Narcissism is a buzzword you may have heard lately to refer to people who are so self-centered that they are toxic to the people around them. It isn’t always easy to identify a narcissist, but there are some clues and characteristics that will get you started. If you are dating a narcissist, or if your friend is showing narcissist tendencies, you may want to consider backing out of the relationship
Signs You Are in a Narcissistic Relationship?
When thinking about narcissism, I’m often reminded of the joke when someone goes on and on about themselves, then interrupts with, “But enough about me, how do you feel about me?”
If your partner is all about themselves,
always needing attention and affirmation, he or she may be a narcissist.
If someone is easily slighted or over-reactive to criticism, they may also be a narcissist.
If they feel they are always right, that they know more, or that they have to be the best, etc.,
Narcissistic individuals may only appear to care about you when you are fulfilling their needs or serving a purpose for them. A narcissistic relationship can lead to a lot of emotional distress.
It is estimated that around 1% of population suffers from NPD. However, many people who have NPD do not seek treatment and therefore are never diagnosed. Studies show that men are more likely to be narcissistic. Roughly 75% of the individuals diagnosed with NPD are men. Although almost everyone has some self-centered or narcissistic traits, most people do not meet the criteria for having a personality disorder.
There is, however, a growing portion of the population that is displaying a greater number of toxic, narcissistic traits, which are having an adverse effect on their lives and the lives of people close to them, even if they do not meet the clinical diagnosis of NPD. Forming attachments to individuals who exhibit these negative traits often causes similar distress as a diagnosable narcissistic relationship.
READ ALSO: WHAT ARE THE RED FLAGS OF A NARCISSIST, 5 MAIN HABITS OF A NARCISSIST
Some Characteristics of a narcissist you must know
1* They seem perfect at first.
One of the hallmarks of narcissists is that they are friendly, likable people when you meet them. They will often be the first person to volunteer help or to make themselves useful in a tricky situation. Other people may comment on how fun and positive they are.
Watch out for someone who showers you with praise when they are just getting to know you. In a romantic relationship, a narcissist will often bring up love very early and try to get you to commit before you are ready. This can be mistaken for romance but is really a technique to gain control.
2* They are sensitive to perceived criticism.
Narcissists constantly seek to be built up, and they can’t stand to be criticized. They tend to obsess over it and they are always waiting for someone to say something reproving to them. This means that they will often take innocuous remarks as criticism and will blow up.
When you say anything to a narcissist that feels to them like you are disapproving of their actions, they will typically respond by lashing out and attacking you. Partners and relatives of narcissists learn quickly not to call them out on inappropriate behavior because they don’t want to be hurt.
3* They cannot stand rejection.
One sure way to make narcissists angry is to reject them. This is why it can be so dangerous to break up with a narcissist. They tend to believe so strongly that they are superior to you that they can’t stand the idea that you might not want to be with them or around them. When narcissists are rejected, they will sometimes initially react by turning on the charm that they had at the beginning of the relationship. If that doesn’t work, they can become furious and even violent.
4* They talk about themselves almost all the time.
Narcissists are obsessed with themselves, and that means they are their own favorite subjects. Narcissists view the world and everything in it through a filter that shows how every topic and situation relates back to them, so their responses to what you say will always put their own perspective back in the spotlight. They have very little, if any, ability to empathize with others, so they will probably never be able to understand your point of view.
5* They manipulate your feelings.
Narcissists seek control of everything and everyone around them. They love to be able to manipulate other people’s feelings because controlling others helps them get what they want. Narcissists are experts at using words and actions to make others feel bad about themselves or even to be angry at someone else.
In families or friend groups, narcissists will often talk badly about other people within the group in order to create conflict. They like to have everyone around them at odds with each other because it allows them to more easily control the situation.
Some Traits of a Narcissistic personality
Chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom
When attention and praise are not available, patients feel empty, bored, depressed, or restless
Excessive need for admiration
Must be the center of attention
Often monopolize conversations
Patients feel slighted, mistreated, depleted, and enraged when ignored.
Vulnerability to life transitions
Difficulty maintaining reality-based personal and professional goals over time
Compromises required by schools, jobs, and relationships may feel unbearable.
Sense of self is highly superficial, extremely rigid, and often fragile
Self-stability depends on maintaining the view that one is exceptional
Grandiose sense of self is easily threatened
Patients retreat from or deny realities that challenge grandiosity.
Lack of empathy
Severely limited or lacking the ability to care about the emotional needs or experiences of others, even loved ones.
What Is Narcissistic Discard?
Narcissistic discard is when a person with narcissistic tendencies ends their relationship with you. It can often feel like you’ve been used and discarded.
It can be helpful to understand narcissistic discard in the context of a narcissistic relationship. These are the stages of narcissistic relationships, according to Dr. Daramus
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Stages of narcissistic relationships
Narcissistic relationships often start off at a fervent pitch. The person will seem like someone special, and they’ll make you feel unique. Whether romantic, professional, or otherwise, the relationship will move fast.
Eventually, the person with narcissistic tendencies will start picking you apart and finding faults with you. They’ll set you against others by telling you why another person is better than you; meanwhile, they’ll be praising you to make someone else feel small. They’ll gaslight you, by distorting your sense of reality and blaming you for the distress it causes you.
