Let’s face it: we all have periods of selfishness. It’s easy to bandy around the word ‘narcissist’ without truly understanding what it means. Someone with strictly selfies on their Insta page doesn’t necessarily deserve the term. A narcissist is a mental disorder, used to describe those with a hyper-inflated sense of self. Sure, that could describe a whole bunch of people in your life. So how do you know if you’re actually dating a narcissist? We’ve come up with 5 tell-tale signs you are… and how it might have slipped under the radar up until now.
I mean. There’s a reason you fell for them, right? There’s an inherent charm to all narcissists that is palpable and indisputable. They’re usually the loudest, most exciting people in the room, and people naturally gravitate towards them. We all know that unabashed confidence is attractive. They’re the people that seem to have magnetic energy, but be warned. The same charm and confidence can quickly turn against you in the blink of an eye.
No Respect for Your Boundaries
Any time you set a boundary, a rule, or (god forbid), say the word ‘no’, all you’re doing is aggravating the angry bull. Narcissists absolutely hate being told what to do, and take any sign of your personal discomfort as a challenge. Yes, there are times when being pushed out of your comfort zone is beneficial: when your partner is supportive and encouraging of you trying different things. But a narcissist’s pushing is a fundamental lack of empathy. They’ll try and compel their partners to do more than they want, as small proof of their power over you.
Lack of Commitment and Messy Breakups
This is a pretty classic, waving red flag in the wind. Narcissists will usually have a long string of broken relationships and generally shady behaviour. They typically have a history of cheating, too. If you ask about the relationship history of your partner and they don’t have a single nice thing to say about any of them, consider the multitude of red flags well and truly flapping on the horizon. It just proves a lack of respect, and an inflated ego. Their trashtalking makes sense: why would a narcissist curb themselves from bad behaviour for something as trivial as someone else’s feelings? Not very on-brand.
A key giveaway to someone with a very extreme sense of self is an underlying insecurity. While it may be easy to view narcissists as largely self-obsessed assholes, it’s obvious that they’re trying to navigate deeply seeded uncertainty. This is always obvious in their social behaviours: they usually try and align themselves with people or groups with high social status. Their need for admiration can actualise in ways like overcompensating for their shame by boasting about their superiority over others. We see straaaaaaaight through it, buddy.
Where are you guys going for your next trip? What should you eat for dinner tonight? Should you turn left or right at the lights? Narcissists need to be in. Charge. Of. Everything. They use their natural gravitas to manipulate the people around them into doing what they want. If things don’t quite go their way, they are also prone to extremely turbulent negative reactions. Tantrums, personal attacks, passive aggression, guilt tripping… All signs of someone who can’t fathom their authority being questioned.
Of course, only a mental health professional can truly diagnose narcissistic personality disorder. But if you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s best to seek help. Make sure to set solid boundaries, and keep communication and trust as open as possible. Consider yourself warned!