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23 Signs You Have A Narcissistic Relationship

It is the 21st century, and everything is taking an unusual turn. Relationships aren’t spared either. From dating sites to TV programs, relationships are being made casually and commercialized.

While that may not be your case, you may land a narcissist that loves themselves and demand excessive attention than you. In this article, you’ll find the answers to all your questions related to a narcissistic relationship.

Probably, it is not the first time you heard about a narcissistic relationship. What kind of relationship is it? How to tell if you’re in a narcissistic relationship? What are the narcissistic traits you need to know?

Have you ever been with somebody and realized they are too much into themselves? And everything they do or talk about is themselves? It must have been such a bother.

Well, it is not wrong to focus on yourself. Neither is it unusual to show yourself, love. While that is true, there is a limit beyond which self-love and attention become narcissistic. You might be the victim of narcissism, or you might be the narcissist.

So, how to identify if you are in a narcissistic relationship? Here, we’ve listed the top eleven signs that you are in a narcissistic relationship.

How To Identify A Narcissistic Relationship

1. Hold on!

You probably have been dating for a while now. You now think it is time to take the relationship to the next level. So, before making that decision, you have sat your partner down and expressed your wishes.

And this you did with zero expectation of any challenges. Perhaps you thought your partner would give you a straight ‘yes’ since you have been seeing each other for a while now.

After talking, your partner asks you to hold on. Well, considering the gravity of the decision to be made, it is understandable to give your partner time to think over things. The problem arises when the “holding on” lasts forever.

One of the typical traits of a narcissist is a lack of responsibility. And this makes them allergic to commitments. You will see this when you ask your partner to make a serious decision requiring commitment. A narcissist will take off like you mean nothing to them. And you’ll be surprised how your promising relationship will change to nonexistence.

After thinking, a genuine partner will tell you yes or no. Yes, because he/she believes you are the right person to spend the rest of his/her life with. A ‘no’ may come because of the inadequacies you possess as an individual; you are not meant to be a life partner.

On the other hand, a narcissist will keep you waiting. You will hold on for the rest of your life unless you decide to move on. If this is what’s happening to you and your relationship, likely, you are in a narcissistic relationship.

2. “Power couple” mentality

Think about celebrity couples like Beyoncé and Jay Z. The Obamas and many other examples. These couples have challenges but do not show them to the world. And they fight and argue like any other beings but keep their imperfection outside the limelight.

Now, let’s come to your relationship. If your partner only thinks about what other people say about your relationship and not if the two of you are at peace, then it might be a sign that your relationship is narcissistic.

Narcissistic partners are mostly perfectionists. They want a partner not only to fill their inadequacies but also to attract attention and get positive feedback from onlookers.

They want a Beyoncé and Jay Z type of relationship. Narcissists want a “power couple” title. If it does not come, then be ready for drama. Be sure that the relationship will not go far.

Narcissistic partners do not work to see the relationship grow. For as long as they get people to talk about their relationship, they are okay. The moment others stop talking about the relationship, they are willing to do anything to bring the conversation back or end the relationship.

That is why a narcissist will target an accessible or financially able partner. And this is so especially in the case of ladies.

When a woman insists on getting personal things done for you, then perhaps she has narcissistic qualities. For instance, a narcissist woman will work hard to ensure you dress “right.” And this will not be a choice for you.

By the time you become an adult, you already know what to dress. If not, you’d have a designer to sort your fashion needs. By the time you met your partner, you were already identifying yourself with some brands.

It is not wrong to improve. But the problem is when this is used to disguise hidden motives. Your woman is a narcissist if she wants to dress you not to look good but for others to say she got herself a well-dressed man. It is not about you, but herself.

3. Unequal effort

Love is a two-way thing. You and your partner have different abilities to balance your union. In most cases, the man is expected to provide auto-balance by taking control of the relationship. In some instances, ladies step up to provide the stability a relation requires to be stable.

Either way, one partner must feel the effort and love coming from the other side. It might not be the same intensity, but at least a trying partner is better than one who does not put any effort.

