Most humans have this longing to be loved, cared for, and appreciated. That feeling of being accepted as a part of a whole cannot be taken away from man. It is, in fact, one of the vital needs of man according to Maslow's hierarchy of need.

Being in a relationship, especially with the person of the heart can be so beautiful as to make the two partners feel secure.  And when you are in love, it's normal to want to do everything within your power to make your partner happy.

But as time goes on, you begin to feel as if there is never any balance in the relationship.   That feeling that you give all the love, care, praises, words of admiration that make your partner 'tick,' and even do more of the candle night surprises, yet do not seem to have it thrown back at you, really sucks.

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In most cases, you find yourself always being the first to pop the most important four letter word 'I LOVE you' and being the first to render apologies even when you are not at fault.

Such obvious observation of behavioral traits from your partner may be frustrating and may keep you thinking maybe your partner has some egoistic tendencies. Yeah, your thought is as good as mine. It is a really sad experience but can also be dangerous and toxic. In such cases, you might benefit from meeting with a therapist.

In mental health, a Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is an impairment in personality (not due to a medical or substance use disorder) in which a person grows to have this feeling of superiority over others. Have grandiose and the desire to be admired at all times, and lacking empathy for others amongst other inflexible traits. A general feeling of self-love.

It is true that many highly successful individuals display personality traits which may have one or more characteristics of a narcissist, but when these traits become persistent over time and differ substantially from cultural norms, they become narcissistic personality disorder.

Things to look out for that would tell if your partner exhibits narcissist tendencies include:

  • Grandiose personality: Does your partner always view him or herself as indispensable and very special that others cannot do without? It could be that...
  • Manipulative tendencies: A situation where your partner chooses to make decisions for you always even when it is not suiting to you and may at times use you to meet unreasonable self-serving needs or cover up flaws and inadequacies.
  • Charmer: A narcissist can be very persuasive and charismatic in his or her dealing when interested in getting something, but loses interest once she or he has gotten what she/he wanted. He or she may cares less if your needs are met.  
  • Fault finder: A narcissist does not like her ego to be wounded by real or perceived criticism and cannot take responsibility for his or her action in times where disagreement and conflict arise. This may leave you to end up apologizing for the wrong you did not commit.
  • He is never there for you: It truly hurts when you need a consolation or a word of advice and admiration, or a shoulder to lean on, and does not have one, especially from that special someone. Yet he/she is always expectant of your praises to boost his/her ego.
  • Sense of entitlement: A narcissist has a great sense of entitlement to special treatment and demands unreasonable expectation of obedience and respect from others at all cost. In times of conversation, a narcissist monopolizes the conversation and is impatient to listen to their partner.
  • Fair weather partner: A narcissist cannot stand the test of time. Though may have sweet persuasive words, would not be there with you in the storm.
  • Lack of compassion: Narcissists are unwilling to empathize with others feeling, wishes and needs even though they appear to be sympathetic.
  • Rule breakers: Narcissists see themselves as special and above the rule.
  • Seek compliment: They have this self-perception of being unique and are in real need of constant admiration and compliment.

Other characteristics include:

  • Display of arrogance
  • Power seeking behaviors
  • Fear of failure hence unwillingness to compete.
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However, if you see some or all of these behavioral traits in your partner, recommended ways to go about it include:

  1. Be clear about what you want: It is very important to recognize what you want in your relationship. Try to forget about fault findings and pen down what you want your relationship to be like.
  2. Talk to your partner: Dialogue matters a lot especially in this case. Talk openly and honestly about the rising issues and reach a consensus on how to go about it. While dialoguing, observe the mood of your partner, if he or she is getting hyper, calm down till he/she is ok.
  3. Ask questions:  It is important to ask questions to know his or her view and where he/she is coming from. Most times, they may be passing through some emotional trauma as well. Asking questions would help.
  4. Use the term 'we' instead of 'you': Try to use the term 'we' when posting out their faults. This shows them that the responsibility is shared, and not just passed to them.
  5. Approach a counselor carefully: It is very much OK to seek counsel from a specialist, but that should be done carefully so as not to offend your partner.

It is important to know that we all exhibit one or more of the listed behaviors from time to time, that does not mean that someone is a narcissist. Learn to deal with a narcissist with love and care.

While there is no known treatment for it, the treatment is centered on talk therapy.

For more information or to schedule appointment online, visit our couples counseling page or call 919-647-4600.

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