What is a narcissist?
I’m not a big fan of throwing around the word lightly, so let’s begin by defining exactly what we mean. At the heart of narcissism, there are a few qualities that are not negative in any way. In fact, there are qualities we should all strive to have—concern for self, personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how you are perceived by others, to name a few. A moderate dose of any of these qualities means you have a healthy self esteem and good self-care habits.
However, when a person has an unhealthy excess of these qualities without concern for others—he/she thinks only of him/herself, and is the center of his/her own universe—you might have a narcissist on your hands.
This article uses the term in the layman’s sense, and certainly should not be used to diagnose your partner with a personality disorder. That being said, if you’re concerned you might be dating a narcissist, here are some warning signs that will give you some insight into your partner’s behavior:
1. He/she lacks empathy.
If your partner can complain about his/her problems and worries, but never shows any concern or empathy for you or others in his/life, this is a warning sign that you might be dating a narcissist. One of the key traits of a narcissist is that they are so absorbed in their own world that they don’t show any genuine concern or interest in the hardships of others.
2. It’s hard to get to close.
A narcissist will likely keep you at arm’s length. Your importance in this person’s life is going to be based solely on what you are able to provide for him/her. It might be a boost in self esteem or positive attention, but when you try to scratch the surface of who this person really is, you’ll meet resistance.
3. He/she needs constant attention, admiration, and affirmation.
Have you noticed your partner can’t live without the attention, affirmation, and admiration of others? Narcissists will seem to exude an overly confident, overly arrogant attitude, while at the same time will desperately seek approval from those around them. They may constantly and excessively fish for compliments and positive feedback. On top of that, they may react poorly when they think you are giving too much attention to someone else.
4. He/she has an unrealistically grandiose sense of self.
A narcissist will have an unrealistic view of self and their talents. He/she might brag and lie excessively about positive traits.
5. He/she uses people to get ahead in life.
This is never a positive trait in a loved one. A narcissist will see others as assets for getting what he/she wants.
6. Your needs are not being met.
Regardless of whether your partner is a narcissist or just a bit of a jerk, if your needs in the relationship aren’t being met, it’s time to move on. A relationship should include a combination of self care—where each person values and takes care of their own needs—and loving care for the other person. You deserve to be with a person who is deeply concerned with making you happy.
[photo: via stuartpilbrow on flickr]