Narcissists move quickly in relationships
Narcissistic Relationship: How Do I Know A Narcissistic Partner?
Selfish, self-loving and lacking empathy - this is how narcissists are. And narcissism and relationship don't really go together. But love overcomes all obstacles - or does it not?
What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Narcissism - this term is quickly accused of many people. However, very few people have a real narcissistic personality disorder. It should be less than 0.5 percent of the population, mostly men. People with this personality disorder are self-absorbed, arrogant, and selfish. The world revolves around them.
But not every person with a healthy self-confidence and a little selfishness has a personality disorder. And in men and women with narcissistic tendencies, the severity can vary greatly. In technical jargon, the disorder is known as narcissistic personality disorder (NPS for short) or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD for short).
People with a narcisstic personality disorder sometimes show extreme behavior. They are arrogant, selfish, and inconsiderate. In doing so, they destroy their relationships and above all hurt loved ones. The bad thing about this personality disorder: The narcissist is not aware of any guilt.
Because a narcissistic personality disorder is just that: a serious personality disorder. The narcissist always wants to be admired. He thinks he is entitled to everything. If he lives in a partnership, his partner must be able to adapt and back off. Otherwise there will be a breakup quickly.
In most cases, behind the self-confident facade is a low self-esteem. People with a narcissistic personality disorder try to compensate for this through their grandeur. They are therefore very sensitive to criticism.
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How does a person with a narcissistic personality disorder behave?
Narcissists can be very charming - as long as they see others as useful and they are not criticized. They react to criticism with extreme anger or coldness. They don't admit mistakes and always see the other person to blame.
Some people show only mild narcissistic disorders. For example, they are self-centered and ambitious people who want to stand out from the crowd with a special style of clothing and who like to emphasize their successes.
With a stronger expression, the narcissistic traits run through life: those affected overestimate their achievements, behave arrogantly and manipulate their fellow human beings. Either to gain admiration or to improve one's own status.
Pathological narcissism is predominantly diagnosed in men. These embody the image of the successful, self-loving and arrogant man. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
Borderline women show erratic and extreme emotional outbursts that they cannot control. In contrast to the narcissist, borderliners are aware that their behavior is harmful to other people. In general, both men and women can develop a narcissistic disorder or a borderline personality disorder.
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How does a narcissistic personality disorder arise?
Exactly how narcissism arises is not known. Experts suggest that hereditary as well as social factors play a role. The foundation for the disorder is usually laid in early childhood: the parents of narcissistic people were either dismissive or idealized their child.
There is no specific gene that predicts who will develop narcissistic personality disorder. However, it is believed that some people are more likely to develop a personality disorder. For example, because your brain is more sensitive to traumatic events.
Narcissists often experienced emotional abuse as a young child. This abuse showed up through a lack of love or even too much appreciation. If the narcissist was neglected as a child, he still seeks love and approval in adulthood. As a child, however, he never learned to develop a healthy and stable bond with a caregiver.
But it is also possible that a narcissist was admired by parents as a child. Instead of real interest in their feelings and their own perception, the parents created an idealized picture of their child, which the child adopted for themselves.
Through this upbringing, those affected could not develop a healthy self-confidence. Spoiled children face the conflict of expecting admiration, but always fear that this admiration will not be satisfied.
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How do I recognize narcissism in a relationship?
You usually don't recognize a narcissist straight away. At first he behaves charming and loving. However, if you have fulfilled your purpose or if you dare to criticize him, his behavior quickly fluctuates into the exact opposite: coldness of feeling and ruthlessness come to light.
Of course, that doesn't mean that every wrongdoing your partner makes will expose them to be a narcissist. Many people have narcissistic elements that are more or less pronounced. However, if you feel like you are in a toxic relationship, question your partner's narcissistic behavior.
Some narcissists are easily identifiable by their behaviors. The open narcissists like to point out their great achievements. On the other hand, it is not so easy to recognize a covert narcissist at first glance.
These narcissists are humble and calm at first. They hide reckless and disinterested behaviors by seeing themselves as victims. Only behind closed doors do they show their true character. Covert narcissism is difficult to see from the outside.
If your partner is really a narcissist, speaking openly is of little use. People with narcissistic personality disorder do not admit mistakes. Going to the therapist is even rarer. In the eyes of a narcissist, all mistakes are always made by others anyway. Therefore, it is better to pay attention to possible narcissistic behaviors of your partner.
