves.
“The best thing you can do is cut ties. Offer them no explanation. Offer no second chance. Break up with them, and offer no second, third, or fourth chance,” Grace says.
Because someone with NPD will most likely make attempts at contacting you and harassing you with calls or texts once they’ve fully processed the rejection, Krol recommends blocking them to help you stick to your decision.
Remember: This article isn’t meant to diagnose your partner.
Instead, this article is meant to outline unacceptable behaviors and reactions in the context of a loving, equitable partnership. Having one or six of these signs doesn’t make your partner a narcissist. Rather, it’s a good cause for re-evaluating whether or not you’re thriving in your relationship.
Gabrielle Kassel is a rugby-playing, mud-running, protein-smoothie-blending, meal-prepping, CrossFitting, New York–based wellness writer. She’s become a morning person, tried the Whole30 challenge, and eaten, drunk, brushed with, scrubbed with, and bathed with charcoal, all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books, bench-pressing, or practicing hygge. Follow her on Instagram.
12 Signs You Might Have Narcissistic Victim Syndrome
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a complex mental health condition that typically involves a grandiose or inflated sense of self and an extreme need for admiration and attention, among other symptoms.
People with NPD or narcissistic tendencies sometimes show a pattern of manipulative, controlling behavior that involves both verbal abuse and emotional manipulation.
Common types of narcissistic manipulation include:
- Triangulation. Someone using this tactic will try to pull a third person into your conflict, typically to reinforce their own opinion or position.
- Gaslighting. Someone trying to gaslight you tries to get you to doubt your own perspective and reality, often by twisting facts or insisting things you remember didn’t actually happen.
- Hoovering. This tactic involves attempts to reconnect, or pull you back into a toxic or abusive relationship.
- Silent treatment. This behavior becomes manipulative when someone purposely ignores you to control you or make you feel isolated.
- Scapegoating. Parents who use narcissistic manipulation may place all the blame on one child they designate as a scapegoat.
- Passive aggression. Indirect blame-shifting, sabotage, and sarcasm can all point to covert narcissistic manipulation.
These tactics can confuse you, make you question your sense of reality, and damage your self-esteem.
Narcissistic victim syndrome is a term that collectively describes the specific and often severe effects of narcissistic manipulation. While this isn’t a recognized mental health condition, many experts acknowledge narcissistic abuse can have a serious, long lasting impact on mental health.
Keep in mind that abuse and narcissism aren’t always related. A diagnosis of NPD doesn’t automatically translate to abusive behavior, and many people who engage in abuse don’t have NPD.
Regardless, a mental health diagnosis never excuses abusive behavior. People choose to abuse and manipulate others, and it’s possible to live with traits of narcissism, or any personality disorder, without becoming abusive.
With that in mind, here are 12 signs that might suggest you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse.
Narcissistic abuse tends to follow a clear pattern, though this pattern might look a little different depending on the type of relationship.
Research from 2019 suggests that in a romantic relationship, this abuse typically begins slowly after you’ve fallen hard and fast.
It’s no wonder you fell for them. During the love-bombing phase, they seemed loving, kind, and generous. They made you feel special and adored with gushy compliments, affectionate displays, and expensive gifts.
This early stage might have felt so intense and overwhelming you never stopped to consider whether they might be too fantastic. Then slowly, negging or other manipulative tactics began to replace the gifts and declarations of love.
Narcissistic parents might also offer love, adoration, praise, and financial support until you do something to displease them and lose their favor. Then they, too, often turn to tactics like negging, silent treatment, and gaslighting.
Narcissistic manipulation and abuse are often subtle. In public, these behaviors might be so well disguised that others hear or see the same behaviors and fail to recognize them as abuse.
You might not even fully understand what’s happening. You only know you feel confused, upset, or even guilty for your “mistakes.”
A narcissistic parent might gently say, “Are you sure you want to eat dessert?” Or they might turn a broken dish into a joke at your expense: “You’re so clumsy. You just can’t help yourself, can you?” They laugh with everyone in the room while patting your shoulder to make the insult seem well-intentioned.
You would hope friends and loved ones believe you. But, unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Your loved ones might not doubt your belief you were abused, but they might question your perception of events or assure you, “You must have misunderstood them. They’d never hurt you intentionally.”
This doubt can be doubly harmful. Not only does it dismantle your faith in your loved ones, but it can also lead you to wonder whether the abuse took place after all. Maybe you did read too much into their words or just imagined that look on their face.
