Unfortunately, in many relationships, there tends to be a narcissist involved. Within family dynamics, friendships, and romantic relationships, there is a narcissist somewhere within the group. While not all relationships have a narcissist involved, at times, we might find that we are the narcissist in the relationship. A narcissist is never a good thing to be called, yet if we become aware of our own narcissistic behaviors, we will be better at changing them.
Here are seven signs you might be the narcissist in your relationship:
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1. Everything Has to Be About You
One sign you might be the narcissist in your relationship is if everything has to be about you. In normal relationships, an individual sees that not everything is about them. If you are a narcissist, everything has to be about you. While this is common for children as they are very self-focused, adults shouldn't act this way. If everything always has to be about you, there are improvements you need to make going further in your relationships with others.
In order for a family, friend, or romantic relationship to work and flourish, you have to set the other person above your own interests and wants. If you genuinely care about them, it shouldn't be hard to place their interests above your own. Maybe this means talking about something they are really passionate about or going to an event that they are really excited about, but maybe you aren't. For any relationship, there will be sacrifices made, but if everything has to be about you, you are not going to make these sacrifices.
In order for a narcissist to be happy, everything has to be about them. If it isn't, they are uncomfortable and begging for attention. This is not a good quality to have as it will only reflect negatively on your character. If you have found this sign to be true about you, try to change your ways and seek out not making everything about you. Praise the other people in your life and avoid turning every conversation to somehow be about you.
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2. You Have to Be the Center of Attention
A second sign you are a narcissist in your relationship is if you have to be the center of attention. My family used to joke that as little kids, my sisters and I always wanted to be the center of attention. Now that we are adults, we have found we never want to be the center of attention. In fact, we want to go unseen as much as possible. While seeking attention is another trait that is common in children, it is not something that should be praised by adults. If you have to always be the center of attention, you might be the narcissist in your relationship.
Being the center of attention will happen sometimes, such as when a bride gets married; however, often the bride is overwhelmed with this responsibility, and it can majorly affect her big day. While this type of being the center of attention is not narcissistic, wanting to always be the center of attention, even at a friend's or family member's wedding, would be narcissistic. As an individual, you don't need to be the center of attention in every situation.
Everyone needs their own chance to shine bright. If you are constantly trying to be the center of attention, other people will notice, and this is not an attractive quality of a person. Choose to, instead, let other people have the limelight and enjoy their time to shine. Everything is not about any one person in the world. Everyone needs their own chance to shine, and nobody should take that chance away from them.
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3. It's Your Way or the Highway
A third sign you are the narcissist in your relationship is that things either go your way or the highway. This was a common saying in my household growing up, but it is actually very narcissistic to live as though your wants, desires, and plans are all that matter–and anyone else's needs, schedules, or ideas can just hit the road. Things shouldn't be one way or never happen at all. Rather, there should be multiple options and there needs to be compromise in order for a relationship to work.
As in a romantic relationship, there should be equal interest placed on both partners. When one partner likes hiking, but the other doesn't, there needs to be compromise. The ideology that "It's my way or the highway" will only cause your partner to be hurt or to feel their interests don't matter. If you are dating someone, there needs to be equality when picking out events. As mentioned, if you like hiking, but your partner is a more stay-at-home type of person, consider their interests above your own. Revisit the kindergarten lesson of taking turns. One weekend, go on a hike, and the next weekend, host a stay-at-home dinner date.
This is a lighthearted example, but if a relationship does not have equality in it, it will not last very long. You need to abandon all mentalities of "It's my way or the highway." Work things out together because it will help you in the long-term in your relationships.
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4. You Put Others Down
Putting others down is a fourth sign that you are the narcissist in your relationship. Narcissists put others down to make them feel better about themselves. As someone who has been put down by numerous people, it is not a good feeling. If you have noticed that you tend to put others down, it's time to reflect on your intentions and face the reasons you feel victorious when you trample others. Whether a friendship, a family member, or a romantic relationship, never put someone else down. This can damage your relationship and cause extensive problems. Moreover, it can create a poor witness for Christ when a believer berates others.
Narcissists can have a hard time being able to tell if they are doing these things; however, self-reflection will help a lot. If you are making others feel bad about themselves in order to make you feel better about yourself, it's time to stop. Not only are you the narcissist in your relationship, but you also are not walking faithfully with the Lord. Jesus doesn't want you to hurt people nor does He want you to continue to behave as a narcissist.
He wants you to love others and to place their interests above your own. This can be a challenge for many, but everything worth having is worth working for. If you truly value your relationship, you will stop putting the other person down and start building them up. Remember, just because you have some of the signs of being a narcissist doesn't mean you have to continue down this path.
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5. You Always Have to Be Right
A fifth sign you are the narcissist in your relationship is if you have to always be right. (This is something that gets on my nerves with narcissists.) They never admit when they are wrong, and they always have to be right. It gets to the point that you have to just tell them they are right in order for them to stop complaining about the issue. If you have found that you always have to be right, you might be struggling with narcissism.
You don't always have to be right. In fact, none of us are right all the time. Within our relationships, people around us will be able to help us grow and learn more. However, if we take the mindset that we are always right, we are going to cause much more harm in our relationships. It could even cause us to lose a relationship with someone close to us. Rather than allowing this to happen, recognize and accept that it is okay not to always be right because none of us are.
6. You Don't Value the Other Person/People in Your Relationship
A sixth sign you are the narcissist in your relationship is if you don't value the other person or people in your relationship. This can be seen by you not caring enough to return their calls, meet up with them, or try to fix a past hurt. The people in your relationships will see this and be able to tell that you don't actually care about them. This can hurt them and cause them to distance themselves from you.
In order to change, you are going to have to start valuing the people you are in a relationship with. In the matter of your friendships, reach out to them, talk with them, and build a stronger relationship with them. As in the case of family members, talk about past memories, correct any past hurts, and strive to spend more time with them. For romantic relationships, show up for them, be there for them, and consider their own opinions concerning the relationship. People appreciate when you truly value them.
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7. You Invalidate the Other Person's Feelings
Invalidating the other person or people's feelings is a seventh sign you are the narcissist in your relationship. When you invalidate someone's feelings, it really hurts them. It can cause them to question their own feelings, and in a way, you could even gaslight them by invalidating their feelings. This is never healthy to do as it will only damage the person you are in a relationship with.
Rather than invalidating their feelings, validate their feelings and be there for them. Let them have the platform and be the one who has the time and space to share what they are going through or experiencing. Don't downplay their emotions or tell them they have too many feelings. As someone who has experienced both of these things, it is not pleasant. Instead, validate their pain, feelings, and struggles. This will help you strengthen your relationships rather than damage them.
It's easy to point out narcissistic behavior in others, especially when they are directly hurting you. But it takes lots of self-reflection, and even more humility, to admit that you might be the narcissist in your relationship with family, friends, or your romantic partner. Consider these seven ways you might be harming others. Listen to the Holy Spirit's conviction, seek God's Word, and seek true repentance. Go to God in prayer and ask how you can more actively shed your narcissistic behavior and put on a new lifestyle that is selfless, considering when it's time to let others shine, state their opinion, or have their way.
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Originally published Monday, 07 August 2023.