Many of us who grew up with at least one narcissistic parent ended up as adults, romantically involved with another narcissist. Unfortunately, it is very common. I did it myself. My mother was a very overt narcissist, my father a covert narcissist & my ex husband a very covert narcissist. Since he acted so differently than her, I honestly believed he was ok, even good for me at first. It took some time after our divorce when I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder before I learned about covert narcissism vs. overt. When I did is when things finally clicked, & I realized how bad he was for me.
If you too have thought the faulty way that I have, you are not alone! Below are some ways you can tell if your significant other is a narcissist. I am writing this from the perspective of a woman with a narcissistic male partner simply because that is what my situation was, but the information fits no matter who is male or female in the relationship.
It’s his way or the highway. Narcissists simply must have their way, always, period, end of story. If your mate pouts, uses guilt or anger to make sure he gets his way, this is a red flag.
If he acts like he is the one who knows what is best for both of you, this is another big red flag. My ex husband was convinced he knew what was best for us. The truth is, he knew what was best for *him, not *us.
Every conversation comes back to him. Looking back at my first marriage, it astounds me how every conversation came back to him. When my mother abused me when we were in high school, rather than him caring how it affected me, he talked about how hard it was on him. When he lost yet another job, it was all about his panic rather than what we could do to survive.
Manipulation is a constant. Overt narcissists are obvious in their abuse. They use threats of physical violence or yell & belittle to get their way. Covert narcissists are much more subtle, using guilt, shaming & gaslighting to get their way.
Are you always to blame? Another sign of a narcissistic mate is when you are to blame for everything. He lost his job? That is your fault, even though you were never there. His car broke down? Also your fault, in spite of the fact you have not driven the car since 2007. Why? His reasons will be creative & highly inaccurate.
Does he think way too highly of himself? Regarding my ex husband, my granddad said to me, “It’s a shame he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was.” He was right. My ex was convinced he was much smarter than pretty much anyone else on the planet, but especially me. He also seemed to think he was doing me a favor by being with me.
Does he lack empathy? A hallmark of all narcissists, overt or covert is that they lack empathy. If anything hurts another person, a narcissist cannot understand it. They also lack the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. Emotions & different perspectives are well beyond something they can understand.
Feeling like you can’t be good enough for him is another red flag. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, I always knew it was never enough for my ex. He made me feel ashamed for my shortcomings, too. This is very typical of narcissistic partners.
Emotional abuse is the norm. You are accustomed to him making you feel not good enough, stupid, ugly, etc. You also make excuses for it, blame yourself & justify what he said.
He isolates you. Ok, maybe he does not hold you hostage in the basement, but he does say negative things about your friends & family, which leads you to sever ties with people you were once close to. My ex pressured me from very early on to sever ties with my mother, then later my grandparents, & even my best friend. He used subtle means, too such as, “She isn’t a good friend to you since she doesn’t call more often…”
If your significant other is doing at least some of these things, then please, Dear Reader, be careful with this person. Chances are excellent that you are dealing with a narcissist. I urge you to pray about your situation, & ask God to help you. Reconnect with those with whom you severed ties. Talk to safe people. Ask for help as needed. You can survive this situation!