People with narcissistic traits often need to maintain their image of perfection in order to keep earning admiration from others. To do this, they may try making you look bad.
Once you begin pointing out problems or questioning their behavior, they might lash out by:
- openly directing their rage toward you with insults and threats
- involving others in criticizing you
By telling stories to your loved ones that twist the facts about your “harmful” or “unstable” behavior, the narcissist tries to discredit you. Even worse, when you react angrily (who wouldn’t?), they can use your response to back up their lies.
People with narcissism often have a knack for charming others. That persona they showed you in the beginning? Everyone else sees that still.
They can often win support from your loved ones (who haven’t seen through the facade) by insisting they only have your best interests at heart. Then, when you try explaining the abuse, your loved ones might side with them.
If your loved ones don’t understand, you’ll likely feel pretty alone — which only increases your vulnerability to further narcissistic manipulation. The person abusing you may pull you back in with kindness, even apologies, or by pretending the abuse never happened.
“Hoovering,” as it’s often called, tends to work better when you lack support. You’re more likely to doubt your perceptions of the abuse when you can’t talk with anyone about it.
If your loved ones reach out to say you’ve made a mistake and encourage you to give the abusive partner another chance, you might end up doing so simply to regain your closeness with family and friends.
People respond to abuse and other trauma in different ways.
You might attempt to confront the abusive person (fight) or escape the situation (flight). If these methods don’t work or you feel unable to use them, you might respond by freezing or fawning.
The freeze response usually happens when you feel helpless. It often involves dissociation since emotionally distancing yourself from the abuse can help decrease its intensity, effectively numbing some of the pain and distress you experience.
Freezing can have some benefits in certain situations, but it doesn’t help much when you can escape from danger. Yet if you believe there’s no way out of the relationship, you might remain in it — and perhaps even respond by fawning, or working to keep your partner happy.
A pattern of devaluation and criticism can leave you with very little self-esteem and confidence.
Narcissistic manipulation often involves frequent implications that you make bad decisions and can’t do anything right. An abusive partner may call you stupid or ignorant outright, often with a falsely affectionate tone: “Honey, you’re so dumb. How would you manage without my help?”
Over time, you might start absorbing these insults and attaching them to your self-perception, constantly second-guessing yourself as a result.
Gaslighting tactics can also make you doubt your decision-making abilities. (Here’s how to respond.)
If someone manipulates you into believing you imagined things that actually took place, you might continue doubting your perception of events. This uncertainty can affect your ability to make decisions well into the future.
A key characteristic of narcissism is difficulty taking responsibility for any negative actions or harmful behavior.
Abusive partners typically find some way to cast blame on you instead. They might accomplish this through deceit, often by:
- insisting they said something you have no recollection of
- getting so angry you end up soothing them by apologizing and agreeing you were wrong.
Say you suspect they’ve cheated on you. You explain the concerning behaviors you’ve noticed and ask if something’s going on.
A partner using narcissistic manipulation might respond with extreme anger. They may respond with accusations of their own and redirect blame, saying things that are intended to hurt and belittle you.
These barrages of rage can leave you feeling helpless and dependent, grateful they’re willing to remain with someone who makes so many mistakes.
Even after leaving the relationship, you might carry forward the belief you can’t do anything right. When things go wrong in other areas of life, you might start to blame yourself for causing those problems.
Abuse can trigger anxious and nervous feelings that sometimes lead to physical symptoms.
You might notice:
- appetite changes
- upset stomach or nausea
- stomach pain and other gastrointestinal distress
- muscle aches and pains
Using alcohol and other substances can sometimes seem like a helpful way to manage these symptoms, especially insomnia. As a result, you might end up consuming more than you’d like in an effort to manage unwanted feelings or physical distress.
Narcissistic abuse can sometimes be unpredictable. You may not know whether they’re going to criticize you or surprise you with a gift.
If you don’t know what someone will do or say at any given moment, you might develop a lot of tension from needing to regularly prepare yourself to face conflict.
Worries about the constant stream of criticism and how to best handle the abusive behaviors you’re beginning to recognize can also leave you constantly on edge. You may not know how to relax anymore since you may not feel safe letting your guard down.
When facing abuse, many people eventually adjust their self-identity to accommodate an abusive partner.
Say your partner insists, “When you go out with your friends, you’re telling me you don’t love me. You’d rather see them instead.”