You’ll find yourself feeling confused, anxious, depressed, and scrambling to be good enough. If you try to pull away, they’ll react with hurt and rage, but then the cycle of appreciation and depreciation will start again.
They will use you for personal gain and when you’re no longer of use to them, they will discard you.
What constitutes a narcissist “discard”?
A narcissist will discard you, or anyone else for that matter, when you cease to be of any entertainment or convenience to them. See, the narcissist does not care about your feelings and therefore does not care about being considerate of them. You are not a complete person from their viewpoint. You only exist in their world either to fulfill a need for them or as a source of narcissistic supply (which by the way is also a need for them). The minute you stop providing them with boost to their ego and stop doing things for them, they will likely have to find another source of supply and will discard you, usually in the harshest way possible.
Signs of Narcissistic Discard
Because impulsivity is a common trait in people with NPD, there aren’t always warning signs of narcissistic discard beforehand. The discard phase can be sudden and unexpected, or long and drawn out. When the discard phase happens slowly, there may be indicators that suggest the person is losing interest or distancing themselves.
The narcissist’s ego finds it much easier to walk away from someone it sees as ‘less than’ rather than someone it admires, which is why narcissists often devalue someone before calling it quits with them. Devaluing can include criticizing the person, belittling their achievements, talking down to them, or comparing them to others. Devaluing often becomes more frequent towards the end of the relationship, when it also makes it easier for the narcissist to leave.
2* A Wandering Eye
People with NPD are known to have a ‘wandering eye’ that is closely linked with the short-term nature of their relationships. In some cases, an increased interest or attraction to others is one of the first signs of an impending narcissistic discard.In a romantic relationship, this could show up as increased interest or attraction to others, flirting, or even emotional or sexual infidelity. In platonic relationships, it might involve the narcissist developing a keen interest in someone else, putting them on a pedestal, or vying for their attention.
3* Indifference & Apathy
One of the clearest signs of narcissistic discard is indifference. The narcissist might suddenly seem cool, aloof, and apathetic towards someone who they’ve already decided to discard. This kind of emotional detachment can make it easier for them to leave the relationship, and sometimes indicates the person’s interest and attention are focused on someone new.
4* Keeping Secrets
Being more secretive may also be a sign of narcissistic discard. People with NPD may begin to hide things from the other person, withhold information, or behave in more secretive ways. For example, they might refuse to tell someone what their plans are, where they’re going, or what they’ve been doing. People close to them might be the last to know what’s going on in the narcissist’s life, which can be a sign that they’re being pushed out of the narcissist’s inner circle.
5* Personality Changes
Narcissistic people can be very good at presenting a false self and getting other people to view them in a certain way. In the discard phase, the narcissist might drop the act and show more of their authentic self to someone.This may be a sign that the narcissist isn’t trying as hard to get the person to like or respect them. In some cases, it could also be an indication that they’re reshaping their identity to draw in their next victim.
Why do narcissists discard their partners?
Without a shadow of a doubt, the discard can be one of the most painful, debilitating experiences of the relationship with a narcissist.
When a narcissist discards a “significant” other, it’s at the end of a sustained and relentless campaign of abuse, gaslighting, manipulation and strings of infidelities that plagued the life cycle of your relationship.
What makes the narcissistic discard so poignant and earth shattering was what lead up to this event.
Some behaviours you were subjected to before the horror of the discard unfolded
Manipulation, exploitation, gaslighting
Pathological lying / deceit
Leading doubles lives
Infidelity; promiscuity, serial cheating, having hidden dating profiles and hookup apps across multiple platforms
Physical health; subjecting you to the possibility of contracting a raft of STDs as they feigned exclusivity while banging tf out of multiple sex partners simultaneously throughout your relationship
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Blame shifting, sidestepping accountability for their countless misdeeds and betrayals
Addictions; drugs, alcohol, pornography, compulsive masturbation, sex and / or gambling
Triangulation; introducing third parties into the relationship to create jealousy
Verbal abuse, put downs, shaming and blaming
Intimacy avoidance / withdrawal
Shirking domestic responsibilities; failing to maintain the home, clean, cook, shop for groceries or pay bills –
They’ll expect all this from you
Intermittent dosing; when you’re into devaluation, you’ll be sprinkled with reminders of how they were during the love bombing phase to keep you in the game and supply them with zero fs given and no reciprocity
promising you a bright future with no intent on following through
Grooming and lining up your replacement at a time of their choosing – this doesn’t include the string of infidelities prior to the new replacement being found.
trashing your good name to all and sundry to illicit sympathy from others and to set the stage for their discard.
When a narcissist discards you, there is no regard whatsoever for the length of time you spent together, your experiences or your unique and intrinsic value as an individual. To twist the knife in even further, the narcissist discarded you for the lover they lined up well before they stepped out.
The discard is perpetrated with such unbridled hatred, vitriol and contempt that it feels surreal and incomprehensible. The vacuous depths of their depravity is unfathomable. Its as though you never knew the narcissist. The mask is off and the truth is you’ve been taken on one hell of a wild ride.
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