It can be pretty hard to figure out if you are in a relationship with a narcissist. Thankfully, there are signs that can help you out.
Narcissists are all around us. From that friend on Facebook who never posts a bad selfie, to the charming boss at work who always manages to get the conversation back to herself. The problem is that they exist on a spectrum, just like autism. Like autistic people, there are a wide range of narcissists, from those who have full-blown egos to others who just tip-toe onto the scales.
Here are four signs that can help you identify whether you are in a relationship with a narcissist:
Are you the centre of attention?
It sounds counterintuitive, that a narcissist would direct their focus onto someone other than themselves, however, in the early stages of a relationship this is exactly what happens.
A narcissist will target an attractive, powerful, rich or popular person and make them feel like they are the centre of the universe. The narcissist will turn themselves into what they think is the perfect partner for that person, and play out that role to perfection.
They will shower the target with love, affection, gifts, compliments; they will literally put them on a pedestal and sweep them off their feet. The target will not know what has hit them, they will have never experienced a love like this before. For them, it will be as if they have found their soulmate.
Do you start having doubts about yourself?
It is important to understand what a narcissist tends to do next, once they have ensnared their victim. As soon as the target has been acquired, the narcissist quickly loses interest. This can happen over a period of weeks or literally overnight.
For the target, this can be devastating. One moment they are being lavished with attention, the next nothing. When this happens you start to doubt, not your partner, but yourself.
You ask yourself – ‘What did I do to make this wonderful person stop loving me?’
The narcissist is absent, silent, does not return calls, the change is a complete 180-degree turnaround and you are left confused and wounded. However, in the narcissist’s mind, a different theory is taking place.
At the start of the relationship, the narcissist was on a high, their emotional void was filled and their feelings of boredom were satiated. Now that high has worn off and they are bored again. You are obviously not what they imagined and they start taking their frustrations out in you.
Does your partner get violent when challenged?
Every relationship with a narcissist will constantly involve violence instead of conversation to win an argument.
The problems begin once a narcissist has realised that you should not be on that pedestal they put you on. As they begin to create distance between you, you need to know what has happened to that loving person you feel in love with. But that person never existed, and the harder you try to find them, the more the narcissist will pull away. If backed into a corner the narcissist will lash out, because the worst thing for them is for someone to discover their true self.
The most dangerous time to be around a narcissist is when their façade is crumbling around them. They will do anything to protect it, even kill. The best thing you can do is walk away and not look back.
Have you been dropped from a relationship with no explanation?
A narcissist will end a relationship and walk away without a second glance. But as with all things, we need closure and understanding. This is especially true if the relationship has been problematic and our self-esteem has been damaged.
Getting over the cruel and demeaning behaviour of a narcissist takes time. People with narcissistic traits are cold, unemotional, cruel and do not feel pity or remorse. They are skilled in targeting and manipulation and choose their victims carefully.
What people should remember is that a narcissist will never take responsibility for their own actions, they will always make excuses and blame others for their misfortunes. Victims of narcissists feel like they were caught up in a whirlwind that picked them up and then tossed them out of the sky.
Do you think you are in a relationship with a narcissist?
If any of the signs above ring true for you, it could possibly mean that you are dating a narcissist, but remember what we said at the start, they are on a spectrum. It could be that your partner just touches narcissism and this means that they simply take extra care with their appearance.
However, if they go through periods of not talking which end up in violent rows, it may be time to reconsider where you go from here. Only you know whether you can be happy or not, but remember, the narcissist will never change.