A narcissist is someone with a personality disorder that makes him love only himself. There is a high level of vanity, conceit and egoism involved in a narcissist. All people have varying levels of narcissism, although some are more severe than others.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, prepare for a tough ride. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t survive in this type of relationship. Here’s what you need to know so you can survive a relationship with a narcissist.
- Assess the degree of narcissism. Take an honest look at your partner and see if he is a narcissist. Get him to talk to a licensed psychologist in order to get a clinical diagnosis. There are healthy degrees of narcissism, since you need to love yourself in order to have some self esteem. However, if your partner’s behavior remains to be pathological and he doesn’t seem to have remorse for his selfish actions, you may have your work cut out for you. Observe if he has an over inflated sense of self. Does he deem everyone else beneath him? Does he consider you lucky for having bestowed his attentions upon you? Does he lack compassion or understanding of others? Does he pursue his desires regardless of your feelings or how it will affect you?
- Get him to a therapist’s couch. It’s not up to you to make him change, but you can get him a help. If your partner is clinically diagnosed as a narcissist, he needs to get help. Have him commit to see a therapist so he can work on his issues and learn to establish a more realistic view of himself and the world.
- Get into couple’s counseling. While he is going to counseling for his personal issues, you may also engage in couple’s counseling. This will help you as the partner of a narcissist to learn the skills to cope with such a personality disorder. If you’re attracted to a narcissist, you may have some degree of masochism, wherein you may find gratification when you feel pain or have difficulties. Couple’s counseling will give you the tools to strengthen your relationship despite your own personal issues.
- Be ready to be the understanding one. It will take some time to correct behavior and personality disorders. Be patient. If you truly love this person and you want to stay committed to the relationship, then be willing to make concessions. Gently remind your partner when he slips but stand by his side as he gets help.
- Learn to define your own limits. Being understanding doesn’t mean that you tolerate it when your narcissistic partner walks all over you. For your own health and the health of the relationship, you need to be able to set proper boundaries. Learn when to say no. It’s a way for your partner to learn empathy and to realize there are consequences to his behavior. Also, you need to realize that this will constantly be a problem in a relationship.
If you wish to continue with the relationship, then you need to do what it takes to make it through. However, you should seriously evaluate your desire to stay in such a one sided relationship, especially if there is no desire or action to change on the other person’s side.