7 textbook warning signs that you are in a relationship with a narcissist

“Love is blind,” they say, and yes, it can often cloud our judgment.

Especially if you are dealing with a classic narcissist.

Why? Because narcissists are masters of manipulation. They can be charming, charismatic and seemingly perfect partners – until they aren’t.

Let’s get straight into it. Here are 7 warning signs that you may be in a relationship with a textbook narcissist. Recognizing these signs can be just your first step toward a healthier relationship.

1) They are always the center of attention

Have you ever noticed that your partner always seems to steer the conversation towards themselves?

Be it their achievements, their problems or just random thoughts – everything revolves around them.

It’s as if they are constantly looking for attention and admiration. And it’s not fair to you. They behave this way towards everyone: friends, family, even strangers.

We all like to share our stories and be heard. But with narcissists it is different. It’s not about sharing; it’s about dominating the story.

2) Lack of empathy

This was difficult for me to recognize in my own relationship. I remember there were times when I was going through a difficult time and needed emotional support. But instead of being there for me, my partner brushed it off or, worse, made it about them.

One specific example that stands out is when I lost my job. I felt gloomy and insecure about my career. But instead of empathy, all I got was a lecture about how they too had lost their jobs once and quickly got back on their feet.

Their lack of empathy was striking. They seemed unable to understand or share my feelings. It was always about their experiences, their feelings.

In retrospect, this was one clear sign of narcissism. If your partner consistently lacks empathy, it may be time to take a closer look at your relationship. Empathy is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. Without this, things can quickly become toxic.

3) They never accept blame

Let’s talk about responsibility. Or rather, the lack thereof.

A few years ago I was in a relationship where it seemed like I was always to blame. Whenever something went wrong, my partner found a way to pin it on me, even if it had nothing to do with me.

I remember one time when they missed an important meeting because they overslept. Instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, they blamed me for not waking them up in time. It was baffling and frustrating.

This consistent refusal to accept blame is a common trait among narcissists. They will twist and turn events to make themselves appear flawless.

Consider this a red flag. A healthy relationship involves two people who can acknowledge their mistakes and work together to fix them.

4) They underestimate your performance

Remember that time when you accomplished something big and all you wanted was to share the joy with your partner? But instead of celebrating with you, they downplayed your success or tried to give you an edge with their own achievements.

I have been there too. I remember getting a promotion at work, a milestone I had been working towards for years. Instead of being happy for me, my partner immediately turned the conversation to their own career advancements.

Narcissists find it difficult to celebrate the successes of others. They feel threatened by it, especially if it diverts attention from them.

Take note. You deserve to be with someone who celebrates your victories, not someone who downplays them.

5) They gaslight you

This is a big one. Gas lighting. It is a manipulative tactic that narcissists often use to gain power and control in a relationship.

It works by making you doubt your own thoughts, memories and perceptions. The term actually comes from a 1944 movie called “Gaslight,” in which a man manipulates his wife into believing she is going crazy.

I experienced this first hand in my previous relationship. My partner ignored my feelings, called me “too sensitive” or outright denied things that had happened. It made me constantly question myself and question my sanity.

Trust your instincts and know that your feelings are valid.

6) They are overly charming

This may sound strange. After all, charm is generally considered a good quality, right? But listen to me.

A few years ago I was in a relationship with someone who was incredibly charming. At first it felt like I had hit the jackpot. They were charismatic, persuasive and could make anyone feel like they were the most important person in the room.

But over time I started to notice a pattern. The incantation was used as a tool of manipulation. It was turned on and off depending on what they wanted or who they were trying to impress.

This exaggerated charm is characteristic of narcissists. They use it to attract and disappoint others.

So be careful. If your partner’s charm seems too good to be true, it just might be. Real people are always kind and respectful, and not just when it suits their agenda.

7) They feel entitled

Narcissists often believe that they are superior to others and deserve special treatment. This inflated sense of self-importance is a defining characteristic of narcissism.

They believed they were entitled to the best of everything. Whether it was always having the last word or expecting constant praise, their sense of entitlement knew no bounds.

This sense of entitlement can be harmful in a relationship. It creates an imbalance, where the needs and wants of one person are prioritized over those of the other.

The takeaway

Knowledge is power. If you recognize yourself with these signals, you have already taken the first step to improve your situation.

Change isn’t easy, especially when it comes to relationships. It is a process that requires patience, self-compassion and often professional help. There is no shame in seeking therapy or counseling to navigate these choppy waters.

The goal is not to condemn or vilify narcissists, but to better understand their behavioral patterns. This insight will help you make informed decisions about the future of your relationship.

Your feelings are valid. Your experiences are valid. And most importantly, you deserve love and respect in all its forms – especially from those closest to you.

Take some time to think about your relationship after reading this. Think carefully about your next steps. And remember: prioritizing your mental and emotional health is never a selfish act – it’s an act of self-love.

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