Of course, you love them, so you stop going out with your friends. Next, you give up your hobbies, skip after-work happy hour with co-workers, and eventually cancel your weekly visit with your sister. You spend time doing what your partner wants to do, so they know you really do care.
These changes often lead to a loss of your sense of self, which can leave you feeling lost and empty. You might have a hard time enjoying life and lose sight of your sense of purpose.
Someone engaging in narcissistic abuse often has little respect for boundaries. When you try to set or enforce limits, they might challenge them, completely ignore them, or give you the silent treatment until you do what they want. Eventually, you might give up on your boundaries entirely.
Once you end the relationship or get distance from a narcissistic parent, you promise yourself you won’t answer their calls and texts or see them at all.
If they know they can eventually wear you down, though, they might not let you go easily. Instead, they’ll keep calling and texting in the hopes of getting you to set aside your boundaries again.
If you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, you might also have trouble setting healthy boundaries in your relationships with others.
Anxiety and depression commonly develop as a result of narcissistic abuse.
The significant stress you face can trigger persistent feelings of worry, nervousness, and fear, especially when you never know what to expect from their behavior.
You might feel hopeless or worthless, lose interest in things that used to bring you joy, and have a hard time seeing hopeful outcomes for the future.
It’s also common to have a lot of confusion over what caused them to change so abruptly, especially if you don’t know much about narcissistic manipulation.
You might shoulder the blame for the abuse, perhaps believing their accusations that you must not care about them enough or blaming yourself for falling for their deception in the first place. Either can add to feelings of worthlessness and further diminish self-esteem.
Any kind of abuse can take a significant toll on mental and physical health. If your loved ones still doubt you or tell you to just move on, you may feel unheard and unsupported. This can make it hard to trust people again, leaving you feeling isolated and alone.
Whether you’re just beginning to notice the first signs of narcissistic manipulation or still trying to make sense of an abusive relationship you’ve already left, therapy can help you begin healing.
Therapy offers a safe space to:
- learn coping strategies to manage mental health symptoms
- practice setting healthy boundaries
- explore ways to rebuild your sense of self
A therapist who specializes in abuse recovery can validate your experience, help you understand that you aren’t at fault, and offer support through the early stages of recovery.
Get help now
You can also get emergency support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
For free, confidential help:
- call 800-799-7233
- text LOVEIS to 866-331-9474
- chat online
Crystal Raypole writes for Healthline and Psych Central. Her fields of interest include Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health, along with books, books, and more books. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues. She lives in Washington with her son and a lovably recalcitrant cat.
how to recognize and what to do
Not everyone knows that narcissistic personality disorder is not the same as narcissistic personality disorder or high self-esteem. You should know well who a narcissist is and why he is dangerous.
Love and relationships
Mental disorders nine0003
If a guy posts too many selfies on his social media or constantly talks about himself on a first date, he's often called a narcissist. But you should not do this, because narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness.
Signs of a narcissist
So, do not confuse narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). The symptoms of the latter are as follows:
- inflated sense of self-importance;
- excessive need for attention and admiration;
- inability to empathize;
- common relationship problems.
According to licensed psychotherapist Rebecca Wyler, NPD boils down to selfishness - the desire to get everything at the expense of others, as well as an inability to consider the feelings of other people. But remember, narcissistic personality disorder is not black and white. “Narcissism has its own spectrum,” says psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, Fran Walvis. nine0003
9 official criteria for narcissistic personality disorder
The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the US nomenclature for mental disorders, lists nine criteria for NPD, but five of them are sufficient for clinical recognition of narcissism. This list includes:
- a grandiose sense of self-importance;
- preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love; nine0028
- a person's conviction that he is special and unique, the desire to deal only with high-ranking people and elite organizations and institutions;
- need for excessive admiration;
- feeling of being chosen;
- the tendency to exploit others in relationships, in other words, to use other people to achieve one's own goals;
- lack of empathy;
- envy of a person towards others or belief that everyone envy him; nine0028
- arrogant and haughty behavior.
But even knowing the official criteria does not always allow one to identify a narcissist. The hardest thing to notice NPD in a person with whom you are in a romantic relationship. On a date with someone we like, rarely do any of us think: “Wait a minute, is this guy suffering from narcissism?”
But at the same time, we all dream of a healthy and long-term relationship that will make both us and our partner happy. So read about how a male narcissist behaves when he is about to have an affair - this information will come in handy. Only a qualified specialist can make a diagnosis, but there are red flags that you should pay attention to. nine0003
Relationship with a narcissist: how people with NPD behave
If you see that any of the above are familiar to you, be careful!
