When a partner constantly shows an apparent self-confidence so extreme that it seems to verge into self-obsession, it may be time to consider whether that person is a narcissist. There are many warning signs that may indicate that one is involved with a narcissistic partner. For instance, a narcissistic partner may demonstrate a belief that he is better than his partner, may require endless praise, and may display jealousy or anger toward his partner if she outshines him in some respect. Further, he may hide his emotions and appear incapable of empathizing with his partner. Those in a relationship with a narcissist should take steps to protect themselves from emotional damage.
Many problem behaviors displayed by a narcissist are grounded in an unsubstantiated belief that he is superior to everyone else, including his partner. He may frequently point out areas in which he perceives himself to be better than others, and may expect constant compliments on everything from his appearance to his performance of routine tasks at home or work. Instead of complimenting his partner or others when they achieve success in some area, he may react with jealousy, anger, or even physical violence.
Additionally, a narcissistic partner is often unable to make the emotional connections that are a fundamental part of true intimacy. For example, he may attempt to avoid showing weakness by concealing his feelings from his partner. Further, he may seem incapable of understanding why his partner feels sad, happy, anxious, excited, and so forth. In fact, he may not even appear to recognize changes in his partner’s feelings, and may ignore her or put her down when she attempts to bring her feelings to his attention.
Over time, being in a relationship with a narcissistic partner can cause depression and a lowered sense of one’s self-worth. While it is true that in many cases narcissism in fact reflects an inner turmoil and lack of self-confidence, even an individual with severely damaged self-esteem is unjustified in treating his partner with disrespect. Those who believe they may be in a relationship with a narcissistic partner should take steps to avoid sustaining emotional or physical damage. They should adopt a zero tolerance policy toward violent or hateful behavior. Further, they should consider seeking counseling to determine whether their partner may be capable of developing a more healthful outlook or if it is best to terminate their relationship.