“The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one’s narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see other people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one’s desires and fears.” ~ Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving
Behind every narcissist is a wounded ego, and a wounded self-esteem. Think of the narcissist as being stuck in a child-like selfishness, but with adult-like cunningness. A narcissist, unlike a typical person who may exhibit natural egotistic signs, is narcissistic to the point that other’s feelings and needs are not important, or considered, in the light of their own.
Unfortunately, behind every narcissist are the people close to them, who must suffer through their inconsiderate ways. Being in a relationship with a narcissist is just as if (and sometimes worse) than being in a relationship with yourself, as your partner is solely focused on themselves and their own gratification.
To be with a narcissist is emotionally damaging to the other and can result in much pain and confusion. A narcissist can often be quite charming and giving when trying to win someone over, or get their way in a situation, but soon enough they start to show their true colors.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you have probably noticed these signs. Though most people have egotistic parts and tendencies, and may exhibit some of these traits, a true (and emotionally damaging) narcissist will exhibit most of these signs below.
They love to talk about themselves
The first sign that you’re dealing with a narcissist is their ability to talk endlessly about themselves; they love to hear the sound of their own voice. They show little interest in what you have to say. And if they do, you know it’s a fake mask of politeness.
Manipulation to get their way
A narcissist is a professional manipulator. They know what to do or say in order to get their way, so whether they work through charming or emotional abuse, they are guaranteed to try and mold things their way. Watch out for a partner who gets angry when they do not get what they want. A narcissist has a knack at knowing how to push their partner’s buttons to get a desired response.
Inconsiderate of others feelings and time
“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm, but the harm [that they cause] does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” ~ T. S. Eliot
A narcissist can many times be known for tardiness, as they are not very considerate of other’s time and feelings. Many of the things that a narcissist does is due to this lack of empathy for others. This inability to see, or care, about other’s feelings, lead many narcissists to hurting their loved ones in the wake of their self-gratification.
Means to an end to get what they want
You may feel with a narcissist that you are a means to an end for their wants and needs. A narcissist will use those around them for their own needs. And when no longer suiting their needs, will push these same people to the side, no longer giving them any attention.
Grandiose talk, without much follow-through
Narcissists know how to talk things up. They can be charismatic and exciting, but watch that these narcissists don’t pull you along on their promises, because narcissists are a lot of talk, and little action.
Talk themselves up, talk other down
A narcissist has a penchant for bragging and boasting about their (frequently exaggerated) achievements. They do not take time to acknowledge their partner’s good attributes, instead they will commonly put them down in order to make themselves seem bigger and better than others.
Lack of commitment
Above all, being in a relationship with a narcissist is not likely to be a long and lovely commitment. Narcissists cannot see past themselves and their current needs and desires. So if you find that you are with a narcissist, be ready for a long and winding road that will end abruptly when the narcissist no longer finds the need for you or the relationship.
When in a relationship with a narcissist, it is many times hard to look outside the relationship and recognize that “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.” Taking a step away from the narcissists in our lives is the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves.
A narcissist cannot be compromised with. They are wounded and must recognize their own unhealthy patterns in order to change. Trying to change a narcissist is futile and painful for a loved one. Keeping the relationship at a distance is the best choice of action until the narcissist is able to see their actions honestly, with a true commitment to change their ways and heal.