Different partners have varying definitions of love. In whatever definition, the effort is constant. That is why a partner whose effort is seasonal may be a narcissist. Because they only show attempts when they need something from their partners.

If your lover puts in efforts, it is okay. If he/she does not, you may have a narcissistic relationship, and it may be the time to call it quits. The problem is when your lover is in between showing effort and not. It is a narcissistic character to put you in such tight situations that hinder you from making a final decision.

4. Sudden changes in behavior

Narcissists have mental intelligence but do poorly in terms of emotional intelligence. They put up a show when trying to win you over. Once they have you, things will drastically change.

If you have a completely different lover from the one you met in terms of character, that might be an early sign that you are in a narcissist relationship. A narcissist will throw in everything to win you. Perhaps you are the trophy partner or “the prize” they hallucinated with. Once they “achieved” in winning over you, you become a candidate to join the list of used ex-partners.

The energy suddenly vanishes. And the once a gentleman turns into a partner who doesn’t care how you are doing. Previously, you used to talk the whole night.

Do you remember how you’d start your day with a good-morning message? Then go to bed late after a goodnight text. The words your partner texted you to make you smile. When that is no longer there, then probably the narcissist already got what they wanted.

You need no other red alert. The more time moves, the more the narcissistic relationship takes a toll on you. Hesitate not in deciding to move on and start a new chapter. Or, you may just choose to sit there and persevere the hardships your narcissist relationship is bringing your way. The choice is yours.

5. Victimization

This is weird but true. Whenever there is an argument, one partner must be wrong. The offender should take responsibility for their actions and seek forgiveness. He/she should make the other know they are sorry, and it will never happen again.

In a narcissist relationship, you will be the wronged and the one to seek an apology. And if your partner mistreats you and then plays the victim, then you are in a narcissistic relationship.

In most cases, the narcissist partner will make a mistake and then turn the blame on you. At that point, he/she will take advantage of the situation and make you pay for a mistake the narcissist made.

After the blame has been pushed to you, the emotional blackmail card will be thrown. The narcissist will take advantage of your empathy and manipulate you once again. And it’s the tact narcissists use to get themselves out of trouble.

6. Complaints from others

Some truth cannot be hidden or made up. Narcissism stories broke out and spread like bush fire. If you hear stories of your partner being portrayed as a narcissist, then likely you are in a narcissistic relationship.

Sometimes, people start such rumors to frustrate your relationship or just sabotage the efforts you are putting into making the relationship work. Be cautious not to fall victim to such wars.

To be sure, only rely on trustworthy sources. If close friends and family insist your partner is a narcissist, it may be right. Besides, be keen on what people say about your relationship.

You will hear people say your relationship won’t go far. On seeking reasons why such a statement would be uttered, they follow up with an answer that your partner is a narcissist. Well, you shouldn’t be surprised. Instead, you should focus more on strengthening your bonding.

7. Many previous broken relationships

There is no way a narcissist will keep a relationship. Their mean persona will push away the other partner. That is why narcissists skip from one relationship to another.

Most times, they are the ones who leave the relationship. After causing you trouble, they jump off the love train and leave you heartbroken.

A narcissist is quick to react whenever he/she feels his/her life is threatened. There are those moments when a relationship ends up in separation.

A partner without narcissistic traits will give space while his/her heart is still in the relationship. On the other hand, a narcissist may break, and that’s it. He/she will simply walk away, and you may never hear from them again.

Well, the reality is that there is no perfect relationship. As this narcissist looks for one, they end up dating as many people as possible. And this is the reason they end up with an endless list of ex-partners. Therefore, be a worried partner if your lover has a line of exes. Narcissism is one of the leading reasons for such situations.

8. Love-hate relationship

There is no empathy in a narcissist’s heart. That is why he/she will keep the relationship turbulent. You will realize some form of instability when it comes to your partner’s feelings towards you. This minute you are in good terms while the next a fight erupts.

