3) Identifying Narcissism in Relationships

Narcissism in Family Relationships

Narcissistic behaviour can significantly affect family dynamics, often resulting in a toxic environment. A narcissistic parent or sibling may frequently belittle others, strive for constant admiration, and have a lack of genuine empathy. It’s crucial to recognise these behaviours to protect yourself and maintain healthy familial relationships. If you have grown up with a narcissistic parent, traits can be very hard to spot as you will be so used to them being a natural part of your life.

Narcissism in Friendships

Narcissism in friendships can be tricky to identify as these individuals often charm and manipulate to maintain control. Traits to look out for include constant need for admiration, lack of empathy, exploitation of others, and jealousy. It may take time for people to show their true nature, so we should be accepting that as these relationships change, if they are not positive to us, that we should perhaps seek out and focus on the relationships that are.

Narcissism in Romantic Relationships

In romantic relationships, narcissists often start by idealising their partner, only to devalue them over time. This cycle can be damaging and confusing. Look out for signs of manipulation, lack of empathy, and constant need for admiration. These red flags may initially be hard to spot especially if initially they did the opposite to mask their more natural long term tendencies.


Reflective Exercise: Identifying Narcissistic Traits

In this exercise, you’ll take a short quiz to help recognise narcissistic traits in different types of relationships. This will provide practical insight and help you apply the knowledge you’ve gained.

Please answer each statement with “Yes” or “No”.

  1. Do they often dominate conversations and make it about themselves?
  2. Do they frequently criticise or belittle you and others around them?
  3. Do they exhibit a lack of empathy or disregard other’s feelings?
  4. Do they have an inflated sense of self-importance or superiority?
  5. Do they frequently demand special treatment or act entitled?
  6. Do they consistently violate your boundaries despite being asked not to?
  7. Do they often lie or exaggerate to make themselves look better or more accomplished?
  8. Do they seem envious or dismissive of other people’s accomplishments?
  9. Do they manipulate situations or guilt-trip you to get their way?
  10. Do they often play the victim in situations, even when they are at fault?
  11. Have they ever made you question your memory or sanity (a tactic called ‘gaslighting’)?
  12. Do they become angry, defensive, or dismissive when their behaviour is questioned or confronted?

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Daily Change Main Takeaways

The main takeaways from this module include understanding how to differentiate between healthy and narcissistic behaviours in various relationship dynamics. Recognising these signs early can help in managing these relationships effectively.