1. Narcissus is charming... But only at first
Everything starts like in a fairy tale. He constantly texts you, in the first month he confesses his love, promises to buy a tram, makes joint plans, showers compliments, says that he has finally found his soul mate, and your meeting is fate. Experts call all this "love bombing". nine0003
“Narcissists believe that they are worthy of relationships with special people and only such women can appreciate them,” says psychotherapist Nedra Glover Tawwab. “But as soon as you do something that disappoints them, they may turn their backs on you.” And, most likely, you won't even know what you did wrong.
Wyler advises: if the guy is too persistent at first, be on your guard. Of course, each of us is pleased to feel unique and unique. But communication and mutual understanding between people are not born in a few days - they must be nurtured and developed. “If it seems like a man doesn’t know you enough to truly love you, he probably does,” Wyler says. nine0003
2. The narcissist talks at length about how wonderful he is
“Narcissists love to talk about their own great successes and accomplishments,” says psychotherapist Jaclyn Krol. “They do it because they feel better and smarter than everyone else, and also because it makes them look more confident.” Clinical psychologist Dr. Angela Grace adds that narcissists often exaggerate their achievements and embellish their talents in order to gain admiration and adoration from others. nine0003
Narcissists tend to be too busy with themselves to listen to other people. This, according to Grace, will become a red flag: firstly, the guy with NPD will constantly talk about himself, and secondly, he will never discuss your interests and preferences. Pay attention: what happens if you try to tell something about your life? Is he asking questions, trying to find out more? Or just waiting for the moment to be the center of attention again?
3. The narcissist lacks empathy
An inability to understand the other person's feelings is one of the hallmarks of narcissists, Walvis says. Pay attention to how your boyfriend reacts when you tell that you had a bad day at work or you had a fight with your parents. Does he empathize or frankly bored when you say that you are angry or sad? According to Walvis, a lack of empathy is the most common reason why relationships with narcissists end up falling apart, whether it's romantic love or friendship. nine0003
4. Narcissists have no real friends
If you look closely at a narcissist, it will become noticeable: around him are only casual acquaintances, friends with whom he chats, and enemies. People with NPD tend to have no loved ones, especially those with whom they have known and maintained relationships for many years. Therefore, a narcissist may be offended if you want to communicate with your friends. It is likely that he will even try to make you feel guilty: for example, he will begin to say that you devote little time to him. nine0003
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How does your partner feel about someone they don't want anything from?
- Does he have old friends?
- Does he have a sworn enemy? If not, did he say that he would like to have one?
5. The narcissist feeds on your compliments
It may seem that narcissists are very self-confident. But according to Tawwab, most people with NPD actually lack self-respect. “They need a lot of praise, and if you don’t give it, they will seek it. That's what you're for: to tell them how wonderful they are,” she says. nine0003
“Narcissists use other people—usually those who are highly empathetic—to nurture self-esteem. Because of their low self-esteem, narcissists' egos are easily hurt, and therefore their need for compliments is great,” adds Marriage and Family Psychotherapist Shirin Peykar.
Pay attention: self-confident people do not need constant confirmation of their importance from others. “A person with NPD needs to be praised, but he himself flourishes by humiliating others,” says Peykar. As Weilar aptly puts it, narcissists punish everyone around them for their lack of self-confidence. nine0003
6. The narcissist constantly picks on you
At first it seems like a mild tease, but over time it becomes a constant background, and hairpins turn from good-natured to angry and rude. Suddenly, everything you do is subject to criticism, whether it's about choosing a profession or brushing your teeth.
“The goal of narcissists is to lower other people's self-esteem in order to raise their own, because it makes them feel powerful,” says Peykar. “They love reaction: it shows them that they have the power to influence the emotional state of another person.” nine0003
Pay attention: if your partner throws barbs when you have achieved something, then it's time to run. If a man says that your achievements are accidental or obtained through advantages, then there is a chance that you are dealing with a narcissist. “He wants you to remember that you are no better than him,” Tawwab explains.
7. The Narcissist Gaslights
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation and emotional abuse that is the hallmark of narcissism. “Narcissists use gaslighting to make others doubt themselves. For them, this is a way to achieve superiority over others, ”explains Peykar. nine0003
You can read more about gaslighting here, but here are the signs that indicate that you are experiencing it.
