Do you know someone who thinks they’re the best there’s ever been but loses their cool when faced with criticism? You may have a narcissist on your hands. Narcissism is a challenging mental illness that may be more common than you think. Understanding the basics of it can help you deal with others who may suffer from it.
Do narcissists follow the same relationship patterns with everyone? Generally, yes. Narcissists are typically charming right off the bat, but they’re manipulative and usually have a track record of infidelity in past relationships.
When it comes to close relationships, narcissism can be devastating. The persistent patterns that most follow while interacting with people tend to be damaging to any sort of personal connection. You may be dealing with a narcissist if you recognize these patterns.
The diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder can be found in the latest version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, aka the DSM-5-TR. A narcissist tends to lack the care and concern for others that many find to be inherent. This leads to self-centered thoughts and actions. They are focused solely on pursuing their interests, regardless of the societal or personal cost. In a nutshell:
- They have to prove their superiority at the expense of everyone else.
- They feel helpless until they can place the blame on someone else, usually their parents, relatives, friends, or partners.
- They need undivided attention from others, preferential treatment, and undying loyalty.
- Regardless of the harm it may inflict, they are willing to manipulate people to achieve their goals, however big or small.
What Do Narcissists Bring To A Relationship?
“Nothing good” sums it up nicely. Narcissists repeat the same destructive behaviors in their relationships with whomever they decide to make their next target. These narcissistic love patterns are easily discernible and consistent, with only slight variations.
Narcissists are completely self-centered. Because their primary motivation is acquisition rather than love or a committed partnership, most narcissists have to act swiftly. A narcissist’s first display of affection is often overpowering; this is done to eventually achieve some sort of superior power in the dynamic.
A love bomb works as follows: They’ll claim to have fallen madly in love with you at first sight, then they’ll devote significant effort to learning about and conforming to your ideal partner. The hope is that the lavish attention and romantic gestures so blow you away they get in the first few weeks that you begin to think this person is the love of your life. The wooing phase of a healthy relationship lasts far longer because it should be a mutual dedication to genuinely getting to know each other.
Once you fall prey to their charms, the real damage begins. A great deal of emotional coercion is involved in getting what they want. It’s common for narcissists to begin their manipulation by making little comments designed to wound your pride. The idea is that you’re so invested in the partnership that you fail to see how hurtful they are actually being. They whittle you down until you depend on them completely, and when things go wrong, it’s all pinned on you. “devaluation” describes this period well. Some commonly seen strategies include:
- Putting distance between you and your loved ones. To exert total control, they need your isolation.
- Both parties will “give and take” unfairly. They will spend much time out of the house if you’re living with them, maybe in bars where they can act cocky and flirt with other people. When they come back, they shower you with declarations of eternal love and vows. They always break their word. They will leave you constantly waiting on them. They will take far more than they will give, while you are left giving everything and receiving nothing.
- They will make you feel sorry for them, using both truths and lies to achieve this. For example, they supposedly had a terrible upbringing, and they use the empathy you have for them against you. They only serve to benefit from your forgiveness and generosity.
- Money is used as a tool of manipulation in many situations. The narcissist will get into debt because they are trying too hard to impress others by living a lavish lifestyle at their pocketbook’s expense. They’ll persuade you to cover their borrowings or pay their debts with a loan they may not repay. There’s always an explanation, and ‘if you care, you’ll make an exception this time.’
Lack of Compassion
Empathy, in a nutshell, is the capacity to comprehend another person’s feelings and thoughts by putting oneself in their position. The two people in a healthy relationship can read each other and adjust their actions accordingly. Given its significance, this aspect of narcissistic personality disorder warrants its subsection.
As a result, narcissists are unable to empathize with others. They disregard the pain they cause to others and do it with complete indifference. When dating a narcissist, they need you to put their wants and needs ahead of yours. Like this, no relationship can survive. A narcissist will not consider their partner’s feelings. Getting what they desire in the present moment is the whole focus of their existence. Furthermore, narcissists will quit the relationship and go on to another victim if you don’t cater to their every need.
Put an end to this insanity!
Never lose sight of the fact that narcissism is a psychiatric illness. Moreover, a relationship with a narcissist is stressful, anxious, self-doubting, isolating, and emotionally abusive since it requires extreme self-centeredness (sometimes physical too). The belief that one can improve things by exerting more effort is a fairy tale. It is not going to happen.
To put it bluntly, being with a narcissist will cause you to “lose” yourself. If your partner has a narcissistic personality disorder, your relationship is doomed since you can’t alter their habitual behavior.