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Clear Signs of a Narcissist and Why You Should Break Up with Them

If you’re dating a narcissist, you’ll no doubt understand the complications. If you’re not sure, learn the signs of a narcissist, and get away. 

breaking up with a narcissist

A loving romantic relationship is something that brings out the best in the people involved. We choose our partners based on certain aspects that are beneficial to our wellbeing. Besides the usual physical attraction, you choose someone who shares your interests, someone who supports and cares for you, and someone who complements your shortcomings. By knowing the signs of a narcissist, you can avoid a relationship that will be the total opposite of what you want and need.

There are instances when one person in the relationship is too absorbed in him/herself to pay any real attention to their partner. This is where the balance is upset. Upsetting the give-and-take will put a strain on the relationship. And with enough stress, the relationship will ultimately fall to pieces.

There are more narcissists out there than you might think. Sometimes they’re hard to spot, but understanding the signs of a narcissist will help you to avoid a relationship that could tear your heart into pieces. [Read: Loving a narcissist: How to tell if you’ve fallen for a narcissist]

Before we spot the signs of a narcissist, what is a narcissist?

While all people are naturally geared towards self-preservation, someone who thinks that they’re the center of the universe can be described as a narcissist. Narcissism has many attributes that makes it stand apart.

A true narcissist suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD. While everyone has a tendency to be a little narcissistic very occasionally, a person with NPD lives the narcissistic life 24/7. They are extremely self-absorbed, they think the world revolves around them and they’ll stop at nothing to make themselves look good. They will manipulate those around them to get what they want and they have no empathy in their soul. Basically, they are incapable of loving or caring in the same way as someone who isn’t narcissistic. [Read: What causes narcissism? The facts & theories to read a narcissist]

Needless to say, narcissists are at the bottom of the list of people you want near you. We’re sure you’ve encountered a couple of them in your life, but what if you find out that your significant other displays this kind of personality? Dealing with them would be a pain in the ass and would cause a lot of heartache, so you should definitely break up with them. Easier said than done, for sure, but by learning the signs of a narcissist, you’ll be able to feel more secure in your decision.

The clear signs of a narcissist

So, what should you look out for when trying to spot a narcissist? Remember that one act of slight narcissism occasionally doesn’t make someone a narcissist. However, if you spot several of these signs over a longer period of time, that’s pretty damning evidence. [Read: Narcissistic abuse: 16 Subtle signs a narcissist is abusing you]

1. An over-inflated sense of self-importance

A narcissist thinks they’re better than everyone else. They will go to great lengths to prove it and they want you to know it and tell them all the time. They have a blinkered view of the world that means they’re at the very center of it and everyone else is on the planet to serve their needs, while also flattering their ego.

2. One of the signs of a narcissist is that they have their head in the clouds

Because they think they’re king or queen of the world, a narcissist lives in a fantasy world of their own creation. This world is obviously built around their belief that they’re the most important person in the world. You might hear stories that place them as the hero or explains why their actions and achievements were top-class. Whether these stories are proven to be true or not, remains to be seen. [Read: Relationship with a narcissist: What it really means to love one]

3. They have to have the best of everything

You will never catch a narcissist with an out of date phone model or a cracked screen. Narcissists are all about how they appear to others so they have to have the very best of everything. Material goods at their go-to. A narcissist wants the best car, job, house, phone, any other technological gadget you can think of. This also extends to the people around them – a narcissist will often go after an attractive partner just to make them look good. They also like to place themselves next to people of high social standing or importance, because it rubs off on them.

4. A constant need for validation is one of the key signs of a narcissist

Despite having self-importance levels off the scale, narcissists are actually lacking in confidence where it matters. Of course, they’ll never show that to you. As such, they need a constant supply of validation from those around them. When they don’t get it, they may become aggressive, passive-aggressive, or give the cold shoulder. This appetite for ego rubbing is often obsessive. [Read: How to deal with a narcissist in the best way you possibly can]

5. They believe they should have whatever they want

One of the big signs of a narcissist is that they have a huge sense of entitlement. They believe that they should always have and get what they want. They don’t believe they should have to work for it. It should just fall into their lap because they are who they are. As such, they expect those around them to do whatever they want, dropping everything at the click of a finger.

