People often misuse the term "narcissist" when they see someone posting a few too many selfies or going on a first date with someone who constantly talks about themselves. But true narcissists have a mental health condition called narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). It's characterized by a lack of empathy, an inflated sense of importance, and an excessive need for admiration.
Here are some ways to recognize whether your partner is a narcissist or not:
They were charming in the beginning
Your relationship started like a fairy tale, with constant texting and saying, "I love you," within the first month—experts refer to this as "love bombing." They might also talk about your compatibility and intelligence right from the beginning.
Narcissists believe that they deserve to be with special people who can appreciate them completely. But they can turn on you at the drop of a hat if you do something that disappoints them, without you even having a clear idea of what you did wrong.
They don't have empathy
One of the hallmark characteristics of a narcissist is their inability to empathize with others and feel what they're feeling. They lack the ability to make someone feel seen, validated, accepted, or understood because they can't put themselves in anybody else's shoes.
If your partner doesn't care when you've had a bad day, a fight with a loved one, or gets bored when you're in the middle of expressing your feelings, they lack empathy. This inability to empathize causes most narcissists' relationships to eventually collapse.
They pick on you
What might have started out as gentle teasing may feel like constant bullying. Everything you do will start becoming a problem to a narcissist—the clothes you wear, the shows you watch, and the food you eat. They'll hit you with horrible one-liners and put you down while brushing it off as a joke.
Reacting to it only reinforces this bad behavior, since they crave power over other people's emotional states. If you notice your partner knocking you down when you're happy, it's best to just walk away.
They gaslight you
One of the narcissist's favorite forms of abuse and manipulation is gaslighting. They tell blatant lies, spin the truth, throw false accusations, and try to distort your reality. They love causing doubt in others and worship the truthful and honest one in the relationship. Some signs of gaslight include feeling anxious all the time, wondering if you're too sensitive, apologizing often, and making excuses for your behavior.
Get individual counseling services in New Jersey
Being in a relationship with someone who belittles, criticizes, and gaslights you is emotionally exhausting. Talk to a mental health expert to work through the trauma they have inflicted and begin the healing process. Experts often recommend leaving in such a situation, but if you both are determined to make it work, you can also go for couple's counseling atStem Wellness.
Contact us to book an appointment today.