This post presents a harsh description of life with a narcissistic partner, but it’s important to note that narcissism exists on a spectrum: You’re unlikely to encounter someone who checks off every single box on the list, and we all exhibit a few of these traits from time to time.
I hope that the information I’m about to offer can help you decide if your relationship is a healthy one. Disclaimer: I’m not a psychiatrist, and this post should not be used as a diagnostic tool.
1. It’s All about Her
Does your girlfriend have the uncanny ability to turn any conversation into something about her? You: “I got hit by a car on the way here. Thankfully it was just a light tap, and I’m going to be fine.” Her: “Is that why you’re late? You know I need to get to the theater early, so I can get the best seat. Also, you need to change. There’s blood on your shirt.”
Narcissists lack empathy and tend to care less about your feelings and more about how your existence as a partner, enhances their image. You basically play a supporting role in their grand, egotistical production of a life.
2. She Gets Over-the-Top Angry when Things Don’t Go Her Way
Because everything is about her, she has very little patience for the complicating factor that is other people’s wants and needs. You might sometimes feel that you’re dealing with a toddler, as you try to appease her, and thereby put an end to the embarrassing tantrum that is happening in the mall or restaurant or bedroom.
Narcissistic tendencies are the result of a fucked-up childhood. Your girlfriend likely didn’t get the love and support she needed as a baby, leading to her present day need to be everyone’s biggest priority.
3. She’s always Putting You Down
Narcissists are profoundly insecure. They take great pains to project an aura of superiority, but deep down, they fear that they are nothing. If your girlfriend insults you on a regular basis (especially in public) she might be doing so in an attempt to convince herself (and others) that she is better than you.
After the initial honeymoon stage, a partner who is narcissistic will start to devalue your relationship in an attempt to make you beg for the praise and attention that they once offered up so freely. It’s a ploy to keep you hooked and coming back for more.
4. She’s Jealous of Your Accomplishments
It makes sense that someone who is so insecure would find it hard to be happy about someone else’s success. Narcissists need to feel that they are the best at everything, so in their world, celebrating another person’s accomplishments is the same as admitting defeat.
She might pretend to be happy for you in the presence of her admiring public because that’s what’s expected of the wold’s best girlfriend, but behind closed doors, she’ll punish you. She could become angry, dismissive, or she might simply choose to ice you out.
5. She Takes Advantage
Narcissists believe that everyone on the planet exists to serve them. They aren’t thankful when you offer them something. Instead, they’re often critical of the fact that you didn’t offer sooner or that you aren’t offering the exact thing that they want. If they do praise you for your efforts, it’s usually in an over the top way, with the intention of illustrating what a kind and grateful person they are.
Does your girlfriend expect you to shower her in gifts? Does she appreciate your efforts?
Any of this sound familiar? Next week I’ll offer tips on how to free yourself from your potentially toxic relationship.