What is narcissistic personality disorder?

In order to understand if your partner is a narcissist, we should first define what it is. NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) is a personality disorder in which individuals have an unrealistic sense of self-worth. They also have a strong desire for other people’s respect and affection. NPD is also characterized by intense, fluctuating emotions as well as excessive concern for prestige, power, and personal adequacy. These people would have a deep sense of insecurity and they may be unaware. There are specific behavior patterns like: need for admiration and attention, have a pattern of grandiosity, a lack of empathy for others.

How can I tell that I have a narcissist partner in my life?

They are charming and perfect at first sight. 

It all begins with a fairy tale. Within the first month, they shower you with love (love bomb). Even if you’ve only recently started dating, they could compliment you on your intelligence or emphasize how compatible you are. They may also contact you incessantly. Narcissists can be very attractive. They have the ability to adjust to any situation. They’re excellent seducers. For them, it’s a game, and they enjoy winning.  Narcissists believe that they are special and that they should have what they want.

They dominate the conversation by talking about how amazing they are. 

Narcissists enjoy bragging of their own successes and accomplishments in grandiose terms. They do it because they believe they are stronger and smarter than anyone else, which also helps them to project a confident image. They always discuss who they meet, where they’ve been, and what they’ve accomplished.  They’re also too preoccupied with themselves to pay attention to you. Your companion will not stop talking about themselves, and he or she will not indulge in conversation about you. 

They are feeding from your positive talk and compliments.

Narcissists can seem to be very self-assured. However, the majority of people with NPD have low self-esteem. They never get tired of being told how wonderful they are, and they need constant attention and encouragement.  If you don’t give it to them, they’ll go out and look for it. There is an emotional vacuum that needs to be filled, mostly dating back to childhood, but it likely never will. Narcissists rely on other people — usually empathic people — to give them a sense of self-worth and make them feel strong. 

They don’t have any close, long term friendships.

The majority of narcissists would not have any true long-term friends. If you look further at their relationships, you’ll find that they only have casual friends and trash-talking mates.As a result, they will lash out if you try to spend time with your friends. They can accuse you of not spending enough time with them, make you feel bad for socializing with your friends, or criticize the types of friends you have.

Narcissistic partners do not want to commit to a relationship.

There are plenty of reasons why anyone would refuse to commit to a relationship. Perhaps they’re polyamorous, or you’ve decided to be friends-with-benefits, or you’re just keeping it casual. However, if your partner displays any of the other signs on this list and refuses to commit, it could be that they are narcissistic. Some narcissists would expect you to treat them like a partner so they can have the intimacy, mental, and sexual benefits while still keeping an eye out for superior prospects.

Narcissist partners may try to manipulate you, gaslight you, and/or act like they are always right and never apologize, etc. However, these behaviors can also affect your personality and in many cases your health and wellness. 

How do you feel, when you are in a relationship with a narcissistic partner?

You always feel like you’ve done something wrong. You are no longer the person you once were. You’re more anxious and insecure than you used to be. You always question whether you’re being too sensitive. You have the impression that anything you do is wrong. When things go wrong, you still blame yourself. You make a habit of apologizing. You always wonder if your reaction to your partner is acceptable. You rationalize your partner’s behavior.

If you feel any of these, you may be in a relationship with a narcissist. It’s up to you to establish whether there is any way that you can work with your partner to fix the relationship. However, beware that true narcissists will never change because they resist the idea that they are to be held responsible for anything. This means that you may be “banging your head against the wall” trying to fix something that cannot be fixed. If that is the case, the only way to fix things is to move on.

Refer to our episode with Adriana Bucci on what narcissism is and how we can handle it.

This article isn’t intended to diagnose your significant other. Its aim is to define what constitutes unacceptable behavior and reactions in the sense of a caring, equal relationship. If you have NPD or not, none of these symptoms point to a stable relationship.

You can also check out the book “The Covert Passive-Aggressive Narcissist” for more information about narcissistic relationships, partners, and narcissistic abuse recovery.