Warning Signs You’re Dating A Narcissist And How To Escape Them

Narcissism is a personality disorder that involves extreme self-involvement. Although more research is needed, experts believe narcissists have an inflated sense of self-importance which leads to them treating other people poorly. It’s fairly easy to spot a narcissist. But if you’re used to being treated in an unacceptable way, you may confuse narcissism with normal behavior. Here are the main warning signs you’re dating a narcissist, and how to escape them.

  1. Everything is your fault. A narcissist never takes responsibility for anything. One of the signature traits of this condition is blaming everything on everyone else. If you’re dating them, that includes you. They will make you feel guilty for things they’ve done wrong. And you’ll always be the one apologizing, for things you have and haven’t done. Even if it’s super obvious that they are in the wrong, they’ll twist things to make you seem guilty.
  2. They constantly need to be validated. Mind Body Green explains that another classic sign of narcissism is the need to be validated. Narcissists want to be told they’re amazing. They can even feel anxious or upset if you don’t make them feel special. They will constantly fish for compliments and it will never seem like enough. No matter how much you boost them up, they’ll never develop genuine self-confidence.
  3. They feel entitled to you. Narcissists feel entitled to everything. They believe they’re special and thus allowed to have whatever they like. When it comes to dating one, they will feel entitled to your trust, time, affection, and anything else you have to offer. They won’t feel like they have to work for this and will instead expect it for free.
  4. They pick at your flaws. Being perfectionists, narcissists pick at people’s flaws. This is especially true with the person they’re dating. They lack empathy and so won’t be afraid to hurt your feelings; it won’t even occur to them that their words are hurtful. Nothing is off-limits to comment on—not even the things you feel the most insecure about. Dating a narcissist will absolutely destroy your self-worth.
  5. They don’t take no for an answer. Because narcissists feel entitled, they don’t take no for an answer. They can’t fathom when someone tells them they can’t have something or sets a boundary. So they will try and do whatever they can to get what they want. They will badger you, guilt you, pester you, and even try to force you to give them what they want. In this way, they are similar to toddlers throwing a tantrum.
  6. They manipulate you. According to WebMD, a common sign of a narcissist is manipulation. Narcissists will try to control everyone around them by any means necessary so the situation can run according to their wishes. To manipulate you into acting how they want you to act, they’ll resort to any measures. They might lie to you, omit certain information, push your buttons, gaslight you and do anything else to control you and your emotions.
  7. Your feelings don’t matter. Dating a narcissist means everything you think and feel will be disregarded. When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, your feelings don’t matter. If you do react to something they’ve done, you’ll be accused of overreacting. Narcissists are incredibly sensitive when it comes to their own hurt feelings, but don’t think twice about cruel comments and actions that hurt others. Your feelings, and your needs, will always come after theirs.
  8. They jump from relationship to relationship. Does the person you’re seeing jump from relationship to relationship? Did they have another girlfriend last month and another one before that? That could be a sign of narcissism because narcissists are emotionally needy. Many don’t know how to be on their own so they continually get into new relationships rather than staying single. Of course, there are many reasons why someone might have lots of relationships, and it doesn’t automatically mean they’re a narcissist. But when paired with the other signs on this list, it is a possibility.
  9. How to leave a narcissist. It can be really difficult to leave a narcissist. The relationship gurus at Mind Body Green emphasize that the first thing to do is accept them for what they are. Don’t try to change them or wish they were different. Accept that you can’t expect a narcissist to act like anything else but a narcissist. The next thing to do is to engage help. Make sure you have the support of your friends and family if you need to move your belongings or deal with any legal battles.
  10. There’s never a good time. There’s never a good time to leave a narcissist. If you identify that this is the person you’re with and you’re not happy, leave as soon as you can. Don’t wait for an easy time. If you don’t feel safe breaking up in person, it’s okay to do it via another means, such as over the phone. Be honest with them but don’t give away any unnecessary details and don’t engage with them more than you have to. They will blame you and guilt you. Accept that this is what happens when you engage with a narcissist, and is not a reflection of the truth. Once you have left them, surround yourself with loved ones who will help to build you up again and recover from your experience.

Dating a narcissist changes you, and not in good ways. If you stay in a relationship with someone who’s completely self-obsessed and who treats you like you don’t matter or that you’re only around to stroke their ego, it’s going to destroy you. Get out while you can.

Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including Hotsprings.co and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.