There is no doubt that it is important to believe in yourself and to pay attention to your needs. Nevertheless, it is not so easy to make a difference between ‘healthy narcissism’ and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). In this article, we want to explore together the most common narcissist symptoms and how narcissism impacts relationships.
What Is Narcissism?
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, narcissism can be one of the dramatic/emotional personality disorders. It is characterized by a sense of entitlement, grandiosity, extreme self-importance and false self-representation. Narcissists expect extreme admiration from others and tend to devalue them. Other signs of a narcissist include the inability to demonstrate empathy for others, as well as arrogant behaviours and attitudes.
Interestingly enough, taking advantage of others in order to achieve your own goals can also be one of the narcissist symptoms. Besides, narcissists are often preoccupied with fantasies of ideal love, power and success. They believe in their uniqueness and that others are envious of them. On top of that, narcissists have such a grandiose sense of self-importance that they think they should only associate with other high-status institutions and people.
Naturally enough, being self-confident does not always mean that somebody is a narcissist. However, if a person demonstrates more than 5 of the narcissist symptoms listed above, it is likely that he or she has a narcissistic personality.
How Do You Know if You Are in a Narcissistic Relationship?
Having in mind the signs of a narcissist, it is logical that narcissism has a devastating effect on interpersonal relationships. If somebody is selfish and tends to exploit others, then it will be hard for him or her to create a mutual connection.
Narcissists are very charming at first. Since they place a lot of importance on themselves, they are usually very attractive, ambitious and wealthy. They can make you feel as if you are the most wonderful person in the world and as if they have serious intentions.
For instance, one of the manifestations of narcissism in relationships can involve future faking. This means that narcissists often talk about an amazing future together at the very early stages of a relationship. Nevertheless, since they are preoccupied with themselves, they feel free to change their minds as often as they want to.
If you are in a narcissistic relationship, then everything is about your partner and there is a sense of isolation. Moreover, narcissists tend to disregard other people’s boundaries and feelings. A narcissistic partner finds it hard to let other people in because vulnerability feels too risky. So, they pull others in and then push them away.
Unfortunately, narcissists believe that only a few are lucky enough to get their needs met. So, if someone threatens their ego, they will do whatever it takes to destroy their opponent. They can hurt their partner physically, as well as emotionally. They can also make their partner feel crazy by using manipulation techniques such as playing the victim or belittling them.
What to Do if Your Partner Is a Narcissist?
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it will not be easy for you to leave. So, educate yourself on how narcissism works and decide if you are willing to put up with such behaviour. It is unlikely that you convince your partner to seek help or let you leave. Therefore, leave quickly, cut all contact and if necessary, look for qualified professional support to help you heal your traumas and get through the transition.