12 signs that the man in your life is a total narcissist

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I used to think that narcissistic men are easy to spot—that they’re the ones flexing their muscles in the gym and talking about their achievements like it’s the only thing that matters.

But the fact is that narcissism isn’t always that obvious. 

Many people have learned not to give themselves away too soon… and yet, their narcissism is still plain to see if you simply knew where to look.

If, for some reason, you’ve begun to wonder if your man might actually be a narcissist, then check how many of these things you see in him.

1) He thinks he’s not like other guys

He would perhaps talk with disdain about how other men don’t treat their ladies well, or give them the respect they deserve.

But not him! No—he makes it clear that he’s “not like other guys”. He’d say he’s not an asshole and he might even say he’s a feminist even if it’s obviously not true.

There are several reasons why you should be wary of this attitude.

It means that he has an inflated sense of self-worth, for one. But it also means he’s already trying to sell himself as being a one-of-a-kind blessing that you can’t afford to lose.

2) He hogs the conversation

Any conversation that involves your partner ends up, one way or another, a conversation about him. Heck, you can talk about atoms and he will still find a way to lead the limelight back to him.

He might emphasize how lucky he feels to be with someone as pretty as you instead of simply saying that YOU’RE beautiful.

He would talk about people’s experiences…but of course, he’d emphasize more on how HE has the same experience. 

Narcissists always want attention, and they will try to insert themselves in any conversation as much as they can.

3) He can do no wrong… ever!

A narcissist takes any blame as personal attacks.

Confront him about anything he’s done wrong—whether it be about how he left garbage to rot or asking him why he forgot his keys—and he’ll always find a way to deflect the blame.

He might say he forgot to throw the trash because he was so busy taking care of the baby (even though it IS his duty to throw trash).

And he might say that OF COURSE he wouldn’t bring his keys—why would he, when you usually bring them for him?

4) Negative feedback offends him

Tell him that maybe his pizzas could use a bit less pineapple and his rice a bit more water, and he’ll immediately get defensive over the way HE cooks HIS food.

“That’s how I cook MY food,” he’d say. And might even add “If you don’t like it, then go cook your own food.”

Narcissists, as mentioned, think like they’re the greatest—that they’re smart, talented, and that they know EXACTLY what they’re doing.

So it doesn’t matter how valid your criticisms may be, or how gently you say them. 

Giving him negative feedback of any kind will make him feel emasculated and he will take it personally.

5) He disregards your boundaries

Narcissists believe on some level that their partners are their property. 

Infuriating as it may be, this is just a somber truth you’ll have to deal with if your partner is indeed a narcissist.

Because of this entitled sense of ownership, he might find no issue in disrespecting your boundaries.

He would call you repeatedly even if you’re at work and get upset even if you tell him the reason why you haven’t been responding.

And when you ever do something noteworthy— like becoming the best-selling author of the year or discovering a way to harness nuclear fusion— he’d bump his chest and talk proudly about how HIS partner did something great… instead of praising you directly.

6) He’s way too stoic in the face of emotion

He doesn’t reach out and try to comfort you if you’re sad… or, at least, not without you asking for it first.

And he keeps a stone-cold face even when his best friend walks in obviously mad about something. 

If anything, he might sigh and say something about how you and his friend are being too sensitive and dramatic.

He’s just way too stoic, and it’s not because you think he’s just the awkward kind of guy.

Rather, it’s because he’s incapable of empathizing with you… or anyone else, for that matter.

7) He’s too competitive—even towards you!

The fact that narcissists subconsciously (or consciously) think of their partners as their property does not get in the way of their drive to win.

Does he argue with you until you “lose” and pour salt on the wound by continuing to destroy your argument long after you’ve “lost”?

Does he get heated and strangely motivated to earn a promotion if he heard that you got one not too long ago?

If your partner is this obnoxiously over-competitive, he’s probably a narcissist. He simply loves showing everyone how superior he is.

8) He fishes for compliments

Praise and adoration are fuel to the narcissist

If he ever feels down, he’d run to you for comfort, hoping you’d lather him with compliments.

Narcissists might seem like they’re that way because they’re way too full of confidence, but on the contrary it’s because they’re fundamentally insecure.

That same insecurity drives your partner to try fishing for compliments, doing things simply so that you’ll tell him how good he is and how happy you are to be with him.

