When you’re in a relationship, it’s important to know whether or not the person you’re with sees a future with you or uses you to fulfill their desire to be wanted.
We have all met narcissists. Maybe you’re spending time with a friend and they won’t let you say anything without them having to add a personal accomplishment to the discussion. Maybe you went on a date and by the end of it, the person couldn’t tell you a single fact about yourself, when you can write a biography on their life story. Or maybe you watched a friend obsess over a significant other, only to see the significant other bask in praise, without giving compliments in return.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a real thing. According to Psychology Today, it describes someone with, “grandiosity, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration. People with this condition are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding.”
See if the qualities below describe someone in your life.
1. For the most part, narcissists seem to date people with less relationship experience
They prefer to be the experienced one and act as if they are out of your league. They want to be able to brag to you that they could literally have anyone. After all, they have dated many great people. However, they do not want competition. The fact that the person they are seeing has had little experience means you’ll have less to compare them to.
Think of that rush when your crush reveals they reciprocate your feelings. It’s the first person to ever ask you out. Everything appears new and exciting. When this person reveals all of the others they have dated in the past, you’ll probably feel simultaneously nervous because of their experience and thrilled that out of everyone, they chose to be with you. Narcissists want this to happen.
2. Narcissists prefer to date people with low self-esteem
Do you ever feel like you’re so privileged to be with your significant other because they could get anyone? Now, does your significant other make you feel this way? Narcissists are drawn to people with low-esteem because they are more likely to get praise from them. They want a constant cheerleader without having to be one in return.
When people have low self-esteem, they attach themselves to people with a certain grandeur. However, a narcissist’s overconfidence usually covers up their real self-esteem and self-doubt. People with genuine high self-esteem are happy overall and don’t need to brag about their accomplishments. They are confident about who they are without having to prove something to others. Narcissists, on the other hand, constantly need to be the center of attention and cannot be happy without others boosting them up.
3. Narcissists cannot accept any sort of criticism
Narcissists react severely to any form of criticism, no matter how small or constructive. This can lead to either screaming or the person telling you that you have no idea what you’re talking about. They believe that they have never done anything wrong and have trouble taking responsibility for their actions.
It’s difficult to have rational discussions with these people because any form of constructive criticism is returned with personal attacks and accusations of jealousy. It can be exhausting to be around one because they require constant admiration to enhance their self-worth.
This personality trait can become difficult for career advancement. Not accepting any form of feedback that isn’t glowing leads to issues with authority figures. Narcissists want to be in control with their “my way or the highway” mentality.
4. They are the first to criticize others
However, they are the first people to point out all of your faults. They will find little ways to tell you why you aren’t as good as them at something or turn anything small into a competition. If you mispronounce a word, they’ll be the first to jump on you. If you are shy, they’ll criticize your inability to attract people the way they believe they do. They’ll never miss an opportunity to explain why they are better at something than you.
These people tend to lack empathy and are not the best people for comfort. Instead of listening to your feelings and helping you solve the problem, they are more likely to tell you why that occurrence would never happen to them. The worst case scenario: they try to outdo you. For example, the narcissist will respond by claiming you can’t be upset because something much worse has happened to them.
5. They always have to one up you
Guess what, I received an A on a paper, might be followed by, well I won the Nobel Prize. They are the first to embellish what actually happened in order to have a great story. No matter the accomplishment, the narcissist will be waiting with something they feel is much more impressive. It’s hard for them to feel happy for others because they view it as something being taken away from them.
Even something small can evolve into a competition. It doesn’t matter what type of situation, as long as he or she wins. It’s common for the most mundane thing, but an easy way to tell would be to participate in some sort of trivia game. Even watching Jeopardy can show if your significant other congratulates you on a correct answer or gets upset about not answering first.
6. They want you to believe they are deep
If they cannot get along with people, they attribute it to the fact that those people “just don’t understand me.” They generally blame their inability to connect on the belief that they operate on a much deeper level than most. They see themselves as the next Plato or Aristotle, when in reality, their observations of the world tend to be shallow and superficial.
When going on walks, they try to shove their observations about the world around them in your face. This can be about anything, including politics, religion and human nature. They believe that they operate on a higher intellectual level, even if there is no evidence in academic achievement or other accolades.
However, when they find someone who is willing to listen to these beliefs, they feel as if they are the mentor providing a service to a less educated mentee. They want other people to listen and not respond. If the person does talk, the only acceptable things to say are “you’re so inspirational” or “you have a unique point of view.”
7. They have manipulative qualities
What’s that, you don’t want to go see this movie? Well, the narcissist will attempt to manipulate you anyway. Sometimes, it will work. When it does, the narcissist spends the rest of the day bragging about how they were right and you were wrong.
If the manipulation fails, expect yelling and drama. They may cut ties with you for some time. Or, they pile on the guilt until you question whether you should have given in earlier. These simple disagreements can lead to the narcissist making you into their antagonist.
8. They were charming…at first
At the beginning of the relationship, the narcissist will make you feel so special. They tend to rush into romance as a result of their need for immediate satisfaction. They are also quick to profess their love. This might seem like someone with a big heart who falls hopelessly in love in a matter of moments, but that isn’t the case.
Slowly, the charm will wear off and the other narcissistic signs will be noticed. Eventually, the person they are seeing will either acknowledge the problems in the relationship and move on or the narcissist will no longer believe the relationship lets them live in their alternate reality. However, for those who feel they’ve been in a long-term relationship with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder, it’s not too late to get help.
Contact a therapist or medical professional to learn more about this very real disorder. We are not professionals and simply wanted to shed a light on a problem we’ve noticed in modern dating.