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Understanding Narcessistic Signs, Causes, and Relationship Dynamics

Narcissism is a term often thrown around in popular culture, but understanding its true meaning and implications, especially within relationships, requires a deeper look. In this blog, we will explore the signs of narcissism, its causes, what a narcissistic partner looks like, and the tactics they may use in relationships.

Signs of Narcissism

  1. Exaggerated Sense of Self-Importance: Narcissists often believe they are superior to others and expect to be recognized as such, even without achievements that warrant it.

  2. Lack of Empathy: They have difficulty recognizing or caring about the feelings and needs of others.

  3. Need for Excessive Admiration: Narcissists require constant praise and admiration to feel valued.

  4. Sense of Entitlement: They expect special treatment and are often shocked or angry when they don’t receive it.

  5. Manipulative or Controlling Behavior: They use others to achieve their own goals and often engage in manipulative behaviors to get what they want.

  6. Arrogance and Superiority: They frequently demean, intimidate, or belittle others to feel superior.

Causes of Narcissism

The development of narcissistic traits can be attributed to various factors:

  1. Genetic Influences: Some studies suggest that narcissistic personality traits may have a genetic component.

  2. Parenting Styles: Overly pampering or excessively critical parenting can contribute to the development of narcissistic traits. Parents who overly praise or excessively criticize their children may foster narcissism.

  3. Cultural Influences: Societal norms that emphasize individual achievement and success can contribute to narcissistic behavior.

  4. Childhood Experiences: Traumatic experiences or excessive pampering during childhood can also play a role in the development of narcissism.

What a Narcissistic Partner Looks Like

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be challenging and emotionally draining. Here are some common traits and behaviors of a narcissistic partner:

  1. Charm and Charisma: Initially, they may come across as charming, confident, and charismatic, drawing you in with their magnetic personality.

  2. Lack of Accountability: They rarely take responsibility for their actions and often blame others for their mistakes or failures.

  3. Gaslighting: They manipulate you into doubting your reality or sanity, making you question your perceptions and feelings.

  4. Isolation: They may try to isolate you from friends and family to gain more control over you.

  5. Emotional Abuse: Narcissistic partners often use emotional abuse, such as criticism, humiliation, and manipulation, to maintain control.

  6. Inconsistent Behavior: Their behavior can be unpredictable, swinging from loving and attentive to cold and distant without warning.

Tactics Used in Relationships

Narcissistic partners often employ various tactics to maintain control and power in the relationship:

  1. Love Bombing: At the beginning of the relationship, they may overwhelm you with affection, gifts, and attention to quickly build a sense of dependency.

  2. Gaslighting: As mentioned earlier, gaslighting involves making you doubt your reality, often leading to confusion and self-doubt.

  3. Triangulation: They may involve third parties in your conflicts to create jealousy or competition, making you feel insecure.

  4. Devaluation: After the initial phase of idealization, they may start to devalue you, criticizing and belittling you to lower your self-esteem.

  5. Silent Treatment: They may use the silent treatment as a form of punishment, withdrawing communication to make you feel isolated and desperate for their approval.

  6. Projection: They often project their own negative traits or behaviors onto you, accusing you of being selfish, manipulative, or uncaring.


Recognizing the signs of narcissism and understanding the dynamics of a relationship with a narcissist can be the first steps towards protecting your mental health. If you find yourself in such a relationship, seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional can be crucial. Remember, you deserve a relationship based on mutual respect, empathy, and genuine care. Call us for a free consultation. Our therapist specializes in working with survivirs of narcessistic abuse, and also in treating narcessists.


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