Narcissism defines a behavior where people are self-centered and focused on self-inflation. It’s a personality disorder in which people think extremely highly of themselves and don’t empathize with other people’s feelings and needs.
Narcissists have an excessive sense of self-importance and lack empathy for others. They prioritize themselves and don’t genuinely care for their partner’s feelings or needs. In a successful relationship, both partners should give and take, but a narcissist tends to focus solely on what they can gain, disregarding their partner’s worth and emotions.
How to Identify Narcissists – Signs & Symptoms
Narcissistic people often make others, especially their partners, feel like they are too much or too less and don’t appreciate them for what they really are. They would intentionally or unintentionally seek attention from people around them all the time and won’t pay heed to others’ feelings. They are more judgmental than kind and manipulate people into thinking they are the problem.
Here are the six signs that indicate that you’re in a relationship with a narcissist.
1. They Idealize You Initially
In the early stages of a relationship with a narcissist, they often idealize you. They may put you on a pedestal, showering you with compliments and affection. However, this idealization is usually short-lived and can quickly turn into devaluation.
2. They Devalue and Criticize
After the initial idealization, narcissists often begin to devalue and criticize you. They might point out your flaws, make hurtful comments, or even compare you unfavorably to others. This constant criticism can erode your self-esteem over time.
3. You Don’t Feel Connected
In a healthy relationship, you should feel a strong bond with your partner, like you understand each other well. But in a narcissistic relationship, that connection might not be there. You might struggle to connect with your partner, making you feel distant and emotionally unsatisfied.
4. You Feel Manipulated
In a narcissistic relationship, manipulation is often a common tactic used by the narcissistic partner. They may twist your words, guilt-trip you, or make you doubt your own feelings and thoughts. You might feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells, trying to avoid upsetting them.
5. You’re Constantly Being Gaslighted
When the narcissistic partner tricks you into doubting what you know is true, this is gaslighting. They might deny things they’ve said or done, making you unsure about your own memory and sanity. It’s a confusing experience that can make you feel lost and miserable.
6. They Withhold Affection as Punishment
When things don’t go their way, narcissists may withhold affection as a form of punishment. They might become distant or cold, making you feel like you have to meet their demands to regain their love and attention.
7. They Isolate and Control
Narcissists frequently seek to isolate their partners from friends and family to maintain control. They may criticize or belittle your loved ones, making you feel torn between them and your support system. This isolation can lead to loneliness and a heightened dependence on the narcissist.
What are the key stages that you believe characterize a relationship with a narcissist? Share your insights in the comment section.