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How To Spot Narcissistic Behaviour In Your Relationship

People with Narcissistic behaviour tend to be so self-absorbed, they easily ignore the feelings of others around them.How To Spot Narcissistic Behaviour In Your Relationship

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is defined by The Mayo Clinic as “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

With more people seeking external validation from the internet and the increase in the “look at me” mentality, we live in an increasingly narcissistic world. However, true narcissists are people living with NPD.

This condition is characterised by certain behaviours which include;

  • Need for admiration
  • Inflated sense of self-importance
  • Constant attention seeking
  • Arrogance
  • Often unable to keep relationships

However, people with NPD most times never seek treatment so they never get diagnosed but 75% are men according to studies. Here are the ways to spot narcissistic behaviour in your partner.

The relationship begins on a super high-note

People with NPD are usually very charming. They would sweep you off in a flurry, falling in love in a hurry and quickly declare their feelings. They may even say you’re special and that’s why they find you attractive.

“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, founder of Kaleidoscope Counseling in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Most times you’re unaware of what you said or did to be deemed “special”. However, they’ll quickly change and turn on you when you don’t meet their “standards”.

“How narcissists treat you, or when they turn on you, actually has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own [beliefs]” says Tawwab.

Advice? Licensed therapist Rebecca Weiler, LMHC says be wary when someone comes on too strong. Better still, run.

They constantly need compliments and admiration

While they may come off as very confident, therapists say people with narcissistic behaviour suffer from acute low self-esteem. So they’ll repeatedly need you to reassure them how super fly they’re.

“They need a lot of praise, and if you’re not giving it to them, they’ll fish for it,” says Tawaab.

“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,” says Dr. Shirin Peykar of LMFT.

Constantly talk about themselves

Ever heard the joke; “But enough about me, how do you feel about me?”. That’s people with NPD, they’re obsessed with themselves. They’ll often exaggerate their accomplishments and tell embellished stories about themselves to cull adoration from you.

They also are uninterested to hear anything you’ve to say. So, it’s a two-part problem; they won’t shut up about themselves and you can’t get a word in. Sentences into talking about yourself, you can already tell they’re bored and may even interrupt you.

Also read:
Six Signs You’re In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
How To Identify Karmic Relationships And Break From Them
Six Signs That You’re In A Toxic Relationship And How To Fix It According To Therapists

Lack of Empathy

As you can already tell, narcissists aren’t too big on things that don’t center them and that include other people’s feelings.

“Narcissists lack the skill to make you feel seen, validating, understood, or accepted because they don’t grasp the concept of feelings,” says psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish, author of “The Self-Aware Parent.”

Flatly put, they don’t care.

They are always right and never apologise

Fighting with a narcissist is futile, you will never win.

“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.”

They never think they’re wrong and would never apologize.

Weiler says not to bother having arguments with narcissists, they’ll drive you spitting mad. “It will make you feel crazy. 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.

Your partner should be able to realise when they’re wrong and apologise accordingly.

Other signs to watch out for include;

  • They shy away from defining the relationship
  • Gaslighting is a tool in their hands
  • Most times, they don’t have long-term friends
  • They’re always critical of people including you

How to break up with a narcissistic

If you’re dating someone with narcissistic behaviour, chances are you’ve already been through a lot. Being with someone who embodies these aforementioned behaviours can be draining. For your sanity, therapists recommend that you get out of it ASAP.

“You cannot change a person with narcissistic personality disorder 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,” says Dr. Angela Grace, PhD, MEd, BFA, BEd.

“Narcissists can’t feel fulfilled in relationships, or in any area of their lives because nothing is ever special enough for them,” she adds.

They’ll always find you lacking because they’re not even 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,” says Grace.

When you break up with them, they’ll probably panic, lash out and even threaten you. They’ll also try to keep contacting you. In this case, block them everywhere and completely expunge them from your life.


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Sarah Oyedo

A reader, thinker, a dreamer and a believer. Fruity cocktails and asun are the way to my heart.