BY CATHERINE WINTER
If you’ve never been in any kind of a relationship with a narcissist – be that romantically or because you have one as a family member – consider yourself very fortunate.
Narcissism is one of the most toxic personality traits a person can have, and can do untold damage to the people around them. Their lives revolve around their own wants and needs, how much other people love them, and how best to manipulate other people to get their own way.
Below are a few examples of the kinds of things that narcissists are incapable of doing for anyone, let alone someone they claim to care about.
1. Give A Sh*t About How You Feel
Narcissists will hurt and damage those closest to them more than they’ll ever realize, and the worst part is that they don’t give a sh*t.
They’re literally incapable of giving a single salty f*ck about what kind of pain they’re causing to their supposed loved ones, and so unless those close to them take action to distance themselves, the cycle of abuse and pain will go on forever.
Those who choose to stay might as well get used to the idea that they’re not allowed to express their own emotions. They have to walk on eggshells to keep the narcissist happy, and thus refrain from attacking them somehow.
After all, if you say that they hurt you, they’ll turn around and make you feel like a bad person for upsetting them by saying so.
2. Be Interested In Your Problems
Seriously, they’re really not. Telling them about things that are bothering you or hurting you in your personal life will be shrugged off or ignored, and they’ll immediately launch into a diatribe about all the crappy things they’re dealing with.
Your problems are boring.
If the subject doesn’t involve them or revolve around them, then why the hell are you even talking? This isn’t a person you can go to for comfort or reassurance about anything. Are you worried about a health crisis? OMG, their slight scratch is so painful and so much worse than anything you’re dealing with. Bad breakup? Did they tell you about the horrible date they had last week?
Everything is all about them, all the time, so if you’re going to socialize with them at all, you might as well just get used to that and play along.
If you corner a narcissist and force them to acknowledge that they did something spectacularly sh*tty towards you, don’t expect them to apologize. Their first instinct will be to gaslight you – try to make you believe that you’re crazy, or remembering things wrong – so that they’re absolved of all blame. If their gaslighting doesn’t work, they’ll go on the defensive and try to redirect the conversation to something you’ve done wrong.
If by some absolute miracle you do get an apology, it’ll be half-assed, bitchy, and insincere. Think along the lines of:
“I’m SORRY, okay? Now will you shut up?”
“I’m sorry you’re so sensitive and took everything the wrong way.”
Remember, they never do anything wrong. They’re perfect and wonderful and if you have an issue with something they’ve done, then that’s all on you.
4. Make You Feel Good About Yourself
Narcissists tend to try to make themselves shine by putting others down, especially in a public setting. They’ll often befriend those they think are less attractive than they are so they’re the center of attention everywhere they go, and they’ll make snide, passive-aggressiveremarks to their so-called friends. This belittling makes them feel powerful, as there are few things a narcissist dislikes more than being anywhere but at the top of the pyramid.
While out for a meal, a narcissist may comment on a companion’s meal choice, asking if they really need quite so many calories, considering how snug their clothes are. Or, when surrounded by a group, they might grab an object belonging to one of their “friends” and inform them that they’re borrowing it, knowing that the person will feel uncomfortable objecting without seeming like an asshole. If the person gets upset, the narcissist will roll their eyes and accuse them of being over-sensitive. It was just a joke, what the hell.
5. Be Accountable For Their Own Actions
…because nothing is ever their fault, ever. Remember?
Any situation they’re involved in that might go to hell has been shot to sh*t because of someone else’s wrongdoing – not theirs. Those past relationships that have failed miserably? Well, that’s because they dated horrible people who never truly loved or appreciated them. Something went badly at work? It’s because their coworkers are incompetent imbeciles. They forgot to attend an important parent/teacher meeting? Well, you should have reminded them: you can’t expect them to remember everything, can you?
Narcissists cannot, will not, take responsibility for any wrongdoing, because in their minds, they don’t do anything wrong. They’re the ideal person, ideal worker, perfect partner/spouse, so if anything in their lives goes badly, it’s literally everyone else’s fault in the world except their own.
6. Support You Emotionally
Making others feel like sh*t about themselves is what a narcissist does best, so don’t expect them to offer any kind of emotional support when you need it. If the narcissist is your romantic partner, be aware that controlling other people and making them feel powerless and helpless is a common trait amongst such assholes.
Then, as soon as you become the powerless, helpless creature they’ve created, they’ll treat you with contempt for being fragile and needy.
7. Appreciate What You Do For Them
If you’re romantically involved with a narcissist (you brave, misguided soul) and make plans to take them out for dinner, have flowers delivered to the table, and pick out a gorgeous wine, etc., prepare to be shat upon. Instead of showing any measure of gratitude, they’ll complain that they would have preferred another restaurant, the flowers aren’t their favorites, and you should have ordered a Pinot Noir instead of Malbec. Sigh.
The emotions and thoughts behind your gestures are irrelevant; they really only care about their wants and needs, and pretty much everything you do will be wrong, somehow. If they do gush about something you’ve given them when they don’t really like it, you’ll be able to tell that they’re obviously faking it, and you can rest assured that they will ask you for something else they want within about 3 hours.
8. Love You
Not really. They can feel some things, but their love towards you will only revolve around what you can do for them, and how you make them feel. If they do behave as though they love you, then it’s for other people’s benefit so they’ll be amazed and impressed by your partner’s selflessness and devotion. As soon as their audience is gone, their attention and affection will disappear as well, and they’ll go back to being their obnoxious, self-absorbed selves behind closed doors.
Being in a romantic partnership with a narcissist can cause unbelievable emotional and psychological damage, so if you recognize any of these traits in a person you’re dating, be very aware that you’re navigating dangerous waters and take steps to protect yourself.
If, instead, you’re related to a narcissist, find yourself a good therapist who can help you deal with the anger, frustration, and resentment that will inevitably arise from a familial relationship with this kind of abuser. With a narcissist, you will never win an argument, have them understand your perspective, or have any kind of healthy relationship whatsoever, and that can be especially devastating if said narcissist is your parent. Please get help, and stay strong.