What Are The Signs You’re Dealing With A Narcissist

signs you're dealing with a narcissistMany individuals feel a sense of bewilderment when dealing with a narcissist, they can begin a relationship feeling that they’ve met the person of their dreams, and then feel discarded and devalued by them, once things do not go their way. At the beginning of a relationship they project their idealised fantasy onto you, which comes crushing down. So, what are the signs you’re dealing with a narcissist?

At the initial stages of a relationship, many become captivated by the charming demeanor of a narcissist, when they’re lured into a relationship with them. During the love bombing phase, a narcissist presents a false persona that portrays to be what the other is looking for in a partner, with their ‘false self’, as a way to seek narcissistic supplies and win them over. However, the relationship quickly shifts from idealisation to devaluation, once they’ve hooked someone into a relationship.  

You will be treated very well, as long as you serve their needs, meet their high expectations, agree with them or go along with what they want from you, serving a narcissistic supply.

Once the supplies run out or you no longer serve a function for them, have a different opinion, expose that they’re not perfect or not mirror how perfect they are, then the narcissist will discard you. Here are some signs you’re dealing with a narcissist.

How to identify the warning signs you’re dealing  with a narcissist in your relationship?

Its not easy to identify the warning signs you’re dealing with a narcissist.

  • They lack empathy for others and make everything about them. You will feel pressure or feel you are not doing enough for them.
  • You will lose your confidence, doubt yourself and think that you’re wrong, believing that they know better, even though deep down you know this is not true.
  • Raising issues with a narcissist causes a narcissistic injury and triggers painful feelings of inadequacy. It often causes them to attack back, by devaluing the injuring partner, to protect themselves from feeling judged, shamed or humiliated.  
  • Avoiding blows to the grandiose (superior) self means they will gaslight, discard, or devalue others, in order to defensively keep their self esteem afloat, otherwise they come crashing down and hit hard.
  • They have no ways to manage hits to their self esteem, and cannot self-regulate their self-esteem, without using narcissistic supplies ( porn, addiction, affairs, winning, beauty, wealth) in order to feel better.
  • Narcissists pressure for supplies, by getting people to give them what they want, otherwise they can use forceful means to do so.
  • You will be discarded or devalued in some way, if you do not go along with them.
  • They expect others to read their mind (one mindedness) or know how they feel, instead of expressing themselves.
  • They perceive that others think the same way they do, but disown these unwanted aspects within themselves. For instance, they often think others are ruthless, exploitive, inadequate or cheating, by not acknowledging these aspects about themselves.
  • They become disappointed when others do not acknowledge how important they are or not on the same page as them (agree).
  • They want others to admire them, prioritise them or provide perfect understanding.
  • Many will expect that their partner  respond to all their needs or expectations.
  • The partner or child becomes a narcissistic extension of their own self esteem, so they require others to be perfect to avoid feeling inadequate. So, they pressure others to perform and impose their high standards upon them, by moulding them to be exactly like them, so they can reflect how good they are.
  • They will seek to change their partner, improve their appearance or correct the way they do things. They will be overly critical and harsh when others do not resonate with their idealised expectations.
  • They will impose their views or ways of doing things, as the right way. Others are left with no room to be themselves or they’re devalued in some way.
  • Narcissists find it hard to let go of the source of their supply and will find other avenues to seek supplies ( porn, infidelity, addictions, money), often they keep partners there and seek fulfilment elsewhere.  They’re constantly chasing the excitement or endless supply to fill the void within.
  • They will be envious if you rise above them and cut you down, spoiling the success of others because it is too painful for them.If you are less than perfect in their eyes or not exciting to them, they will have no need for you, they feel that they need more (supplies), often finding fault in the other person or feeling entitled to have affairs because the partner is not fulfilling their empty self. However, they will often turn it around as if there is something wrong with the partner, they do not measure up to be the perfect partner who meets all their needs of the grandiose self.

According to James Masterson, the narcissists exhibits a false  grandiose self, that feels superior and above others. Anyone who do does not treat them this way will be devalued or discarded. In many ways they’re caught in the illusion of their own grandiosity (superiority) and believe their own grandiose fantasies, expecting special treatment or winning at all costs.

Often, the narcissist expects the partner to be fused with their needs and expectations, like an infant that expects their mother to be fused with their needs, by providing  perfect attunement and mirroring their gaze.  The infant expects the mother to automatically know how they feel, since the mother is in a state of symbiotic fusion with her infant, a sense of oneness, whereby the infant depends on the mother to meet her every need and respond accordingly.

According to Margaret Mahler the narcissists are developmentally stuck at this stage of fusion with the mother, so they depend on others to respond to their every need, because they haven’t separated from the mother. As a result, they struggle to see that others have a separate mind to them, expecting others to be on the same page or share the same mind.

The narcissist appears to struggle the most when others do not share the same views, disagree or do not understand them (break in fusion). It almost feels like a misattuned mother, failing to respond to their needs or provide perfect understanding,  when one does not meet their expectations.

Narcissists had misattuned parents who never responded to their real strivings, of the ‘real self,’ or their vulnerable emotions. So, they remain fused with others in order to validate them, since they do not have enough libidinal investment in their real self to do this for themselves.

Essentially, they rely on the narcissistic supplies from others to hold them up and keep them afloat. They cannot do this for themselves, due to the lack of support for their real self. Whereby their real self was never able to emerge or become separate, by developing a cohesive mind of their own.

They remain fused with others to provide them with supplies, since they did not receive the emotional refueling for their real self, in order to develop healthy self esteem. So they’re remain reliant on others to refuel them with supplies, in order to fill the empty self (impaired real self).

What do you do if you detect the signs of narcissism in your relationship?

The narcissist expects admiration for being perfect and seeks supplies otherwise they will disregard their partner who disappoints them.  They feel intense frustration that their idealised expectations of others do not get met, because they’re left facing the inadequate feelings underling their real impaired self. Often those who are empathetic end up in relationships with narcissists, but end up feeling used and abused by them.

At Counselling Services Melbourne, some individuals with narcissists personality disorder can modify their behaviour, if they manage their feelings with the deflation of the grandiose self, re-aligning their expectations and being able to tolerate the hits to their grandiosity self by listening to others, in order to develop empathy for others. They can only gain empathy if they give up their defensive armour.

The malignant or grandiose narcissists usually present in a manner to win people over and confuse therapists with their false self, so that they do not get found out, these are the hardest ones to change, they do not own their behaviour, but cover up with lies and manipulation, blame and inflate their grandiose self when injured. They will convince you they’re right.

Be careful and listen to yourself, otherwise you will lose yourself and allow yourself to become appropriated by a narcissist. In these instances, some recover with ‘no contact’ to prevent the projections from taking over them, so that they can rebuild themselves and regain their sense of self in therapy, in order to recover from narcissistic abuse. Otherwise, marriage counselling Melbourne can also dismantle the defenses and get to the underlying vulnerability, for those who recognize they have an issue. Couples counselling Melbourne assists partners with ways of communicating with them, so that they can be heard.  Counselling in Melbourne can offer counselling to the narcissists, to address the underlying issues in order to eradicate their behaviour long-term.

Nancy Carbone is specialised in the treatment of narcissistic personality disorder from the Psychoanalytic International Masterson Institute.  If you are impacted by narcissists contact Nancy  so you can learn how to manage the relationship and yourself. You can also sign up on our newsletter for more tips and advice on relationships.

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