At the same time, it keeps him from being so pathetically desperate for approval that he’d usually make a fool of himself. 

9) Either you’re with him, or you’re an enemy

If he ever gossips about other people and gets mad about them, he expects you to feel the same way and validate his feelings.

He won’t appreciate it if you were to tell him to stop and consider the other person’s point. He will even pick a fight with you over it until you give up and take his side.

A narcissist deals in absolutes, and his relationship with you is dictated by a need for control and conformity—It’s either that you’re 100% on his side, or you’re his enemy.

10) Everyone else has wronged and betrayed him

I know a narcissist who used to be a friend of mine until we got into an argument a few years ago.

To this day I keep on hearing about how he keeps telling people that I’ve been harassing him and making his life worse despite me preferring to pretend he doesn’t exist.

Some narcissists do genuinely have dysfunctional families and toxic pasts (and therefore, we need to be more understanding). But sometimes, all that wrongdoing and betrayal are all in their heads.

Try recalling how your partner talks about his past. Is it always filled with bitterness? Does he talk about how people are always out to get him, and how most people are naturally bad?

Then he might definitely be a narcissist. 

11) He’s vindictive

Nothing occupies a narcissist’s mind more than exacting revenge or payback on those who they felt have done them dirty.

As I just mentioned, they feel like they’re victims, and that the world is out to get them. 

Their parents are toxic, their friends are two-faced, and everyone else but the two of you are abominable.

His response to getting brake-checked would be to slam on the pedal and smash into the other car’s rear-end until they spin out of control.

And his response to being told that he’s not classy is to dine in fancy restaurants and buy luxury watches…just to show others how wrong they are.

12) His love is transactional

It’s hard to ever say that he feels genuine, selfless love. 

If he ever takes you out to dinner or buys you a fancy cake for your birthday, he expects you to pay him back in kind. He’ll get upset if he thinks you aren’t being “grateful” and upholding your end of the transaction.

And if your relationship ever gets to the point where he feels like you’re simply not “giving back” enough to justify his investment in you, he has no trouble dumping you and looking for a “better investment” that’s worth his while.

How to handle a narcissistic partner

If you see most of the things mentioned here in your partner, tough luck—you’re probably with someone who’s a total narcissist

Don’t ditch him right away, though. A lot of things can be improved with genuine love (and therapy). So don’t lose hope. There are still things you can do.

Step 1: Hate the behavior, not the person

You don’t have to like the fact that he’s a narcissist, but he’s as much a victim of it as you are. A narcissistic man is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

And while it’s so easy for us to demonize the “Narc”, you must remember that nobody wants to be a narcissist. Nobody. 

And him being one doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a bad person.

Step 2: Learn everything you can about the disorder

It’s hard to convince a narcissist to go to therapy because most of them won’t ever admit that they have NPD.

So while you’re waiting for the day that they’ll finally go to therapy, you can help them and yourself by reading up about everything related to narcissistic personality disorder.

Knowledge is power, after all. You must equip yourself with good knowledge to know the right approach.

Step 3: Protect yourself (physically, mentally, emotionally, etc)

Don’t underestimate the things a narcissist is capable of doing even if (or especially if) he’s in love with you.

The first step to protecting yourself is awareness, and we’ve covered that on step 2.

The next step is learning specific techniques on how to disarm his tactics, like simply refusing to engage with his emotional arguments, as well as by being firm with your boundaries.

And make sure you have emergency numbers and that all your files are safe, just in case.

Step 4: If they hurt you, stay away (and ask for help)

Try to be as compassionate as you can. But just because he deserves compassion does not mean you should just let him abuse you.

If he’s hurting you, keep your distance. Don’t be afraid to break up if the situation needs it.

And if he tries to harass you, well…call the cops.

Last words

You might wonder— “can a narcissist change?” or specifically, “can true love change a narcissist?”

The answer is both yes and no. 

Yes, a narcissist can change, but only if they’re actually interested in changing in the first place, and are seeking out long-term professional support.

If your partner won’t even consider the possibility that he has a narcissistic personality disorder, then he’s not exactly likely to change for the better.

Support him if he decides to change, but don’t think that you alone can help him because it requires more than love for any significant improvement to happen.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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