Home » Encouragement » 8 signs you are in a relationship with a narcissist (and what to do about it)

8 signs you are in a relationship with a narcissist (and what to do about it)

When I read about narcissistic personality disorder, it was mind blowing.  Honestly?  I just thought my ex was unable to argue effectively.  I thought I could fix it.

I read all about effective arguing, all about how we should say things like “when you say this, it makes me feel _____”.  I even tried writing letters when I was too nervous to have another conversation that I knew would somehow circle back to how selfish, spoiled, or poorly raised I was.

I remember realizing that the only time my ex and I would ‘bond’ was if I was engaging in his negative opinions of others.  If I was being judgmental of others.

I didn’t like what I was becoming, I didn’t like feeling nervous about having an occasional drink or dinner with friends because the flack I got just wasn’t worth it.

These are just a few signs that you are in a relationship with a narcissist.  There are levels of narcissism, and there are also other personality traits and disorders that can be part of the issue as well.  You MUST get support and learn all you can – it is truly the foundation for your mental and spiritual health.


  1. You feel like the crazy one a lot these days. You feel warranted in the feelings you are having about an issue with your partner.  Then you try and have a discussion with your partner about it, and it somehow gets waaaayyy off subject, and now your partner is somehow circling back to an old argument (or 10) that has nothing to do with the subject at hand, and pointing the finger at you as to blame.  For all of it.  Hey, this is typical behavior of a narcissist.  Check out gas lighting.
  2. You are starting to realize how negative your partner is. Like, all the time.  I started to realize that I was only able to feel any bond with my ex when I complained about someone (anyone!).  I realized that I was getting into a nasty habit of being judge-y for that reason, because my ex would relate and chime in.  I also started understanding that my ex was always a victim, and never accountable.
  3. Your partner is never wrong. Every argument you end up having, results in it being your fault, even if you were the one with the hurt feelings to begin with.  Name calling and complete disrespect is the recipe of a narcissist’s juvenile arguing abilities.
  4. Your partner has no ability to argue effectively, and goes right for the jugular when you are trying to have a calm conversation about your feelings or an issue that hasn’t been resolved. Are you being name-called?  Are you being told you are ‘just like so-and-so’?
  5. Your sex life is shit. Obviously, when you don’t feel respected or supported, you may start to reciprocate those feelings.  For women, it’s generally difficult for us to get intimate when we’re not feeling loved and when we’re not feeling the love for our partner as much or even at all anymore.  Any sex is because you feel guilty or sorry for your partner.  Pity is not love, my friends.gaslighting, narcissistic abuse
  6. It’s just easier not to go out with friends/family on your own anymore because it’s not worth the argument/frustration/anxiety. Trying to get out for a girls night out is a nail-biting effort to even think about broaching, because you know that somehow you will feel guilty about leaving your partner alone, or that he will be calling you an inordinate amount of times when you are out without him.  Deep down you know it’s crazy behavior and you don’t really want to sit there and make excuses or apologize for your partner on this behavior.  If you’re going to go out, why be on eggshells the whole time?  Okay, this may not be just a narcissistic thing, but for me, it was part of a systematic control issue, trying to isolate me from my friends and family.
  7. Your partner feels like he is better than other people, and that others are jealous of what he has. I realized this when my ex would continually find fault with others that he worked with, and eventually flippantly tossing it out there as those people being ‘jealous’ of him.  His shit list would consistently get longer over the years that I was with him – no one was immune from that list, not even family.
  8. Little to no empathy for others, or other people’s property. If you are with a narcissist, this should ring quite true and vivid for you.  My ex simply could not put himself in someone else’s shoes.  With regards to property…here’s one of many examples.  My ex drove a company car and when he was let go, he did some horrible things to that car before turning it back in to his manager (things you couldn’t actually see, like messing with the transmission, putting the radio on full blast so that when his manager started it up, it would give him a surprise), among a laundry list of other passive aggressive things to ‘get even’ with others for ‘wronging’ him.