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The following ten characteristics are signs of narcissism:
1. He's charming.
A charmer alone does not make a narcissist, but especially a man with a narcissistic personality disorder easily wraps his victim around his finger. Perhaps he will take you out to dinner, surprise you with a romantic weekend in Paris or give you extraordinary gifts. In addition, he adores you, compliments you and idealizes you until he has conquered you. He wants to impress you and pull you under his spell.
2. He considers himself exceptionally attractive, talented and successful.
In short, he considers himself a gift from God. His own life is perfect, he is successful, wealthy and self-confident. In doing so, he often tends to exaggerate his success. All means are right for him to experience admiration in his social environment. He likes to tell lies. This also applies to your relationship: in front of mutual friends you are the great love for him, even if he only devalues you behind closed doors.
3. The narcissist appears arrogant - and it is.
He thinks he is something special and therefore does not like to hang out with people who “stand below him”. He would rather seek contact with successful and special people and talk to them about his favorite topic: himself.
4. A narcissist cannot stand criticism.
He always expects to be admired. He reacts extremely to criticism. Either he withdraws for weeks or he becomes aggressive. Of course, the blame is always on the other person. Especially in a partnership, he needs a partner who submits to him and reads every wish from his lips.
5. He has no empathy and is inconsiderate.
A narcissist cannot empathize with other people's worries and fears. He's too busy with himself for that. Only when other people are of some use to the narcissist will he show interest and considerate. However, this does not show genuine interest. The narcissist only wants to manipulate the other person in his favor.
6. He's jealous.
Envious of the success and happiness of others. At the same time, people with a narcissistic disorder assume that others are jealous too. For the narcissist, criticism from others is proof that these people are jealous.
7. He behaves manipulatively in relationships.
A narcissist mercilessly exploits the partner's emotional dependency. He expects the partner to always behave perfectly. If that is not the case, he manipulates the partner's behavior. A narcissist reacts aggressively or deeply offended to the so-called misconduct of the partner. Even with trivialities, he lets himself be carried away into endless discussions until the partner admits his alleged mistake.
8. He has superficial relationships.
If the old relationship breaks up, the ex-partner is quickly replaced. When they break up, people with this personality disorder show up cold emotions and quickly rush into a new relationship. It seems like the relationship means nothing to the narcissist. Especially after the nice initial phase, a breakup quickly occurs if the new partner does not submit to the narcissist's expectations.
9. He does not seek equal relationships.
A narcissist is purposefully looking for people who will admire and submit to him. Especially women who put the needs of others above their own needs are more likely to come across a man with a narcissistic personality disorder.
10. He has low self-esteem.
Behind the self-confident facade of narcissistic men and women, there is often very low self-esteem. A narcissist needs other people to admire them. Only then does he feel valuable. However, he would never admit this weakness. Because of this, this symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is difficult to identify.
What are the Stages of a Narcissistic Relationship?
The relationship with a narcissist has three phases. It begins with the idealization of the new partnership. Then comes the shock: the narcissistic partner shows his true colors. If the other partner submits, the relationship will continue. Otherwise a separation follows.
Narcissists either have superficial relationships or specifically seek out people to submit to them. The victims of such a relationship are not the narcissists concerned, but their partners. If they don't break up in time, this relationship can break them down.
These three phases are typical of a relationship with a narcissist:
Phase 1 - the idealization: Everything is beautiful at this stage. The narcissist ensnares you, showering you with gifts, romantic gestures and compliments. This behavior is also known as "love bombing". You are the great love for him. This phase ends when you have learned to love your new partner.
Phase 2 - the devaluation phase: As soon as you the narcissist has won over you, he will show his true colors. The transition from the nice initial phase to the harsh reality is often a great shock for affected partners of narcissists. Suddenly the narcissist criticizes you, but leaves no room for criticism of yourself. The narcissist expects you to behave perfectly towards him and fulfill his wishes. At times, his pejorative behavior alternates with expressions of love and declarations of love. Sometimes he is also looking for a new victim on the side.
Phase 3 - the separation: Especially if you do not want to submit to your narcissistic partner, he will quickly look for a replacement. The separation is preprogrammed. However, if you adjust to your narcissistic partner, he will continue the partnership. As long as he gets the longed-for recognition, you still have a use. Partners of narcissists who fail to break up in time will push this relationship to its psychological limits.
How do I deal with a narcissistic partner?
We deal with narcissists in everyday life: we meet them on television as presidents, colleagues, mothers or partners. Hence, it is important to recognize other people's narcissism and protect yourself from manipulation and addiction.
If you have already experienced narcissism, you should be vigilant before entering into a new relationship: do not be blinded by the impressive behavior of your new partner and listen to your intuition.
