Narcissism is extreme self-involvement to the degree that it makes a person ignore the needs of those around them. While everyone may show occasional narcissistic behavior, true narcissists frequently disregard others or their feelings. They also do not understand the effect that their behavior has on other people.

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Signs of narcissistic behavior you need to watch out for

There are worse things than being single. Top of the list is being in a toxic or manipulative relationship. Toxic relationships not only strip you of your independence in the present but also impair your self-worth & emotional regulation deeply.

Having a good partner can make or break your life’s happiness. But being in love— or the idea of it — can make us blind to certain problematic aspects of a relationship, and one of the biggest blindspots is narcissistic abuse. Simply put, narcissistic abuse happens when a person uses words, language, or actions that seek to control, manipulate, change or influence their partner’s behavior.

Being in a relationship with a narcissistic person can be detrimental to your mental wellbeing and sense of self, or worse, make you lose your identity. No one should have to go through that, so here are the signs to look out for.

Walking on eggshells

Do you feel like everything is a dicey slope? You may be very accomplished in your career, flourishing in your social life, but any time you’ve to say or do something with your partner, you’re constantly worried about saying or doing the wrong thing. If that’s the case, you should sit back & notice it carefully.

The feeling of walking on eggshells constantly isn’t healthy – constant stress can even have a physical impact on your body – because our minds & bodies aren’t wired to battle unending uncertainties. Resilience is great, but being with your partner shouldn’t be about resilience. You shouldn’t have to find ways to survive but thrive.

Our partners are supposed to make us comfortable, be our safe harbors, and have a kind presence in our lives. If you feel judged by them because of their narcissistic behavior, consider it a big red flag.

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Losing yourself

Do you feel like you no longer recognize the person you’ve become since you entered the relationship? Here’s the thing: any time a person enters into a relationship, it’s natural to change a bit — you make minor changes in your life to align with your partner’s needs. We also end up picking some habits from each other. That’s healthy.

The important thing is that such adjustments are mutual. But if you feel like you no longer have control over your life or that you don’t even identify yourself, it’s time to revisit the relationship. Many victims of narcissistic behavior talk about feeling like they’re sadder than they’ve ever been, that they no longer enjoy the things or activities they used to, and that they’ve lost their spark.

It’s important to hold on to the things that make you, you. A partner with narcissistic behavior tendencies will try to manipulate you into changing your dressing style, your dining habits, your schedules, your approach towards work . . . you get the drift.

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When the manipulation & controlling gets too subtle, it can also lead to gaslighting. This means that the narcissist intentionally tries to confuse their partner & distort their sense of reality. If you’re constantly told you are wrong, you’ll eventually start to believe it, especially when it’s coming from someone so close to you.

It’s only human to internalize this kind of feedback. But this runs the danger of making you doubt your own intentions, actions, and reality. Narcissists are master manipulators & can convince you an apple is an orange. Your trust in your partner makes it easier for them to convince you. And that’s bad news.

When this keeps happening, you will eventually find yourself questioning your own sanity, “Why do I keep doing the wrong thing” or “I really am worthless”.

If you find yourself dealing with narcissistic behavior, the best bet is to trust your instinct. If there are red flags or alarm bells, hear them, pay attention, and walk away if you don’t feel safe.

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