Relationships with Narcissist – What to do?

Everyone has an individual personality. These days, in particular, one type seems to predominate: the narcissist. His character is characterized by self-love combined with overestimation of himself. How does this affect dating?

Anyone who has a relationship with a narcissist will soon discover that unconditional or selfless love is in vain. A narcissistic person will do anything to gain external admiration and approval. In order to confirm their own self-image, they mess with their partners’ self-esteem. This is achieved through control, the exercise of power, and manipulation and can result in a toxic relationship.

However, many sufferers only realize late or don’t realize that their partner is a narcissist. Most narcissists are unaware of their own behaviors. There are early features that indicate this personality disorder. We’ll tell you how you can recognize early stage and dating signs and signals if the other person is a narcissist, and how you can end a narcissistic relationship. You can also take a test to find out if you yourself have narcissistic traits.

The Narcissist: Know the Traits

Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition often equated with narcissistic behaviors. In contemporary psychotherapy, a distinction is made between successful narcissists, failed narcissists, and unsuccessful narcissists. According to the classic definition, a narcissist is an extremely autonomous, self-confident, achievement-oriented person with a great desire for control and extreme sensitivity to criticism. The self-esteem violations that lead to narcissistic behaviors are more in focus today, especially when it comes to the resulting relationship dynamics. Partners of narcissists often fall into emotional dependencies, which can only be resolved with difficulty and often only with external support.

Narcissistic tendencies in the early stages

When does a narcissist show their true colors? Many sufferers only recognize their partner’s narcissistic tendencies after they are fully involved in the relationship. Power games are already in full swing and partners are already deeply entangled in dependencies. But how can it come to that? 

Particularly in the dating and mutual acquaintance phase, narcissists make every effort to ensnare their potential partners with charm and charisma. Here it is even more important to sharpen the senses to correctly interpret the signs. The following eight signs can help you spot narcissists in time. There are also some tips for anyone who wants to understand how to properly deal with narcissists.

  1. He is the focus
    A narcissist often talks about himself and likes to present himself as important, significant, intelligent, and special wanting to make a good impression and be admired from an early age. A narcissist rarely asks about your interests when they meet. And if so, just to re-establish the relationship with yourself. So the conversation is one-sided. The relationship between giving and receiving is unbalanced from the start.Tip:  Pay attention to your choice of topics as you get to know yourself. Does he/she investigate with interest and listen carefully or does he/she just use catchphrases to make his/her own statements known?
  2. Control obsession
    Narcissists want to gain control over their potential partners. In the getting-to-know-you phase, this can already become noticeable through subversive distrust. The other person asks where you’ve been, why you’re not responding to a message right away, or who you’re meeting with. He usually makes the decision about joint commitments or activities.Tip:  You can recognize a relationship with a narcissist by the fact that they start early to gradually restrict your freedom (finding friends or their own hobbies).
  3. They are perfectionists.
    Narcissists’ self-image should not show any cracks. Everything has to be perfect! Appearances such as clothes, style, or jewelry are just as important as material things (eg house, car, assets, etc.). They like to adorn themselves with status symbols and do not hesitate on a first date to gain admiration. To the narcissist, you’re probably nothing more than just a gem he needs to boost his ego.Tip:  When getting to know each other, pay attention to how your date is shaping up. Does it show all status symbols right at the start? Or are you more interested in immaterial values?
  4. Overrated – Narcissists are true masters of bragging rights. They lack humility and common sense. He himself is the greatest admirer of his own merits, accomplishments, and talents, and therefore is not stingy with self-praise or with occasional lies or exaggerations.Tip:  Pay attention to how he treats dating compliments. Does he/she tend to get embarrassed and red-faced or engage in a real “compliment war”?
  5. They behave arrogantly.
    Narcissists are not empaths. Your charm is only played and used strategically. Especially when dealing with other people or those around you, you can tell if you are in a relationship with a narcissist. To feel better, they often look down on others. It is difficult for them to hide their arrogance and arrogance.Tip:  In the initial phase, pay attention to how your boyfriend reacts to the environment. One second he might be smiling friendly, the next he’ll be patronizing.
  6. They don’t take criticism very well
    Narcissists are wonderful at handing out. Either way, something or someone can never meet your needs. But they cannot handle criticism alone. They react with extreme sensitivity to it or else they adopt the victim posture. There is no trace of personal responsibility and perception.Tip: As you get to know each other, pay attention to how much he just gives in or can even take it from time to time.
  7. Can’t Apologize
    Even in conflict, narcissists have little capacity for self-reflection. It’s always someone else’s fault. And when an apology comes, it’s not without a “but”.Tips:  Even in the dating phase, setbacks happen from time to time. Can he apologize for minor mistakes or does he signal a lack of discernment?
  8. They don’t shy away from confrontation
    Narcissists don’t shy away from confrontation because of their exaggerated self-image and lack of compassion. Many even have a tendency to argue in banal situations and with complete strangers. Here, they sometimes freak out emotionally and become aggressive.Tip:  Pay attention: Has your interlocutor ever provoked situations that invite you to test your strength or in which he can demonstrate righteousness?

Taken individually, the individual aspects need not indicate a narcissistic personality disorder. However, if all the signs are met, extra attention is required.

Test: How Do I Recognize My Own Narcissistic Traits? 5 signs

Am I a narcissist too? Or is my partner a narcissist? This test can show you the right direction. How do you or your partner feel about the following statements?

  • It is important to me that all people are treated equally.
  • When I’m downtown, I feel uncomfortable.
  • Sometimes I make mistakes, but I can also handle criticism well.
  • Praise and recognition don’t come naturally to me.
  • For me, outer appearances are not important – inner values ​​count.

If you can answer every question with a clear “yes” and, above all, honesty, you are far from narcissistic tendencies. If you disagree with these statements, there may be some level of narcissism.

How do I end a relationship with a narcissist?

Separation is difficult anyway. However, ending your relationship with a narcissist can become a must. On the one hand, the person concerned, as must recognize his dependencies and have the courage to separate himself from them. The fear of loss often needs to be overcome. Narcissists, on the other hand, consider it an insult to their dignity to be abandoned. Therefore, they will do everything possible to prevent separation and further increase emotional dependence.

The following four steps can help break up with a narcissist:

  1. Seek outside help:  If you can’t get rid of your relationship with the narcissist on your own, seek help from your closest and trusted friends or family. Professional counseling centers can also provide help and advice.
  2. Completely break contact:  Even after that, narcissists can pull strings for a long time to make it harder for you to let go. It is important to stop contact completely and through all channels. If children are involved, seek professional help in setting meaningful boundaries.
  3. Strengthen your own self-image:  After the breakup, scratched self-esteem must first be restored. Focus on everything that is good for you. Make more room for hobbies, interests, and your social environment. Travel and enjoy new leisure activities. Since narcissists often shape their partners according to their own desires, a change in style or type can also help.
  4. Give yourself time:  Above all, it’s important that you give yourself time and don’t rush into a new relationship right away. Use your relationship with the narcissist as an opportunity to be clear about what you want and what you don’t want. This will prevent you from making the same mistakes again.