Are you dating a narcissist?…You fell for their charm, gregarious personality, drive and dapper dress sense, but now the cracks are beginning to show and you’re wondering if the person you’re dating is more than just selfish? Here’s a clue; someone with this disorder will lack empathy and will have a grandiose sense of self. They find it hard to relate to others and their main priority is keeping their ego intact, to the detriment of everyone around them. ‘This means they can’t take any criticism, they have no self awareness and they don’t care who they hurt in order to promote their own vanity, power and prestige,’ shares Jess Henley, psychotherapist and mind coach.
Wondering how you could have fallen for a narcissist? Don’t beat yourself up – it happens to the best of us (me included). ‘They can be great company, as the feedback they get from being outgoing boosts their grandiosity and reinforces their inflated sense of self. Plus, we are also subconsciously attracted to what we know, so, if one of your parents is a narcissist this might also be a factor’ explains Henley.
Still not sure the label applies? The below should set the record straight…
They don’t feel remorse. Caught your partner cheating, lying or trying to manipulate you and they still don’t feel bad about it? This is down to their inability to empathise with you, which means that when they hurt you they rarely feel remorseful.
‘They are dismissive. When you are having relationship issues – does your partner listen to you and value what you are saying about them even if it’s a criticism? A narcissist will dismiss your values if they do not match theirs. They will find it hard to relate to you and they will have little interest in your point of view. Anything that threatens their sense of identity will immediately be dismissed by them.’
They are unreliable. They cancel on you regularly, and constantly break promises, emotionally there for you one minute and gone the next.
‘They hate hearing no. So, they don’t ask for things directly because it puts them in a position of feeling dependent (something else they don’t like). They will engineer situations so that they get what they want. For example, they will show up with last minute concert tickets for you both, or take you to the coolest new restaurant in town. But when you make a suggestion they’re not keen. You’ve noticed that everything is about what they want to do, their desires, their preferences – even when it comes to things that are fun.’
Dr Malkin, author of Rethinking Narcissism
They love to break the rules. Because they think they are special, they have a blatant disregard for the rules and social norms.
‘They blame you for everything. If you notice that after every argument or disagreement you are the one apologising then this could be a sign. A narcissist is never wrong so will never apologise. In a relationship we all make mistakes so it should be 50/50. If your relationship is totally one sided, then that’s a clear warning sign.’
‘They constantly highlight how alike you both are. It gives a narcissist great joy to be with somebody who shares all of the same ideas and preferences. Because narcissists hate to be vulnerable, they feel a sense of safety at the thought of dating ‘their twin’. Essentially, it’s like they are dating themselves, which is great because they believe themselves to be amazing individuals.’
Dr Malkin, author of Rethinking Narcissism
They’re a commitment phobe. Your partner is happy to be intimate with you both emotionally and physically, but doesn’t want to commit to you just in case someone better comes along.
‘They have a temper. A narcissist has a very fragile sense of self, this is why it is so important for them to make sure it is always intact – as a result they are very quick to anger if they are questioned by you or feel threatened in anyway. Notice your partners agitation levels and try and see if their anger is always related to their sense of self.’
They don’t know much about you. When you start sharing things about yourself they will relate your experience back to them and take over the conversation. You’re constantly left feeling like you know more about them then they do about you.