When outlining the attributes of a narcissist, it’s important to note that not all narcissists are those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The character trait itself is one that may be easy to fall for due to a deceptive charm.
Wikipedia states that “narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.”
Essentially, just like the young Narcissus, one of the essential components of the narcissist is that they are head over heels for one person — themselves. If you are dating a narcissistic person, the progression into a toxic relationship comes as swiftly as the relationship progresses. Just as the fish is drawn in by a dangling worm on the end of a line, once you’ve been hooked, it’s pretty difficult to wriggle free.
So, are you in love with a narcissist? Here are 9 signs you should be on the lookout for.
1. Their love bombing is totally deceptive
The relationship kicks off with a foolproof seductive element, the love bombing, which might come in the form of persistent text messages, phone calls, and emails detailing their love for you. Their one goal is to entice you. Don’t trust it, and never forget that ultimately it’s all about them, not you. We all want to be swept off our feet, loved, admired, and noticed by a partner or lover, and it is totally understandable that you will be impressed by their charm and magnetic personality. If you have felt vulnerable, suffer from low self esteem, or if you’re still hurting from a previous relationship that turned sour, the narcissist can smell this a mile away.
2. They are incapable of admitting they’re wrong
In the initial stages of the relationship, everything you do is perfect — your conversation, your friends, what you wear. The narcissist will agree with most of what you say. This might give you a false sense of security. You may feel that no one else understands you, gets you, or has the ability to love the real you. Once the winds change, and they will, most of what you do will be met with criticism. They are always right — such is the narcissistic element. Remember that there is only one way, the narcissist’s way.
3. They are too interested in their own needs to bother with yours
If you’re in love with a narcissist, you will become accustomed to constantly suspending your needs to fulfil their’s. Initially, you will feel special, like a hero who is always supportive of their partner. After some time, this will begin to grate at you, as you constantly need to keep changing, cancelling, and rescheduling arrangements for their benefit. Even when this is done, they do not seem altogether satisfied, such is their tremendous need.
4. They bombard you with gestures to seduce and impress
The narcissist’s strength is the knack they have for making sweeping gestures. Being in a relationship with a narcissist has all the elements of a hollywood blockbuster, including the sounds and visual effects. However, like all bad trips to the movies, you might get to the point where you wish you could just walk out of the theatre. Not so easy when it comes to a relationship with a narcissist. Since the relationship kickstarted with so many grandiose gestures and seduction, you will be yearning for this constantly. This is why you will put up with their excuses and criticisms once they arrive. The whole point is essentially to hook you in, and this is when the seasons change.
5. They are deeply envious of your relationships with others
Initially, they will claim to adore the fact that you have close friends and a wonderful family. Who doesn’t love a partner who adores the close relationships you have built with family and good friends? But make no mistake, once you are firmly entrenched in the relationship, this changes dramatically. Now, any time you spend with others is the time you will be unable to spend with them. Narcissists do not deal well with any competitive element — whether that be family, friends, pets, hobbies, or anything else that will take your attention away from them.
6. They live in a narcissistic fantasy world
The reason why most narcissists are able to provide you with an incredible floor show of poetry, grand gestures, and seductive techniques, is because they live in their own fantasy world. They love the fantasy of romance — Disney movies where Prince Charming saves a damsel in distress and they live happily ever after. You will be carried away with the beauty of their words, feelings, hopes, and dreams. However, like all good fantasies, they have a beginning and an ending. We never found out what happened after Sleeping Beauty married the Prince. The narcissist wants the romance only, which doesn’t equate to a long-term, committed relationship, as the only person they love and are committed to is themselves.
7. They use people as objects for their own needs
The narcissist moves around in relationships as a way to fill a vacant hole that resides deep inside them. Your role is simply to feed their ego for as long as possible until their interest fizzles out. This is where the relationship suddenly switches from sizzling hot to stone cold. The confusion can leave you exhausted and drained, as you try to make sense of the changes in their behaviour. Internally, your mind is constantly preoccupied with questions. You start analyzing each interaction you have with each other, to try and make sense of their behaviour.
8. They have a sense of entitlement
They live with a sense of entitlement in all their relationships. This makes it difficult when dealing with workmates, friends, and family members. Even when it comes to hurting others with the comments they might make, they feel that this is completely acceptable. You might not be so lucky, as each thing that you say or do will be screened and censored. Anything that is seen as not to their liking, they will berate you harshly for. Since they are always right, there is no point in trying to argue your case. The narcissistic sense of entitlement overrides everything as their psychological survival depends on this.
9. They have a demanding and controlling nature
The narcissist sees others as an extension of themselves, which can be quite tricky when it comes to building up your reserves of personal space. This is when the control element begins to seep in, as their need to have you by their side grows. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t because they love being with you or want to contribute to your happiness and wellbeing. This is simply because you can provide them with a sense of importance and boost their already-inflated ego. As this progresses, you might begin to feel as though you are wearing a noose. Their control and demands know no bounds or restraints, just like their narcissism.
If you do recognize any of the 9 signs above in your own partner, understand that due to the intense nature of this type of relationship, it is natural that you will have been dragged in head first. We have all been sucked into situations that have been toxic and destructive from the offset, but too compelling and exciting to leave.
The point to remember is that narcissists have a never-ending need. You are not their saviour or their reason for being, you are simply the vehicle in which they can travel in first-class comfort until the next victim comes along. Begin to focus on your own needs, and make a choice to enroll supportive friends or family to empower you to step out of this toxic encounter and into a relationship which nurtures you.
Featured photo credit: Sara Cimino via flickr.com