Signs You’re in a Relationship with a Narcissist Being in a relationship with a narcissist means you're always second in their eyes. Here's how to identify a narcissistic partner. BY LISA A. ROMANO
The signs of a narcissist become pretty obvious to see when you know what to look for.
“ Has your partner ever accepted responsibility for their faults, and sincerely apologized without prompting?”
It starts as a whirlwind romance; you’re swept off your feet by their charms and attention. They say everything you’ve ever wanted to hear, and fulfill the deeply specific craving for attention you’ve always needed. Then time goes on. The love struck compliments are replaced by snide jabs and staggering overreactions. You find your needs neglected or overridden. The caring and empathetic qualities you prized so deeply, are replaced by coldness you never thought possible.
If this sounds familiar, you may have found yourself in the grips of a narcissistic relationship and you wouldn’t be the first. In a study carried out for the book "The Narcissism Epidemic," research psychologists found 1 in 16 Americans have experienced a narcissistic personality in their lives; the disorder affects about 6% of Americans the same rate at which depression manifests. If you suspect that you’re dealing with someone who has this disorder, look for the following signs.
You Get the Blame
Think back to your last argument, and the one before, and the one before that. Has your partner ever accepted responsibility for their faults, and sincerely apologized without prompting? Or do you find that it’s always you who takes that burden on. Narcissists have extremely fragile and carefully constructed egos, undertaking even the slightest self-criticism is almost unbearable to them. So they will find any way to turn their problems into your mistakes. If you find yourself feeling unstable and often on the defensive, or you are constantly apologizing for bringing up an issue that your partner caused. It’s a good indicator that you’re dealing with a narcissistic personality.
Their Public Image is a Sham
Is your partner the same person they were when you began dating? If the person you find yourself with everyday seems to be radically different, then they may be adept at projecting a false image. Narcissists are very good at adopting the external markers of success; they will dress well, project financial security and display all the markers of strong character. They will often surround themselves with high status people, in fact you might well feel that you fulfill the function of a trophy partner in the relationship to be shown off as a symbol of their prowess. A narcissist cannot bear to be seen as vulnerable or flawed in any way, and this extreme projection allows them to maintain an idealized self-image of themselves in public and in private.
They Just Don’t Care
Have you ever felt your partner is incapable of understanding your pain, or the emotional consequences of their actions? Lack of empathy is one of the hallmarks of the narcissistic personality. At most your partner will feel sorry for you (sympathy), but they will never be able to put themselves in your shoes and feel what you are feeling. To a narcissist the only feelings that are valid are their own, by taking on your feelings they risk shattering their idealized image of themselves so they will go to any length to avoid doing so.
Ignore Social and Personal Boundaries
Narcissists feel entitled to having their needs fulfilled regardless of laws, rules, social norms or boundaries. Constant petty rule-breaking behaviors such as cutting in line, petty theft, arriving late and breaking speed limits may be amongst their common behaviors.
This will extend to your personal interactions, if you set a personal limit on your personal space, your body or your possessions your narcissist will enjoy nothing more than manipulating and cajoling you into relenting until they get their way. Any promises or personal obligations they make will broken constantly and repeatedly.
If they feel they’re not getting enough of what they want, whether its financially, emotionally or sexually they can become angry and erratic until they get what they feel is coming to them. In the professional world narcissists will step over their colleagues and violate moral and ethical boundaries to gain greater rewards.
Put Yourself First
If you are wondering whether you’ve become involved with a narcissist, chances are you probably have. Remember that a relationship with a narcissist will never allow for growth or improvement, instead over time they will only get worse. In fact your narcissistic partner is incapable of change; instead of solutions they will only seek to blame you further and divert or deny any insinuations of wrongdoing. The sooner you identify the narcissists in your life, the sooner you should start planning your next strategy.
Lisa A. Romano is a sought-after Life Coach and Author who specializes in helping people become conscious of what is unconscious and preventing them from aligning with their authentic, higher-self. She is also the creator of The12 Week Breakthrough Coaching Program, which has helped hundreds awaken to their true self and heal the childhood programming that has been keeping them stuck. For information on Lisa’s coaching programs visit www.lisaaromano.com.