Navigating accusations of narcissism in a relationship

Accusations of narcissism in a relationship can be both distressing and perplexing. Sometimes, it's not the person being accused who exhibits narcissistic traits, but rather the accuser.


In this article, we will explore the warning signs of narcissism in a relationship, what to do if you are wrongly accused of being a narcissist, and the counselling support available for both individuals involved.

Understanding narcissism in relationships

Narcissism, a personality trait on a spectrum, often involves an excessive focus on oneself, a lack of empathy for others, and a constant need for admiration and validation. It's important to remember that narcissism exists in varying degrees, and not everyone who displays some narcissistic traits is a full-fledged narcissist.

Accusations of narcissism in a relationship can occur due to misunderstandings, personal insecurities, or genuine concerns about a partner's behaviour.

Warning signs of narcissism

Excessive self-centeredness

Narcissists often display an inflated sense of self-importance. They may habitually steer conversations towards themselves, their achievements, and their needs, with little regard for others' perspectives.

Lack of empathy

A noticeable lack of empathy is a common trait in narcissists. They may struggle to understand or care about the feelings and concerns of their partner.

Seeking constant validation

Narcissists often require an excessive amount of praise, attention, and validation to maintain their self-esteem. They may become upset or offended when they don't receive the admiration they seek.

Manipulative behaviour

Narcissists may use manipulation and emotional coercion to maintain control over their partner. This can manifest as guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or other tactics to gain an upper hand in the relationship.

What to do if wrongly accused of narcissism


Examine your behaviour and communication in the relationship. If you are unsure about the accusations, consider whether your actions may be contributing to the perceptions. Self-reflection is a valuable step towards personal growth.

Open communication

Engage in open and honest conversations with your partner. Ask them to provide specific examples of behaviours that lead to their accusations. Understanding their concerns and perspectives can help you address misunderstandings.

Seek professional guidance

If the accusations persist, it may be beneficial to seek the guidance of a relationship counsellor or therapist. They can offer an objective perspective and provide strategies to navigate the issue.

Counselling support

Relationship counselling

Couples therapy or relationship counselling can be instrumental in resolving disputes related to accusations of narcissism. A trained therapist can mediate discussions, help both partners express their concerns, and work towards finding common ground.

Individual counselling

Individual therapy can also be valuable. If you believe you have been wrongly accused of narcissism, an individual counsellor can help you explore your own behaviours, emotions, and any underlying issues that may be contributing to the accusations.

Narcissism awareness

Counselling can help individuals who display narcissistic traits gain insight into their behaviour and its impact on their relationships. Self-awareness is the first step towards personal growth and improvement.

Accusations of narcissism in a relationship can be complex and emotionally charged. It's essential to approach the issue with empathy, open communication, and a willingness to seek professional guidance when necessary.

Whether you are the one accused or the one making the accusations, counselling can offer valuable support in understanding and addressing the underlying dynamics of the relationship. In any case, the goal should be to work together to build a healthier, more fulfilling relationship, free from the burdens of misunderstanding and accusations.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Wantage OX12 & Rickmansworth WD3
Written by Hope Therapy & Counselling Services, Offering Counselling, CBT, Hypnotherapy, EMDR & Mindfulness.
Wantage OX12 & Rickmansworth WD3

Ian Stockbridge is the founder and lead counsellor at Hope Therapy and Counselling Services. 

As an experienced Counsellor, Ian recognised a huge societal need for therapeutic services that were often not being met. As such the 'Hope Agency' was born and its counselling team now offers counselling and therapeutic support throughout the UK.

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