“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Narcissist and narcissism are big buzzwords in relationships these days but these words might not mean what you think they do. Despite the myth of Narcissus, narcissism is not vanity, selfishness or talking about themselves all the time. True narcissism runs much deeper than that and true narcissists can be emotionally abusive and damaging to relationship partners. The behaviors of a narcissist can impact their partner’s emotional wellbeing and their mental health. If you’re still wondering “Am I dating a narcissist?” then read on.

Common Narcissist Behaviors

Like most personality disorders, narcissism has a spectrum of behaviors with some being more pronounced or less pronounced, depending on the individual. However, there are some commonalities that characterize narcissism.

Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist

Still unsure? Let’s dig a little deeper into some of these narcissistic behaviors.

1. They were charming… at first.
Narcissists tend to come on strong and present a charming facade, showering you with praise and adoration. This is commonly called “love bombing” and they often do it in the beginning of relationships. However, it tends to fade a couple of months in or once you have done something that displeases them enough to turn on you.

2. They lack empathy.
They lack the skills to make others feel seen, heard, understood, validated and accepted. They can fake it for short periods of time but often later negate the “empathy” they demonstrated by berating you, blaming you and picking on you.

3. They gaslight you.
Perhaps one of the most damaging aspects of dating a narcissist is their ability to gaslight you. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and manipulation that is the hallmark of narcissistic behavior. They blatantly lie, spin the truth, twist your words, blame you or others and distort reality. This behavior gives them the upper hand by causing you to doubt yourself and doubt your perception of reality.

4. They lack responsibility.
They think they’re right about everything and refuse to take responsibility when they are wrong. They rarely to never apologize and if they do apologize, they often later negate this apology by blaming you or others for the situation.

5. They panic when you try to break up with them.
Narcissists are difficult to break up with. They panic and love bomb you when you try to make a split. If or when you’re successful in making that split, they lash out at you, blame you and attack you.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself “Am I dating a narcissist?”, you aren’t alone. There’s a reason that narcissism is such a buzzword right now, albeit overused in many cases. The best way to tell if your partner is a narcissist is to look at this list and determine if it fits your relationship. If it does, it’s a good idea to seek therapy to help you move forward in the way that is healthiest for you.