If you notice your partner engaging in attention-seeking behavior, you may wonder if something deeper is going on. You may be unclear if your partner is a narcissist or if they have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Maybe you’ve heard the terms but don’t quite know what it means, or perhaps you’ve researched NPD, but the person isn’t diagnosed. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to better understand what might be going on in your relationship.
1. Does your partner believe that they’re right no matter what?
Not being able to admit fault for anything or believing they’re in the right all of the time is a symptom of NPD. Narcissists do not like to be wrong. They feel irreparably damaged by the fact that they could be wrong and need to win all of the time.
2. Is your partner overly concerned with how you act, believing it reflects poorly on them or makes them look better?
Narcissists are preoccupied with how things look to the outside world, so they’re concerned with how you behave because they believe it directly affects them. They’re consumed by the way that they appear to others.
3. Do they tell you what to do all the time?
Narcissists can be extremely controlling. If your partner doesn’t let you have the leeway to be yourself and they’re always telling you what to do, that could be a sign that your partner has NPD.
4. Does your partner call you names?
Does your partner call you names, tell you that you’re a loser, or try to tear down your confidence with their words in any other way? Name-calling is verbal abuse, and narcissists often engage in this behavior.
5. Does your partner often lie or withhold the truth?
Lying is a behavior that narcissists use for a variety of reasons. If you find that your partner frequently lies or has trouble telling you the truth, this is a sign that they could be engaging in narcissistic abuse.
6. Does your partner deny your reality or make you out to be crazy?
Narcissists are notorious for gaslighting, which means to make someone believe that their reality isn’t real. Gaslighting is an abuse tactic frequently utilized by narcissists, so if your partner does this, it’s a sign that you could be in a relationship with someone with NPD.
7. Does your partner fluctuate in mood and go from extremely confident to extremely insecure?
Narcissists can be extremely volatile. They’re subject to depressed moods as well as overconfidence and grandiosity. If your partner fluctuates between these two things and uses other behaviors mentioned in this list, they could very well be a narcissist.
When you find that your partner is exhibiting any of these symptoms and it’s having a negative effect on you, it’s time to evaluate whether you want to stay in the relationship or get out. Couples counseling can help, but it’s not the end-all be-all solution. Your partner has an illness, and not only do they need to get help for it, they have to want to. No matter what’s going on, remember not to internalize their problems as your own. You are strong, and you didn’t bring this upon yourself.
Related: Quiz: Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?
Differentiating Yourself From Your Partner
You and your partner are not the same people. When someone is in a relationship with a narcissist, there’s often a codependent dynamic where you feel like you need to please your abuser. You need to remember that no matter what happens, you’re your own person, and that even in the healthiest relationships, you need to retain your sense of self as a whole being. If you aren’t able to do that, it’s not a healthy relationship at all. You can’t look to your partner to gain a sense of self-worth or vice versa. Knowing your fundamental worth and power as a human being is something to strive for in life and in your relationship.
Healing From Narcissistic Abuse and Finding Yourself
If you just exited a relationship with someone who’s narcissistic, you can heal. You don’t have to let those wounds hold you back from having a great life. Remember that you have a core personality, and one of the reasons people who are narcissistic are attracted to those who aren’t is that solid personality. They feel lost and don’t know who they are, so they attach to someone who does. Now that you’re out of the relationship, you can get back in touch with that person. One of the places to do this is therapy. Whether you see a therapist online or in your local area, therapy can help with healing from narcissistic abuse. You can get back to the things that you’re passionate about and make strides toward a better life.
Online therapy can help you recover from narcissistic abuse. You don’t have to suffer through this alone. Online treatment is a convenient option for getting the help that you deserve. All you need is a reliable internet connection and a comfortable place to work with a licensed mental health professional who can help you break free from narcissistic abuse, and start living a healthy life.