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5 Signs that You Might Be Living With a Narcissist

We all know good relationships in general, and romantic relationships in particular, require effort, time and attention. Taking time to ensure there is a good balance of work and play, as well as making time for deeper and more meaningful conversation move us toward relationships that feel safe and satisfying. Psychological or emotional safety is a requisite for strong trusting relationships that can go the distance.

But what if none of that describes your closest relationship with your significant other or spouse?

If you notice just the opposite of what I’ve described that may signal trouble in the relationship or a relationship that will likely lead towards a lot of mental and emotional anguish. You may be struggling because you don’t feel safe, secure and in a trusting relationship that feels good to be in on a regular basis.

How can you know if you are trying to navigate life with a narcissist? Here are just some of the signs to notice.

1. It’s nearly always about them. Whether it’s calling the shots about what you’ll do together, where you’ll go or how long you will stay, they will give you sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle messages about what is going to happen according to them. In other words, your desires or needs are not asked for or taken into account in planning or executing time together. They are often very rigid or inflexible about this.

2. They elevate themselves regularly often by the degradation of you or others. Narcissists are horribly insecure although they often “come off” as some of the most confident and assured people around. They love being the center of attention, boasting about their accomplishments or how others move mountains for them, and they will often elevate themselves by insulting or demeaning you or others. Sometimes this is done overtly, but other times it can be so subtle you just know you don’t feel good around them but you are not even sure why.

3. They are entitled. The narcissist has distorted thinking that causes them to conclude that nearly everyone else at home or work should see things their way and give them what they want. They will often become angry with explosive outbursts or tantrums when they don’t get what they want, and/ or will manipulate or orchestrate a way to get what they want. They can be overly harsh, mean spirited or downright abusive.

4. They are extremely controlling. This may be evidenced in things like demanding to know where every dime of money has been spent, criticizing you for not budgeting perfectly or condemning you over something you did that they did not agree with. They may attempt to control your time, your friendships, family matters, or anything they can to ensure they have you dependent on them and under their thumb.

5. They need the admiration of the world. Many narcissists are successful in terms of how society often defines success- monetarily- and they love when others look up to them for their wealth and success. They feed off admiration. Often narcissists will be flirtatious with coworkers, strangers or new acquaintances as the validation and approval they receive from others allows them to feel okay about themselves. This excessive need to be admired coupled with entitlement can often lead to extramarital affairs.

What does it feel like to be around a narcissist on a daily basis? Questions to reflect on:

Do you find yourself walking on eggshells wondering when the next tantrum or explosive outburst or attack is coming? Do you regularly feel condemned, criticized or blamed?

Do you find yourself not trusting your partner- not out of your own previous woundedness- but because your partner has behaved in ways that are not trustworthy?

Narcissistic traits (and the actual diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder) are one of the most difficult mental health issues to treat for counselors and therapists ( when you can actually get the person to go to therapy).

Because of their incessant need to be right, highly manipulative nature and their need to blame others they are rarely able to see their part in struggling or failed relationships. They are often immersed in blame which keeps them from having to look at themselves or own up to any bad or destructive behavior.

If this describes your relationship, we urge you to seek professional counseling. Even if your partner won’t go, it will be enormously helpful for you to learn more about how you got yourself in this kind of relationship and possibly why you have stayed.

We at Live Well Kitsap want you to live well. That means being in healthy relationships that are good for you in mind, body and spirit. Being in a destructive relationship has huge health ramifications in every way. We encourage you to seek help along with leaning into safe people who will support you in your journey toward healing and wellbeing.

The Live Well Kitsap team requests you pass this blog along to anyone you think would benefit from it.

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