Relationships With Narcissists: Is it even possible?
When one or both partners deal with a narcissistic personality disorder, a relationship with a narcissist is likely to develop. An inflated sense of self-importance and a desperate desire for recognition characterizes someone in this situation. They think they're better than everyone else and don't care about the feelings of others. Unfortunately, this facade of self-assurance hides a fragile sense of self-worth, easily damaged by even the tiniest of criticisms.
Relationships with narcissists don't last
Long-term partnerships do not work for narcissists. To develop long-term, healthy relationships, narcissists must empathize with others and understand where most emotions originate.
Self-esteem is lacking in narcissists, who believe they are the victims of their circumstances. As a result, they lack confidence and are always looking for reassurance.
When this happens, they may become aggressive and harsh towards their partners. A narcissist necessitates the belief of others that they are superior in every way. A narcissist manipulates a person or coerces a group of people into worshipping them using cruel manipulation methods.
Relationships with narcissists don't last because they slowly but steadily pull their partners down. They instil doubt in the minds of others around them. Even if they've made a mistake of their own, they blame and even intimidate their partners into doing the dirty work for them. Since they consider themselves victims of their circumstances, narcissists refuse to take responsibility for their actions.
Relationships with narcissistic women
Self-centered, emotionally cold, and highly manipulative are the hallmarks of a narcissistic personality. Narcissistic behavior manifests differently in men and women.
Relationships with narcissistic women might be hard to spot, but here are some tips to help you recognize whether you're dating one.
- She lacks modesty: she displays you like an accomplished trophy, flourishes in the spotlight or is materialistic.
- She enjoys being dramatic: toxic assumptions about others are made and shared by her, and she blows situations out of proportion.
- She is constantly in charge: she is unhealthily controlling and breaks down if she loses this power.
- She weaponizes her sexuality: she manipulates people with her sexuality and feels validated when others rely on her for intimacy.
Relationships with narcissistic men
As mentioned earlier, narcissistic personality traits may differ between men and women. Here are some indicative signs that you may be in a relationship with a narcissistic man.
- Everything he says or does is correct, and everyone else is either wrong or inept in his opinion.
- The trickery and mental games he employs cause people to doubt their judgment continuously.
- For his benefit, he deliberately diminishes the power of others.
- Insensitive to others' vulnerabilities and often exploits this for his gain, he exhibits a lack of sensitivity.
Contrary to popular belief that only men are narcissistic, women can display such character traits as shown above. Check out our article about different definitions of narcissists here.
Relationships between narcissists and empaths
An empath and a narcissist have a one-sided relationship. The provider and the taker each do their best to get as much as possible. The empath desires to supply the narcissist in the partnership with a source of support and love.
By their nature, empaths are more susceptible to absorbing the feelings and energies of others. In relationships with narcissistic people, they feel compelled to console the narcissist because the energy they detect activates something in them.
The empath hopes that they can help the narcissist heal. For them, the narcissist will never recognize the value in their efforts to prove their worth. In this circumstance, the narcissist will take advantage of the empath's compassion and interpret it as a sign of their frailty. The two are attracted to one another because of their complementary desires, no matter how destructive it may be to seek attention and affirmation from one another.
Dr Craig Malkin's 'Rethinking Narcissism' is an exciting read for further exploration on the psychology behind narcissistic thinking.
How can you manage a narcissistic partner?
It might be challenging to have an intimate relationship with a narcissist. If you want to figure out effective strategies to deal with narcissistic tendencies, you must first comprehend their mentality. Narcissistic individuals tend to be clever and manipulative. Because of their great desire to be controlling, they will employ manipulation to keep things and people on their terms. Due to this, it might be problematic to deal with a narcissistic partner. Consider the following.
- Don't trick yourself into thinking they genuinely care: accepting their emotional distance is the first step in living free of control.
- If you don't feel comfortable with the boundaries you've set for yourself, don't cross them. It is crucial to learn how to say no to anything time-consuming or anything that makes you feel frustrated to improve your emotional well-being.
- For the sake of your peace of mind, don't reveal anything personal to your narcissistic partner: there is a high possibility they may use it against you if they think it would benefit them in any way.
- Don't get into a fight; you won't be the winner: Keep in mind that narcissists tend to see the world in black-and-white terms instead of shades of grey. Is he on the right track, or is he off the mark? Regardless of your perspective, arguing isn't going to help.
- Accept yourself, even if others don't: your emotional well-being depends on your ability to accept and take care of yourself.
- Because they won't - Don't take things personally: it's common to feel emotionally abused by a narcissist, who can often make you believe that everything is about them. Remember that this behaviour is all part of their game.
- No need to justify every action: if you start doubting the things you think are right or wrong, he'll likely begin to play the victim, which will cause you more aggravation and doubt.
- If you can, ignore their tantrums: you can avoid narcissistic behaviour by ignoring it.
- If it doesn't seem right, question it: f your narcissistic partner tells you something that upsets you, take the time to find out if it is true or not.
- Knowing when to leave a narcissistic partner: it's okay to take a break for a little while so that you can take stock of your own emotional and mental health and determine whether it's feasible to maintain the relationship.
For more helpful strategies on managing a narcissistic partner, check out Dr Lisa Firestone's tips here.
What are the signs of a narcissistic relationship?
Narcissists are all about themselves and want to be the centre of attention. The more sensitive someone is to insults or criticism, the more likely they will be a narcissist. Narcissism is also an indication if they believe they are always correct, have more knowledge, or are the greatest. Narcissistic people may only pretend to care about you if they see you as a means to their ends. It is pretty challenging to have healthy relationships with narcissists.
People who are narcissists dislike having their narcissism called out. Here are some characteristics of a narcissistic relationship.
- a feeling of entitlement or a sense of being better than others
- Inability to empathize
- Behaviour that is manipulative or oppressive
- Desire to be praised
- Prioritize one's wants and needs at the expense of others
- Increased levels of hostility
- Difficulty accepting criticism of their actions
For further reference, listen to clinical psychologist Dr Ramani discuss the signs of a narcissistic relationship below .
Do I have a Narcissistic Father?
Narcissistic relationships are not exclusive to romantic connections. Dr Ramani looks at some of the challenges of living with narcissistic parents in this short video clip. . If you think you may have a narcissistic mother read this article.
If you think you may also be a narcissistic parent yourself, check out this article here to see if you are following similar traits.
For a relationship with a narcissist to recover, the narcissist must overcome their self-centred and destructive characteristics. Challenge their self-feeding and independent ways of thinking. Focusing on growing empathy and a sense of social responsibility should be prioritized. Last but not least, they should strive for higher ideals, such as genuine regard for the happiness of others around them and an eagerness to make sacrifices in that direction. Practising generosity and giving to others is an example of corrective behaviour that builds actual self-esteem and teaches one to focus on others rather than one's own needs.