If The Man You Love Does These 13 Things, You May Be In A Toxic Relationship With A 'Grandiose Narcissist'

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Signs Of Grandiose Narcissistic Personality Disorder In Toxic Relationships

People who exhibit traits of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) typically expect special treatment, appreciation, admiration and consistently perfect attunement from their partners.

When others don't measure up to these expectations in their romantic relationships or marriages, the narcissistic boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband may become irreparably disappointed.

If you fail to provide them with the level of support they demand to feed their brittle self-esteem — known as the narcissistic supply — they feel empty, causing them to devalue the relationships. And because the relationship isn't satisfying enough for them, they seek supplies elsewhere.

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Here are just 13 signs of Grandiose Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD):

  • Your partner expects a lot from you, and nothing you do is good enough.
  • They pressure you to display "perfect" behavior and/or appearance.
  • They pressure you to do things their way.
  • They force you to take on their views, while refusing to allow you to share your own.
  • They insist on things always being about them and never about you.
  • No matter how much you give, they always expect more.
  • They show little or no empathy for you.
  • They dismiss you in your lowest moments points, insisting conversations revolve around.
  • The way they treat you and the things they say cause you to question yourself and/or lose yourself in the relationship.
  • They constantly leave you feeling inadequate.
  • They cover up the things they do wrong, distort the truth to prove themselves right, hide their feelings, and/or walk away to avoid facing accountability.
  • They appear to have a high opinion of themselves, but collapse in a heap and cannot function when life does not go their way.
  • Their behavior causes you to feel as though you are walking on eggshells around their moods.

So, how do narcissists become this way?

The exact causes of narcissistic personality disorder are still unknown, and are likely to include a complex combination of environmental, genetic and neurobiological factors.

According to the developmental theory first presented by American psychiatrist James Masterson, narcissistic parents see their children as extensions of themselves.

If a child performs well, the parent feels good about themselves. If the child does not measure up, the parent feels low.

The child feels pressure to be perfect and feels inadequate when they don't get approval from their parent. At the same time, the child is reprimanded for expressing themselves or showing hurt feelings, so they learn to hide or cover up their emotions, knowing they will only be seen as a disappointing sign of weakness.

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Masterson believed NPD could be broken down further into three distinct classifications: exhibitionist narcissists, closet narcissists, and devaluing narcissists.

Exhibitionist narcissists, also described as grandiose narcissists, are those who were idealized by their parents.

They were admired because they met their parent's expectations. The parent felt special or perfect in return and granted them the status of the "golden child" who could do no wrong.

As a consequence, they were able to get away with things they did wrong to others. They means they never needed to learn how to follow the rules, because they were "special."

As an adult, a grandiose narcissist often expects others to treat them this way so they can continue feeling special.

They become bitterly disappointed when their partner does not put them first, prioritize them, or supply them. They can easily feel that the relationship is not giving them what they need.

In short, they have unrealistic expectations within romantic relationships.

They hope that their partner meets all their needs, which they believe the relationship should revolve around their needs.

As a child, they didn't need to live in accordance with reality or consider other people's needs or interests. The world was their oyster, and they want to continue living this way, remaining entitled to have and do whatever they want.

How does a narcissist relate to their partner?

A grandiose narcissist expects their partner will put them on a pedestal, measure up with their expectations, take on their views, do things their way, be perfect, mirror their grandiosity, and provide perfect supplies.

Whenever partners do not resonate with their expectations, the narcissist feels empty and deflated because they rely on those supplies to fill them up.

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In response, they seek alternate ways to boost their self-esteem or inflate their grandiosity in order to feel better or escape their emptiness. This is why addictions, hidden viewing of porn, affairs, and obsession with outside interests are commonplace in toxic relationships with narcissists.

When they feel wounded or criticized by their partner, they feel a corresponding need to prove how good they are in order to reinflate their sense of grandiosity.

They may attempt to cover up their feelings of inadequacy by devaluing their partner, forcing their views to be heard, and deflecting blame — all for the sake of proving themselves right and others wrong, rather than listening and accepting responsibility for their problems and behaviors.

Feeling berated and beaten down, the narcissist's partner ends up doubting their own thoughts and gives up their own view.

Those who enter into these emotionally abusive relationships soon realize that you do not question narcissist.

In worst case scenarios, many victims of narcissistic abuse actually adopt the views of the narcissist, losing their sense of self in order to keep the peace.

The grandiose narcissist often complains that others do not value them, support their views, or give them what they want. They easily grow bored due to their often empty sense of self, seeking constant stimulation or excitement elsewhere. They accuse their partner of being boring and unexciting when they are not giving them supplies, easily replacing partners and justifying affairs, since they feel they deserve a more satisfying partner.

Effectively, they feel more important than others and that the same rules do not apply to them.

Simultaneously, the grandiose narcissist becomes the master of getting supplies by saying whatever people want to hear in order to win them over and by putting on facade in order to appear to be the man or woman of their partner’s dreams. They figure out what others want in order to get what they want from them.

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In their minds, love is about making them feel gratified, and not about the other.

Eventually, they discard partners who do not fulfill their supplies or who expose them for who they really are. They devalue their partner, end the relationship and cut themselves off from their own emotions by creating a wall of self-protection so they never have to feel vulnerable or get truly close to anyone.

They are also extremely envious of others and will cut them down in order to feel above them. They will devalue you if you rise above them.

Can you repair a relationship with a narcissist? Does therapy help?

If you are asking this question, the first thing you need to do is determine whether they’re covering up who they really are by acting a certain way in order to win you over, or if they genuinely want to work on themselves.

Are they playing the victim, deflecting blame and/or not owning up to their mistakes?

Are they still seeking supplies from you, or are they coming to terms with their real self — a self that is neither perfect nor above others?

Often narcissists want their partner back so they can feel good again, not because they care or want to have a reciprocal relationship.

They can lure former partners back in even after so harshly discarding them by charming them, finding out what they want most at the moment, and portraying themselves as capable of providing for that need.

Be careful that you aren't being fooled by a false persona, and listen to your intuition.

Many will say you cannot have healthy relationships with narcissists, and that after breaking up with one, you should have no contact.

There might be exceptions in those who have crashed, stopped getting supplies, and are facing the deflation of their grandiosity. Few come into therapy on their own merit, but some do when they realize they cannot live in accordance with their grandiose self, and that they must start living according to their real, imperfect self, just as the rest of us do.

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Nancy Carbone is a psychotherapist who treats NPD, people recovering from narcissistic abuse, as well couples in which one partner is a narcissist. For more information, visit her website.

This article was originally published at PsychCentral. Reprinted with permission from the author.