Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish between self-absorption or narcissism – whether that’s a narcissistic personality disorder or enough self-obsession to destroy a healthy relationship. But being a narcissist is way more than wanting to be the centre of attention. It is, in fact, a mental health disorder that can impact many areas of their life.
1. They lack empathy
One common symptom of a narcissistic personality disorder is a lack of empathy, or an inability to understand how another person is feeling. The way someone with a narcissistic personality experiences emotion is different from most individuals. They often don’t understand how their words, deeds and actions can cause pain or hurt to others.
A narcissist is often too self-focused to pick up on and have a deep understanding of other people’s emotions. In a relationship, this would translate to a narcissist saying cruel things in an unconscious manner, but not caring because they don’t feel anyone else’s feelings.
2. They’re manipulative
Manipulation is a major sign that you could be dating a narcissist. Whether it’s telling you what you’re allowed to wear, or who you’re allowed to spend time with, where you’re allowed to go, if your partner is constantly trying to control you, that’s definitely a red flag.
Narcissists are experts at getting what they want, as they have no empathy for other people, they don’t care what impact their manipulation will have on those surrounding them. They use manipulation as a tool to get what they want, which is more often than not, attention, validation and status.
3. They gaslight you
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse that occurs in abusive relationships, where someone leads you to question your sanity and attempt to undermine your perception of reality. It is a form of emotional abuse, and one of the most common traits of a narcissist.
The narcissist will say or do something abusive and then deny that it ever happened. They will often use phrases to minimize and invalidate your feelings. Along with making you doubt your memory, narcissists will deflect responsibility, and blame onto you.
4. They don’t have any (or many) long-lasting friendships
Most narcissists don’t have many, or any, long-term friendships. They have trouble maintaining relationships and when a friend no longer serves their needs enough, or they threaten their self-image, they will distance themselves or cut them off completely.
As a result of not being able to form long-lasting relationships, they will often lash out at your when you want to hang out with your friends. Someone with a narcissistic personality will often make you feel pressured and guilty to spend less time with your friends because they will claim that you don’t spend enough time with them.
5. They put you down
Narcissists hate feeling less than, weak or out of control. For this reason, they will pull you down, call you names, and hit you with hurtful words and jokes. They will often try to sabotage or belittle your job, social life, personality traits or physical appearance.
Their end goal is to try and lower your self-esteem so that they can increase their own because it makes them feel more powerful, and gives them a sense of authority.
6. They can’t take criticism
Narcissist traits tend to include insecurity, this can manifest in extreme sensitivity to criticism. They will reject or ignore criticism, becoming angry and hostile to others, which makes it difficult for them to work with others and hold a long-lasting relationship. Their need to feel above others makes it difficult for them to take on board suggestions for improvement.
So, you’re dating a narcissist… now what?
If you believe you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, here are some tips to help you stay sane and deal with the person; If you want to stay in a relationship with a narcissistic person, you need to acknowledge your self-worth and be able to set personal boundaries to make sure that they’re not controlling your life and stepping all over you