Oh no, is my partner a narcissist?

This is a question many people are asking these days and although a quick Google search might seem an easy way to find out, it’s often more complicated than that. You have probably looked up the traits for Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD and you still might be wondering, “‘Is my partner really a narcissist?” Even more confusing, the traits of a narcissist can look different in every person and people with NPD often have various other traits from other mental health conditions.

‘If I’m in a relationship with a narcissist, what does that mean for me?’

People attracted to narcissists tend to be the opposite of the narcissist. Very giving, generous to a fault, willing to compromise, a lot, empathetic often taking on a ‘helping’ role in their careers. The narcissist is attracted to this giving person because their insatiable need for attention and praise is fed by this person, at least in the beginning. They pick up your tendency to first, indulge them, then to self-sacrifice for the sake of smooth sailing in the relationship. With a narcissist, be it a parent or partner, giving-in can happen slowly and gradually, but it increases over time because there is no end to what they will ask or expect.

Are you a perfectionist?

Eventually their tricks and games convince us that if we only get everything right, if we are perfect, we will finally win their love, be secure in the relationship and achieve happiness. Unfortunately, this never happens. The narcissist calls all the shots and we resort to controlling behaviours just to have a say in things.

All that giving in ferments into resentment and the feeling like you are being a door mat. We give up parts of our self, every time we accept and allow the narcissist’s bad behaviour. Eventually we have no boundaries and no self-respect. In fact, not having a strong sense of self is a sign that you have given up all your personal power. You may even be ‘co-dependent’ which means that you have no sense of yourself outside of your relationship(s) with the narcissist(s) in your life. If this is you, all hope is not lost.

You can learn, or regain, what you have lost or find a new self you’ve never had the chance to know. It starts with being honest with yourself. Understand how you got to a place in your life where you’ve given yourself up to a narcissist. If you decide to stay in the relationship, learn ways to cope, how to hold your sanity, to grow as a person and to become free of co-dependency. Counselling is a great place to start and I can help you get to a better place in your life. You are not in this alone and there is support here for you. Although you might not feel worthy or deserving, remember, that’s not you talking. It’s the narcissist in your life and in your head, making you think that.

Reach out and take the first step forward to the rest of your life.

Mitra P, Fluyau D. Narcissistic Personality Disorder. [Updated 2022 May 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556001/