1. They were super charming… at first.
They texted you constantly, complimented you, and made you feel admired. You felt special. Maybe they told you they’d never met someone like you before or said “I love you” within the first month. This is called love bombing, the practice of overwhelming someone with affection and adoration. It’s a form of manipulation—they sweep you off your feet until you’re hooked… and then everything changes.
2. They control the conversation.
Narcissists love to talk about their own accomplishments and achievements. They will often exaggerate these stories in order to gain admiration from others. Since they’re so busy thinking and talking about themselves, they won’t have time to listen to you.
Narcissists view people as either good or bad, superior or inferior, or right or wrong. You will be the “lower” person because narcissists view themselves as the best.
3. They feed off your compliments.
Narcissists come across like they’re super self-confident, but years and years of research have shown that they actually lack self-esteem.
They need a lot of praise to avoid their fear that they’re not good enough. If you don’t provide this praise, they’ll fish for it. That’s why they’re constantly telling you how great they are—they need you to confirm it.
Narcissists will typically seek their confirmation of worthiness from people who are highly empathetic. This is because they know these people are more likely to provide it, thanks to their sympathetic nature.
4. They lack empathy.
Lack of empathy, or the ability to feel how another person is feeling, is one of the most obvious signs someone is narcissistic. They don’t feel sympathy or understand where you are coming from because they really can’t comprehend feelings.
Does your partner care when you’ve had a bad day at work or do they seem annoyed when you talk about it? Do they dismiss your feelings?
The other problem is, narcissists expect others to think and feel the same as they do but will rarely give any thought to how others feel. They are rarely apologetic or remorseful for their actions.
Narcissists also lack an understanding about the nature of feelings. They don’t understand how their feelings occur. They think their feelings are caused by someone or something outside of themselves. They don’t realize that their feelings are caused by their own thoughts and actions. Overall, narcissists will always think you’ve caused their feelings, especially the negative ones. They conclude that because you didn’t follow their plan or because you made them feel vulnerable, you are to blame.
5. They don’t have any (or many) long-term friends.
Most narcissists won’t have any long-term or real friends. The reason is because they either get rid of their friends when they no longer have any use for them or their friends get sick of their behavior and leave.
If you dig deeper into their connections, you may find they only have casual acquaintances or people in their lives who they only speak bad of.
Another common sign to look out for is if they’re unhappy when you hang out with your friends. If common complaints you hear are along the lines of you never spend time with them, they don’t like your friends, or they don’t trust you when you’re out, they are a narcissist and they are attempting to control you.
6. They pick on you.
The main difference between people who are confident and those who are narcissistic is narcissists need to lift themselves up—and the only way they’re able to is by putting others down. People with self-confidence do not do this. In short, narcissists punish everyone around them for their lack of self-confidence.
Maybe it started as teasing, but then suddenly it became horrible and constant. Everything you do, from what you’re wearing to what you eat to the music and films you enjoy, is an issue for them.
The goal of this is to lower your self-esteem so that they can increase their own—it makes them feel powerful.
What’s more, they enjoy your reaction because it shows them that they have the power to affect another’s emotional state.
7. They gaslight you.
This is one of the worst forms of emotional manipulation and abuse. Has anyone ever said or done something hurtful to you, then called you crazy for reacting? And I don’t just mean little things. They could call you overweight/ugly/useless/boring and then call you stupid for getting upset. There are so many examples of gaslighting—I advise you look into it.
8. They think they’re right about everything and never say sorry.
Fighting with a narcissist is impossible.
There is no such thing as compromise when it comes to a narcissist because they don’t see disagreements as disagreements. Instead, they view themselves as someone who is just teaching you the truth.
If you feel like your partner refuses to understand you, listen to you, apologize, or take responsibility for issues that they were part of, they may be narcissistic.
When things don’t go according to a narcissist’s plan or they feel criticised or less than perfect, they will place all the blame and responsibility on you. It has to be someone else’s fault, because they are perfect. Sometimes the blame is generalized—all police, all bosses, all teachers, etc. Most often, though, the narcissist will blame the one person who is emotionally close, attached, and loving in their life—you.
9. When you leave them, they will lash out.
If you insist that you’re done with the relationship, the narcissist makes it their goal to hurt you for abandoning them. You’ve bruised their ego, which causes them rage and hatred. They’ll usually feel wronged and undeserving.
The result? They might bad mouth you to anyone who will listen, especially mutual friends. They might start immediately dating someone else to make you feel jealous. I’ve heard cases where narcissists have actually tried to make the other person lose their job or their family or stalked them.
The narcissist’s life and personality is motivated by fear. These fears are deeply buried, but they are afraid of being ridiculed, rejected, or wrong. They have fears about being seen as inadequate and useless or being abandoned. This makes it difficult and sometimes impossible for the narcissist to trust anyone else.
Because of this, the closer your relationship becomes, the less the narcissist will trust you. They fear true intimacy and vulnerability because they’re afraid you’ll see their imperfections and judge or reject them. No amount of reassurance seems to make a difference, because narcissists deeply hate and reject their own imperfections.