The word narcissist gets thrown around a lot online and in popular culture discussions of relationships these days.
While people are perhaps more aware than ever of the signs and dangers of being in a relationship with a narcissist, it can still be hard to tell from within a relationship when you are dealing with narcissistic behavior versus regular conflict or even other forms of toxic behavior.
While people of all genders can be narcissists, the fact that many narcissistic behaviors are considered “normal” behaviors for men, can make it especially difficult for people in relationships with men to determine whether they are dealing with a narcissistic partner or not.
Read on for six signs that you’re in a relationship with a narcissist
1. Nothing is ever their fault
One of the classic signs that you are in a relationship with a narcissist is that nothing is ever your partner’s fault ever.
Narcissists cannot take responsibility for their actions whether it’s as small as not starting the dishwasher before bed, or as a major as overdrawing the bank account.
A narcissistic partner will find a way to turn the responsibility for their actions back onto someone else. Much of the time, it will be you.
However, narcissists also craft complex persecution narratives where everyone in the world is either stupid, incompetent or out to get them.
If you have a partner who never takes responsibility for anything, you are probably in a relationship with a narcissist.
2. They’re superior to everyone
Another hallmark of narcissists is an attitude of superiority and entitlement.
The narcissist is always the best at everything literally everything. They are smarter than everyone at their job, better looking than all of their peers, more talented at their hobby than anyone else who’s ever tried.
They may also constantly tell you how everyone else is threatened by them and that this is why they don’t get promotions, why they lose friends, or why they can’t seem to form lasting relationships.
When it comes to having a relationship with a narcissist, it can also take the form of one-upmanship, making snide or petty remarks about other people, or generally taking on an air of being too good for everything and everyone. Relationships with a narcissistic man translate into other partner’s endless, arduous efforts towards massaging the ego of a narcissist.
3. They have no empathy
Perhaps because they believe they are superior to everyone, narcissists seem to lack the capacity for empathy. If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, you’ll know by your partner’s inability to empathize with you, share your struggles and joys, or otherwise put themselves in another person’s place.
Narcissists assume everyone thinks and feels just as they do, and thus they don’t have much capacity to understand others’ feelings and motivations.
This can also manifest in an inability to take responsibility for their own feelings or to try to talk others out of their right to feelings.
4. They are immune to logic
Narcissists operate almost solely from feeling, which means they are generally resistant to logic.
Trying to explain yourself or a situation to a narcissist is likely to backfire, as the narcissist may perceive your words as a personal attack rather than an attempt to talk something out.
One of the most challenging parts of being in a relationship with a narcissist is the inability to have a reasonable discussion or solve a conflict without it erupting into emotional outbursts, gaslighting, or the blame game.
5. They make you question your sanity
The favorite tool of many narcissists is gaslighting, a technique by which they try to convince someone that their perception of reality or their feelings are invalid or incorrect.
Characteristics of a narcissist include their manipulative tendencies.
Because narcissists feel they are superior to everyone, they act as if their interpretation of events is the only accurate one. Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms include the need to frequently demean and bully others, to fuel their grandiose sense of self-importance.
Over time, this can lead the person in a relationship with a narcissist to doubt their memory and perception, question their right to have feelings, or even worry that their mental health is deteriorating.
This is often coupled with blaming, where the narcissist tries to convince their partner that any problems are their (the partner’s fault) and not the narcissist’s.
This is an especially toxic and dangerous dynamic that can take a long time to recover from after you leave a relationship with a narcissist.
6. They expect perfection
From everyone. Narcissists are perfectionists, largely because they are so invested in their own image being perfect that they don’t want to be exposed.
In a narcissistic relationship, their perfectionism can be exhausting for their partner all by itself. Recovering from a narcissistic relationship can take more painstaking efforts than getting over the end of a normal relationship.
A narcissistic woman or man in a relationship will lead to their unsuspecting partner losing a sense of healthy self-confidence.
But what’s really trying about being in a relationship with a narcissist is that they will expect you to be perfect all the time, too. One of the narcissist traits is their annoying exacting standards.
Once you have found an answer to the question, “am I dating a narcissist?”, you need to figure out how to deal with a narcissist. Also, read on how potentially dangerous a relationship with a narcissist to your own mental and emotional health can be.
Remember that one of the alarming signs of a narcissist includes their belief that they can do anything better than anyone.
Narcissistic personality traits comprise of having an inflated sense of importance. This means they expect everyone to be nothing short of perfect and will delight in pointing out when they fall short.
A narcissistic boyfriend or a narcissistic girlfriend will take any imperfection on their partner’s part, no matter how small, as evidence of the partner’s disloyalty, stupidity, or lack of respect.
Narcissists have extremely stringent requirements, and this can make any relationship with a narcissist emotionally and mentally draining.
It is not uncommon for a victim to attach to their toxic partner when they are in a relationship with a narcissist.
Although, it is hard to end a relationship with a narcissist, remember your self-esteem, independence, happiness, self-respect, and confidence have gone for a toss. Narcissism and romantic relationships lead to an emotional, monetary, and psychological drain.
Follow these steps to leaving a relationship with a narcissist if they have not stopped abusing you yet.
Don’t get seduced into giving them another chance. Whenever you will refuse to stay back, they will either turn on the waterworks or start love bombing you. Don’t give them another chance for redemption. Just leave and stay away.
Keep all your relevant documents with you, including proof of residence, bank details, credentials. Alongside, reset your passwords.
Stash some cash in a secret place.
Report what happened to you to a loved one, a wise friend or a doctor, despite your reluctance to escalate the matter to the cops.
Reach out to the people you trust and seek their support.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.