1. They were charming AF… at first
It started as a fairy tale. Maybe they texted you constantly, or told you they loved you within the first month — something experts refer to as “love bombing.”
Maybe they tell you how smart you are or emphasize how compatible you are, even if you’ve just started seeing each other.
“Narcissists think that they deserve to be with other people who are special, and that special people are the only ones who can appreciate them fully,”
2. They hog the conversation, talking about how great they are
“Narcissists love to constantly talk about their own accomplishments and achievements with grandiose. They do this because they feel better and smarter than everyone else, and also because it helps them create an appearance of being self-assured.”
3. They feed off your compliments
Narcissists may seem like they’re super self-confident. most people with NPD actually lack self-esteem.
“They need a lot of praise, and if you’re not giving it to them, they’ll fish for it. That’s why they’re constantly looking at you to tell them how great they are.
4. They lack empathy
Lack of empathy, or the ability to feel how another person is feeling. Narcissists lack the skill to make you feel seen, validating, understood, or accepted because they don’t grasp the concept of feelings,” she says.
Translation: They don’t do emotion that belongs to others.
5. They don’t have any (or many) long-term friends
Most narcissists won’t have any long-term, real friends. Dig deeper into their connections and you may notice that they only have casual acquaintances, buddies they trash-talk, and nemeses.
As a result, they might lash out when you want to hang out with yours. They might claim that you don’t spend enough time with them, make you feel guilty for spending time with your friends or berate you for the types of friends you have.
6. They pick on you constantly
Maybe at first, it felt like teasing…. but then it got mean or became constant. Suddenly, everything you do, from what you wear and eat to who you hang out with and what you watch on TV, is a problem for them.
“They’ll put you down, call you names, hit you with hurtful one-liners, and make jokes that aren’t quite funny,”
7. They gaslight you
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation and emotional abuse, and it’s a hallmark of narcissism. Narcissists may spew blatant lies, falsely accuse others, spin the truth, and ultimately distort your reality.
Signs of gaslighting include the following:
- You no longer feel like the person you used to be.
- You feel more anxious and less confident than you used to be.
- You often wonder if you’re being too sensitive.
- You feel like everything you do is wrong.
- You always think it’s your fault when things go wrong.
- You’re apologizing often.
- You have a sense that something’s wrong, but aren’t able to identify what it is.
- You often question whether your response to your partner is appropriate.
- You make excuses for your partner’s behavior.
8. They dance around defining the relationship
There are thousands of reasons someone might not want to label your relationship. Maybe they’re polyamorous, you’ve both agreed to a friends-with-benefits situation, or you’re simply keeping it casual.
But if your partner is exhibiting some of the other symptoms on this list and won’t commit, it’s likely a red flag.
9. They think they’re right about everything… and never apologize
Fighting with a narcissist feels impossible.
“There is no debating or compromising with a narcissist because they are always right, They won’t necessarily see a disagreement as a disagreement. They’ll just see it as them teaching you some truth.”
- doesn’t hear you
- won’t understand you
- doesn’t take responsibility for their part in the issue
- doesn’t ever try to compromise
10. They panic when you try to break up with them
As soon as you back away, a narcissist will try that much harder to keep you in their lives.
“At first, they may love-bomb you. They’ll say all the right things to make you think they have changed,
But soon enough, they’ll show you they never actually changed. And because of this, many narcissists find themselves in on-again, off-again romantic relationships until they find someone else to date.
11. … and when you show them you’re really done, they lash out
If you insist that you’re done with the relationship, they’ll make it their goal to hurt you for abandoning them,
“Their ego is so severely bruised that it causes them to feel rage and hatred for anyone who ‘wronged’ them. That’s because everything is everyone else’s fault. Including the breakup,” she says.
OK, so you’re dating a narcissist… now what?
If you’re in a relationship with someone with NPD, chances are you’ve already experienced quite a bit.
Being in a relationship with someone who’s always criticizing, belittling, gaslighting, and not committing to you is emotionally exhausting. That’s why, for your own sanity, experts recommend to GTFO.
How to prepare for a breakup with a narcissist
- Constantly remind yourself that you deserve better.
- Strengthen your relationships with your empathetic friends.
- Build a support network with friends and family who can help remind you what is reality.
- Urge your partner to go to therapy.
- Get a therapist yourself.