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Is my partner a narcissist? Common Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The word narcissist is bandied about frequently when talking about relationships. We can be quick to label someone who is self-involved as narcissistic. But what does the term really mean, and what are the impacts of a true narcissistic partner on a relationship and an individual's well-being?

What is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)?

Narcissism is shorthand for a personality disorder known as narcissistic personality disorder. This is a mental health condition in which an individual has an inflated sense of their own importance. A person experiencing narcissistic personality disorder typically has difficulty understanding other people's feelings, desires special treatment, and is extremely attention-seeking.

To clinically qualify as someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), according to the diagnostic and statistical manual, an individual must exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Grandiosity
  • Fantasies of power, seek out high-status people
  • A need for constant praise and admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Intensely envious, and a belief others are envious of them
  • Unwilling to empathize with others
  • Exploitative

What Are Some Common Traits in a Narcissist?

Some narcissistic tendencies include the following:

They don’t have any (or many) long-term friends.

People with narcissistic traits don't typically have a lot of long term relationships. They can be unpleasant to be around, due to their excessive need for admiration and attention. They may draw people in initially with superficial charm, but narcissistic traits soon turn people off.

They think they’re right about everything, and never apologize.

People with narcissistic personality disorder have difficulty taking responsibility when things go wrong. Their grandiose sense of importance does not allow them to believe that they are capable of making mistakes, and rather than apologize, they will most often blame others.

They hog the conversation, talking about how great they are.

Someone with NPD has an inflated sense of self importance. They may demonstrate arrogant and haughty behaviors and constantly talk about their own greatness and what an amazing person they are.

Warning Signs You May Be In a Narcissistic Marriage or Relationship

Living with a narcissist can be difficult to recognize at first. They tend to have a superficial charm, and the beginning of a relationship with a narcissist can feel amazing. A classic move for a narcissist is "love bombing" their partner, giving them constant praise and attention. But once they feel assured, there are some signs that may indicate narcissistic personality disorder.

You Don't Feel Good Enough

A partner with narcissistic tendencies will often belittle their partner and become angry for what seems like no reason. Constant putdowns and self importance can have a negative impact on your self esteem. If you have a feeling that you aren't good enough for your partner, this can be a sign.

They Pick on You Constantly

Because of low self worth, a narcissistic partner will constantly put the other down. In romantic relationships, narcissists tend to use this as a manipulation tactic.

You Avoid Conversations

Dating a narcissist may become overwhelming. They are typically lacking empathy, and after the love bombing stage, they will move on to manipulation. You may find yourself in situations where you stop talking to your partner because it becomes mentally exhausting.

You Feel Responsible for Everything

A narcissist will often make the partner in their relationship a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong. A narcissistic struggles with taking responsibility when there's a problem, even if it is their fault. It will always be someone else's fault...most likely their partner.

You Can't Rely on Your Partner

A narcissist looks out exclusively for their own interests, which makes it very difficult for the other person in a relationship. Romantic relationships are about give and take, and a narcissistic partner will be a taker but rarely a giver. This can lead to mental health challenges for the non-narcissistic partner.

You've Asked, They Won't Change

Narcissists struggle to see themselves in the role of someone who should give in, and they may hold this belief while making promises to their partner that they can change. It's a manipulation tactic that keeps you with them, even if you feel that your emotional wellbeing is being negatively impacted

You've Been Cheated On

A narcissist has a strong sense of self entitlement and believes that they deserve special treatment. It's therefore not surprising that many narcissists will cheat on their partner. Narcissists thrive on excessive admiration, so if they aren't getting it in their relationship, they may move on to someone who will give it to them temporarily.

You're in a relationship with a narcissist—now what?

Being in a relationship with a narcissist and others with personality disorders can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. But what is the next step?

Seek Support From Family and Friends

Make sure that you have a support network. Being with a narcissist can feel isolating, and often they will try to set others against you, especially if it makes them look better. Maintain relationships with friends and family, and ask them for support.

Leave The Relationship

In cases of pathological narcissism, your best bet is typically going to be to leave the romantic relationship. If they don't admit they need help, they won't change. Your own mental health is at stake.

Talk to a Therapist in Brooklyn

Although narcissism is treatable, a narcissist does not often seek psychological help because they are unable to recognize that they have a problem. Most often, people with NPD get help because they've reached out for another issue, such as depressive symptoms.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you can help by getting support for yourself. A mental health therapist in Brooklyn can help you better understand the pathology of this and similar mental disorders, and offer support and advice. You may also be able to get your partner to join you in therapy, if their narcissism isn't too severe.

Book a Therapy Session in NYC Today

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