A relationship with fights is normal, and it’s also healthy. On the other hand, a relationship with an unusual prevalence of arguments should keep you worried. Not only that, some narcissists won’t bring up any fight but give you the silent treatment.

Narcissists tend to keep their partner in anxiety. You just don’t know what they are going to bring up next. The rate at which love from a narcissist fluctuates to hate and back is alarming.

If worry is your daily condition, then the relationship may be narcissistic. A partner with your interests at heart will go a long way in assuring you of their love with actions. And they will love you unconditionally and not seek to manipulate you. Narcissists will rarely do.

9. Flooded social media

Every step has a theoretical underpinning. The rise in the use of social media is associated with the increase in narcissism in the recent past.

If all your partner does is to post selfies on his/her social media handles, you might be a victim of a narcissist relationship. What is the point of filling your Instagram daily when you are not marketing something? It may be unnecessary.

Sharing your life on social media is not a bad thing. However, the problem arises when your partner is always posting. Not any other posts but selfies. Or pictures of him/herself showing off while in real life he/she isn’t what they are posting.

Well, don’t get me wrong. Posting on social media isn’t a crime. Besides, posting too much of yourself does not necessarily mean you are a narcissist. Therefore, not all that flood their handles with pictures of themselves are narcissists. Not even all narcissists post too much of themselves.

The point is, posting excessively on social media may be an indication of narcissism. Social media is one of the platforms narcissists use to expose their excessive obsession with self unconsciously.

10. Manipulation

Your partner may be a narcissist if he/she regularly takes advantage of you. I used to have a girlfriend who used ‘poverty’ to get money from me. I would call, and the first thing she told me was that she hadn’t taken lunch.

With every other call came a complaint. My ex-girlfriend would cry, telling me how her younger sister was not playing her role of buying food and paying for electricity according to their memorandum of understanding. She emotionally blackmailed me for her own financial benefits.

At one time, I decided to open a business for her. The goal was to make her independent. You know what happened next, right?

After the business stabilized under my help and professional assistance, she started cutting communication. She would go off for a week. Upon switching on her phone, she would text and continue talking to me as if nothing happened. The next thing I would hear from her was, “It is over between us.” And that was how she left.

She took advantage of my sympathy. While relationships break for different reasons, ours broke because of her narcissism. And she was with me to manipulate me. After she got what she wanted, she left like I never existed. She didn’t even care what would follow.

Manipulation does not necessarily mean narcissism, but it is a sign of narcissism. If the favors are one way, then be on the look-out. Love is a give-and-take affair. Your life partner will never want to manipulate you.

A narcissistic relationship is one that favors going one way. Failure to give the favors might lead to accusations of you not being loving. You will be told how uncaring and a sadist you are. There is no sense of understanding from the other party.

11. Instant gratification

Has your partner ever asked for a favor or something to be done? Then, your answer was, ‘I’ll think about it.’ Or, you said no blatantly. What was their reaction?

A person without narcissism personality disorder will understand. But, a narcissist will not. It will not end there. He/she will go ahead and harbor feelings of anger.

You will be surprised in the future when you will be reminded of the harm you caused. And a narcissist may never forgive you for saying no. Their instant reaction and future actions will show you the feeling of lack of forgivingness and revenge.

On the other hand, instant gratification suits a narcissist well. He/she will rejoice. As a result, they may ask for more favors or demands. They will feel more satisfied with every request you fulfill unconditionally.

12 Common Traits Of A Narcissist – Understand Narcissistic Traits And Behaviors

Believe you know the signs of a narcissistic relationship by now, below are the common traits and behaviors of a narcissist. You must be aware of them so that you can avoid getting into a narcissistic relationship. Let’s dive into the characteristics and behaviors of narcissists.

 1. Heroism

Most narcissists have been victims of circumstances before. For example, bullying, abuse or betrayal, etc. So, they eager to prove to you that they are fantastic. In the real sense, the need to be heroes comes in to cover the vacuum left behind by the injuries they suffered before.

