Being In A Relationship With A Narcissist
I work with many couples who come in with communication and conflict resolution issues. As I begin to understand the history of the couple and hearing how they communicate daily, arguments they have, one partner feeling defeated, the other dominating the conversation, unwilling to compromise and feeling accomplished as their partner gives in repeatedly, I start to see a theme. Narcissism. While narcissist or 75% men, women can also be narcissistic.
A narcissist has an air that they are superior to others, lack empathy, controlling, aggressive, over-react to criticism, and feels they are always right, as indicated by 5 of these 9 characteristics:
Grandiose logic of self-importance
Dreams of power, success brilliance or beauty
Lacks empathy for others
Needing excessive admiration
Sense of entitlement
Expects special treatment or compliance with their wishes
Takes advantage of other people
Envies others or believes others are envious of them
Egotistical or conceited behavior.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist is often difficult and can often turn into a form of abuse. Narcissistic abuse. In many cases the narcissist looks for a partner that is empathetic in an effort to assert their power and control that eventually turns into an abuser/victim relationship. There are many signs of narcissistic abuse that you may or may not be aware of but are important to recognize so that you will know if you are in a relationship like this.
Your partner often belittling you, blaming, criticizing and using sarcasm.
Manipulation, by punishing you or threatening you.
Feeling like no matter what you do, it’s not enough.
Your partner invalidating your perceptions to make you question yourself.
Feeling isolated from your friends, family or support network, because your partner is possessive and doesn’t want you to reach out to others.
Invading your privacy, looking through your phone, emails, mail etc.
Your needs and wants are often dismissed, and they make you feel foolish or selfish for having these needs and wants.
You may be controlled financially by your partner or you are financially dependent on them.
Your partner is aggressive or violent towards you.
I often have individual sessions with couples and have the victimized partner read up on signs of narcissistic abuse, and they most all times say it’s spot on in what they are experiencing. It is important to know that most times the narcissist will not change, unless they seek help and work to change their behaviors. Which is unlikely because, well…they are a narcissist.
If you are with a narcissistic person, it is so important to make sure you have a support system or seek therapy to help strengthen yourself and to try to keep your self-esteem intact. I try to bring it to the attention to couple’s I feel like this may apply to in hopes to help the victim find their support system and to bring it to the attention of the abuser in hopes they will want to change their behavior, even though it’s not likely. For the victim getting support and sharing the experiences will help them not feel like they are losing themselves, their self-esteem or self-worth.
If you are in a relationship and feel like you are with a person who is narcissistic or experiencing narcissistic abuse, get support. I am here to support you, or you can also seek therapy on psychologytoday.com or research books on narcissism and narcissism abuse.