7 Signs You Are Dating a Narcissist
Dating someone with narcissistic personality disorder or traits of narcissism can be devastating to your mental health. While many people have horror stories about toxic exes or unhealthy relationships, dating a narcissist is uniquely damaging. A narcissist is skilled at manipulating you, twisting your reality, and making you feel like you’re nothing without the relationship.
It can take months or years to detach yourself from a narcissist partner. In many cases, people don’t realize the extent of the toxic behaviors until they’ve gotten some distance from the relationship. Recognizing the red flags early can save you from a great deal of emotional turmoil.
What Is a Narcissist?
Narcissistic personality disorder is a lifelong condition that affects the way you view yourself and others. A classic narcissist believes that they’re more important, more talented, or more unique than those around them. They’re fueled by praise and admiration, and they’ll go to great lengths to receive it. All of their actions are done in their own self-interest, and they have no trouble manipulating or exploiting others to get what they want.
The following are common symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder:
- Inflated sense of self-importance
- Belief that you’re inherently unique or special
- Fantasies of immense success and power
- Need for attention and admiration
- Feelings of entitlement
- Inability to empathize with others
7 Signs That You Are Dating a Narcissist
Recognizing that you’re dating a narcissist is the first step toward healing from the experience. Here are some of the key signs of a narcissist in a relationship:
1. Your partner puts you on a pedestal at the start of the relationship.
A typical narcissist is skilled at “love bombing,” which is showing excessive affection, attention, and admiration to a new partner. At the start of your relationship, you may have felt completely charmed by your partner. You might have become the center of their universe right away, and they may have talked about getting married, moving in together, or having children very early on in the relationship.
2. They can’t take the blame for anything.
A narcissist believes that they can do no wrong. If your partner cannot accept responsibility or apologize for even the slightest mistakes, you might be dating a narcissist. Apologizing and working through conflicts are vital skills in a healthy relationship, but a narcissist will put all of the blame on you and refuse to admit fault for anything.
3. They don’t celebrate your accomplishments.
A narcissist is obsessed with their own achievements, but they cannot celebrate anyone else’s. In their mind, your accomplishments take the attention away from their own successes. When you tell your narcissist partner that you’ve reached a goal, they may respond by belittling your success, turning the conversation to their own accomplishments, or simply ignoring you. Feeling like your own wins don’t matter is a major red flag in a relationship, and it’s one of the most common signs that you are dating a narcissist.
4. They require constant praise.
Narcissism causes a constant need for praise, attention, and validation. While everyone likes to receive encouragement from others from time to time, a narcissist will try to dominate every conversation in an attempt to get the admiration they crave. You might notice that your narcissist partner only talks about themselves in conversations and doesn’t actively listen to what others say. Their primary goal for engaging in the conversation is to fuel their ego, and they will say or do whatever is necessary get praise.
5. You become isolated from your friends.
Isolating you from your friends and family is one of the most dangerous behaviors your narcissist partner can display. A typical narcissist loves to feel like others rely on them. Your partner may try to take away all of your other sources of love and support so that they become the only person you trust. They might tell you that your friends or family are untrustworthy and don’t really care about you, and they may try to prevent you from spending time with your loved ones.
6. Everything is black and white.
Black and white thinking is a common symptom of many personality disorders, but you might notice that this behavior is particularly extreme in someone with narcissism. A narcissist forms their opinion of someone based on what that person can do for them, so they view people as either assets or enemies. Your narcissist partner may not be able to describe anyone with nuance. Everyone is either all good or all bad, and the slightest conflict could cause the narcissist to demonize someone forever.
7. You start to question your reality.
Over time, your narcissist partner might manipulate and gaslight you so much that you’re unsure of your reality. After they deny their wrongdoings over and over, you may wonder if you misinterpreted the situation. After they repeatedly blame you for their own mistakes, you might start to believe that you’re at fault. You might apologize to them without knowing what you’re apologizing for. This can trap you in the relationship because you feel so confused, lost, and anxious without your narcissist partner.
Healing After Dating a Narcissist
Dating a narcissist can destroy your sense of self-worth and leave you feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted. Unfortunately, breaking up with a narcissist partner can be incredibly challenging. They will not make peace with you and move on with their lives, so you need to have a strong exit plan in place.
The best way to heal from dating a narcissist is to cut all contact with them as soon as you leave. Your narcissist ex will do everything in their power to try to win you back. Once they realize that you’re gone for good, they may lash out or try to sabotage you. To give yourself space to begin the recovery process, you must cut ties and avoid any contact with them.
Therapy is also a valuable resource when recovering from a relationship with a narcissist. After months or years of your narcissist partner belittling you and gaslighting you, you may have to dive deep into your mental health to reconstruct your sense of self-worth. During therapy, your counselor can help you process your trauma from the relationship and create a vision for your new life free from your narcissist ex.
A healthy romantic relationship should build you up and make you a better person. If your relationship has mentally or emotionally exhausted you, it’s time for a change. Menachem Psychotherapy Group provides counseling for individuals healing from the effects of narcissism. You can contact us today to connect with a therapist in Los Angeles.