It is completely normal for people to be themselves while taking part in romantic relationships. While many people are selfless, others can be self-absorbed or full of themselves. You may notice that your partner spends a lot of time perfecting their physical appearance by putting on makeup in the bathroom or being gone for hours each week at the gym.
These signs can go beyond physical appearance, though. You may notice this particular person seems to care about only achieving their own goals, receiving other’s undivided attention, and hearing praise about their actions. The truth is, a lot of people have a few narcissistic tendencies in the areas they care about. People want to be successful, and people want to look good doing it.
Sometimes this narcissistic behavior in relationships can be extreme. It may cause feelings of resentment and disassociation or create undesired distance from your partner.
Some people have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) that goes undiagnosed. This disorder involves a continuous pattern of behaviors where the individual seems to only care about themselves, crave attention, and even behave cruelly at times.
Here are some traits of a person with NPD:
Typically, those with NPD are charming, and you may even believe they have the best of everything. They are usually driven by their agenda and own needs. They tend to spend time with people who shower them with compliments and gifts or people that seek to please them. They love to be around those who can offer them an opportunity to feel a certain level of superiority.
It may be difficult to cope with the idea of dating a person with NPD. These individuals give a lot of push back on requests to change from almost everyone, especially their partner. They have a sense of entitlement that typically leads to believing that nothing is wrong with their behavior.
Many have realized the easiest solution when dating a person with NPD is to get out of the relationship. In some situations, though, there may be too much attachment, or the length of the relationship may make it hard to leave. After being in a relationship for so long, the partner may not feel like they can leave.
People who choose to stay need to understand that the behavior can occur in mild ways that do not cause harm to the partner. Evaluation is key to ensuring that abusive behaviors do not get out of hand. People with NPD can be malicious and manipulative or engage in gaslighting behaviors. Gaslighting can cause long-term emotional and mental harm. The first step to handling this relationship is to evaluate the patterns and make sure that you are not being abused. If you are not being abused, then the relationship may be salvageable.
However, it is still important to evaluate your contribution to a potentially codependent relationship. Those with NPD often feed off of things like praise and approval. In general, if you are a people pleaser or someone who likes to make their significant other feel special, this could lead to a problematic mix.
Your love and support can eventually just feed into another person’s needs for attention and praise. In their mind, this may warrant manipulative tactics to achieve the same praise at an unsustainable rate. Once you are aware, take a step back and evaluate your part in feeding the narcissistic behaviors.
If you realize that your praise and attention occur no matter how they treat you, you need to change your behavior. You must give only an appropriate amount of praise and approval.
It’s not uncommon to experience explosive emotional reactions when discussing the behavior of a partner with narcissistic tendencies. Your partner might do things to seek attention while you get hit in the crossfire. You might have addressed this issue with them, and they know it hurts you, but it continues.
If you explode with emotion, it gives your partner with NPD a chance to completely ignore your feelings, potentially even labeling you as dramatic. Instead of exploding, mentally prepare yourself to have a calm discussion about the problem. If you feel as though you have made enough attempts to let your partner know what they are hurting you to no avail, it may be time to see a therapist. A healthcare professional can help you figure out where you are enabling your partner and help you understand how your partner is hurting you.
Dating a person with narcissistic tendencies can be difficult, especially when you don’t want to leave the relationship. Even if you see warning signs like selfishness, entitlement, or a lack of empathy, you may still want to remain in the relationship. There may be kids, marriage, or other people involved that make it very difficult to leave. Contrary to popular belief, a relationship with a partner with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) can last. Remaining in this kind of relationship may require consistent effort and work. You may need to evaluate not only your partner but also yourself. Take the time out to understand your part in the struggle to ensure that you are not making it worse. If the relationship has become too much to handle on your own, treatment centers can help you and your loved one reach common ground. The Kimberly Center can be the third party that you and your partner need to have a successful and healthy relationship. Contact us at (855) 452-3683.