At first, you thought your partner was just overly confident, maybe a little cocky at times. But now after several months or even years, you’re starting to understand the reality — you’re in a relationship with a narcissist.
You’re trying to work things out, but soon you realize that trying is not enough. Should you stay in this relationship or leave before it gets worse?
Two professionals share eight signs of when it’s time to leave a relationship with a narcissist:
1) Your mental health is suffering from being in the relationship.
For example, you may develop depression and anxiety, experience suicidal ideation, or experience health deterioration, according to Ramani Durvasula, a psychologist and author of “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist.”
2) Your self-worth has started to plummet.
Even if you aren’t struggling with noticeable psychiatric symptoms as a result of being with a narcissistic partner, you may notice that you've stopped advocating for yourself or valuing who you are, Durvasula said.
3) If you have children, you may notice they are suffering emotionally.
According to Durvasula, narcissists are generally “on again, off again” parents, which is clearly unstable for children to grow up with. Children can become devastated and confused as a result of the disconnection, neglect, carelessness and coldness of a narcissistic parent or guardian.
4) Your partner may be consistent, but not in a positive way.
Narcissists tend to repeat the same mistakes over again, such as cheating, apologizing and repeating the cheating, Durvasula said. Even if they don’t cheat, they may forget important events like birthdays or anniversaries, and they’re unlikely to change.
5) It’s been a while since you’ve seen family and friends.
Isolation is not only typical in abusive relationships, it’s also common when you have a narcissistic partner, Durvasula said. Narcissists don’t want their partners to have advocates that may turn against them. You may also isolate yourself from others to avoid questions about your relationship, since surely your friends and family have noticed the red flags.
6) Your relationship is one-sided, specifically catering to the narcissist.
For example, a narcissist may mostly share their opinions and talk about themselves, with limited genuine interest in their partner, according to Veronica Swett, a matchmaker at Elite Connections. Basically, if you can’t get in a sentence without your partner trying to steer all the attention back to them, you have a major problem on your hands.
7) If you’re not happy, then leave.
This is the number one piece of advice Swett has for all troubled relationships, not just ones involving a narcissist. It’s unlikely that a relationship with a narcissist with result in much happiness.
8) You’re doing all the hard work in the relationship.
There is no even distribution of work when you have a narcissist on your hands, according to Swett. Since narcissists only really cares about themselves, the only time they will contribute to work is when it benefits them first.
So if you’re going through hard times, don’t expect a narcissist to stick by your side and help you through it. If there is no personal gain in a task, a narcissist will walk away.
Can you think of any warning signs these two professionals missed? Please share in the comments below.
Also, look out for my next article on narcissism in relationships, which will focus on how to move on from a narcissistic partner.
Durvasula, Ramani. Email interview. December 9, 2015.
Swett, Veronica. Email interview. December 10, 2015.
Reviewed December 28, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith