You knew you loved them from the moment you met them. Everything seemed perfect and life was finally falling into place. The feelings of a newfound love can be intoxicating. Once life starts to settle, though, you may begin to realize that things are not quite what they seemed at first. This is normal with any relationship, so it is healthy to look at your relationship with a critical eye to make sure it is, in fact, a healthy relationship.
If you feel like your partner is more in love with themselves than with you, you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in relationships with partners that experience a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Studies have found that narcissistic personality disorder is prevalent in the US. While it may be common to find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, it isn’t easy.
How To Spot A Narcissist
Narcissists are in love with an idealized, grandiose image of themselves. In other words, they are in love with the way other people view them. This makes it difficult, or even impossible for them to truly love others. Even though narcissists may be good at hiding their personality disorder, there are common narcissistic traits that give them away. If you are trying to spot a narcissist, look for the following narcissistic traits:
Grand Sense Of Self-Importance
Narcissists often believe that they are unique and superior to others. This makes them too good for ordinary things, wanting only to be associated with the upper class or high-status things. Not only do they believe this, but they often expect others to recognize their ‘superiority’ as well.
Sense Of Entitlement
In addition to being self-important, narcissists also have a sense of entitlement. They expect to be treated better than others and believe they have a right to get whatever it is that they want. Failure to have this entitlement fulfilled is often met with outrage and aggression.
Needs Constant Admiration
With a narcissist’s inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement, they may need constant admiration. They will go out of their way to surround themselves with people that will fulfill this need for admiration and praise. However, these people are carefully selected based on what they can do for the narcissist.
Demeans, Belittles Or Intimidates Frequently
Narcissists tend to be easily threatened by individuals who have something they lack or those who challenge them. Their response to threat is to begin putting the other person down, often in a dismissive or patronizing way. Sometimes it may even devolve into bullying and threats. Anything to reduce the threat and get the narcissist’s sense of “superiority” restored.
Guilt-Free Exploitation Of Others
Lack of empathy is one of the main traits of narcissistic personality disorder. Because they cannot identify with others’ feelings, it’s common for them to treat others as objects rather than human beings. They are quick to take advantage of someone if it means they can achieve their own objectives.
The Narcissistic Relationship Cycle
Most relationships with a narcissist follow a specific cycle with three main stages: idealization, devaluation, and discard. These stages are defined by how they treat their partner to get what they want out of them.
When you get into a relationship with a true narcissist, the relationship tends to move quickly. It’s common to feel as though you’ve known them your whole life or that they are the perfect person for you. In a matter of weeks, a narcissist will begin taking the relationship forward. Many narcissists will use phrases like, “You’re my soulmate,” “I’ve never felt this way about anyone before,” or “We’ll be together forever,” in the first few weeks of dating.
Once the relationship has moved forward and you believe that the relationship is meant to be, the true personality of a narcissist will start to show. While still showing you affection, they’ll begin putting you down and criticizing you more frequently in an attempt to chip away at your confidence. They may use phrases like, “You’re so insecure,” or “You’re crazy.” They’ll also start to come between you and others you are close with by questioning whether they are more important than your friends or telling you that your friends aren’t good enough for you. The devaluation stage is also where they will often develop a story that shows them as a victim of circumstances if their behavior is questioned, blaming it on an ex or their parents.
Many times, once a narcissist can no longer get the emotional ‘high’ from their partner, the abuse intensifies. Insults become worse as the narcissist works to make sure they come out the “winner” of the relationship. The relationship is over, but they continue to hurt their partner with insults such as, “You’re a bad person,” “Nobody else will ever love you,” or“Have fun being alone the rest of your life.”
Narcissistic Love Patterns
With most narcissists following a specific relationship cycle, there are common love patterns used by true narcissists. These narcissistic love patterns can be seen in both the idealization and devaluation stages of narcissistic relationships. Being able to identify these love patterns can help you recognize the behavior so that you can take the necessary measures to protect yourself. If you suspect that your partner is a narcissist, here are some of the common narcissistic love patterns to watch out for.