A narcissist will give you stories of how they went through challenges and emerged victoriously. While it is not a mistake to be a hero, theirs will be too much. Repeated stories of how good they were, is a clear indication of narcissism. So heroism is one of the narcissistic traits you should know.

2. Negativity

You do not want to meet a narcissistic partner on a bad day. They offend you and turn the blame on you. If a narcissist makes a mistake and you react by complaining or raising your concern, the next thing you hear is how you are not understanding.

A narcissist partner has a high sensitivity to criticism. You will be astonished by their behavior. Their response comes in two ways:

  • Cold detachment, or
  • A heated argument

Offend your narcissist partner, and you will never hear from them again. Or, they will start communicating after a long period of cold treatment. It takes some time before they warm up to you again.

The other expectation is a heated argument. Be ready for the quarrel of your life. Previous injustices you did before will be undug. You will be reminded of all the wrongs you did before.

In a nutshell, a narcissistic partner will make you feel bad for them to feel good. There won’t be peace as long as they aren’t happy. That is the only way their delicate ego can be protected.

3. Unrealistic ambitions, demands and wants

Most narcissists are unrealistic. Just listen to your partner talk. Is she/he “dreaming too big”? Are their aspirations unrealistic?

You can always tell if a dream can be met using the “SMART” rule. For narcissists, most have Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals (BHAG). One of the narcissistic traits you need to know. Such goals require actions and a great strategy. You look at your partner, and their laziness does not allow them to have such dreams.

He/she wants the most expensive perfumes and meals at the most expensive hotels. You think about his/her earnings, and you wonder how your partner feels.

If their demands are just too high beyond the ordinary, you might be in a narcissist relationship. Your partner needs to understand what you can afford and what you cannot. She/he needs to be realistic.

Well, if he/she does not care about your struggle, then he/she might be narcissistic. That is a clear indication your partner is only thinking about themselves. That might be harmful to your peace and growth. It threatens the relationship growth too.

4. Extra charming 

Extra charming is one of the common narcissistic traits. As much as narcissists long for attention, it gets to a time when they need love. During such moments, they play charmingly. You will be surprised at how good they’ve become.

It is not a bad thing to be charming. When the relationship is narcissistic, you will realize this charm is seasonal. It comes before favor is demanded. It is a bait used to open you up.

Keenness is required. While you should not be paranoid to your lover, you need to be careful when they become too good. It might be an excellent way to lead you to manipulation. So, do not wait until it’s too late.

A narcissist may also give you more than you asked for just to get what they want. It is all about personal interest. A person pretends to sacrifice anything for you willingly might be a narcissist. And this is one of the common narcissistic traits and behaviors. And the sacrifice is usually made to prove a point to you. Once the narcissist has won your trust, the/she will go ahead and take advantage of you just to massage their ego.

5. Too much confidence

Oh yeah! And this is one of the narcissistic traits you can’t overlook. Self-belief is a great attribute. It propels one to greater things. If you and your partner are confident, the relationship is likely going to thrive more. Lack of confidence may be a significant pullback.

However, the level of confidence held by some narcissists should worry you. Some are so confident that not even ‘temerity’ can be used to define their level of self-belief. When should you be concerned?

You are in a narcissistic relationship if your partner’s confidence bothers you. This is so especially when he/she uses the confidence to make you feel worse. Mostly, a narcissist partner may be doing this to manipulate you, and you should be aware of this toxic behavior.

6. Flirt

If you find your partner have many opposite-sex friends, and she or he likes to flirt with them, then you are with a narcissist. Flirting is one of the narcissistic traits you must know. Remember, a narcissist is an attention freak. He/she craves to be noticed.

With many friends who are of the opposite sex, a narcissist feels his/her ego massaged. It is an excellent feeling to him/her when someone shows them recognition. And it is usual to have many friends of the opposite gender. The problem comes in when you use these friends for personal gain.

For instance, your partner is flirting with these friends to feel special and make you feel jealous, then rethink the relationship.

Why would someone use others to instill jealousy in you? Is it right? No, it’s not even fair. Flirting with others is unacceptable when one in a committed relationship.

