DEIDRE SAYS: With up to five per cent of the population believed to have narcissistic personality disorder, it’s very likely that you’ll run into a narcissist at some point in your life.
It’s slightly more common in men than women.
But whether they’re your boss, parent, friend or partner, being in a relationship with someone who has narcissistic traits could prove toxic.
WHAT IS A NARCISSIST?
People tend to use the word narcissist to describe someone selfish or vain. But a true narcissist – someone who has narcissist personality disorder – is more than just over-confident and self-centred.
A narcissist generally has these four character traits:
- Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
- A lack of empathy
- A huge sense of entitlement
- A need for admiration and validation from other people
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THE TROUBLE WITH BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST:
At first, narcissists tend to appear to be extremely charismatic, charming and attentive.
But this is just a veneer and, once they’ve got you where they want you, it soon wears off.
Like vampires, they suck the life out of people, causing misery and confusion.
As they have no empathy, they won’t care about your needs and feelings. They are also likely to lie, cheat and gaslight you.
And they'll be bad listeners, prone to mood swings and abusive behaviour.
If your partner is a narcissist, nothing you can do or say will ever be enough.
They will never put you first or value you for yourself. You are there only to serve them.
Little by little, they will destroy your self-confidence and self-esteem.
And if you show them that you’ve recognised them as a narcissist, they may turn nasty.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Ultimately, the only way to deal with a toxic relationship with a narcissist is to leave.
But they won’t make it easy. If they think you’re getting tired of them, they might play the victim or turn on the charm again.
Don’t let yourself become isolated. They may try to cut you off from friends and family so they have you to themselves.
If something doesn’t feel right, talk to other people about your feelings.
The Dear Deidre team can help.
Our support pack, Abusive Partner, has useful information.
For a support pack and personalised advice, email us at [email protected] or for a prompt response, message us on Facebook.
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