Is Your Partner Narcissistic or Really Self-Confident? How to Tell the Difference

One of the great things about the internet is having all this information at your fingertips. One of the worst things about the internet is having all this information at your fingertips. We now seem to have more collective knowledge of psychology than ever before. But fake news is real. Well, not “real,” but you understand that it’s tough to know what to believe. Sometimes, it’s essential to find the actual truth.

For example, as it pertains to your partner’s behavior, you might need some professional guidance. Are they really self-confident? Or could it be they’re actually narcissistic?

The Narcissism of Narcissism

Ironically, everyone thinks they’re experts on narcissism these days. The label is tossed around rather loosely. But, as with most things, there is a lot of context being lost in mainstream discussions. The word “narcissistic” can be accurately used to describe someone whose behavior ranges from vain and selfish to assertive and self-confident.

However, there is a diagnosable condition called narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). People struggling with this condition may display signs like:

  • Lack of empathy
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Anger or depression when not given the treatment they believe they deserve
  • A need for extreme attention
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Beneath the surface, they have a fragile ego and a lack of self-esteem

Anyone can present one or more of these symptoms from time to time. If you think your partner has NPD, however, you need to do more than wonder or guess.

5 Signs Your Partner Might Be Narcissistic

1. The World Revolves Around Them

As touched on above, entitlement is ever-present. Their needs are to be catered to. Your needs or anyone else’s needs are barely acknowledged — if at all. When things don’t go precisely as they demand, the response is an angry, petulant outburst. You may find yourself offering the “special” treatment just to avoid the fallout.

2. Runs Hot and Cold

Your partner charms you when they want something. Once they get it, you get dropped (until something new is “needed”). When a narcissist seeks to charm, they can be as persuasive and charismatic as anyone you’ve ever met. But when they flip the switch, it’s as if they have become as cold as ice.

3. Seeks Negative Attention

Spreading drama keeps you off-balance and insecure. You can’t ever be truly sure of where you stand with them. This uncertainty is used as a weapon against you. You’re stuck in their paradox. They are hypersensitive to any perceived slight. Simultaneously, they endlessly judge, mock, and ridicule you. When they mess up, it’s always you who made them do it.

4. Violates Boundaries

  • Promises are made and then broken
  • Your personal space is perpetually disrespected with no accountability
  • Everything that’s yours — from possessions to emotions — is theirs to use and discard
  • Shows little or no remorse for their actions
  • Gaslights you by accusing you of violating boundaries

5. Dominates Conversations

Conversations are one-way. It’s all about them. If you bring up another topic, you’ll get interrupted and “corrected” until it’s all about them again. Plenty of people struggle with communication issues. Interruptions can be frequent with anyone. That does not signal, on its own, the presence of narcissism. But if every interruption is designed to switch the topic back to them, it’s a red flag.

The Best Way to Make Certain

To bring things back to where we started, there is no shortage of armchair psychologists online these days. Talk directly to a trained and experienced therapist. If your partner is possibly struggling with NPD, professional guidance is required. Contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group to get the answers and support you need.