Listen, the list goes on, I assure you.  If a ton of what I said here rings true for you, please ask yourself how on earth can you be your best self when living with a person who makes you feel less than?

So what should you do if you are married or in a relationship with a narcissist?  I will not beat around the bush.  GTFO.  You need to leave.  It WILL NOT get better, but it WILL drag you to points of despair and depression that you may have never known before.  If you have children, you do not have the right to settle for this.  Period.  I stayed for 7 years, and I actually still suffer from PTSD due to those years of being made to feel crazy, that my feelings were not justified.  It has taken amazing friends and an outstanding therapist to knock that insecurity and narcissistic packing tape from off my soul.   You are so much better than a relationship like one I have outlined.  I can promise you that life is great and more than you could have ever thought if you just do you and live with joy.  It starts with a choice.  It’s not an easy one, but to live a life of integrity and authenticity?  That is worth the most difficult and terrifying of choices.  Sending you my biggest hugs and encouragement…


Follow Jennifer:
Hey! Hi! An-yong-ha-sae-oh! I’m Jenn, and I am here to share what has worked for me (and what hasn’t) while going through my separation, divorce, remarriage, and blended family. Wow, that's a lot, but I've been through a lot and here is where I share it with you!

8 Responses

  1. Dee
    | Reply

    Help…..you have described my husband to a tee. Now after 25 yrs of marriage he says he’s not happy & is leaving……by the spring!! He has packed & moved most of his belongings but still I’m hurt, crushed honestly. I feel so divided. Part of me is glad he’s leaving while the other part is scared shitless to be in my own. I need help with this process of dis-entangling our lives so I can live in peace. I’m trying to convince myself that I matter & I’m worth saving.

    • Jennifer
      | Reply

      Hi Dee – thanks for sharing – I really do know what you are going through, as do SO MANY others. Take a deep breath, and start taking care of yourself as a first start. Make that a priority, stat. You are going to be more than OK…and you are worth it and you matter so very much. At times you feel helpless and very alone – but this is truly a start for you and will be fresh new ground for you to work and discover yourself in. Let me know if you need anything or if there are things I can share to help you! Hugs to you.

      • Rebecca
        | Reply

        Dear Dee,
        I know it it is scary and you hurt but Jennifer is also right.it may feel impossible to see a future on your own after 25 years of marriage- but you will be ok and you don’t need to go through this I actively urge you to visit projectlifequality.com .

        PROJECT LIFE QUALITY is an organisation that provides free online support for people just like you, to take the steps they need away from an abusive relationship. I am one of their team of writers.

        You can do this Dee! We are ready to help you move forward. Please come and join us. It’s time to look after yourself.

        You can find us on Facebook and Instagram add-ons art the website.


  2. Amanda Douglas
    | Reply

    Wow! I can’t believe I just read in words that explained my thoughts and described my relationship. Well my former relationship. It just ended after 7 years. I literally feel like I’m the crazy one and I’ve been put down for so long and so now I feel like I just wasn’t good enough for him and I was at fault for everything. Thank you for this article. I need to read more stuff like this so I can climb out of my dark hole and try to move on