Signs that you are a victim of a narcissist and gaslighted:
- you no longer feel like the person you used to be;
- you have become more anxious and less confident;
- you often wonder if you are too sensitive;
- you feel that everything you do is wrong;
- when something goes wrong, you always think it's your fault;
- you often apologize;
- you feel something is wrong, but you don't know what;
- you constantly doubt that your answer to your partner is correct;
- you make excuses for your partner's behavior.
8. The narcissist thinks he is always right and never apologizes
Arguing with narcissists is impossible. “It will not be possible to reach a compromise with them. People with NPD don't see disagreements as disagreements. They just think they are teaching you some truth,” says Tavvab. Peykar thinks you might be dating a narcissist if you think your partner is:
- can't hear you;
- does not understand you;
- takes no part of the responsibility for the problem;
- never tries to compromise.
Weilar advises avoiding negotiations and arguments with narcissists. “People who suffer from NPD hate the lack of control and struggle. The less you resist, the less power you can give them over you, the better,” she says.
Since narcissists are sure that they are always right, they never "sink" to the point of apologizing - even in situations where they are clearly at fault. For example, your partner does not feel the need to say "sorry" if he was late for dinner and did not even call to warn about it, or canceled your joint plans at the last moment. Remember: normal people are able to understand that they did something wrong and apologize for it. nine0003
9. The narcissist does not want to make commitments
The narcissist expects you to treat him as his partner, and at the same time refuses you the same. You may notice how he flirts with someone, but if you talk about it as a sign of disrespect, you will be accused: “You made a storm in a glass of water, you are completely crazy!” But think about this: you deserve the same devotion that you give yourself.
10. The narcissist panics when you try to break up with him
Once you back off, the narcissist will do his best to get you back. “At first they may bombard you with love. They will say all the right things to convince you that they have changed,” warns Peykar. But very little time will pass, and it will become clear: you are still dealing with the same person.
11. Realizing that everything is over, the narcissist loses his temper
The narcissist will do everything possible to hurt you for leaving him. “Their ego is so badly hurt that they feel only rage and hatred. They believe that only other people are to blame for everything, including the breakup,” says Peykar. nine0003
What will be the result? The narcissist may say bad things to you, immediately start dating someone else to make you jealous, or even try to "steal" friends. The reason, Tawwab says, is that a good reputation means everything to them, and they won't let anyone or anything ruin it.
Okay, I'm dating a narcissist. What to do?
So, you realized that you are in a relationship with a person who has NPD. He constantly criticizes you, humiliates you and emotionally exhausts you. Experts recommend the obvious way out - to move away from it. nine0003
Here's how to prepare for breaking up with a narcissist:
- Constantly remind yourself that you deserve better.
- Strengthen relationships with friends who support you.
- Gather around you those close to you who will help you critically assess reality.
- Convince your partner to go to therapy.
- See a psychotherapist yourself.
“You cannot change a person with narcissistic personality disorder or make them happy with your love. Don't change for him - that won't help either. He will never empathize with you, and you will always feel empty after interacting with them, says Grace. “Basically, you will never be enough for them, because they will never be enough for themselves.” nine0003
Grace thinks the best thing to do is end the relationship. At the same time, it is not worth explaining anything, much less giving a second, third or fourth chance. Most likely, the narcissist will pester you with calls and messages, and experts recommend blocking him on your phone, instant messengers and social networks so as not to change your mind.
In conclusion, we want to remind you that this article is not intended to diagnose your boyfriend. She describes unacceptable behavior that says that your union is far from a healthy and equal partnership. The presence of one, six or all 12 signs does not indicate that your significant other has NPD. Rather, it is a good reason to overestimate your relationship. You are not responsible for the behavior of other people, but taking care of yourself is your and only your task. nine0003
Are there any daffodils among your acquaintances?
7 signs that your partner is a narcissist
How do you know if you are dating a narcissist?
Let's imagine that the heroes of our story are Liza and Andrei. So, when Lisa, being a graduate student, met Andrey, she thought that she had won the jackpot. “He was wealthy, very charismatic and charming,” the girl shared. - He constantly filled me with gifts, took me to trendy restaurants, arranged romantic evenings. nine0003
In general, courting in the style of the 1950s!”. But soon Lisa noticed that her young man became less condescending and more rigid - he began to control her every movement. In the end, he criticized her origins (Lisa is from a family of simple hard workers) and began to try to form the image drawn in his head.
