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

The term “narcissist” has become somewhat of a buzzword in recent years. However, not every person who behaves poorly is necessarily a narcissist. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a difficult to treat mental health disorder characterized by pathological lying, controlling behaviors, inability to empathize with others, lacking capability for a range of emotions, sense of superiority or entitlement and the need to manipulate/use others to bolster their self-esteem. Many people have narcissistic traits or behaviors without having the actual personality disorder. Whether or not your partner fits the definition for the official personality disorder, the underlying behaviors and lies of those with narcissistic traits can leave you questioning your relationship in many damaging and hurtful ways.

Common Narcissistic Traits

An important thing to note about narcissistic traits is that each reveals or is often connected in some way to the person’s lies and patterns of lying behavior. For our purposes, we’ll use the term “narcissist” to mean a person who exhibits narcissistic traits or behaviors, not necessarily someone who has been officially diagnosed with NPD. Let’s dive in a little deeper to understand these patterns and traits.

1. Believing their own lies – The first big warning sign of a narcissist is a person who lies often and believes their own lies. Even when confronted with the truth, this person will insist on the validity and truth of their lie. It’s important to understand that lies are so pervasive and intrinsic to a narcissist that in their view of reality, their lies are truths. The way they perceive the world is filtered through their lies–the lies they tell others and the lies they tell themselves.

2. Lack of empathy – There are two types of empathy to consider in this situation: cognitive empathy and emotional empathy. Cognitive empathy is an intellectual understanding of empathy. Narcissists can understand a person is upset because of an event but they don’t feel that upset on an emotional level. For example, a partner saying “you’re angry that I kissed your cousin” shows they understand the cause of the emotion but they don’t necessarily feel anything about it or care about it. Emotional empathy is an emotional understanding of empathy where one can put themselves in the other person’s shoes or feelings and have genuine care and concern over that emotion. Narcissists tend to lack emotional empathy, though some are able to “fake it” with… more lies.

3. Actions don’t back up their words – Narcissists make promises and give apologies, however tend to keep repeating the offending behavior. This is especially true of infidelity and cheating. A narcissist will apologize and make promises to keep their relationship when caught cheating. Once they believe they can get away with that behavior again, they’ll once again be unfaithful. This shows their apologies and promises to be nothing but more lies.

4. Unnecessary risk-takers – Part of the reason narcissists are prone to infidelity is because narcissists are risk-takers and thrill-seekers. They dislike rules (and laws) and find routine boring. They thrive on drama, intensity, chaos and adrenaline–even if they have to manufacture it themselves in their personal relationships.

5. Never their fault – Narcissists have incredible difficulty taking sincere responsibility for their actions or consequences of their actions. They tend to avoid and evade the results of their hurtful behaviors by manipulating the other person into believing the blame or fault is on them, rather than the narcissist. This manipulation is often aided by a natural charm combined with lies intended to confuse the other person.

If you found yourself nodding your head while reading this short list of common narcissistic traits and thinking of your partner, it’s quite possible your partner is a narcissist. If you suspect your partner is being unfaithful to you, Bulldog PI can help. You deserve to know the truth and we can help you find it.