"He flew into a rage," she describes, "yelling at me for not saying good morning and for not staying in bed a few minutes to snuggle.My jaw was on the floor, having never experienced such bizarre drama.It was only when I broke down and apologized that he started to talk to me again.”Three and a half years into their marriage—and 13 years into their relationship—Linda and her husband sought the help of a therapist, who diagnosed the man with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).As defined by the Mayo Clinic, NPD is “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.”His constant manipulation, his verbal attacks on Linda—only to switch to playing the victim moments later—and his gaslighting tactics all pointed the therapist to the diagnosis, Linda says.I was a horrible person and I wouldn't be able to find anyone else who would put up with me, he said."Linda, Jamie, and Hazel have all walked away from their narcissistic relationships. But shocking as these women’s tales may be, their experiences with mates diagnosed with NPD aren’t exactly unique.And one online narcissist support group has more than 36,000 members trying to deal with or get over their narcissistic partner or ex-partner.)Raymond says anyone in a relationship with a narcissist would feel as if “you were not being treated like a human being, but rather a thing to be used as and when necessary.” You would feel alone and devalued.
When psychologists diagnose NPD, they look for the following features, according to the While most people may seem to exhibit hints of narcissism here and there, people with NPD cross the line of healthy confidence and believe they are more important than everyone else all of the time.
Through a series of seven studies using different methodological approaches, researchers analyzed narcissists’ exhibition of "admiration" and "rivalry" dimensions.
Admiration behaviors represent narcissism's charming, self-assured, and entertaining qualities, and are associated with greater short-term satisfaction in relationships.
What’s more, “nothing you did or said would ever be enough, and if you dared to take care of yourself before the [person with NPD], you would have the wrath of God heaped on you,” she says.
That doesn’t mean every relationship with a person with NPD is doomed.
While most people grow out of this neediness by adulthood, narcissists “are insatiable with regard to having care and attention on demand,” Raymond says, adding that this is often rooted in neglectful parents or those who prioritize their own needs instead of their children’s.