Dating or in a Relationship With a Narcissist: Ten Signs to Look Out For


Narcissists are people who most often seem very nice and charming upon first meeting them, however this can quickly change when you discover who they actually are. NPD or better known as Narcisstic Personality Disorder, is a registred personality disorder within the DSM (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders).  When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you might encounter some odd experiences and most likely will have to deal with some rather unpleasant circumstances.

Perhaps situations such as them calling you out or calling you names when you bump into a friend on the street and went for a coffee instead of going straight back home. They are the individuals who often say things to make you feel bad and unworthy on purpose because it makes them feel better about themselves; as hypocritical and egomaniacal as they are.

They will often make it look like they are the victim in a situation and not you.  Even if you got proof that you did not do anything, no matter how nice you are (narcissists often abuse people who are very empathetic); they will always turn around a situation to their advantage.

They will also eventually look for someting that they can use against you, your "weak" spots, just in case an unwanted circumstance occurs between the both of you and they want to defend themselves or seem more superior than you; even when the situation itself doesn't make any sense. The reason for this is that these people lack what most people have, which is emotional empathy.

Red flags on how to spot a narcissist


Superiority and entitlement

Someone who's narcissistic or has narcissistic traits, definitely has a sense of superiority and entitlement. They view themselves as being better in many ways than most people, as in being "the richest", "the most right", "the best good-looking" etc. The prototypical narcissist believes that they are very important and may actually think that they are perfect, intellectually and physically - regardless of the truth.

They believe that they have or should have acces to certain privileges that other people don't. These are often people that also break the law because they are so self-centered and egotistical. Narcissistic people must have a sense of being superior in order to feel confident.


Great need for control

People with narcissism want to control everything in order to feel empowered and at ease. They want and demand this control by giving threats to others: "if you don't listen to me, I will leave you". Because they have this entitled identity, they very much feel like they cán have this control over their partner.

They more often than not want to control who their partner talks to and who they can or can't see, what they will be having for dinner, who pays the bills, and sometimes even what kind of clothes their partner should wear etc. If they can't be in direct control, they can even become agressive or paranoid.


Exaggerated need for attention, validation and admiration

An exaggerated need to be recognized and validated for something is definitely something you would think of when it comes to a narcissistic person. They desire this recognition so badly from others, that they will often try to stand out in something to get it. Without the recognition from other people, they feel worthless.

This can really go from texting a lot of messages every day to their significant person (and often demanding a quick response) in order to get the validation that they want and are desperate for to boost their ego and self-worth, to doing something out of the ordinary simply for attention.



Because of these people's need for admiration and validation, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or people along that spectrum, set their standards and goals very high, sometimes even in unrealistic ways. They also expect the same from their partner to engage in their highly, unrealistic ideas. They are deep down afraid to be called out, humiliated and rejected for their flaws, hence why the intense strive for perfection.

People with NPD are often perfectionists, but most of all, these people expect even more of that from other people: friends, family, co-workers and even their own children. They have an expectation that others must do everything just as great and flawless like they do or even go far beyond that just for them. They have no understanding or little patience when people can't meet up to their expectations.


Lack of empathy

When it comes to empathy, the person who has NPD has no or very little empathy for the negative impact they cause to other people, such as in their wishes or needs. They only really care about themselves, even if that is not what they tell or show you. They could want a relationship with a specific person, but it is not because they are in love like we are. People with narcissism don't have the same idea about love like most people do.

They can "love", but it is in their own, a very different, less empathetic and more egotistical way. They could simply start a relationship with someone because that person praises them for all the things that they do. The image they have and set toward other people, is often more important than anything else about the relationship itself. It is why they often look for a very good-looking or successful person to date or be with, because they radiate the success or wealth they find important and thus perceive as a benefit for their public status.

Frequently demeaning, intimidating bullying or belittling others

People who are narcissistic often feel threatened by those who appear to be (more) successful than they are. They, in a sense, feel insecure when they come across or meet people who seem to have something they lack, because it hurts their ego. Their defence mechanism is to then criticize those people or put them down. They will either patronize or dismiss these people by showing how little they mean to them. This can also show in a way that the narcissist bullies, attacks them with insults, calls them names, to put them back into line.


Little interest in going out to social places or to meet with your friends and family

It is sad but true to say that many narcissistic people don't enjoy going places where people are bubbly and happy. The energy that is around those particular environments makes them feel irritated because they often can not sense the joy and happiness in those situations. Deep down however they envy those people who are sociable and cán have fun in groups but will never admit that.

They often also have little interest in going out with your friends and family, because they lack the empathy to socially engage with them. It's not that they inherently can't, they just don't want to. Narcissists are made people, they generally aren't born malicious nor wicked. This personality disorder is the result of negative, disrupting early childhood experiences. Toddlers who suffer either neglect or indulgence will leave the early developmental stage without having completed it properly. They will mature into adults who still maintain a toddlers' selfish attitude in some ways in essence.



A big and common red flag among narcissism is gaslighting. This refers to a specific type of manipulation where the narcissist is trying to get someone else to question their own reality, memory or perceptions. It is definitely a serious problem since gaslighting is a definite form of mental abuse. It is an unequal power dynamique that includes extreme manipulation. An example would be "I didn't say that, what are you talking about?" Or "you're being overly sensitive".

In this example, the narcissist manipulates the other person to question their own sanity. As a result, you can end up in a vicious cycle of not being able to negotiate your daily life in a normal, healthy and clear-minded headspace. It is hard for the other person to go against it, because the narcissist really puts them in a weak position by almost forcing them to question their own beliefs. Continuous invalidity of how the other person feels about a situation is just as effective as saying that their perceptions are wrong and that they are a liar.



"Sorry, not sorry"

What is meant by this statement is that when the narcissist apologizes, you shouldn't easily fall for it. The narcissist doesn't apologize because he feels and owns up to the fact that he has hurt your feelings, again, this is all about power. When you are mad or angry at them and refuse to talk or even see them, they can't stand that they don't have the power in the situation.

They will say they're sorry and make it look like as if they mean it but if you are clever enough, you can see right through this schemed thought pattern. The need for them to have you still want them, is a power that they don't want to lose. It glorifies them in a way that they feel superior and by knowing this, they will treat you badly and lure you back in easily by apologizing in a petty manner once again (it's all a mind-game).


Love Bombing

This is a very obvious sign of narcissism and goes hand in hand with gaslighting, especially in the early stages of dating. It can however also happen after a fight (which then again results into gaslighting). The narcissist will often tell you "crazy" things like "you are now my girlfriend/boyfriend" (after only maybe one time seeing each other), or they will tell you the big words "I love you" and this often happens very quickly.

They do this because they know that the other person (often women) will fall for it and that then, they can basically claim the person like it is their property. The narcissist wants to make sure that their partner or love interest is not going anywhere and because this tactic tends to work, the other person feels charmed but often also very overwhelmed, confused and intimidated. Most of the time they also feel unsure of how to react or respond accordingly in the situation.

Sadly, the person who's in love with the narcissist generally doesn't want to recognize the problem and will often just ignore it and go with whatever the narcissist tells them and how they initially act toward them. This attitude and poor way of behaving however does have consequences in the long run. A normal healthy relationship does not and can not function in that manner. It takes time and patience to truly get to know someone, before you can succesfully move on to the next level.

After they are done with the love bombing (when they know you've become hooked) by telling you the most incredible and charming things about you and them and your relationship, giving you an exaggerated amount of gifts, compliments and attention sometimes, that's when the gaslighting starts once again; it's a continuous cycle of mental abuse with the typical narcissist.