1. You feel as if you’re constantly at fault.
This is a clear marker of a narcissistic relationship—feelings of guilt, responsibility or negativity surrounding yourself, your opinions, your ideas/perspectives/feelings, or your actions. When you’re with a narcissistic partner, he or she will often spin arguments or situations to make you the one at fault (even if you’re not at all).
Example: You bring up the fact that your partner is flirty-texting someone of the opposite sex and instead of them apologizing or changing their behavior, they will say that you have violated their trust by going through their phone, and you are actually the one in the wrong. (aka: Avoiding all responsibility and making you feel guilty instead.)
This is a tactic called blame-shifting, where perpetrators victimize themselves instead of admitting they’re wrong. It’s unfair, unhealthy, and abusive.
2. The majority of conversations/arguments center around your partner’s feelings.
In a narcissistic relationship, everything is about that person—their thoughts, their feelings, their decisions, etc. Whether they are always trying to be the center of attention or simply switching the argument from what you feel to what they feel, narcissistic partners are all about them.
3. You’d rather keep your thoughts or feelings to yourself than risk hurting your partner’s feelings or starting an argument.
If you find yourself closing off, shutting down, or keeping your feelings to yourself simply because you don’t want to ‘upset’ your partner or start a fight, this is a true marker of a narcissistic relationship.
Healthy relationships are about both partners being able to open up to one another. Your feelings should not set someone off or spiral into a giant mess (especially if you share them honestly and respectfully). You have emotions and you are entitled to them. Your partner should be supportive and empathetic, even if he or she may not agree with what you think or feel.
4. Your partner’s pride is a very central part of your relationship.
If you constantly have to check yourself before you say something, or if you’re always worrying whether someone will say something that might offend your partner, you’re more than likely trapped in a narcissistic relationship.
Pride is a part of everyone’s identity, but when you have to walk on eggshells around a partner, constantly fear hurting them, or deal with major chaos of their pride takes a hit, you’re definitely with a narcissist.
5. Your partner is the main decision-maker, but does so without regarding your opinions.
Sometimes people in relationships take on roles. There might be a main decision-maker in your relationship, and that’s perfectly fine. But if your partner is the decision-maker, and does so without regarding your thoughts or feelings, that’s when healthy shifts to unhealthy.
In a healthy relationship, both parties should have a say. There should be a balance, and even if one person is the ‘go-to’ for that sort of thing, he or she should still take into account the other person’s perspectives. (A relationship is two people, not one.)
6. Most of your interactions are draining, exhausting, or negative.
Being with a narcissistic person is tiring. Whether you’re constantly stroking their ego, battling them to share your perspective, or trying to figure out what you’re doing to upset them, this kind of relationship takes a lot of your energy.
A sure sign you’re with a narcissist is that instead of enjoying one another and the benefits of a beautiful relationship, you are often tired, frustrated, or have a low self-image.
7. You don’t feel as if your partner respects or honors your boundaries.
Whatever your boundaries are—intimately, value-wise, conversation-wise, etc.—you often feel as if your partner disregards or doesn’t respect them at all. If that’s true for you, you’re definitely in a narcissistic relationship. What you value and where you draw your lines is important to who you are as a person, and if your partner doesn’t respect that, you need to get out.
8. You are often interrupted or feel undervalued when you speak.
A narcissistic partner will often interrupt you to get to his or her point, or undervalue your thoughts and perspectives, simply because he or she believes his/hers is better or more worthy.
If you find yourself constantly battling to be heard, or stepped on when you try to share your ideas, you’re in an unhealthy, narcissistic relationship.
9. You feel like you’re being ‘charmed’ or manipulated by your partner.
Can’t stay mad at your partner, no matter how hard you try? Find yourself persuaded, coaxed, or convinced that he or she is actually the best person for you, or loves you so incredibly much even though they just got done hurting you?
One of the strongest traits of narcissist people is their charisma. They are able to charm and persuade you (often for their own gratification). They can easily make you feel special, desired, and loved, but do they do this after they treat you terribly? Do they always have to ‘win you back’?
In a healthy relationship, there is no ‘winning back’ because there is no hurt, pain, or the confusion in the first place. Sure, you’ll have conflict, fights, and difficult times, but a healthy partner will value you enough to treat you right and not hurt you for selfish reasons.
10. You feel like you’re being used.
Do you feel like your partner is only treating you with love and respect when he or she has something to gain from it? If you feel this in any way, or have any inkling of doubt in your mind—you’re not in a healthy relationship.
11. Your partner has a difficult time, or doesn’t take any responsibility for his/her actions.
Is your partner always right? Never doing anything wrong? Always making you out to be the bad guy? If fighting with them is a constant, one-sided battle and you’re always the one apologizing in the end, this is a sure sign of a narcissistic relationship.
Love is incredibly difficult, but it shouldn’t be miserable. A healthy relationship is when two imperfect people come together; there must be compromise and love on both sides to truly make it work. A one-sided relationship is not a relationship.