7 early signs of a narcissistic partner (and what to do about it)

Sometimes when someone is extremely self-absorbed or selfish, we tend to throw around the word “narcissist” or “narcissist.”

But the truth is, oftentimes, what people don’t know or forget is that narcissism is an actual mental health diagnosis.

In short, these are people who have an inflated sense of their importance, and often need admiration and praise from others.

Another notable trait of such a person is his or her lack of empathy – which may make it difficult to establish a satisfying relationship with such a person.

If you suspect your partner is a narcissist, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll talk about narcissistic personality disorder, what it looks like from a clinical standpoint, and seven early signs of a narcissistic partner.

We understand that living with a narcissist can negatively impact your mental health. So, in addition to the above, we will give you tips on things you can do if your partner is already showing these signs.

What is narcissistic personality disorder?

As I mentioned briefly earlier, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or narcissism, is defined by a person’s inflated sense of self-importance. People with this condition constantly need and search for attention.

However, experts in the field believe that this is just a cover for a fragile sense of self-worth.

Without the admiration and attention they crave, narcissists may become unhappy.

It is interesting to note that this occurs more in men than in women, and early signs of a narcissistic partner may appear in a person’s teenage years or early adulthood.

What are the characteristics that make up a true narcissist?

To be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, there are certain criteria that psychologists have listed in the fifth and final edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness (DSM-5).

The first is a sense of self-greatness – for example, this occurs when someone brags too much about their talents and achievements, or in some cases, expects to be treated or perceived as superior without even deserving it.

They also imagine unlimited success or power, beauty, and perfect love. Narcissists truly believe that they are special and unique and that only people who are like them can understand them.

Because they think they are special, they need excessive admiration. They also feel entitled to favors and preferential treatment, and expect others to do what they want or approve of the things they do.

They exploit others and lack empathy, which involves acknowledging others’ feelings and needs and putting themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Narcissists often feel jealous of others or believe that others are jealous of them.

This type of person may also act arrogantly or arrogantly.

important note

Before we start dealing with the signs of a narcissistic partner, we need to keep in mind that these traits can occur in someone who does not have a narcissistic personality disorder.

Some examples of these people include high achievers and people diagnosed with bipolar personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and other similar conditions.

Only a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist can accurately determine whether or not someone has BPD.

What are the early signs of a narcissistic partner?

While the traits of a narcissist are obvious enough, they may not be easy to spot especially early in a relationship.

If your partner shows these signs, you are likely in a relationship with a narcissist.

1) They were very charming early in the relationship

As mentioned previously, people with BPD are attracted to grandiosity and fantasy about many things, including love.

They might shower you with compliments and tell you things like how perfect you are for each other, even if you’ve only been on a few dates. He can also give you extravagant gifts, and be very public outdoors and on social media.

You may know this as “love bombing,” where a person “bombards” you with large offers of attention and affection.

It can be fun at first, but the thing is, this can quickly become something serious. Experts say this could be a manipulation tactic.

A 2017 study found that love bombing was positively associated with narcissistic tendencies. It is also associated with an insecure attachment style, which manifests itself as a lack of trust or value in oneself or others).

When you start to feel uncomfortable in their company, feel like they need reassurance all the time, or make you feel like their problems are your fault, this could be a sign of a narcissistic partner.

2) They always talk about themselves
When you share news or stories about yourself, does your partner participate or do you somehow find yourself listening to them talk about themselves instead?

Narcissists tend to direct the conversation towards themselves.

They often try to make their accomplishments and talents seem more impressive than they are, says clinical psychologist Angela Grace, PhD, MA, BFA, Pedia.

Meanwhile, according to psychiatrist Jacqueline Kroll: “Narcissists like to constantly talk about their achievements and accomplishments grandiosely. They do this because they feel better and smarter than everyone else, and also because it helps them create an appearance of self-confidence.”

3) They ignore your feelings
A sign of a narcissistic partner is a lack of empathy, or the ability to sense the feelings of others and mirror or acknowledge those feelings.

According to the same study mentioned previously, narcissists do not know how to apologize and how to understand other people’s feelings and points of view.

The ability to empathize is an essential aspect of a healthy, successful relationship, which is why relationships with narcissists often fail.

4) They look for compliments and attention
I mentioned previously that experts believe that a person with BPD has a fragile sense of self-worth.

“They need a lot of praise, and if you don’t give it to them, they’ll hunt you for it,” says Nedra Glover Twab, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and founder of Kaleidoscope Counseling (Charlotte, North Carolina). “.

According to Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) Sherine Pekar, a narcissist uses others to give them a sense of self-worth. Because they already have low self-esteem, to begin with, they need more praise. She adds that people with narcissistic personality disorder depend on others to make them feel important and by destroying others.

If you relate to this, this may be one of the signs of a narcissistic partner.

5) They start criticizing you
While some people are naturally annoying, people with narcissistic personality disorder make comments about you that are hurtful rather than constructive or fun.

According to Picard, narcissists do this to lower others’ self-esteem and make them feel good about themselves. And when you engage, it just shows them that what they’re doing is working.

If your partner makes you feel bad about something you were previously proud of or didn’t consider a problem, he or she may have the signs of a narcissistic partner.

6) They have few (if any) long-term friends
Narcissists have problems maintaining relationships with others, which leads them to not have many friends.

Because narcissists are so sensitive and insecure, they may feel offended when they want to spend time with other people.

It may make you feel guilty for spending time with your friends instead of with them, or critical of the quality of your friends.

7) They highlight you
One sign of a narcissistic partner is gaslighting.

If you’re not familiar with this concept, it’s when one lies, wrongly accuse others, and distorts the truth and your reality.

As a result, you may question your beliefs and reality, and lower your self-esteem and confidence.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you feel different from the person you were before?
  • Do you tell yourself that you are too sensitive?
  • Do you feel like you’re always making mistakes?
  • Do you blame yourself and apologize a lot?
  • Do you make excuses for how your partner behaves?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you’re probably being gaslighted.

Narcissists do this to assert their superiority, Picard says, and gaslighting is one of their tactics.

What are you doing now?

Narcissists can negatively impact your mental health, leaving you vulnerable to emotional abuse.

Now that you know the signs of a narcissistic partner, it would be wise to rethink the relationship.

You must have a support system to help you overcome this problem, regardless of how you make your decision.

If you decide to maintain your relationship with your partner, seriously consider the following:

  • See the therapist
  • Set clear boundaries
  • Record conversations and events to protect against gaslighting
  • Stay calm and firm
  • Avoid gossiping with people who are not within your support circle
  • Educate yourself about narcissists and learn to recognize their manipulation tactics

bottom line

Being in a relationship with a narcissist is difficult.

Licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., author of Should I Stay or Should I Go? Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist People who are in a relationship with a narcissist often don’t realize it until they’re in a very deep state already, he said.

We all can become self-centered from time to time, but narcissists don’t know any other way to do it.