Your lover may be flirting to get you, but once you say yes to your lover, that should be the end of flirting. It is disrespectful. Narcissism doesn’t recognize that.

7. Unreliability

A relationship is a commitment. Life, too, is a commitment. Everything you say must match your actions. The higher the level of mismatch, the more one qualifies himself/herself to bear the “unreliable” tag.

There are simple things like keeping time matter in figuring out narcissistic behaviors. If I promised I would do x, y, and z, then go ahead and deliberately do z only, chances are there is something wrong with me.

Unreliability is generally accompanied by irresponsibility. Most of the narcissists are both unreliable and irresponsible. Their high regard for themselves makes them believe they can get away with anything without suffering consequences. And it’s one of the typical traits of a narcissist.

This belief that the world owes them renders narcissists careless. Their carefree attitude makes them do as they please without caring who will be affected. Whenever they do not keep a commitment, they do not even ask themselves what happens with the other party.

And this is one of the attitudes that make dating a narcissist becomes unbearable. It might be a narcissistic relationship if your partner never shows up early for dates. While it may look not a big deal, it really is. Lateness, followed by broken promises, compounds the matter even more.

8. Virtual bots

People think and act differently. They react variedly depending on their personality. Unlike narcissists, others show sensitivity throughout their actions and reactions.

Sometimes, narcissists act like robots. They are insensitive and do not care what the current situation is. These are people who may start cracking jokes during serious engagements. It is the common trait of a narcissist.

Insensitivity to you and others may be an indication you are in a narcissistic relationship. It is a clear sign of self-love gone beyond borders. An insensitive partner will easily flirt because they do not understand what it means to you. If they do, they do not care what harm it will do to you—one of the most common traits of a narcissist you can’t overlook.

 9.  Entitlement

Preferential treatment is one of the things that make narcissists feel contented. If you treat one like a king/queen, you will be their best friend.

Dare you to do the opposite, and you will know who the supreme is. It is effortless to know an entitled partner. Their interaction with the “lowly in the society” will tell it all.

The disrespectful ones clearly show their entitlement. And the junior staffs in the service industry are usually victims of actions of entitled individuals. If you see this narcissist trait in your partner, then you should reevaluate your relationship.

10. Undefeated 

Narcissists never have and will never be wrong. At least that is what they think about themselves. It makes it hard to fight or argue with them. Hence this is one of the most noticeable traits of a narcissist.

It is natural for women always to win arguments. It does not mean they are all narcissists. The point is most narcissists win cases and are willing to throw in lies just to emerge victoriously. It is always about victory for them.

If your partner argues to win and not to settle your concerns, then it is a narcissist trait. Their goal is to gain attention and has nothing to do with your happiness.

11. No close friends

Lack of close relationships should sound an alarm. Human beings were created with the need and power to develop close relationships, although this comes with its merits and demerits.

A narcissist will resist the urge to make friends just to “protect” themselves from the demerits of forming human relationships. Making friends exposes their weaknesses, which threatens the existence of their “perfect” self.

Some people prefer keeping their circle small. That is allowed. The problem is when your partner chooses to lock people out to protect their “perfect-self,” then it is a narcissistic behavior.

12. Stubbornness

Stubbornness does not define a narcissist. It is just a quality these self-lovers have. If anything you say must be objected even when it is evident, then your partner might be a narcissist.

All a narcissist wants to do is win arguments. And their stubbornness will make your relationship rocky all the time. Regular and unreasonable disputes will always arise, and he/she will always win.

Conclusion

Narcissism may be hard to notice at the beginning of the relationship. But, as time goes by, the true-colors of a narcissist start to show.

While I have highlighted most of a narcissist’s traits negatively, they too have excellent characteristics. Although you only see their best when they want something from you.

So, we hope you have a good understanding of a narcissistic relationship and the narcissistic traits and behaviors. Now, it’s your turn, go and find your soul mate, try to avoid getting into a narcissistic relationship; instead, having a loving and long term relationship.