Narcissists are all around us. They are not always easy to spot, and they live among us. They can be found in professions, in schools, or even as neighbors or acquaintances.
Narcissists are masters of disguise. They can be charming, polite, and make you feel very special at the beginning. However, as time goes on, they will show their true colors. There are always warning signs if you know what to look for.
What is Narcissism?
Narcissism is a term used to describe excessive vanity, self-centeredness, and self-absorption. Someone who is narcissistic has an unrealistic sense of self-importance and preoccupation with themselves.
Interestingly, the word narcissism comes from Greek mythology. The beautiful boy, Narcissus, rejected the love of Echo and eventually fell in love with his own reflection (his own image) in a pool of water. He remained to stare at himself until he died, at which point the gods turned him into that flower we know as the daffodil or narcissus. The meaning of narcissism is therefore relatively clear from this mythology.
Signs That You’re In A Relationship With A Narcissist
Narcissists are not easy to spot. They don’t have a label on their forehead saying: “Warning! I am a narcissist. Stay away from me.” Actually, the main reason narcissists are hard to spot is that they are disarming and charming most of the time. People who are in relationships with narcissists often have no idea that they’re dealing with one until they start to see the following signs.
They Do Not Show Empathy
Empathy is the ability to recognize emotion in another person and have a similar feeling. Narcissists lack empathy because they don’t get how other people feel and therefore cannot put themselves in other people’s shoes.
A narcissist will pretend to be feeling another person’s pain, but in reality, there is no empathy. It is just a front they put up to gain attention, sympathy, or adoration. This fake empathy can also be used as a tool in manipulating people.
They Make You Feel Bad About Yourself
Narcissists make you feel bad about yourself because they can’t be vulnerable. It’s all an act. They put on a mask in front of others where they portray themselves as superior to everyone else and will denigrate the people around them to boost their self-image.
Narcissists do this intentionally because it makes you feel bad about yourself which then puts the narcissist in a position of power over you. They will never let you feel good about yourself, they will always tear you down so that they can build themselves up. It gives them an inflated ego and gets them what they want.
They Only Care About Themselves
For narcissists, relationships are not about connecting with another human being for the purpose of sharing passions and interests. Rather, they are about using the other person as a prop to support their own image and need for admiration. They tend to be dissatisfied in relationships because the other person does not give them what they need emotionally.
Most people who are in love with a narcissist will tell you that they never felt truly loved by them even though they did everything possible to please them. Narcissists only care about themselves, not about the people around them, even the closest ones.
They Are Overreacting
Narcissists have a false sense of reality. They have an exaggerated, idealized image of themselves that is completely detached from their true self. They are completely defenseless in the face of criticism, feedback, and even constructive input. This is why they are so over-reactive to any sort of perceived insult or threat (even if it’s just a look or gesture). The narcissist’s fragile “false self” can’t handle anything outside its narrow comfort zone.
Narcissists feel comfortable when they can predict what will happen. When you do or say something unpredictable (even if it’s just an ordinary and not a serious matter), it throws them off balance, makes them feel insecure, and activates their fear of abandonment. In extreme cases, the narcissist might even threaten to leave the relationship or tell you that you are completely useless and that you can do nothing well.
They Make Rules That They Demand Others Follow
Narcissists create rules that they demand others follow but they never actually obey these rules themselves. This is because they believe they are special and above the law.
For instance, a narcissist might demand his wife to take care of the house as he loves cleanliness; however, what he would do is just criticizing and pointing out how sloppy the room is while she is cleaning it. Or imagine someone who hates it when his partner eats in bed because it doesn’t seem hygienic to him, while he’s eating there himself when his partner is not at home.
The narcissist needs to feel superior and if other people aren’t following their rules, then they have no right or privilege of feeling superior.
A narcissist is not an easy person to be with. They are manipulative and will always put themselves first, regardless of the situation. They do not seek closure, nor do they accept responsibility for their actions.
But despite all this, if this is a person you really love and can’t imagine life without them, you need to decide if your relationship is worth saving. If so, find a therapist with experience in dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). However, if you are in an unbearable situation and feel mentally weak, pack your bags and leave because your mental and physical health should always be the number one priority!