How to Tell if You are in a Relationship with a Narcissist
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Mrs. Randall Easton Wickham (BACP Counsellor and Supervisor)
27th January, 2013
For those women or men that may feel that they are in a relationship with a Narcissist; if you are confused, unhappy and feel devalued in your intimate relationship, and feel like you are on an emotionally draining seesaw, please continue reading as this article may be for you:
Narcissistic men and women are often the following:
- give mixed message communication to their partners,
- likely to blame their partners for their confusing communication patterns and for their outbursts. Somehow, it is always seems to be 'your' fault that they are angry or unhappy even though you often feel that you are 'walking on eggshells' and doing your best to make them happy.
- unpredictable and moody,
- passive aggressive, angry and can be verbally, emotionally and physically abusive,
- unsupportive and unaccepting of their partners and their feelings; i.e. "you are so overly sensitive, needy, and difficult", hormonal,
- not capable of expressing true empathy and warmth towards you, but can be thought of as 'nice' and 'charming' by others. You may even be told by other people how lucky you are to be married to such a lovely person, which is very confusing and may make you doubt yourself and your judgement,
- can be nice and affectionate at times, and seem to pursue you when you are hurt and distance yourself from the relationship (which serves to raise your hopes, but the positive behaviour doesn't last very long). Your hopes are subsequently crushed and you may be left feeling hurt, disappointed and rejected. You may also be left feeling foolish that you were once again naive and believed that your partner and his behaviour had changed.
- controlling and manipulative,
- silent and uncommunicative,
- unexpressive of feelings,
- jealous and competitive,
- critical and judgmental,
- withholding of praise and affection towards their partner,
- show little understanding and remorse when they know they have upset or hurt you,
- are bad listeners as everything is about 'them',
- unable to be intimate; not able to share themselves with others as they are too insecure and afraid,
- emotionally needy and draining; they need lots of attention and praise to mask their insecurity,
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you may want to reconsider whether or not you should remain in this relationship. It can be detrimental to your mental and physical health.
The problem is that an individual who is in a relationship with a narcissist frequently feels worn down, lacking in confidence and in emotional pain, which makes it harder for them to communicate their needs, change their own behaviour, assert themselves or even take action and end the unhealthy relationship.
Self-esteem and self-confidence can be eroded away, especially if you have been in the relationship for a long time. The person's perspective may be distorted, and they may be so accustomed to the relationship, that they doesn't realise just how unhealthy and negative it is.
Remember: a narcissist's version of love can be very different than your own version of love. They may tell you they love you, but somehow you never feel truly loved.
A narcissist's hidden, and often very successfully hidden, agenda is to manipulate and control you as that is the only way a narcissist feels in control and powerful. It is helpful to remember that, deep-down, a narcissist is very insecure and fearful.
If you are in a relationship and can identify with much of the above, get yourself a good book, seek some emotional support from family or friends and/or consider seeking some counselling from an accredited counsellor/therapist.
And finally: you may love a narcissist, but love yourself more!
Related articles from our experts
- Emotionally abusive relationships: Technological violence, stalking on Facebook and social media
Amanda Perl MSc Psychotherapist Counsellor MBPsS BACP (Accred) CBT Practitioner20th April, 2017
- Push me, pull you – the impossible dilemma for children of narcissistic parents
Matt Fox - Psychosynthesis Counsellor MBACP1st April, 2017
- Emotionally abusive relationships: anger, men and feminism on International Women’s Day
Amanda Perl MSc Psychotherapist Counsellor MBPsS BACP (Accred) CBT Practitioner8th March, 2017
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.