Restorations Therapy Blog

How to Tell if You Are Involved With a Narcissist

by on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Are you in a relationship in which you feel like you’re the only one who’s making a real effort? Or maybe you feel as if boundaries are blurred or even ignored? These are just a couple of the tell-tale signs that your partner may have serious narcissistic tendencies.

According to psychotherapist and life coach Katarina Valentini, everyone has encountered a narcissistic personality whether at work, socially, or in one’s personal life.

Want another clue about how narcissists behave? 

Valentini cautions that narcissists make everything about themselves, and often leave you feeling confused about where you stand with them.

Valentini goes on to describe several more revealing signs that your partner is someone with inflated narcissistic traits, and here are just a few of them.

For starters, although it may sound strange, being involved with a narcissist can leave you with wildly conflicted feelings. For example, do you find your emotions swinging from unconditional love and utter devotion for your partner to a nagging, gut feeling of wanting to run far, far away?

That’s because narcissists run hot and cold. So you can expect to experience sublime feelings of bliss and elation when everything is going well. But if you displease or irritate your partner, he or she is likely to get angry, become dismissive, or punish you through rejection.

In other words, there is no middle ground with narcissists. They are happy when the world is spinning their way, and miserable when it isn’t. 

As a result, it is common for those on the other end of a narcissist’s anger to frequently feel confused, abandoned, or as if you’ve done something wrong.

If this sounds like your relationship, know that it’s also common to have the vague sense that something is not quite right while not being able to identify exactly what the problem is.

Additionally, narcissists can be the most charming people in the world when they want to be. For this reason, you may be unable to let go completely, or allow the person to creep back into your lifetime and time again despite your best efforts to break free.

On a related note, think about where the power in your relationship lays. Narcissists need the world to revolve around them and their whims, needs, and desires. In other words, if the relationship is all about your partner and you are always putting their needs first because you want to keep the peace or feel guilt-tripped, these are also classic signs of narcissism.

Laugh Now, Cry Later

Narcissists do one thing exceptionally well, and that is playing the drama card. Feeling emotionally drained after spending time with a narcissist is commonplace, as is having the feeling of extreme happiness or devastation when you’re with your partner. 

Do you feel as if you’ve usually done something wrong, or can’t do anything right within the relationship? These are also hallmarks of a narcissistic relationship. Every couple has arguments, but narcissists take things to the extreme so you may feel as if you’re in a vicious cycle of continually fixing the relationship when what you’re actually doing is trying to please a narcissist. Even though you may be willing to try anything and everything to mend your relationship, nothing ever seems to work or stick, leaving you frustrated and confused.

Despite all of the highly-charged emotional undercurrents in a narcissistic relationship, the irony is that all of the emotional efforts can be very one-sided. Reciprocating emotions is a natural ebb and flow in healthy relationships, but you may feel left high and dry in this regard if you’re involved with a narcissist. Feeling as if the emotional current is running in just one direction is par for the course, even if you feel as though you’ve finally found the Right One.

So, given all of these negatives why would anyone choose to stay in such a turbulent relationship? Because despite all of the wild and stormy times, you feel real and intense love for your partner.

According to Valentini, the passionate and extreme nature of narcissistic relationships often characterizes their endings, resulting in an uncivilized, raw, break-up more extreme than anything you’ve experienced in other relationships. Think about it, most of the time we’re able to let go, maybe even wish the best for our ex, even if it takes a while to lick our wounds.

But the extremely emotional nature of a narcissistic relationship is likely to push you to your limits and beyond, to the point that you react fiercely and maybe even out of character when the bond ends. In other words, if you feel destroyed, you may feel the urge to destroy in response.

If you’re going through this, Valentini cautions that spending your time obsessing over the relationship, maybe even to the point of how to get back together with your ex, can take the place of true recovery and keep you from healing properly.

For this reason, getting over the relationship may take longer, and feel harder, than other break-ups. Of course, moving forward is always hard to do when you still love your ex, whether or not narcissism was part of the relationship.

Talking things out with a professional is always a sound idea when we’re feeling confused, upset, or could use another tool in our box of healthy coping mechanisms. If you feel that you’re in a toxic relationship or not sure how to recognize the signs of an unhealthy partnership, don’t hesitate to seek out the opinion of a mental health expert. Your heart will thank you!

Located in Centennial, Colorado, Restoration Therapy works with patients who are struggling with addiction, intimacy disorders, and trauma who are seeking treatment. Restoration Therapy offers individualized and group therapy, workshops, psycho-educational classes, and more to. For more information, please call us at (720) 446-6585

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