How to Detect a Narcissist

How to Detect a Narcissist

Are you currently in a relationship with a person whose actions seem to scream, “Look at me—I am amazing! I’m so much better than you!”?


First of all, you are not alone—that was my first husband! He was constantly manipulating my emotions and actions in order to serve his own needs and desires. Our conversations always revolved around him and his interests. In fact, if he didn’t have any interest in what I was talking about, he would completely ignore me or tell me how stupid my thoughts were. I put up with his narcissistic behavior for almost ten years before I left him. As a survivor of abuse, I didn’t have the skills or tools to deal with his overbearing all consuming personality.

If you are in a relationship with someone like this, prepare yourself to face the reality that you may be in a relationship with a narcissist.

The following is a list of questions to ask yourself as you are examining your relationship. It might be hard to accept, but answer them as truthfully and honestly as you can. The answers might be enlightening to you!

Does your significant other:

•         think they are superior to you and others, or believe you can’t possibly live without them?

•         dominate your conversations by talking about themselves?

•         interrupt you while directing the conversation back to themselves?

•         have limited interest in you or others?

•         correct, dismiss, or ignore you when you’re talking?

•         enjoy breaking the rules and social norms?

•         disregard other’s thoughts, feelings, possessions, and physical space?

•         manipulate you or others in order to fulfill their own self-serving needs, desires, and dreams?

•         only give attention and engage as long as you are fulfilling their needs and desires?

•         project an inauthentic façade in order to appear a specific way?

•         try to project how they are better than you and others, because they want you to see how special they are?

•         try to make you feel inferior, guilty, or less than so they can attempt to empower their own ego to feel better about themselves?

•         expect preferential treatment from you and others because they think the world (and everyone in it) revolves around them?

If you said yes to six or more of the questions above, it is likely that you are in a relationship with a narcissist. Of course, every situation is different, and this is not a hard and fast rule. Please use your best judgement in discerning your personal situation, and don’t hesitate to seek out more information about this type of personality or ask for help.

First and foremost, it’s important to know that these behaviors are the result of their own inadequacies and insecurities; not because of anything you’ve done (or haven’t done).

A narcissist’s bold, all-consuming personality is challenging for anyone—much less someone who has survived abuse. If you choose to stay and try to work things out with this challenging personality type, you will want to accumulate specific tools and skills to deal with these types of behaviors.

In my book, Finding Your Voice, I give you examples and practical advice on learning healthy communication skills and boundaries. When dealing with a narcissist, it is vital that you maintain your confidence, independence, and power. My favorite way to do this is by simply learning how and when to use the word NO.

NO is a powerful word that can change how you choose to participate in all of your relationships. NO clearly communicates boundaries as to what you believe is acceptable or not in any situation. By learning to communicate and express yourself and your needs, you are taking back your power—thus limiting the power you give to a narcissist.

It is important to keep in mind that when you choose to become independent and not participate the narcissist’s game, you may find your narcissist is done playing with you. If that is the case, I say good riddance! It’s time to find someone who wants to talk about the both of you equally; someone who appreciates you and all of your amazing qualities.

Choose to be strong and understand your worthiness, and don’t let others take those characteristics from you!