  3. Marcella
    | Reply

    I just found this site this morning after looking up stories to read about women who escaped toxic relationships. I currently got out of mine after five years and two years of off and on. I’m struggling daily with my emotions on how i wasted my early thirties with him and although we have a beautiful 4 year old daughter. I cant help but feel like it was just a complete waste of my life being with someone so negative and selfish.. His biggest complaint and the reason why we are not together anymore is because i wouldn’t have sex with him nightly or when he was interested in having it when he pleased. When you described how women get turned off when disrespected and being unappreciated on a daily basis, this was the exact reason why i wouldn’t/couldn’t have sex with him. He would curse at me, make fun of me, call me things because he was angry all the time. I would tell him i was too tired to have him at night. (which was true, and also because i didn’t want to) He is now in a new relationship and he just told me that if i did half the things his new girlfriend does then we would still be together. He told me to step up my game and said that in our relationship there was no fire and now he has found someone that can give him all that. Well talk about a big blow to my already all time low self esteem and my ego. What he said truly got to me, it did. I sit here now wondering if i was lousy in bed and if i do need to up my game. Now every time i go to bed or have a moment of reflection, those words he said to me is all i can here. It brings a real hard tug to my chest just writing about it. I did everything i could in that relationship including taking care of his disrespectful children, his insanely manipulative and jealous ex wife, and his bad alcohol problems. No matter what i say to explain how i felt it’s still my fault and when i remind him of everything he put me through, he still comes back to how i should have satisffied him and tried more in that area because to him- thats why he is with someone new and happy.
    I’m trying everyday to convince myself that I”m not a prude in bed, or that I am still a sexual being that has sexual desires, that my reasons for not wanting to be intimate with him is justifiable. I find myself looking up sites on how to satisfy men or what men want in women to desire them, Why am i doing all this when we are not even together? Why am i trying to still after all I’ve been through with him and him in a relationship with someone else having all the great sex he could possibly have, why am i looking up these sites and imagining myself doing these things for him or wishing i did all these things when he isnt even thinking about me and the family I tried soo hard to make work? I just don;t know what to say about my behavior anymore……..

    Sad & Confused.

  4. Cherie L
    | Reply

    Hi, Jennifer,

    I am trying to gain the courage to leave my abusive spouse after the holidays. Your description of a narcissist pretty much describes my husband. About a year ago he did seek help and things improved for a while. He stopped yelling at me and began to help around the house. However, since I am no longer in love with him and suffer from PTSD and anxiety, I just couldn’t give him what he wanted. He wanted me to be a loving wife all of a sudden now that he was acting better. Now his words are insidious and subtle. He claims it is my mother who is the narcissist and actually bought a book about it and can describe all the various types to me. He has apologized, but then as soon as I am honest with him, he turns the tables on me. I have been walking on eggshells for most of our 15 year marriage. I have two children and cannot live like this anymore. How did you finally get the courage to divorce and what were the first steps that you took? Thanks so much,

  5. Cherie L
    | Reply

    Dear Jennifer,

    You description of a narcissist pretty much describes my husband. We have been married for 15 years. The emotional abuse began infrequently, but increased as soon as the children were born. He has never physically assaulted me, but the verbal/emotional abuse intensified. About a year and a half ago he finally saw that his behavior was inappropriate, undeserving and just plain wrong. He received counseling and the atmosphere in the house improved. He stopped yelling and began to help around the house. However, everything began to deteriorate when I was not responding to his improvements right away. I did not immediately become the loving wife to him again. So now the abuse is subtle and insidious. He will say things like ” I am not the cause of your unhappiness. Your mother is a narcissist. You are not trying. I am not going to be the one to break up this family” (though he has threatened divorce several times and claims he never meant it.) He actually bought a book about narcissism and now he is apparently an expert on it, but doesn’t see the traits in himself. I am in counseling and have PTSD and severe anxiety. (I actually had to go to a cardiologist because I thought something was wrong with my heart.) I am not in love with this man and haven’t been for a long time. I am trying to gain the courage to leave after the holidays. I am very frightened and don’t know what is ahead for me. Fortunately, I have a full-time job and can support myself, but don’t know if I can retain the house on my own. I have no idea how he will respond to all of this. I just have a feeling he will not make this easy for me. How did you get the courage to leave and what were the first steps you took? I am so scared, Thanks,

  6. Linda G Lowman
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing your history of abuse. . I left an abusive man 7 months ago and was granted a year long restraining order from him. It was poetic justice to watch him try to impress the judge with how smart he was (he thought) and the judge saw right through him, granted me the TPO. . He has been pathologically lying inside the 12-step program that I am a member of. It has been horrible, it was supposed to be a safe place to recover. After reading your post, I am most grateful to you. The descriptions you posted have been exactly what I’ve been feeling for years. Now…… even with PTSD, I feel stronger, more confident and just plain lighter and happier. Thank you, I thought I was alone.

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