He soon discovered that Lisa was insecure and began to use this in conjunction with her trigger points at every opportunity. And during quarrels, Andrei forced her to write letters of apology. There were some comments about the appearance of the girl ... It took Lisa years to break out of the vicious circle and get rid of the toxic relationship. nine0003
“I was in my 20s. I was an endlessly insecure hopeless romantic. And at the same time, I had a boyfriend, incredibly handsome and charming, who wanted to help me fit into his rhythm of life. Naturally, I tried to please everyone, ”says Lisa.
And despite the fact that Andrei did not have a clinical diagnosis, all the signs of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are present.
The Mayo Clinic defines it as "a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of self-worth, a deep need for undue attention and self-admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others." nine0003
What we often think of as "narcissism" - vanity and overconfidence - is a range, and all people can lean towards one extreme or the other. But a person who truly suffers from NPD is much more than just self-serving and self-obsessed.
“These behaviors are lifelong, and are formed during childhood, depending on how the child copes with a particular family environment,” explains Eleanor Greenberg, Ph.D., author of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of love, admiration and security." “As adults, they overestimate their achievements, they don’t understand what love is, they have low emotional empathy. ” nine0003
Julie L. Hall, journalist and author of The Narcissist in Your Life: Recognizing the Patterns and Learning to Break Free, describes the narcissist as a person who suppresses feelings of shame and inadequacy in childhood creates a "second self" to isolate oneself from criticism.
“They are missing out on a lot of milestones,” says the specialist. - They do not develop a sense of self-determination and self-esteem. They don't learn to deal with emotions, they don't learn self-reflection, they don't learn emotional empathy. They do not develop a comprehensive, mature understanding of their own world and the emotional lives of those around them.” nine0003
Often people with NPD just can't understand others, which means they don't make the best romantic partners. Relationships with them can become abusive, emotional, toxic. And if you accidentally entered into a relationship with a narcissist, you will probably find it difficult to understand what is happening. Therefore, below you will see signs that will help you recognize that this is a real narcissist in front of you.
1. They put themselves first
Narcissists see the world in black and white, including people. For them, those around them are divided into "good", idealized, and "bad", which narcissists regard as "garbage". If a person with NPD views you as a romantic partner, you are, of course, in the "good" category.
You will probably be showered with compliments and gifts to pave the way to your heart. They will make you feel special - the one who won their attention at first sight. nine0003
“Narcissists become obsessed with this issue. They begin to idealize a potential partner and even adopt his interests, says Hall. “At first, it may even seem that you have met your soul mate.”
Narcissists may even try to change themselves to reflect your personality. “Suddenly, you may have the same interests and values,” Hall explains. And the narcissist does not have to believe in these views. It just takes on your personality and shows you exactly what you want to see. ” nine0003
But as soon as the candy-bouquet period is over, the lever switches. “Initially, you get compliments and gifts from them. They don’t even seem to notice your shortcomings,” Greenberg notes. “But as you get closer and the “conqueror” mode becomes unnecessary, they suddenly begin to see something in you that they didn’t notice before.”
Many of us idealize partners at first, but recognize that everyone has flaws. As a result, idealization is exchanged for love and trust. But in relationships with narcissists, such a replacement does not occur. "You just fall into the 'bad' category," says Greenberg. “And at this point, they start their construction project.” nine0003
2. They're trying to "fix" you
They're "looking for a piece of cheese without holes" is how Greenberg describes daffodils as romantic partners. And since every person on the planet has these very holes, their mission is doomed to failure from the very beginning. Once the narcissist sees these failures - which can be quite minor (say, you load the washing machine the wrong way, or call a donut a bagel), he will either start to "fix" you or just leave you. nine0003
“For them, a partner is like a building under construction,” Greenberg says. They feel like the prince from Cinderella.
It was the same with Liza and Andrey. “He knew everything about my past, about my upbringing and gave advice on how to hide it,” says the girl. - Once I hinted that I studied piano as a child and that I would like to return to this and master the instrument. To which he replied that he would give me playing lessons for my birthday, since, in his opinion, it would be better for me if I were a classically trained musician. nine0003
She adds: “It was like the plot of the movie The Princess Diaries, where I was a simple girl from high school, and he tried to make me the perfect partner. I was the blank slate on which he was going to create his masterpiece. ”
3. They feel no boundaries.
Universal Pictures / yassitamaggot.tumblr.com
One of the defining characteristics of any personality disorder is the lack of boundaries. Physical, emotional, it doesn't matter. People with narcissistic personality disorder are no exception. nine0003
“They often feel they have the right to violate the boundaries that most of us accept and respect,” Hall says. – Sharing intimate details about other people that you didn’t know about, seeking to quickly gain your trust by promising you or demanding promises from you to get married and have children as soon as possible. In general, they talk prematurely about all those things until they come in their own way.
