It’s in the small things. It’s what the narcissist does not do in normal daily life that tips you off to who they really are. Does your partner ignore your feelings and exhibit a total lack of empathy? Did you have a horrible day at work, but refrain from confiding about it for fear of repercussions? If your partner is extending you less courtesy than they would a total stranger, it may be time to re-examine the power balance in the relationship and if indeed your loved one is in fact a narcissist.
The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM 5 lists official criteria that need to be met before a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be made. The behavior of a typical narcissist usually includes at least a couple of the following traits:
- Lack of empathy
- Inflated sense of self-esteem
- Boasting or bragging
- Attempts at manipulating others
This is, of course, only a partial list of what you might encounter, but these basic personality traits hold true most of the time.
The Narcissist’s Timeline
There is a timeline for these unhealthy relationships according to a certain sequence of events that usually occur. A person with NPD is in and out of so many relationships and a pattern develops.
First, we had ghosting, and now we have love bombing. The online dating world is always coining a new term. Love bombing means pretty much what it says, bombing someone with your love or being overattentive in the early stages of a relationship. If someone you meet goes from zero to all-day-text buddy in 24 hours, you might be getting love bombed. Take shelter.
Lions, Tigers, And Flying Monkeys
Flying monkeys refer to the airborne monkeys sent out to do the wicked witch’s bidding in the children’s movie The Wizard of Oz. Narcissists have their version of flying monkeys early in your relationship, as these people will be annoying and floating around telling you how great your new love interest is.
They love the narcissist and will always be there for him or her. Even when they are gone.
They Fish For Compliments
Underneath it all, a real narcissist is so insecure they have to constantly feed their ego through continuous praise. If they are constantly asking for validation, look for other clues that might point to a problem before it’s too late.
Narcissists coined the word. The Urban Dictionary says this about ghosting. It basically means abandoning your partner for no reason with no warning. Love you too, pumpkin.
If you are the one to end the relationship, expect to deal with their anger. They may retaliate in numerous ways through your family, friends, or work. Anything is fair game to these people.
A Decision To File For Divorce
Before you even begin, you must realize the judge will not accept your word as a diagnosis for your spouse’s mental illness. If you are going to use the NPD diagnosis in court, you will need to provide written evidence from a qualified physician. Your particular circumstances will play a role.
Child custody mediation with a narcissist is particularly difficult, as many mentally unstable individuals will use children as leverage. Sometimes the narcissistic partner will try to turn the children against the other parent or use the kids as a bargaining chip in the divorce settlement. An experienced, compassionate lawyer will always handle these emotionally charged matters appropriately.