Is my partner a narcissist?
Is it just me, or is the term narcissist appearing on every second relationship post? Narcissist is a word that until recently, was reserved for a psychological disorder. A word, most people barely knew the meaning of. Now, every time a guy, or girl doesn’t do what their significant other wants “they are a narcissist”
In this post I aim to clarify if your girl is narcissistic, or just hard to live with.
Let’s start with outlining what narcissism is. Narcissism is a disorder in which a person has an inflated sense of self-importance. Narcissists believe they are above everybody else. Commonly shown by only believing their own views and rubbishing anybody that believes differently.
Symptoms include an excessive need for admiration, disregard for others’ feelings, an inability to handle any criticism and a sense of entitlement. Watch for people that are charming in public. Speak as if they are extremely important, at work and among social groups. Yet behind closed doors show a very different side to their personality. Another key trait is making situations about themselves. Stealing the attention during birthdays or baby showers for example.
The disorder needs to be diagnosed by a professional.
There is a bucket load of things, that narcissistic people do, that make them terrible partners. Living with a person that drags you down to inflate their own sense of importance, is not going to be fun for anyone. Relationships with a narcissist can result in severe abuse, both mentally and physically. The partner of a narcissist can lose all sense of self worth and take years to recover after the relationship has ended.
So, is your partner a narcissist? Are they just controlling? Or are you one of the poor buggers that live with someone that is simply, a bad person?
When we enter a relationship, we are faced with tiny little decisions that shape what is, or is not excepted from us. How quickly do you agree to not drinking with the boys? Do you suddenly stop reading your favourite magazine because your new girl thinks it is sexist? We all know guys that suddenly dress differently, are no longer free for a game of cards and generally change who they are, seemingly overnight. These guys are facing their tiny decisions, with no consideration for themselves. Throwing their own needs out the window in hope to keep their new love interest.
Lets fast forward six months down the road. The man in this relationship is miserable, he doesn’t do anything he enjoys. He has successfully ignored all his own desires and wonders why, he feels depressed. His friends tell him she is a narcissist, she makes you miserable and controls every facet of your life.
This relationship is toxic but not necessarily narcissistic. People often forget who they are in an attempt to satisfy the needs of others. A healthy relationship compliments the individuals involved. Your partner should add to your life, not manipulate it for their own benefit.
While being challenged by your partner promotes growth, both personal and relationship. The way we are challenged must come from an honest and healthy perspective. My wife often asks me how I could improve on certain things. She pushes me to improve and do better. In return I push her. What we need look out for is your partner pushing you to do things for their own benefit and not yours. For example, if your partner wants your attention, they may stop you from spending time with friends, family or work colleagues. Behaviour like this is not for your benefit but theirs. This situation gets worse when your partner is not honest about their intentions. For example, rather than saying I want your attention. They may argue with your friends to ensure future limits to your friendships. Your partner may use punishment techniques to get want they want. An example of this is receiving days of silence from your spouse for doing something they didn’t approve of.
If you think you have overlooked some red flags or possible narcissistic behaviour, or If you are involved in a relationship that controls every aspect of your life. Here are some things to consider.
Does your partner present you with healthy challenges like, encouraging you to save money? Or are you challenged about your family, friends and time spent doing things you enjoy? Is your significant other using honest communication or underhanded techniques to control you? Some more extreme red flags that need to be addressed immediately include: Putting you down in public. Making nasty remarks with intent to make you feel small and to emasculate you. In particular, comments comparing you to their ex-lovers or other men. These comments are intended to lower your self-worth making you easier to control in the future. Do you receive punishment for acting against their will. This can include silent treatment, revenge techniques and in severe cases violence.
Another common trait in toxic relationships, particularly among narcissistic partners is “gaslighting” Gaslighting, is a very damaging technique in which a person intentionally plants seeds of doubt into their partners mind. Telling their partner, certain things didn’t happen or that their memory of the event is incorrect. Comments like “your crazy” and “you made that up” are intended to make you question your reality. If often used, a victim of gaslighting can completely loose the sense of what’s right. These people lose all sense of self worth and can become incredibly damaged.
If you ignore these warnings, your relationship will worsen. You will feel more depressed and you will waste valuable years of your life. If you feel as though you may be in a situation explained in this post, seek help. I suggest speaking to your peers and family first. Ask them for honesty and be prepared to hear things you may struggle with. Finally speak with a professional. Relationship counsellors and therapists can shed light on your situation.