According to Hall, narcissists feel they have this right. They can't come to terms with the golden rule of "treat people the way you want them to treat you." nine0003
“They are full of unreasonable expectations,” Hall continues. “They feel like they have a right to things that others shouldn’t. ” Narcissists can mock others, criticize them behind their backs. They can be rude and yell at the wait staff. They live by telling people what is better than everyone else.
For example, Lisa said that Andrei wears a necklace with an engraved formula. Allegedly, he deduced it himself, and this formula concerns the Universe. “He said: “I have revealed all the secrets of the universe. This formula is everything. And when someone questions my words and authority, I look at the necklace and remember that I am stronger than all of them,” says Lisa. nine0003
4. They don't hold back in fights
Sometimes it's even good for couples to argue. But when narcissists fight with their partners, their lack of empathy can backfire.
Greenberg says that often narcissists lack "object persistence," that is, the ability to maintain positive feelings for a partner even during conflict. “The permanence of objects is what keeps people from abusing their loved ones,” the expert explains. “Usually we remember that we love a person, even when we are angry with him.” nine0003
But the situation is different with daffodils. "If you're arguing with someone who lacks emotional empathy (in simple terms, they can't remember that they love you), they'll use any means in the argument and won't hesitate to hit below the belt," says Greenberg. - All bets are made - they can say the most unpleasant words to you.
Narcissists love to argue. Winning an argument is another way to prove that they are better than others. And they know when and which buttons to press. As a rule, they have overly emotional reactions. So if your partner often hurts you over little things, that's a big red flag. As well as what follows after the conflict. nine0003
5. They never apologize
Narcissists are incapable of self-reflection, which means that they rarely understand their mistakes. So if your partner often insults you during an argument but never apologizes afterwards, you may need to rethink the relationship.
“The ability to see that people have good and bad qualities, to notice this in themselves and other people, is something that a person with NPD cannot do,” says Hall. “Narcissists just can't look at things from an emotional perspective outside of their own selves. nine0003
And if they apologize, it's more like an insult. “Sometimes narcissists apologize for false apologies, pointing out that you are too sensitive,” says Hall. “They will never put themselves in your shoes to see things from your point of view or understand your feelings.”
6. They turn their exes into villains
A prime example: if your partner or potential partner has a story that all of his former passions were "terrible" people, the perpetrators of the breakup are also one big red flag! nine0003
Yes, there may be a couple of assholes in your life, but as a rule, most people think about how both sides contributed to the destruction of the relationship. Narcissists simply do not accept criticism - they do not see the golden mean.
They do not even think that they are somehow to blame for the breakup. To defend their fragile division of the world into “bad” and “good”, all formers must fall into the first category.
“Most of the time, narcissists are very negative about previous relationships,” says Hall. - They expose the former villains, "morons" who brought them "total disappointment." In fact, they do not learn from relationships and constantly extract only the negative from them. nine0003
7. They enjoy manipulating people
New Line Cinema
Without boundaries or empathy, narcissists enjoy manipulating people. This way they feel better than others is another way to prove to themselves that there are no rules in this game. Often, their manipulations are difficult to calculate - these are subtle psychological actions that make a person doubt their own feelings and life experiences.
Everything is set up so that you start to think that you are the problem. But if for a second you feel that your partner is manipulating you - hands to feet, and run! nine0003
According to Lisa, Andrey often resorted to manipulation. “For example, we were in a bar or a restaurant – I don’t remember – and I noticed how he put his hand on the woman’s lower back, touched her ass or something like that. But when we were driving back, I couldn’t tell him anything, because I was afraid that he would explode!” Lisa recalls.
He would have denied what he saw and in the end would have convinced that Liza was mistaken. “The rule was that every time we got into an argument, I had to write him a letter outlining how the argument started, who said what, and that I was sorry,” she says. - And at the end [of the letter], I had to add: "You're right, I didn't see it, it's all alcohol." nine0003
Narcissists don't understand or care about your emotions, feelings, your personality.