You get into a relationship with this gorgeous looking person who was easygoing, charming, and funny. You might have felt like you hit the jackpot at first. Your romantic partner seemed to be the perfect fit, and your love life might even feel like a dream come true. Your love interest flattered you endlessly.
For a brief time, you are excited and may feel special or important. As days pass, you soon realize your partner becomes controlling and manipulative. If you identify with this, you are likely dating a narcissist. It’s easy to fall in love with a narcissist, but the problem of building a strong long-term relationship with such a person can be impossible.
In this post, we try to find out what the true nature of narcissism looks like.
Who Is A Narcissist?
Narcissists are people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Studies have shown that people with NPD generally think they are superior to those around them. They think they deserve people’s admiration and attention and get offended when they do not get the same (1). These people lack empathy for others and use people to get what they want.
15 Signs You Are Dating A Narcissist
How do you know you are in a narcissistic relationship? Here are 15 tell-tale signs to know if your partner is narcissistic.
- Makes you feel loved initially: When you meet this person, they are likely to shower you with lots of attention and love. Narcissists are called “love bombs” drown you in compliments and gifts. They express their love for you in almost no time. In a few days or weeks, they will convince you that you’re a perfect match for them and intend to be together. Remember, if your relationship develops too fast, it may be suspicious.
- Talks only about themselves: The biggest sign of narcissists is that they only talk about themselves. They like to talk too much about their small achievements and successes to establish a good image of themselves. They are full of themselves and hardly pay any attention to what you have to say and will not be interested in knowing you.
- Fishes for compliments: Narcissists appear confident, but they are not. Their low self-esteem motivates them to find a way to make you compliment them and make them feel better about themselves. When you don’t do this, they will get angry, and you will not know what exactly you did to annoy them.
- Behaves hot and cold with you: Narcissists often behave coldly, being nice to you at one time and suddenly becoming rude at another. They don’t care much about how you feel, but more about what they get from you at that moment. For example, when they seek intimacy from you, they will be full of love and romance, and once they get what they want, they will either angry or bored. This is how they keep you in control.
- Fails to keep promises: This person you love usually promises you that they will be on time, but in reality, they rarely do as well as they say. They will cancel appointments at the last moment or never do what you ask them to do. This is because they don’t care how you feel. If you notice this too often, then you may be in the company of a narcissist.
- Lacks empathy: Lack of empathy and compassion is often the unique characteristic of a narcissist. If you have a difficult day at work or feel frustrated and ask them for support, you will be disappointed because they have little interest in knowing your problems. Each time you try to talk to them about something that bothers you, they will change the subject or look bored, so you immediately stop talking.
- Lacks long-term friends: People usually stay away from narcissists because they are self-centered. Narcissists have few long-term friends. Mostly, they have casual friends. A narcissist may get angry if you have close old friends. They may not like it if you spend time with your friends. They will criticize your choice of friends and make you feel guilty about spending time with them.
- Puts you down too often: Narcissists have low self-esteem, and they often let others down to make themselves feel superior to them. For example, if you win prizes or accolades at your workplace and share the news with them, they will say that it is no big deal and that they will do things in a better way. They enjoy the power they have over you by destroying your happiness and persuading you to be inferior to them.
- Manipulates you: A narcissist will lie to you, drive you away from your loved ones, and make every effort to keep you away from reality. By doing so, they ensure that you are under their control. In the process, you start to lose confidence and feel that you have done something wrong.
- Looks out for a better partner: They will be with you as lovers and enjoy all the benefits of a relationship but will not be as firmly committed to the relationship as you are. When you initiate the conversation, they make you feel guilty by accusing you of being clingy.
- Enjoys breaking rules: Narcissists often defy rules and social norms. They may indulge in petty crimes like stealing or breaking traffic rules only to exhibit false bravado. Even if they commit serious crimes, they may hardly show remorse and instead may feel proud of what they have done.
- Nurtures a sense of entitlement: For narcissists, the world revolves around them, and everyone else is there to meet their needs, and they don’t have to do anything in return. They feel that they should be treated differently and enjoy the faults of others. They will usually order you and others around them as if you are there only to serve them.
- Loses temper when not given what they want: When you do not follow a narcissist’s wishes, they are likely to get angry and lose their temper. They may take you on a guilt trip by playing the victim or indulge in personal attacks to make you surrender to their wishes.
- Picks on you constantly: First, they will cleverly point out your shortcomings or suggest ways to do things better. They might even laugh at you in funny ways. But over time, they may continue to discover your shortcomings and make you feel sorry for yourself. They won’t even filter out their comments and will pass hurtful remarks about how your appearance, dress, or behavior that weakens your self-esteem.
- Holds onto you till a better partner comes along: If you are tired of their behavior and choose to break up with them, they will go on panic mode and do everything possible to stop you. This especially true if they are still looking for a better partner but have not yet found a suitable partner. As long as they can’t find a better partner, they will want to make you feel special.
What To Do If Your Partner Exhibits Narcissist Tendencies?
If your partner exhibits some or all of the above traits, then there are high chances that your partner could be a narcissist. If your partner always criticizes you, picks on you, and treats you like nobody, then it is best to end such a relationship.
You can romanticize this situation by hoping to change your partner through your love and loyalty, but remember that changing such a person is very difficult. You will lose yourself in adapting to their definition of an ideal partner, and they will never appreciate your efforts.
In order to protect your mental and physical health, it is best to stay away from such people. Here are some ways you can cope after dealing with a narcissistic partner.
- Break up: It might be difficult, especially if you felt they were out of your league and settled for you. But remember, they will never support you in any way, and you deserve someone better. No matter how difficult it may seem, try to disconnect from the narcissist.
- Encourage your partner to seek therapy: Your narcissist partner may not let you go so easily. If you cannot break up with them, ask them to seek treatment to correct their ways. If they agree and make substantial behavioral changes, then maybe you can give the relationship a chance. If this is not the case, then there is no point in continuing with the toxic relationship.
- Seek the company of friends and family: Maintaining a relationship with a narcissist can seriously affect your mental health. Get along with people who love you, and make you happy, give yourself some time to heal.
- Block every mode of contact for your partner: Your narcissist partner may try to reenter your life after the breakup. So, you should block them from your social media accounts and any other way through which they can contact you.
- Go to therapy: If you think the relationship has damaged your self-confidence, then you can seek professional help. A good doctor can help you regain your confidence and restore your old self.
If you are in a relationship where you do not feel loved or valued, it means that the relationship is not for you. You can make efforts to change how things are, but if nothing changes even then, you should get out of it as soon as possible.
Always remember that a relationship should nurture you to be a better person, but not make you a timid person. Whenever you feel that your partner belittles you or ignores your feelings, you should pack your luggage and leave the person behind.