By · @ColleenOrme  ·  · 28 Shares

So you think you may be in love with a narcissist?

NarcissismNarcissist: Indicators to Avoid These Kind of Relationship has turned into a trendy and overused relationship buzzword.

However, those who have been involved with a true narcissist can testify it is not a term to be taken lightly.

A narcissist is an individual who lacks empathy.

Empathy is a developmental stage we receive in childhood. Because the narcissist has this severe deficit, they are unable to feel another person’s pain. Their world revolves completely around their own thoughts, needs, beliefs, pain, and desires.

It is important to distinguish a true narcissist from those who may just tend to be a bit selfish, self-absorbed or self-involved. 

There are plenty of everyday people who possess these qualities.

However, many selfish or self-absorbed individuals still possess the ability to actually empathize and understand another person’s pain. There are plenty of controlling and demanding people who are loving enough to understand the plight of another individual and put themselves in their shoes.

No, a true narcissist is cold. 

And it is an unusual level of coldness due to their lack of empathy. A ruthless nature which prevents them from understanding anything other than their own world.

They might watch a dog struggling on the ice during the evening news and feel nothing. A stark contradiction to the average person who feels a lump crawling up their throat until the pooch is delivered to safety.

What further compounds narcissism, is these people are typically attractive, charming and successful.

They present extremely well.

Society, their coworkers, and friends would never believe these are individuals who have the ability to be as cold and cruel as they are funny and friendly.

Unfortunately, for this reason, many people end up falling for a narcissist and never truly understanding who they have attracted themselves to until the relationship matures. They may date someone who seems to be the whole package only to live with them or marry them and discover a second personality within the one.

A few key indicators of loving a narcissist…

1. They Are Two People

That same sweet, funny person who makes you feel loved can also make you feel isolated and alone.

The personality shift is so severe it seems they are two entirely different people. For example, the caring person who swears they love you may refuse to be at the hospital for your scheduled surgery. They may watch a romantic movie with you and seem emotional and then be completely callous as you suffer the loss of one of your parents.

They are a contradiction. Their personality does not make sense the longer you witness it.

The narcissist is an emotional shape-shifter who transitions seamlessly from cuddly to cruel.

2. They Do Not Possess Typical Relationship Behaviors

A narcissist may not call their own family members or worry about a friend. They may not check in on a sick neighbor or inquire if they can help aid a struggling acquaintance.

The narcissist will confuse you. They may appear to care. They may speak empty words.

They may casually say it’s too bad a friend lost a job or a family member is sick. However, there will be no compassionate and normal empathetic actions to accompany those words. They won’t stop in to check on a friend’s sick parent or make a call to ask how they can help a relative after the loss of a job.

If a narcissist does appear to have this ability it may stem from a caring spouse or other family member instructing them to do these caring acts of compassion which come naturally to most.

The narcissist on their own does not feel the empathy required to induce these caring actions.

3. They Make You Feel Crazy

One of the trademark qualities of a narcissist is they will make the person who is in love with them feel absolutely crazy.

This is a direct result of their innate lack of empathy.

Thus, a narcissist could stay out all night and come home to an enraged and worried spouse but will make the spouse feel crazy for questioning them. They will imply their bad behavior is normal and their spouse is the irrational one for getting mad at them.

People in love with a narcissist may find themselves shaking their heads and asking themselves things such as, “Who does that?” “Who acts this way?” “Who thinks this is normal behavior?”

Narcissists are skilled manipulators.

They will turn all of their unempathetic, cold, mean, and ruthless behavior back on their spouse and deflect any responsibility from themselves.

4. They Do Not Negotiate, They Win

Narcissists do not negotiate well. They are used to being in control and getting their way.

You may need a wall painted and instead of figuring out a solution together they will ignore what is important to you. They will refuse to paint it themselves or refuse to hire a painter. A narcissist does not care about what is important to their significant other. They care about what is important to them. The wall will only be painted if it is their priority.

This is a benign example. In itself, it would not be a sign of narcissism because there are plenty of difficult personalities who may behave this way in a relationship. It is instead, another symptom to add on top of the aforementioned ones and typically not an isolated event.

It is a continuous pattern of an individual who does not negotiate on most aspects of their lives and the relationship. It is an obviously severe and repeated pattern of winning.

The narcissist cares more about winning than making the one they love happy.

5. They Ignore Societal Norms

Narcissists do not hold themselves accountable to typical societal rules and boundaries.

They believe they are above the norm.

For instance, the typical spouse might argue with you before a family get together but understand they still need to go pick up grandma on the way. The narcissist will leave grandma sitting in a nursing home with absolutely no regard to how bizarre and outrageous their behavior is. Worse? They will show up for the holiday as if they have done nothing.

The narcissist is not afraid of anyone because they wholeheartedly believe they are right.

They not only do not fear the breaking of societal rules, they are proud they do so. Or they justify it by saying their spouse drove them to it.

The narcissist operates within their own world and their own rules.

These are five indicators of a narcissistic personality.

The most unfortunate aspect of being in love with a narcissist is the overly caring people they attract themselves to do not easily give up on them.

They stay in the relationship confused by the contradiction. Sadly, the longer you stay with a narcissist the more powerless you become in the relationship and the more difficult it becomes to get away from them.

The damaged narcissist becomes more powerful and the caring person who loves them becomes more unhealthy by remaining with them.

The best way to determine if you are truly in love with a narcissist is counseling. Only a professional can accurately determine if an individual is a true narcissist. However, the aforementioned factors (not alone) but in conjunction with one another may be indicators of this type of personality.

Colleen Sheehy Orme

Colleen Sheehy Orme is a Divorce & Relationship expert. She is a national columnist for a faith based, inspirational website. She writes and speaks on the topics of love, relationships, divorce, and healing. She also consults on these topics and of rebuilding your personal life and personal brand during and after divorce.

Colleen’s national column speaks with her trademark voice. It is filled with the raw vulnerability, emotion, strength, humor and inspiration she lives her life with. Her column tackles the messy side of love while still inspiring love.

She is based out of the Washington, D.C. area where she lives with her three great boys, who seem to tolerate her candid, life musings and their wild, chocolate lab ‘Hazel.’ In addition to being a national columnist, speaker and consultant, she continues to be a freelance journalist and source for various national media outlets. Colleen is also a former business columnist, marketing, PR, and digital strategy consultant.

And most importantly, she still believes in love.

You can find out more about her at and follow her national column | Please follow her Facebook and on LinkedInTwitter

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