Narcissists have a tendency towards being self centered, showy in their generosity, and sulky when they don’t get their own way.

So, if you were wondering if they could have been a narcissist, here are 5 signs to look out for.

1. Superiority.

The narcissist believes they are above other people. They don’t form friendships easily at work, and if they do, they have a tendency to refer to them simply as colleagues. If you had friends at work, there’s a chance that your ex diminished those friendships, dismissed them as “fake.”

Their superior tendencies will make them do the annoying superior “sniff”; you know what I mean don’t you? When you say something, and they pause for effect, give a dismissive sniff, and then launch into all the reasons why you’re wrong. Lovely. Pretentiousness and conceit are the giveaways, and they will claim that no one could possibly know you as well as they do, and there seems to be a real belief that they are better than others. A person with healthy self-esteem and a realistic self-image will recognise their strengths AND weaknesses.

2. Lack of empathy.

Did you lose a family member when you were with your toxic ex? And did they support you and look after you? Or did they somehow twist it to being about them, or simply not acknowledge how much you were hurting? The narcissist doesn’t really love anyone but themselves.

They can show empathy in an intellectual way; behave as they know they are expected to; but if they are particularly toxic, they possibly won’t even bother with that. It’s great to be told “it’s about time you stopped grieving” a week after your father died…

3. The injured party.

Did your toxic ex wander about with an face like a smacked bum? I bet this happened because you either disagreed with him/her or you were critical of something. Now, we like to keep arguments to a minimum, and kicking someone when they are down is unfair; but I’m not talking about that; I mean the smallest, unintentional slight, or a disagreement over something you couldn’t ever predict happening (“But why don’t you like Seat Ibizas? That’s just stupid. Can you hear how stupid you’re being?” (True story)). If you upset the finely tuned equilibrium of someone who loves themselves more than they could ever pretend to love you, expect to pay for it.

4. Public displays of generosity.

“Look what I’ve done/bought for you.”

This is quite a tough one to deal with. When someone is making a big show of their generosity in public, it’s hard to see how other people may view it when you’re stuck in the middle of your toxic relationship. Now, from speaking to friends and family, I now know that it was seen for what it was; a big act, designed to make me look, quite frankly, like an ungrateful bitch. But the narcissist doesn’t see it that way. It’s another notch on the scale of “look how great I am to you, you don’t deserve me” and a reason for them to play Ben Folds Five “Song for the Dumped” at full volume AT you. (Another true story, check it out on YouTube, and enjoy the line, “Give me my money back, you bitch.”)

5. Gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a power trip, odd and manipulative behaviour where you may be told that you’re stupid to like something, because they want their own way; then there’s the behaviour where you’re being put down so that you start to believe it; “you’re a rubbish cook because you never had to go away to university at 18 and learn to take care of yourself like I did… ”

Believing this leads to you living a life where you’re constantly put down; and when you try to defend yourself or you decide that you won’t put up with it again, you end up crying and apologising for hurting them; somehow or other, the situation has been turned around so that you’re at fault. How dare you confront this treatment and ask for respect, after all. You are constantly second guessing yourself, and trying to avoid put downs, and making excuses for him to family and friends.

If you lived through these signs then there’s a good chance that you were living with a narcissist. We all have a little of the narcissism in us. It’s healthy, keeps us feeling good when we do well, gives us a well balanced sense of self esteem. The danger is in the narcissistic behaviour that doesn’t leave room for anyone else.

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Written by: Paula Jones