Is Your Partner Narcissistic?

By Dominica

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Last Updated: May 21, 2021

The topic of narcissism has become popular in the past decade.  Many people visiting forums or groups struggling with relationship problems are asking if their partner is narcissistic. The toxicity of their relationship has them wondering what in the world has gone awry.

If you’re wondering if your partner has narcissistic tendencies, you may be onto something. The fact that the title piqued your interest may indicate that something is amiss in your relationship and narcissism could very well be the culprit.

What Is Narcissism?

Narcissism, or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), according to the Mayo Clinic, is “a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.”

Dating someone who has narcissistic personality disorder usually starts off too good to be true. Someone may have spent a great deal of time longing for their fairy tale prince, and it seems as if the romantic dream has finally come true.

 

They may come across as extremely charming and respond to your every need. They are typically quite attentive, charismatic, engaging, and affectionate.

You think, “Wow! I’ve really landed the best!”

Even those that have quite a bit of knowledge about narcissism can be fooled by a narcissist. They’re just that good at putting forth the perfect persona to get someone hooked. 

Granted, not everyone with NPD does this intentionally or consciously. However, it happens a lot.

Typically, though, at some point, the facade falls away, the masks come off, and you get glimpses of the real “disorder”.

You may see hints of selfishness, anger, rage, intolerance, or ruthlessness. The “what about me” syndrome shows up. They’ve turned the tables and rather than “woo” you, they’re now the most important person in the relationship.

Manipulation and control are two vital tools in their disposal. Though they portray that they’re “all that”, they really lack confidence and need your attention to esteem them. They feel better when you’re at their beck and call. 

In public, they’ll be sweet as can be, but at home, they’ll blow their fuse and degrade you. They will belittle you and not even realize they’re doing it. In fact, many people who have narcissistic traits don’t consciously realize what they’re doing or how they’re hurting others. 

Others do, and they just keep hurting others. 

Now, before I list more characteristics associated with narcissistic personality disorder, keep in mind that this is a mental disorder. It’s quite likely that somewhere along their life journey, (likely in childhood) they’ve been abused, neglected, and/or traumatized. Not always, but more often than not. 

The traits they picked up began as a defense mechanism to help them survive the abuse, trauma, pain, etc. This doesn’t diminish or excuse their negative behaviors toward others at all. It’s just something to be aware of.

Here are some other characteristics of someone with narcissistic personality disorder:

 

  1.       Intense feelings of self-importance.
  2.       They are convinced that they are an exceptional human being that can only be understood by people of high stature.
  3.       A tendency to exploit people around them.
  4.       Believe they have a right to everything or entitlement.
  5.       Unable to relate or identify the feelings of others.
  6.       Lack empathy.
  7.       Constantly needs attention, compliments, and flattery.
  8.       Feel envious of those succeeding, yet insist that everyone is envious of them.
  9.       Cannot handle criticism well.
  10.   Makes you feel crazy for trying to set a boundary.

 

Can Someone With Narcissism Change?

The truth is that most people diagnosed with NPD will not be able to recognize their extreme selfishness, abusiveness, or wounds. Admitting that they have a personality disorder is almost impossible for most. It largely depends on what end of the spectrum they fall in.

Do some make the effort? Sure, but it’s few and far in between.

Can Treatment Help With Narcissists?

Yes, treatment is available for the diagnosed narcissist, should they desire to reach out. Individual and/or group therapy can be helpful. Hospitalization and long-term therapy are recommended for those who are self-destructive or have multiple personality disorders.

Recovery From A Toxic Relationship

Do you think your partner has narcissistic personality disorder?  Do you see them in some of the characteristics mentioned?

The reality is that they may not be willing to see a therapist. If that’s the case, and you’re suffering emotionally without hope of resolving the toxicity in the relationship, you may consider moving on.

Moving on from a destructive relationship is not easy, but it is the first step. Much of the time, you’ve got to cut ties completely before moving on.

 

You may need help, especially if there has been any sort of abuse going on. Are you experiencing any of the following from your partner?

  •         They won’t allow you to have friends or visit family. They like you secluded.
  •         They hit, smack, or push you.
  •         They belittle, demean, and are downright abusive verbally?
  •         Very controlling and manipulative. Anytime you try to set a boundary, you pay for it.
  •         They make you feel crazy when all you’re trying to do is speak your truth.
  •         Intimidate and/or scare you.
  •         Take your money or possessions without your consent.
  •         Force you to have sex.
  •         Insult you in front of others.
  •         Tell you that you’re nothing, a loser, a failure, or other hurtful names.

These things are not alright, no matter what anyone has told you.

Being with a narcissist can strip you of your self-esteem and worth, leaving you feeling like you have nowhere to turn. Threatening to leave someone with NPD can cause them to become quite angry, and it can be quite scary.

If your partner seems to have narcissistic traits, consider reaching out to a therapist and/or attending a support group. It helps to have the extra support as you decide your next steps. If you’re being abused in any way, consider reaching out to the domestic abuse hotline. They will direct you to people and resources that can help you address your particular situation.

Keep in mind that you are worthy to enjoy a healthy relationship.  No one ever deserves abuse. If your relationship is toxic, know that you have options.

 

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