6. They’re extremely manipulative

Narcissist are masters of manipulation. They don’t care who they hurt, stop over, or push out of the way to get what they want and if they need to, they’ll twist your mind. If you’ve ever heard of gas-lighting, you’ll know that this is a clear narcissistic tactic. A narcissist doesn’t feel shame or embarrassment at hurting someone else, because everything is about them. [Read: How to spot gaslighting in a relationship & shut it down for good]

7. They lack empathy

Narcissists lack empathy. That means they don’t care about others and they certainly can’t love in the way you’re supposed to. There is no point in trying to reason with a narcissist or get them to see sense because you can’t reason emotionally with someone who doesn’t have an empathetic bone in their body.

8. They often bully or belittle

The lack of empathy also means that narcissists have no issue in bullying, making fun of others, or belittling them. They’ll happily do this in front of others to amplify the effect too. The reason they do this is to make themselves look good. They’ll often target those who they deem to be a threat and then try to drag them down. By doing this, they’re eliminating that threat and assuming that it makes them shine brighter. [Read: 20 Biggest narcissistic traits to recognize the narc in your life]

9. Often isolates their partner

A common tactic of a narcissist is to isolate their partner from their friends and family. This is because they feel threatened by their influence over their partner. It’s common for people to be able to spot the signs of a narcissist when they’re not directly involved with them. They don’t want anyone trying to drag their partner away.

10. One of the strong signs of a narcissist – They don’t take criticism well

A narcissist doesn’t understand the concept of constructive criticism. Any type of comment that doesn’t inflate their ego even more is considered to be a direct diss and they’re likely to react very badly to it. A narcissist loves praise, but hates anything which criticizes them or their actions, even in the tiniest of ways. [Read: 8 Ways to be less critical of the people around you]

11. Often becomes jealous

We know that one of the signs of narcissism is a need to have the very best of everything. That can often lead a narcissist to huge bouts of jealousy if they see someone with something that they want. If a person is deemed to look or be better than them, the green-eyed monster will come out in huge amounts and the fall-out can be epic.

12. They’re a master of disguise

When you first meet a narcissist, they’ll be on their best behavior. They’ll show you a side of themselves that’s as close to perfect as possible. You’ll think you’ve met your ideal match and you’ll quickly become attached. However, that’s part of the plan. That side of them isn’t real, it’s all a disguise. When they think that they’ve got you under their spell, a narcissist will simply relax and be themselves. But, if they notice that you’re starting to figure them out, they’ll quickly revert back to the perfect behavior they showed at the start. [Read: What types of narcissism should you be on the lookout for?]

This is why so many people who have been in relationships with narcissists end up emotionally traumatized once the relationship ends. They’re having their minds messed with. Basically, a narcissist can be anything they want to be and they wear many different metaphorical hats.

If you see the signs of a narcissist, know you can’t change them

It’s important to remember that a narcissist can display all of the signs above or just some of them. Narcissism also exists in varying degrees. You can have a mild narcissist or you can have a raging narcissist who is extremely difficult to be around. There are also different types of narcissists on the spectrum too.

Regardless of any of that, it’s vital to know that you cannot change a narcissist. You might be totally in love but you can’t make them different. It’s part of who they are. [Read: Should I give up on him? 17 Things that aren’t going to change]

Far too many people stick with a narcissist because they believe that they can change. The truth is that you can’t “fix” a narcissist. They have a personality disorder and the only way that can be changed is by the narcissist admitting they have a problem. That’s highly unlikely to start with. Then they have to undergo therapy to right the issue. Very few narcissists ever go through this therapy and it isn’t guaranteed to work anyway.

The best advice is to get out of there before your heart and your mind are damaged to a degree you struggle with for a long time afterwards.

