Narcissistic behaviour ruins relationships. Finding out you’re in a relationship with a narcissist is like discovering you’re on a dead-end street — eventually, you’ll have to turn around and start over. Until the end, the narcissist in your life keeps taking and taking while you keep giving.
1. They make everything about them.
Here’s the deal with narcissists: they absolutely love talking about themselves. When you’re talking to a narcissist, they’re not really listening; they’re waiting to talk about themselves.
Anyone is guilty of this from time to time, but the narcissist will take the conversation and steer it in their direction consistently.
The narcissist could ask you about your day, but it’s more of a way to start a conversation in which they will become the subject. They also tend to interrupt and change the subject.
2. They want control and power, and they want to lead.
Narcissistic behaviour often lands the narcissist in leadership positions because it looks like confidence.
But be careful before you label your boss or your congress person a narcissist. Charisma and the ability to lead are not necessarily signs of narcissism.
3. They make grandiose statements all the time.
You know a grandiose statement when you hear one. Narcissistic behavior is about using these statements to attract attention and earn other people’s confidence and admiration.
The grandiose narcissist feels entitled. Instead of saying, ‘I still have a lot to learn, but I’m fairly confident I can succeed,’ the narcissist will say something like, ‘I honestly feel I deserve to get a raise more than the other people in my department.”
4. They cheat on you.
Narcissists tend to cheat because they get gratification from exploiting others through sexual encounters. Cheating feeds the narcissist’s sense of self-validation and power.
5. They manipulate you until they get what they want.
There are two faces of narcissism:
- The extraverted, egotistical, and charming type we’ve been discussing so far.
- And a type that seems completely the opposite — the vulnerable, hypersensitive, anxiety prone narcissist displays a lack of confidence, and may seem introverted, but is actually harboring grandiose fantasies, and will use their vulnerability to exploit others.
Both types of narcissists share the tendency to exploit others by manipulating their emotions.
6. They are in and out of relationships frequently.
While studying narcissists in relationships, psychologist W. Keith Campbell noticed a trend:
Their relationships peak after about four months, then they’re typically over. People in relationships with narcissists report a high level of satisfaction for the first four months, and then a quick decline. This reflects the narcissistic tendency to exploit people until the good times are gone.
How to deal with the narcissist in your life
Don’t put up with it. If you play games with the narcissist, or expect that you can change this person by appealing to their humanity and emotional intelligence, you’re playing right into the narcissist’s plan. Rather, be calm and firm and call them out; assert yourself, your autonomy, and the validity of your emotions.