Am I the Narcissistic One in My Relationship?

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Am I the Narcissistic One in My Relationship?

The term narcissist gets a bad rap for understandable reasons. It’s important to know, however, that true narcissism is a personality disorder that’s worthy of appropriate treatment. Along with other facets of life, your inanimate life and relationships can benefit from such care. 

At her practice in Chicago at One Magnificent Mile, board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Amanda S. Kleinman diagnoses and treats narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to help you manage related challenges and cultivate a better quality of life.

If you think you may be narcissistic, read on to learn more about this condition, including common signs and how they can impact a relationship.

Who has narcissistic personality disorder

Research shows that 0.5-5% of people in the United States may have narcissistic personality disorder. While 50-75% of those diagnosed with NPD are men or people assigned male at birth, narcissism may be hidden and go undiagnosed in others. Narcissism may seem more subtle or concealed in women, for example, due to factors such as different ways women and men are socialized. Some men may hide their symptoms, too.

Factors that raise your risk for NPD include:

  • Genetics, especially if you have a parent with the disorder
  • Childhood traumas, such as abuse or neglect
  • Having been raised by overprotective “helicopter” parents

Narcissistic personality disorder is also more common in cultures and communities that emphasize individualism and personal accolades over a sense of community and connection.

Signs you’re the narcissistic one in a relationship

NPD symptoms can impact all areas of your life and become especially prominent when you’re closely engaging with others. That’s a big reason intimate relationships tend to suffer when one person is narcissistic.

Signs you may have NPD include:

  • A deep longing for admiration
  • Acting arrogant or extremely confident
  • Avoiding situations where you feel you may fail
  • Being highly critical of others yet upset when others criticize you
  • Constantly seeking attention
  • Difficulty maintaining friendships or being liked by others
  • Having deep, albeit hidden, insecurities
  • Having difficulty understanding others’ emotions
  • Having little patience
  • Exaggerating your accomplishments
  • Feeling as though you deserve more than other people
  • Feeling lonely or empty when you’re not “shining”
  • Frequent bouts of anger, depression, or irritability
  • Frequently bragging or trying to impress others

In an intimate relationship, these symptoms can play out in various ways. If you’re a narcissistic partner, you might display over-the-top charming behaviors in an attempt to impress the other person at the beginning. Known as “love bombing,” this can show up as giving grandiose praise or luxurious gifts or accelerating the relationship – talking about love and marriage, for example, when you’re still getting acquainted. From there, the relationship might quickly or gradually deteriorate. 

As the narcissistic partner, you may struggle to develop a healthy attachment within the relationship, feel jealous of the attention your partner gets elsewhere, or perceive that you’re not getting enough attention yourself as time goes on. Narcissism is also linked with infidelity and keeping people at a distance emotionally to maintain control. 

What to do about NPD

If you believe you or your relationships are struggling because of your narcissistic tendencies, Dr. Kleinman can assess, diagnose, and recommend treatment for your condition. Depending on the specifics of your challenges, she may recommend medication and weekly psychodynamic therapy or twice-weekly transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP).

As your NPD treatment progresses, she’ll monitor your symptoms to ensure that things are on track for you to thrive better in all settings. 

To learn more about narcissism in relationships or get started with the care you need, call our office or request an appointment with Dr. Kleinman through our website today.