If your partner's behavior changes suddenly, caution is required. If he suddenly criticizes or devalues you, do not blame this behavior on stress or other circumstances. Instead, keep your distance and talk to friends or family about your partner's behavior.
Often the opinion of outsiders helps to view the situation objectively. Your partner's bad mood or argument in the relationship cannot be entirely your fault, even if your partner tells you so.
Don't let your partner keep you out of social contact. Instead, pay attention to your own needs. Your partner won't like this. However, for your own well-being, it is important that you do not get lost in this relationship. And even if you love your partner: If the suffering becomes too great, a breakup is the best tip for you.
The books by Bärbel Wardetzki are recommended for people with narcissistic partners. The psychotherapist and author has written several books on the subject of narcissism. Including the book "Vain love: How narcissistic relationships fail or succeed", "And that should be love ?: How to free yourself from a narcissistic relationship" and "Female narcissism".
If you have to do with narcissism in everyday life or at work, the advice of the psychologist Rainer Sachse is ideal. In his book "Self-Love - But Correct: Paradoxical Advice for Living with Narcissists" he gives entertaining and realistic tips for dealing with narcissistic colleagues and acquaintances. These tips make it easier to deal with and live with these people.
How do you treat a narcissistic personality disorder?
Anyone with narcissistic traits can begin therapy. There is only one problem: most narcissists do not suffer from their narcissistic behavior. The environment and especially close caregivers suffer. In the narcissist's eyes, the problems lie with others.
Because of this, narcissists rarely start therapy voluntarily. If a narcissist does seek professional help, it is usually for other reasons. For example, a personal crisis or trauma could lead them to psychotherapy.
In addition to psychological problems such as burnout or depression, trained therapists quickly recognize the narcissistic traits of their patients. However, this knowledge helps the therapist to protect himself from manipulation.
If a therapist tries to explain to the narcissist the reasons for his overestimation of himself and arrogance, he will quickly meet with rejection and the therapy will be discontinued. Since the narcissist sees no faults in himself, narcissism is difficult to treat.
Is it possible to partner with a narcissistic partner?
Partnering with a narcissist is difficult. If the partner does not adapt to the narcissist, it quickly comes to a breakup. If the new partner submits to the narcissist, the relationship continues. However, the partner suffers greatly from the narcissistic behavior.
So a long-term relationship with a narcissist is subject to a certain dynamic. On one side there is the narcissist who wants to be admired and cared for by his partner because he thinks that is his due. He does not give anything back and rigorously devalues the partner in the event of alleged missteps.
On the other hand is the co-narcissist who submits to his narcissistic partner. He thinks he loves them and is happy about the smallest gesture. In fact, there is often massive emotional addiction behind the submissive behavior.
Long-term partners of pathological narcissists often suffer from low self-esteem. Mostly it is women who love a man with a narcissistic disorder and want to grant his every wish. They feel needed in a partnership with their husband.
This dynamic leads to a narcissistic collusion: Both partners need each other.The narcissist to satisfy his desire for approval and the co-narcissist to feel needed.
Co-narcissists are at risk of breaking up with this dynamic over time. They constantly hope for love and yet only experience rejection. With his selfish and pejorative behavior, the narcissist destroys the relationship regardless of the partner's feelings.
Yet despite the emotional abuse, many partners of narcissists find it difficult to break up. You are manipulated and you feel trapped. If the stress of the narcissistic relationship is already leading to psychological problems in the partner, separation is still the only logical step.
How can I process a narcissistic relationship after the breakup?
Devaluation and insults are the order of the day in narcissistic relationships. Nevertheless, long-term partners of narcissists feel trapped in their partnership. If they take the step of separation, it often takes a long time to process the relationship.
Suddenly it is the exhausted partner who finds himself in the therapy room. Not the ex-partner with the personality disorder. However, after the bad experiences partners have had from narcissists, therapy is the right way to come to terms with the relationship after the breakup.
Together with a therapist, sufferers can identify the narcissist's destructive patterns. Often they have believed the criticism of the partner for years and looked for the faults for arguments in themselves.
Therapy also helps to analyze one's own relationship patterns and to resolve harmful patterns. Ex-partners of narcissists in particular tend to fall in love more than once with men or women with narcissistic elements. With therapy they can learn to break this cycle.
If therapy is not possible, it helps to look at literature on the subject of narcissism or to visit self-help groups with a focus on narcissism in the partnership. The more the victims of a narcissist recognize the destructive behavior of their ex, the sooner they can stop loving him and break away from him faster.
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