What to expect when dating a narcissist

If narcissists are difficult people to begin with, imagine having a relationship with one of them. Of course, you might ask why you may have ended up with a narcissist in the first place. The thing is, it will take some time for you to realize that the person doesn’t really care much about you…until they start missing important events in your relationship. Here are some ways for you to know: [Read: Why you should never make someone a priority when you’re only an option to them]

1. In light of their self-centeredness, a narcissistic partner is likely to do things convenient for him/her or anything for their benefit. They won’t meet you halfway in anything.

2. Conversations are mostly about them. They are the worst listeners. You don’t need to bother asking about their day, because they’ll be sure to tell you. When it’s your turn, they’ll easily dismiss it to make room for more stories of their day.

3. Narcissists are likely to belittle your achievements and efforts, and are likely to use themselves as a means of comparison. [Read: Do narcissists know they are narcissists?]

4. They rarely acknowledge their mistakes or show the slightest bit of remorse during arguments. And, of course, they think that they’re right.

5. Narcissists often fail to recognize the opinions of other people, despite being logical, if they clash with their own ideas.

6. They can be manipulative, feigning concern and affection to get what they want. [Read: 12 subtle signs you’re being manipulated by your lover]

Breaking up with a narcissist

Needless to say, the only reasonable way to end the sheer madness that is keeping up with a narcissistic partner is to end the obviously unhealthy relationship. While you are doing this for your own sanity, there are many ways that you are helping the other person, too. Here are the reasons why ending the union is best for you and everyone else.

1. Breaking up means freeing you from the burden

Narcissists are high-maintenance partners. They require more patience, understanding, and oftentimes a lot of enabling in order to float a boat that’s bound to sink in the end.

Consider yourself a martyr if you’ve made it this far, but the bottom line is: you don’t deserve to be treated like crap. Going back to our earlier analogy, a healthy relationship must be in balance. That balance is give and take, not the narcissist taking the best of you and leaving you in ruin. [Read: How to leave a narcissist and free yourself from their web of control]

2. Breaking up with a narcissist allows breathing space for other people

One of the consequences of having a relationship with a narcissist is the possibility of alienating other people. Friends, co-workers, and family will certainly have developed apprehension for your choice of partner. Most likely, they have distanced themselves from you. Breaking up with your narcissist allows you to go back and mend your relationships with other people that your partner alienated from you.

3. Because having a relationship with a narcissist is self-defeating in its own right

A narcissist only maintains a relationship with you because of the rewards they can get from it. If you think that putting up with their behavior is the ultimate form of love, you are very wrong. Narcissists are parasites, so to speak, and they take what they can and leave nothing behind. It will be good riddance to curtail this cycle by ending the relationship. Because if they really don’t care for you, the least you can do is to love yourself and stay away. [Read: How do narcissists end a relationship: Can you predict the end?]

4. By breaking up, both of you can learn

Despite all the unpleasant emotional baggage that break ups bring, the ultimate consolation prize is the life lessons you can glean from the experience. As the saying goes, when things fall apart, all that’s left to do is to pick up the pieces.

Break ups don’t only shatter the relationship, but the people involved. You are a different person before and after. While it may not bring change automatically, a break up will certainly leave a mark on a narcissist. As for you, you’ll learn that self-respect is more valuable than selflessness. [Read: What is the worst thing you can do to a narcissist to hurt them?]

You simply deserve better

If you can nod along to these signs of a narcissist in your partner, it’s time to wave goodbye and walk away. Yes, it’s going to be hard and you might question your actions ten times over. However, that’s just because the narcissist has played you so carefully that you doubt your actions in relation to them. Know that you deserve better.

There’s someone out there who wants to love you and will ofter nothing but respect. You can’t get to that person until you wave goodbye to the narcissist in your life.

[Read: 10 signs to recognize selfish people and 5 steps to let them go for good]

Desperate situations call for desperate measures. If you spot these signs of a narcissist, it’s time to go. While a break up is unpleasant and generally avoided, it could be the most logical decision to make when a narcissistic partner is involved.

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Paul Timothy Mangay
Paul aka Morty is a keyboard-pounding cubicle-dweller based in Manila where he occasionally moonlights as a writer for anyone in need of his mediocre word-strin...
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