In a time when society calls out toxic people for undesirable behavior, people often throw around the term ‘narcissist’ a lot, particularly in relationships.

While the term ‘toxic’ usually refers to someone who adds stress and negativity to other people’s lives–often through controlling and manipulating others– narcissism, on the other hand, is a psychological condition that requires diagnosis by mental health specialists.

A narcissistic personality disorder fuels problems in several aspects of life, such as school, work, relationships, and financial affairs. People with this disorder may be disappointed or sad when denied the special admiration and favors they believe they deserve.

They may even consider their relationships fruitless. Those in active relationships with narcissists will find it challenging to be around them. As such, creating a genuine connection with them is deemed futile.

Living With a Narcissist

Narcissists are very interested in themselves and care very little about other people’s experiences or feelings. They tend to have a diminished sense of empathy; hence it is difficult to relate to other people’s feelings, thoughts, and pain.

If you have been around someone like this, you should be able to recognize these traits. A narcissistic partner will constantly scrutinize you for your flaws, especially those observed by others. If you wear the wrong attire for an occasion or have something stuck in your teeth, they will probably punish you or push you to fix it.

While it is nice to have someone watch out for an embarrassing error or mistake, it can also be irritating to be under regular scrutinization and correction. Therefore, dealing with a narcissist can be intensely challenging and painful.

Signs You’re Dealing with a Narcissist

If you are in a relationship with someone, be on the lookout for these before being manipulated.

1. Charming at First

Your relationship may have felt magical at first–maybe they constantly filled you with praises and told you how much they loved you within the first month.

Maybe they told you how smart you were or emphasized how you two are a match, even though you have only started seeing each other.

Narcissists think they should always be around special people because they believe they are the only ones who can appreciate them wholly.

2. Exaggerated Need for Attention and validation

They always pursue an infinite supply of attention, validation, and approval–even by asking you to find things, following you around the house, or saying anything to grab your attention.

Their need for validation is endless. No matter how many supportive words they receive, it is never enough. Words of praise and approval flow through one ear and get out from the other.

Despite how often you say you love them, approve of them, or admire them, they will always want more. This is because, inwardly, narcissists do not believe they are worthy of anyone’s love.

As a result, they constantly fish for compliments and try to coax approval from others to fuel their ego.

3. Superiority and Entitlement

A narcissist’s world revolves around right/wrong, good/bad, and superior/inferior. Plus, there is a particular hierarchy, with them at the peak. This is the only place they feel safe and secure. According to narcissists, they have to be the most right, the best, and most able; to control everything and get everything done in their favor.

Interestingly, narcissists can also feel superior by being the most wrong, worst, or the most injured, upset, or ill. Then they feel prone to soothing and compensation and the right to offend you or demand apologies to make even.

4. Lack of Empathy

Narcissists lack empathy–the capability to put themselves in other people’s shoes. They are often unable to apologize for their wrongdoings or comprehend the perspectives and feelings of others. Most notably, they do not have the skills to make you feel seen, understood, validated, or accepted simply because they ignore the concept of others’ feelings.

Consider it a red flag if your partner does not care when you have a bad day at work or fight with your parents or friend. According to research, this inability to sympathize or empathize is often why most relationships collapse, whether romantic or not.

5. Perfection

You can easily spot a narcissist through their heightened need to be perfect in almost anything.

They believe everything around them should be perfect. People around them, events, and life, in general, should play out according to their perception.

And since this is an unbearable demand, it often leads to narcissists feeling miserable and dissatisfied often.

6. They Lack Long-term Friends

It is common for narcissists to have regular conflicts with other people. Carefully probe their connections, and you will notice they lack long-term friends.

Similarly, narcissists can also be insecure and hypersensitive. Due to this, they may turn violent or abusive when you want to spend time with other people.

A narcissist may argue that you do not spend sufficient time with them to make you feel embarrassed about hanging out with other friends or criticize you for your friends.

7. Lack Responsibility

Even though they want to be in control, narcissists never want to take responsibility for results, lest everything goes as they anticipated and yields desired results.

When things go south, or they feel imperfect and criticized, narcissists, will often place all the responsibility and blame on others to uphold their façade of perfection, especially people who are emotionally close, loving, loyal, and attached to their life.

Bottom line

If you are connected to a narcissist, you should reconsider how you carry yourself around them. Instead of seeing them as an extension of yourself, understand that the rest of the world does not.

While understanding their flaws may help you recognize how to cope with them, the reality is narcissists are much more resistant to change.
So, you should ask yourself whether you can afford to cope with their traits indefinitely. If not, it would be best to focus on things you want for yourself instead of focusing on their delusions. Because, after all, there is no true connection with a narcissist.