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8 Scary Signs You're In Love With A Narcissist (& What You Should Do About It)

Photo: Unsplash: Jake Davies
8 Signs You're In Love With A Man Who Has Narcissistic Personality Traits
Self

Should you stay or should you go?

When you first started dating, your family and friends tried to warn you about your boyfriend's narcissism; yet, you cast aside their objections and overlooked his narcissistic personality traits because you so badly wanted to be in a relationship and to fall in love.

But now, you worry that your worst fear is coming true: You're in love with a narcissist.

In the beginning, you only focused on his charm and engaging behavior, which he can turn on in a nanosecond if it serves him in that moment.

But, like a trained puppeteer, you're now realizing that he is the master of the push-and-pull in your relationship. It’s as if you’ve freely given your narcissistic partner the strings that affect your identity, character, self-respect, and well-being.

And even though you may feel grateful when your boyfriend returns after distancing himself from you — all part of a narcissist's psychological mind games — dismissing his past behavior only feeds his narcissism and keeps him in charge of your relationship dynamic.

RELATED: 6 Lesser-Known (But Equally Toxic) Personality Traits Of A Narcissist

Here are 8 scary signs you're in love with a man who has narcissistic personality traits, so you can know for sure before you decide what to do about it.

1. He has you wrapped around his finger

You might even experience Stockholm Syndrome, where you feel an irrational sense of loyalty or devotion to your captor — or in this case, your narcissistic partner. 

2. He doesn't allow you to have a voice in your relationship

Does he control the sexual intimacy? Does he make the decisions about your relationships? Your friends? Your family?

When he says, “It’s okay to hang out with so-and-so," is there is always a price to pay when you return, whether it's emotional withholding, distancing, anger, or punishment?

3. He plays with your emotions

Men with narcissistic personalities enjoy manipulating women. That's why your boyfriend is always there for you when you are at your lowest — when you grovel, plead for attention, or beg for a hug. But once you do get that hug, you start to hate yourself afterward for being so pathetic.

4. He isn't committed to working on your relationship

You can't change him. He can only change if he wants to. He doesn’t see the need to change because he is the smartest person in the room. He is brilliant. He doesn’t believe he needs to change because he is always right. 

RELATED: If The Person You Love Has These 5 Personality Traits, You May Be Under The Spell Of A Narcissist

5. He blames you for everything

A man with narcissistic personality traits will not take accountability for his behavior. He is masterful at pointing the finger at you. You are responsible for any and all negativity in your relationship. 

You are like a broken compass: the needle of the problem is always pointed at you.

6. He 'gunnysacks' you

Gunnysacking, which is defined as "an alienating fight tactic in which a person saves up, or gunnysacks, grievances until the sack gets too heavy and bursts, and old hostilities pour out", is common in relationships with narcissists.

Imagine a burlap bag filled with all of the misdeeds, flaws, errors, and problems your partner has accused you of and placed on you. Each time you behave in a way that he thinks is wrong — BAM! — another item is added to the burlap bag. 

Then, anytime he believes you've crossed him, like when you challenge him or defend your right, all of the mistakes you’ve made over the course of your relationship come tumbling out. He slams you with these mistakes again and again until you become an emotional pulverized mess. 

7. He intentionally tramples your self-esteem

Think about what you were like when you first entered the relationship. When did you allow yourself to become emotionally dismantled? It’s almost always imperceptible. It’s a slow leak that cannot be confined to date on a calendar.

Your narcissistic boyfriend wants you to stay just barely successful and empowered enough to be engaging and interesting. So he can beat you down to a submissive level. 

8. He uses you

A narcissist is a king at being an emotional predator. He has no remorse for his narcissism. That is who is he. He wants to be loved just the way he is; yet, he does not accept affection the way you want to give it. The relationship is 100 percent on his terms. 

Realizing that you identify with these signs of a narcissistic partner is frightening and hard to face. You're in love with a narcissist. 

But you love him, so should you really end your relationship because of his narcissistic personality traits? 

Ask yourself if you agree with these statements:

  • You are comfortable with your partner calling all of the shots.
  • You are comfortable with his agreeing to all of his demands.
  • You don't have any needs of your own that are not in lock step with his.
  • You don't mind if he seeks out other women as “friends.”
  • You are comfortable if he flirts with other women, saying only, “They mean nothing.”
  • You don't feel that trust is relevant in your relationship.
  • You don't mind that he has alienated you from your family and friends.
  • You don’t care that he speaks to you in a condescending manner.
  • You are okay with him having private accounts, phones, and relationships.
  • You are okay with not being a priority in his life.

How long should you stay in a relationship once you've realize your boyfriend has narcissistic personality traits?

If your answer to all of the above is "yes" — you should stay with him forever.

If your answer to even one or more of the above is "no" — not for even one day longer.

RELATED: 4 Telltale Signs The Man You Love Is A Full-Fledged Narcissist

Poppy and Geoff Spencer, M.S., CPC, are a husband-and-wife team of certified counselors, nationally syndicated writers and relationship and parenting experts certified in Myers-Briggs personality typing who have appeared on NBC, ABC, CBS, YourTango, Bustle, and Popsugar. They are also “Millennial Translators,” national speakers, authors of the best-selling book, One Billion Seconds: There’s Still time to Discover Love, and podcast hosts.