It’s hard to know when you’re in the midst of a relationship, if it’s healthy, or if there’s red flags you should be looking out for. Ask yourself, is your partner empathetic? Do they lower your self esteem and frequently make you feel bad about yourself? How do you know if they’re a narcissist?
The difference between Narcissistic Traits and NPD
Most of the time when we refer to someone as a narcissist, it’s because we have experienced them as consistently acting in a self-important, selfish and insensitive way. On the other hand, we might call someone narcissistic when they are not doing what we want, and we don’t like the boundaries they may be setting.
The good news is that these behaviours are not the same as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Whilst someone might be inclined to be a little selfish and self-important, that doesn’t mean they’re not capable of caring for others. The key factor to look for is whether an individual can be caring and sensitive at least some of the time.
Signs To Look Out For….
- They require a lot of admiration and attention.
- They do not take my feelings into account.
- They feel like what they say or do is quite important.
- They need praise or recognition often.
- They have behaved in a jealous way.
- They rarely take the blame for things they have done wrong.
- They buy me gifts that can sometimes be over the top.
- They promise extravagant plans but don’t follow through.
- They say that conversations have not happened.
- They have shown unfaithful/cheating behaviour.
- They have accused me of behaviour that they are doing.
- They believe they are special or unique.
- They make things they have done wrong seem my fault.
- They use emotion (crying, self-pity) to re-focus the attention on them.
- They talk about being powerful or successful.
- They act entitled and believe they deserve special privileges.
- They have put me down/made me feel bad about myself.
- They want me to spend more time with them instead of my friends and family.
- They exaggerate their own achievements.
- They are sometimes very affectionate but then not affectionate at other times.
- They keep in touch with ex-partners or previous love interests.
- They control or restrict financial access.
If you’ve checked many of these points, your relationship is not healthy and you may be dating a narcissist. If you’re dating a narcissist, set clear boundaries, practice patience, and make time for yourself.
What Should You Do Next
Re-evaluate whether this relationship meets your needs. Is it a balanced interaction from both you and your partner that results in fulfilment? Your relationship should make you feel calm and fulfilled.
- Disentangling yourself from this type of unhealthy relationship can be extremely difficult and would be best done under the guidance of a therapist. Doing it on your own may not be safe.
- It can take up to 7 attempts to get out of these relationships.
The issue of love is very complex and doesn’t guarantee that your needs are being looked after. If you feel you need some additional support and guidance to work through your relationship, reach out to our therapist Rickii Lotsaris. She can teach you ways to manage your partner and their behaviours, and assist you to make the decision as to whether this relationship is best for your future.
Written by Therapist Rickii Lotsaris – www.creatingchange.net.au