Most people will want to look their best and act their best when dating, especially early in the relationship. If you are dating someone who seems to be paying more attention to themselves than to you, you might be dating a narcissist. Know the signs of narcissism to avoid a potentially toxic relationship with someone who has the disorder.
A Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which an individual has an inflated opinion of themselves. The condition tends to affect more men than women and can causes many issues in a person’s life, including at work, in financial matters, and in relationships.
When a person has narcissistic personality disorder, they have an intense need for others’ attention and admiration. People around the individual may see them as conceited and snobbish. The individual with narcissism is typically described as self-centered, arrogant, and demanding. While they generally seem to have high self-esteem, they need excessive praise and will probably react negatively to anything they perceive as criticism.
The mental health criteria for a diagnosis of narcissism includes the individual:
- needing constant admiration and praise
- exaggerating achievements and talents
- having an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement
- expecting special treatment due to perceived superiority
- behaving in an arrogant manner
- reacting negatively to criticism
- being preoccupied with fantasies about power, success, and beauty
- taking advantage of others
- having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of other people.
First Sign You May Be Dating a Narcissist
Recognizing the signs of narcissism in the individual you are dating can be very important, as the person can tend to have serious negative reactions when things don’t go as they think they should. They can actually turn on you if you do something that disappoints them, and you may never know exactly what that something was that you apparently did.
Your relationship may start with a warning sign, when the person you are dating seems to text you constantly or tells you within the first month that they love you. This is referred to as “love bombing.” They may tell you constantly how smart they think you are or how compatible the two of you seem to be, even if you’ve just started dating. Coming on too strong is a sign of narcissism, as the individual may be trying to manufacture superficial connections very early in your relationship.
Other Signs of Narcissism in a Date
Is your date a great talker? Do they actually take over the conversation, especially in talking about their own accomplishments and talents in exaggerated terms? They are probably too busy talking about themselves to listen to you. Notice what happens when you try to talk about yourself. If you are dating a narcissist, they will probably turn the conversation back toward themselves rather than engaging in a dialogue with you.
The person you are dating may seem to need a lot of praise. If they think you’re not giving them enough of that, they’ll constantly look to you to tell them how great they are. Most narcissists seem like they’re very self-confident but in fact they need other people to supply their sense of self-worth. Their egos are also bruised very easily, increasing their need for continuous compliments.
A narcissist will probably not care if you’ve had a bad day at work. They will get bored as you try to describe anything that has made you mad or sad, because they have no empathy. One of the classic characteristics of a narcissist is that they do not have the ability to feel how another person is feeling.
If your date picks on you constantly, they could be a narcissist. Everything you do can become a problem for them. When you react negatively to their criticism, it actually encourages them as it shows them that they have the power to impact your emotional state of being.
The person you are dating might manipulate you to the point of emotional abuse. This is often referred to as gaslighting, which is one of the hallmark signs of narcissism. They will tell blatant lies, spin the truth, and do what they can to distort your reality.
Does the person you are dating tend to believe they are never wrong about anything? Have you ever heard them apologize for anything? You cannot have an argument with a narcissist. They cannot be convinced that they are not right.
Breaking Up with A Narcissist
If you are dating a narcissist and try to break up with them, they will try that much harder to keep you in their lives. They are not used to losing and their personality disorder will not let them admit that they have done anything wrong to cause the breakup.
They may try to hurt you because they feel like you are abandoning them. More than likely, though, they will simply bad-mouth you in an attempt to save their own reputation. Then they will probably start dating someone else immediately, to make you jealous and to soothe their own ego.
Mental Health and Addiction Help in Tennessee
At Cumberland Heights, we’ve been changing lives since 1966. If someone you care about has a personality disorder or mental health issue, we can help. At our residential, long-term and outpatient treatment centers, Cumberland Heights provides top-notch mental health care to those dealing with co-occurring mental illnesses. Our dedicated staff members will walk with the individual every step of the way on their journey to recovery, helping them to rewrite their story.
To learn more about our dual diagnosis services, contact the Cumberland Heights admissions team.