5 Signs of Narcissism in Relationships

Hey Optimist Minds, 

Have you ever felt like your relationship with your partner is toxic? Does it seem like your partner often has more power than you? If this relationship has you feeling confused, ashamed, guilty, and depressed, you may be experiencing the effects of narcissism.

Today, we will take a look at some of the telltale signs of narcissism in relationships. The information shared in this video is not an attempt to diagnose or denounce narcissists. It is only intended to help individuals to identify and escape from abusive situations.

Narcissists generally have predictable behaviour patterns that you can learn to recognise. Knowing about them can help you understand what you’re going through and find the resources to make it stop.

So, let’s begin! Here are five signs of narcissism in relationships.

Number 1

You need to obey to be treated decently.

Are you always worried about upsetting your partner? Does it feel like you’re not allowed to do many things because it’ll cause a fight? These things could be as simple as talking to your family, wearing certain clothes, or going out to meet friends. It could also be things that make you feel good about yourself, like your strengths and hobbies. 

A narcissist will try to limit your access to other people and take away things that build your self-confidence. By doing so, they keep you under control and make it unlikely for you to leave them. 

They exert this control by attacking you if you do not comply with their wishes. Alternatively, if you do what they want you to, they reward you with affection. It can be dangerous sometimes as they might ask you to do horrible things that could harm you.

Number 2

There’s no end to the drama.

When you and your partner fight, is there no room for open communication? Does it feel like you can never get them to understand your point of view? Drama is a term used to describe unnecessary conflicts. Usually, such fights involve unfair tactics used to manipulate the other person.

They might ignore you, give you the silent treatment, stonewall you, play mind games, and purposely do things to hurt you or make you jealous. 

Frequent infidelity is common for narcissists. Researchers found that narcissists report less commitment to their ongoing romantic relationship than others. Strangely, if you confront them about the cheating, they’ll either deny it or blame you for it.

If they feel you did something to upset them, they may wrongly accuse you and even punish you in twisted ways. Consequently, you end up so sad and lonely that you beg for their forgiveness and give in to their demands.

Number 3

They treat you differently when they have an audience.

If there’s is something in you that the narcissist believes to be admirable, they will use this to show off to others. Suppose you are intelligent or you look beautiful. Your partner will point these things out to whoever they meet to show how great you are. But that’s only because they see your strengths as an extension of themselves.

They only praise you to make others jealous of them, but they have nothing nice to say to you when it really counts. When the two of you are alone, the praise completely stops. It only shows up like sarcastic taunts aimed to demean you. 

For example, they might say, “how can someone so smart not understand such a basic thing?” 


“Why are you so dressed up? Who are you trying to impress?”

This dual behaviour is more common in covert narcissists because they don’t want the outside world to know how they really treat you.

Number 4

You’re always second-guessing yourself.

Ever since you met this person, have you noticed an increase in self-doubt? Are you persistently questioning whether what you say or do is the right thing? This can manifest as a perpetual search for validation from others because you’re never sure of yourself.

Dating a narcissist involves being reminded of your inadequacy every day. The narcissistic partner needs you to feel bad about yourself so that they can feel good about themselves. Suffering from anxiety is a natural consequence of such a union.

Number 5

No matter what you do, nothing seems to work.

You’ve probably done everything humanly possible to make this relationship better. Maybe you gave up parts of your identity. Perhaps you’ve been extremely obedient. You might have even tried couple’s therapy. But despite all that, your partner still gets upset with you.

The nastiness always finds a way to show up, and you stuck right where you started. Even if the narcissist gets whatever they want, the shame and insecurities that exist deep inside them can’t go away by your efforts. They will still feel compelled to make you feel terrible because of their need to project those negative feelings.

As a result, the relationship never improves, even though you keep hoping it will.

Did you relate to any of the signs we discussed here? Does your partner treat you in the ways we described? If yes, then it’s very likely that you’re dating a narcissist. It’s in your best interest to consult a mental health professional to understand what you can do about it. 

Let us know in the comments if you think this video helped you. A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below. 

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.