Are You in Love With a Narcissist?
It’s okay to be a little self-absorbed. It’s okay to put your needs first. It’s okay to bend the rules and get angry when things go wrong or when you feel disrespected. These are healthy behaviors as long as you take the desires and needs of others into consideration too. But there are people who never think about anyone other than themselves. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone like that? They act like it’s their world and you’re lucky to live in it, but you don’t feel lucky at all. If you’ve known and loved someone like that, chances are you’ve known and loved a narcissist. Here are the six telltale signs someone you love is a narcissist. Find out if there’s hope for your self-absorbed partner!
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1. They Have One-Sided Conversations
Talking to a narcissist is difficult. That’s because whatever you have to say isn’t nearly as important as what they’re doing or thinking. In fact, if a narcissist feels like you’re talking about yourself too much, they’ll interrupt you and talk about themselves again. The spotlight can’t be on anyone else for a significant amount of time. Trying to share a success with them? Don’t. That’s because they are more successful than you could ever be. Trying to decide where the two of you should have dinner? Your opinion doesn’t matter as much as theirs does. In fact, sharing your opinion actually inconveniences them.
2. They Want What They Want Now
When a narcissist wants something, they need to have it and have it now. Have you ever seen an adult have a temper tantrum because they weren’t getting the attention they “deserved” or the thing they wanted? They’ll even lose it over something small, like their favorite coffee place running out of lemon scones before they could buy one. Yes, the universe is obviously conspiring against them and everyone else who got a damn scone before they did didn’t deserve it because they aren’t as important as the narcissist throwing the temper tantrum.
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3. They Don’t Follow the Rules
Rules make the society we live in well-oiled and functioning, but only if we all follow them. Tell that to the narcissist who cuts in line while others are waiting, cheats on their spouse or doesn’t pay taxes. Tell that to the narcissist who throws out their jury duty summons or steals parking spaces from people who are patiently waiting. Narcissists think the rules don’t apply to them and they think you’re stupid for following them.
4. They Never Accept the Blame
If something goes wrong, it is never the narcissist’s fault. It doesn’t matter if something they did directly contributed to whatever went wrong, they will never accept the blame. If they cheat on you they’ll say you drove them into the arms of someone else because you let yourself go. If they borrow something from you and it comes back broken, that’s because you bought something cheap in the first place. Narcissists habitually throw other people under the bus.
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5. They Hate Being Criticized
There is no such thing as constructive criticism for a narcissist. Even the smallest critique puts them on the defensive. It’s actually ironic that someone who has such an inflated sense of self could be so easily hurt when someone “inferior” criticizes them. But narcissists can criticize others and often do. If you say you’re unhappy, a narcissist assumes you’re blaming them for your unhappiness since it’s all about them.
6. They’re Not Responsible for Their Anger
When it comes to anger, the narcissist’s anger is the result of something somebody else did. You made them angry. You didn’t listen. You didn’t do what they wanted. You were wrong. You were trying to control them. So, if they’re angry, they have a right to be and they don’t have to control it because you brought it out in them. Their anger is an appropriate response.
How to Handle a Narcissist
Narcissism is basically a series of habits and the good thing about habits is that they can be changed. However, it isn’t your job to change a narcissist. What you can do is make them aware of how their behavior makes you feel. Know that this is going to be a sensitive discussion, so for best results, be sure to use “I feel” statements rather than “You make me feel” statements. You may have to have this sensitive discussion with the narcissist in your life two or three times before they actually hear and understand you. Then ask how your words made them feel. If they feel like they’re being heard and respected, this may curb some of their narcissistic behavior.
You can also try emphasizing the importance of a give-and-take relationship dynamic and shared decision making. The best way to do this is to lead by example. You can illustrate these principles with house chores. If they like to vacuum, you offer to do the dishes. Or if you’re tasked with planning a trip or a celebratory dinner, ask them for their input. These behaviors could inspire the narcissist in your life to change for the better.
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But if all else fails, consider cutting the narcissist out of your life. Life is too short to feel disrespected and insignificant. You deserve better.