1. an individual who shows an extreme sense of self-importance
2. someone overly concerned over their physical appearance
3. your ex, who, until up to this day, is still more in love with themselves than they will ever be in love with you
Everybody, at some point in their lives, will come across a person we’d call a narcissist. It could be a co-worker, family member or someone you are in a romantic relationship with. Some unfortunate souls however, tend to get stuck with them somehow, or end up in an abusive relationship with them. The unluckiest ones are those who do not know what they are dealing with, thus, continue to stay despite the fact that the toxicity of the relationship is beginning to suffocate their own individuality.
But really, what does it take to find out if the self-centeredness and self-importance of your partner is still at the healthy levels to maintain a sound relationship and mental health.
First, let us define narcissism, or as Mental Health Professionals call it, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). NPD is a form of personality disorder characterized by pathological grandiosity—self-centeredness, feelings of entitlement, beliefs of them being better than others, which in turn makes them condescending—and, attention seeking tendencies; they have a need to have attention directed or focused on them, in one way or another.
1. It’s not you, it’s them
With narcissists, it’s never about you. It will always be about them. They will not care for your well-being, because who’s got the time for others when they’re too busy thinking about themselves? Narcissists may live to please, but as they say, “the lion does not concern itself with the opinions of sheep”.
2. They are always, always, ALWAYS, right
Because narcissists love themselves too much, and that love comes with an equal amount of pride, they will never admit that they are fault, even if you spell it right in front of their faces in big, bold, letters. In fact, they might even find ways to make you think you are the ones in the wrong; a technique commonly called gaslighting. Gaslighting is when someone invalidates your emotions, turns them against you, making you think that you are the one in the wrong for feeling such things, and not them.
3. It’s one, two, three, and suddenly…
Most narcissists are excellent manipulators. When the situation calls for it, they will use you for their personal gain, without any regard whatsoever for your well-being. It doesn’t matter what happens to you, as long as they benefit from it—they see people as objects, commodities, trophies, or things they can use. They will use you to make themselves appear better in the eyes of others, like degrading you in some way to elevate their status. Others may affirm their connections with you because of your achievements, because they view you as an extension of themselves, or simply put, their “trophies”.
4. You’re the same old song
According to Elinor Greenberg, a Psychologist and Consultant on Narcissistic Disorders, narcissists develop their own favorite strategies on romance and can be classified into four types of relationship patterns, namely, The Romantics, The Micromanagers, The Devaluers, and The Idealists.
Simply put, The Romantics are those who use the same romantic dating pattern over and over again to different people. They will make you feel special, but the truth is they’ve taken three other people on the same date before. Micromanagers are those who love being in control, gradually taking control over their lover’s lives, claiming that they are doing it to help you, when the truth is they only like to be in control of everything. The Devaluers will project their own inadequacies on you, make you feel like you’re always at fault, and you end up believing them.
The Idealists are those who put their lovers on a high pedestal and worship them like Gods or Goddesses, and once they realize that you are, in fact, just human, disappear from your life altogether in search for a replacement to worship once more.
5. Rules were not made for them
Disregard for rules and societal norms is a standard for your run-of-the-mill narcissist. Their sense of grandiosity makes them think that they are above rules. Rules are not applicable to higher beings like them, thus, they will be seen cutting lines, probably disobeying some traffic laws, or just doing things because they feel like it, not caring on how it may affect others as long as they benefit from it.
6. Social chameleonsNarcissists love attention. They preen for it. They will show a personality they think will please others, in public, until they finally get what they want and blow you off. It is then that they will show who they really are, and you become some other used card on top of the pile. Although they enjoy attention, they do not necessarily crave for it in a way that they will die once ignored. After all, you do not matter to them. Only them.
7. Overwhelming self-love
For narcissists, no matter how much they seem to “love” you, “care” for you, or adore you, the only one they will ever truly love is themselves. You are a fleeting thing to feed their egos. You do not matter as much as their own selves matter to them.
Overall, the most important factor to consider, like in all toxic relationships, is that you will feel significantly happier without them in your lives. Don’t hesitate to end things when they’ve reached a point where you start to question yourself and your well-being is already severely compromised. You’re not selfish for doing so, even if they tell you otherwise.
And with a little bit of humor I leave this here: “Take a “little” lesson from the narcissists in our lives: think about yourself more and love yourself.”