What Do I Do if My Partner is a Narcissist/Self-Centered

Do you have a partner who’s always putting themselves first, craves attention and recognition, and always seems to think that they’re the most important thing in the world? Then you may be dealing with a narcissist partner.

If you’ve never heard the term, narcissism refers to a person who is extremely selfish, craves attention, and has a grandiose view about themselves. Persons with severe narcissism may be experiencing Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which the Mayo clinic defines as a person “with an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.” It is estimated that NPD affects 6.2% of adults in the USA.

Traits displayed by narcissists include:

  • Sense of entitlement or superiority
  • Lack of empathy
  • Manipulative or controlling behavior
  • Strong need for admiration
  • Focus on getting one’s needs met, often ignoring the needs of others
  • Higher levels of aggression
  • Difficulty taking feedback about their behavior

They are struggling with insecure sense of self and they address this through self enhancement through their thoughts and behaviors.

If you have fallen in love or entered into a relationship with a narcissistic person, it can often be difficult to immediately distinguish that they have this particular trait. Narcissistic persons are often described as charming and the depth of their disorder may not be immediately shown.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist all is not lost. There are several strategies to help you cope with this situation. These strategies may include:

  1. Get professional help – A therapist or counsellor may be helpful in assisting both you and your narcissistic partner in addressing and reducing their negative behaviors and also helping you to cope. An Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist (EFT) may help you to strengthen your relationship while dealing with narcissism.
  2. Compassion is different with a narcissist– Most people want to “love them” or show a lot of compassion so they will change. Compassion is important in mutual and equal relationships yet a relationship with a narcissist does not contain these qualities.  Compassion with this person can leave you constantly giving while your needs go unmet.
  3. Identify possible root causes of their narcissism – Narcissistic behavior is often a symptom of other issues. Despite their behavior, many narcissists may actually struggle with self-esteem issues. It may be helpful in finding and treating any root causes or childhood trauma that may have led to them adopting narcissistic tendencies as a coping mechanism.
  4. Don’t depend on them for your self-worth – Your narcissistic partner may try to bring you down in an effort to inflate their own ego. Develop your own self-worth and confidence so that these instances do not significantly affect your emotional state.
  5. Manage expectations – Even if you are seeking assistance, don’t expect your partner to change overnight. Understand that at the end of the day their behavioral change is up to them, not you, and there is only so much that you can do.
  6. Set boundaries – You should decide what behaviors you’re willing to accept (or not) and what should happen if your boundaries are crossed, and then stick to those decisions.

If you need some assistance in dealing with a narcissistic/selfish partner, don’t struggle alone. Call 913-239-8255 for more details on how to manage your relationship with a narcissistic partner.

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