The ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V)’defines narcissism as a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. At least five of these criteria must be present:
- A grandiose sense of self-importance
- A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
- A need for excessive admiration
- A sense of entitlement
- Interpersonally exploitive behaviour
- A lack of empathy
- Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her
- A demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviours or attitudes
Signs you're in a narcissistic relationship
Let's take a look at some that someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) may present. While many of the following behaviours can be indicative of narcissistic personality disorder, only a mental health professional can provide an accurate diagnosis.
You believe you've been duped
Throughout the relationship, your spouse will make subtle threats. They may not say it directly, but you will get the impression that if you don't do anything for them or give in to what they want, horrible things will happen. It's sometimes simpler to just go along with what they want, even if you don't completely agree with it. This is a method of influencing and manipulating their relationships in order to obtain what they desire.
People in this type of relationship frequently forget what life was like before the manipulation began.
You're constantly being gaslighted
Gaslighting occurs when someone consistently rejects something that you know to be true. This is a frequent approach used by narcissists in abusive or controlling relationships.
For example, your spouse can say, "You simply don't recall correctly," concerning something you know happened. They will dupe you into believing that certain events never occurred or that they occurred as a result of anything you did or said first.
Your partner may lie about your behaviour and attempt to alter reality to fit their interpretation of events rather than what actually occurred. You can start second-guessing yourself and think you're insane.
If they do this in front of relatives and friends, they may begin to believe the problem is with you rather than your spouse. Because your spouse seems so nice on the outside, it might be difficult for outsiders to understand what transpires behind closed doors.
You feel responsible for everything
Narcissists believe that everything is always someone else's fault, including their own mistakes. A narcissistic individual will never apologise. Because narcissists do not consider others to be on an equal footing with them, apologising is out of the question.
Your narcissistic partner will almost certainly never accept responsibility for their behaviour and will constantly blame you. If something goes wrong, you're to blame, even if they're to blame.
You're walking on eggshells
Do you ever feel like you're walking on eggshells because you never know when your partner may erupt or be in one of their moods?
Typically, everything appears to be fine until something little occurs, at which point they erupt into a fury. Even something as insignificant as someone at work getting recognised for an accomplishment while your partner feels disregarded might set off a narcissist. This is referred to as narcissistic fury.
You probably feel disoriented since all of your decisions are now dependent on what would make your narcissistic partner pleased.
You feel unloved
When you first met, you thought you were the most incredible person on the planet. However, as time passed and challenges emerged, your spouse began to disregard and disregard you. This is a red indicator that they are not who they claimed to be in the first place.
You were probably getting love bombs at first to get you hooked, but after you were married, those love bombs stopped.
You don't feel good enough
You experience emotions of inadequacy that are out of proportion to your achievements. Your partner frequently criticises you or makes disparaging remarks about what you do. You've lost touch with the activities you used to like since you no longer have time for them.
Maybe you're usually weary and have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. You've started hiding things from family or friends, or you're embarrassed about what's going on in your life. You lie to conceal what your spouse does or does not do.
You don't feel connected
When it is convenient for you, your partner speaks with you. However, they have never inquired what your future ambitions are or how you might collaborate to create the life you desire.
They are always bragging about themselves and their achievements and seldom show attention or ask inquiries about what is going on in your life. Their satisfaction is derived from external factors such as job prestige and money. You question if they're really capable of passionate love or emotional attachment.
You feel criticised constantly
Your partner is overly critical of your physical appearance. They may make remarks about your weight, clothing, or haircut. They make fun of you or put you down, either behind your back or in front of your face.
They make fun of others, especially those they believe are inferior to them (i.e., someone they deem as less attractive or wealthy). They are generally quite critical of everyone.
You avoid conversations
No matter how hard you try to keep cool and not get offended by what they say or do, it may appear that every conversation with your spouse ends in an argument. The narcissist is continuously trying to press your buttons in order to get you to respond; managing other people's emotions gives them a feeling of fulfilment.
It's sometimes simpler to avoid having a discussion altogether than it is to cope with the incessant mind games.
You see through the charm
Your companion appears to be pleasant, confident, and accomplished. They appear this way mainly because they are so skilled at masking their true colours in public. They say all the right things, and everyone like them, but everything changes the moment you're alone with your spouse. The switch is flipped, and you find yourself interacting with an entirely different individual than everyone else.
You get the silent treatment
Your boyfriend utilises the silent treatment to exert control over you. They'll ignore you and withhold affection until they feel like being kind again, which is generally only when it benefits them in some manner (like getting what they want).
You may believe that this behaviour is typical or even "expected" of married individuals. The silent treatment, on the other hand, is not part of a healthy, loving, and respectful relationship.
Your needs are ignored
Your spouse is primarily concerned with their own wants and how things effect them, not with you or anybody else—including children if you have them. They will only do things that benefit them, not you or your relationship. Your partner, for example, could:
- They are desirous of sex when they want it, but not when you ask for it.
- They will expect you to clean up after them.
- Accept credit for your efforts.
- Get irritated when other people treat their family better than yours
- Favour particular children above others in the family if they believe one child makes them appear better
Your family is warning you (or is oblivious)
Your family has expressed dissatisfaction with the way your boyfriend treats you. Alternatively, your family is unaware that anything is wrong since your spouse has been telling them lies about you. In any case, your companion is a source of controversy in your family.
You can't rely on your partner
You never know if they'll maintain their promises when they make them. Promises made by narcissists are renowned for being broken when it is convenient. You don't feel like you have a partner on whom you can rely, and you find yourself doing everything on your own.
You're stuck financially
If narcissists know how to do one thing well, it's take advantage of their partners financially. You may be paying for everything while your spouse is unable to work, or their job may be earning a lot of money but they are not allowing you to see any of it.
If this is the case, chances are your spouse has spent every last penny on themselves and has no intention of sharing with you now or in the future.
You've been cheated on
A narcissist is frequently a superb flirt who may be cheating on you. They are extremely charming and have the ability to sweep people off their feet. Because of their flirtation, you may find yourself continually wondering if your spouse is faithful. They may have cheated previously, and nothing will prohibit them from doing so again.
You've asked, they won't change
Narcissists are unwilling to change since doing so would imply acknowledging anything is wrong inside themselves, something narcissists never do. Some, on the other hand, will boldly profess to being narcissists while claiming that everyone else is the problem.