Dating a narcissist can be one of the most emotionally draining and unfulfilling pursuits you ever undertake. Narcissists care only about themselves, or if they do care about others, it’s because the relationship has some advantage for them. There’s a difference between narcissistic personality disorder and someone who’s got a big ego, however, so know the difference between the two before you point fingers.
A big ego will always result in selfishness, but narcissism takes that selfishness to new extremes. Here are six signs that you’re dating a narcissist. Whether you were raised by narcissists and have trouble identifying these traits or you’ve simply been charmed by a narcissistic person, these tips might just help you ditch that toxic relationship once and for all.
1. Everything Is About Them
It’s your birthday, and you just can’t wait to go out and celebrate with your friends and have cake later at your family’s house. It’s your day to enjoy, but something’s wrong. Your significant other has been strangely quiet and reclusive today, avoiding you and any conversations. As the time to leave to go out with your friends approaches, they become more and more hostile, until suddenly, you’re in an argument…over what?
Narcissists hate when someone else is the center of attention. Someone else’s birthday is a prime time for a narcissist to show their true colors. Depending on the person and the level of narcissism they’re suffering from, they might throw a full-blown fit, start a fight, mope around, or genuinely try to ruin your birthday for you.
If anyone of this sounds familiar with your significant other, you could be dating a narcissist. Or, at the very least, you’re dating someone who has a jealousy issue and hasn’t learned to communicate properly.
2. They Can Do No Wrong
In the eyes of a narcissist, they are the ultimate authority when it comes to right and wrong. You don’t tell them they’re wrong—they tell you when you’re wrong, because they couldn’t possibly be wrong. They’re just too awesome.
Narcissists suffer from the delusion that they can do no wrong. They’ll lie, downplay the seriousness of something they’ve done, or simply shift the blame elsewhere. Often, that blame will come to you. This is called gaslighting, and is typical behavior of narcissistic people. Their ego has become so inflated that they genuinely believe they’re always right, and you must be the problem.
Being gaslighted can make you question your very sanity. They’ll distort events and facts until you genuinely can’t tell the difference between what actually happened and the narrative they’ve created to protect their ego.
3. They Put You Down All The Time
Narcissists live at the top of very high pedestals, and it takes a lot to maintain that image. They need to replenish the stone, after all, so they can keep standing above everyone else. Often, this is done by beating down other people and using their pain to build themselves up.
We’ve all met someone who was so miserable that all they could do was pick on other people. That’s not a fun person to be around, is it?
4. They Spend Too Much Time On Themselves
Narcissists often prefer their own company, but they’ll go out of their way to make sure their perfect image is maintained. Vanity comes in many forms, and spending far too much time on makeup, hair, manicures, and other self-care routines can be a sign of narcissism.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that doing your hair or makeup makes you a narcissist. It’s when the habits become unhealthily obsessive that you should pay closer attention. We all want to look nice when we go out or when we see our significant other, but narcissists become obsessed with looking the best. They need to be the center of attention.
5. Social Media Addiction
HuffPost has described social media as “A Narcissist’s Virtual Playground”, and it’s easy to see why. Social media may have been created with the idea of bringing people together, but it’s probably the most self-centered platform on the internet. Vanity is the currency on social media, and narcissists flock to such platforms to get accolades and likes and shares and comments from complete strangers. As a society, we’ve eaten up the attention that social media grants us, and it only breeds further narcissism in those already afflicted with the condition.
A narcissist likely has a very unhealthy addiction to social media. They’ll always have their phone on them, jumping at every notification. They crave attention and social validation.
6. Extreme Jealousy
The interesting thing about narcissism is that for all its selfishness and focus on ego, it stems from insecurity. People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder almost always have low or fragile self-esteem. It’s an interesting oxymoron; you would think a person so obsessed with themselves would actually love who they are, but it’s the complete opposite.
These feelings of insecurity often lead to extreme jealousy on the part of a significant other. If your boyfriend or girlfriend can’t stand the thought of you even talking to a member of the opposite sex, you’re going to have problems. Even the slightest things can make them jealous. Some narcissists go as far as to berate their partners just for talking to a co-worker!
Jealousy isn’t always a sign of narcissism, but it’s not healthy in a relationship. Either way, if your partner is incredibly jealous, beware.
Does Narcissism Get Better?
Is your significant other destined to be a narcissist forever? Not necessarily, but it does take enormous leaps to get to the root of the problem, or even admit there’s a problem to begin with. Deep down, the narcissist knows they’re unhappy with themselves, but their ego is in place to help guard those feelings. Only when the ego has been breached and broken and those deep feelings have been revealed can real change occur.
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