Narcissists are everywhere.
Unfortunately, that means there’s a good chance that you’ve come across one in your life.
However… you might not even recognize a narcissist until it’s too late (unless you know how to spot one)!
If you suspect a narcissist is creeping into your life, it’s better to identify them quickly, before they have a chance to create havoc for you.
Here’s why: while everyone has their flaws, narcissists display a set of traits that make it very difficult to have close relationships with. This includes working, romantic, or familial relationships.
In fact, they can (and will) make your life hell if you don’t know how to spot the signs before it’s too late.
To be clear…
I’m talking about the type of issues that make people horribly mean and vindictive. They’re often conniving, manipulative, and emotionally and verbally abusive.
Here’s an example:
You ask your husband to pack the kids’ lunch tomorrow. He agrees.
But when it’s time for the kids to leave the house, you notice that not only aren’t their lunches packed, but he’s nowhere to be found.
But that’s not the worst part (not even close).
What’s telling of a narcissist is how he handles the situation.
Now, everyone makes mistakes and I’m not accusing every forgetful spouse of being a narcissist.
Rather, I’m talking about the man who agrees to the task so you “get off his back,” but never has any intention of packing the lunches.
Then when you confront him, instead of apologizing and taking responsibility for the mistake, he attacks you and your character.
Maybe he calls you lazy for not just doing it yourself.
Or he degrades your mothering ability.
Or he attacks the kids, asking why they’re so helpless… maybe it’s because you baby them too much.
Narcissists won’t take responsibility and won’t care how much they hurt you during a conflict. Situations like this happen regularly and often without any warning.
In psychology, these types of issues fall under what’s called Cluster B Personality Disorders. Cluster B is a group of disorders that include Borderline, Antisocial, Narcissistic and Histrionic Personality Disorders.
The Mayo Clinic defines Cluster B personality disorders as, being dramatic, overly emotional or expressing unpredictable thinking or behavior.
So what exactly happens if you let a narcissist into your life?
Here are a list of 7 common ways in which they can (and will) make your life hell.
- You’ll tolerate (and justify) terrible behavior. A narcissist can really turn up the charm. One minute, they’ll be the life of the party…
But when the party’s over and they no longer need to impress anyone, they may begin to put you down or insult you. And when they do, it will be the insults that they know will hurt the worst.
Many people tolerate (or even justify) this because narcissists often balance this negative behavior with positive behavior. Unfortunately, the positive behavior is often just a way for them to get what they want and has nothing to do with their feelings toward you (more about that in a moment).
- You feel starved for attention. If you have a narcissistic parent, you have probably fought for their attention at some level your entire life.
Unfortunately, narcissistic parents will never make you feel as though you’re enough. Instead, they often make you feel like you haven’t lived up to their high standards. Because they see you as a reflection of themselves, they were exceptionally hard on you (they feel your weaknesses make them look bad… and they hate looking bad)!
This will lead to trust and intimacy problems in future relationships.
3. You constantly feel used.
Narcissists lack empathy but have a high sense of self. So, they rarely feel guilty for using people… even those closest to them. They feel justified because they believe they deserve it!
- You never get the break you need. Having a narcissistic partner is exhausting, especially if you have children together. Narcissists don’t have patience for the daily and repetitive tasks that come with having small children or running a household (they’re constantly looking for the grand adventure).
Expect to be the one changing diapers, organizing play dates, and going to parent-teacher conferences… alone.
- You really struggle with intimate relationships. If you’ve dealt with a narcissist before (especially having a narcissistic parent or a previous dating partner), you may find you’re stuck in a pattern of constantly seeking out charismatic, self-centered, and completely unavailable dating partners.
This pattern leaves you falling short and never quite feeling like you’re getting the love and affection you really desire.
- The divorce will be messy. It might be hard to imagine how someone who once loved you so much is now so vicious (to the kids too). But because narcissists are so self-centered, the truth is, they may not have cared for you as much as they made it seem.
Now that your relationship is over, there is no reason to pretend to care for your feelings. Their words and actions will become mean and vindictive and it will hurt.
- You’ll wonder if it’s you.
Narcissists are often successful, respected, and well liked in their community. They care what everyone else things about them and want the world’s admiration.
The way they act in public is probably completely different than what you see behind closed doors (a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde).
If you call them out on their mean or inconsiderate behavior, they may get defensive and play the victim. They’ll manipulate the story and make you question whether you’re actually being unreasonable or unfair to them.
They may even become excessively angry and aggressive.
However, others might not see the same hurtful and vindictive behavior that you do, making it even more difficult for you to trust your instincts that something just isn’t right about this person or the relationship.
So what should you do?
First, you need to know if you’re actually dealing with a narcissist.
This is an crucial first step because it will help you make the best decisions moving forward.
Luckily we’ve put together a simple and quick quiz you can take that’ll give you an idea of that certain someone in your life shows traits of narcissist personality disorder.