Last week after I posted “Signs of Toxic Relationships” on Instagram, I got so many messages asking for more! So today we’re diving deeper. There are 3 signs of narcissism in a relationship that you need to know.
These 3 signs are gaslighting, triangulation, and a disregard for boundaries.
Narcissistic traits are deadly to relationships. Healthy relationships focus on nourishing each other. Narcissism in a relationship only focuses on self-nourishment. This obsession with being admired, praised, and viewed as perfect leads to toxic behaviors that hurt your partner and destroy your connection.
But before we can stop these narcissistic traits, we have to learn to recognize them!
1- Gaslighting in a Relationship
This is one of the most well-known signs of narcissism. Gaslighting in a relationship is a manipulation tactic used to gain power over someone by making them question their reality, memory, and perception. This is a narcissistic trait because it’s used to avoid taking accountability and being seen as fallible.
Gaslighting in a relationship is often rooted in insecurity, and surprisingly, low self-worth. If any of these gaslighting examples sound like you, it be might be helpful to read How to Overcome Insecurities in a Relationship, or 4 Reasons Why Self-Love is Essential in a Healthy Relationship.
Examples of Gaslighting in a Relationship
- Denying or lying about things they’ve said or done, even when you have proof. “I never said that”, “You’re imagining things”
- Calling you crazy, unstable, overly sensitive, overreactive, etc. and telling others the same
- Playing the victim when you address concerns about their toxic behaviors
- Not taking responsibility for their actions (blaming, shaming, denial). “If you wouldn’t have made me so angry I wouldn’t have…”
- Avoiding a real apology. “I’m sorry you feel that way”, “I’m sorry, but…”
- Minimizing your concerns and pain. “I’m not going to apologize just because you can’t take a joke”
- Invalidating you
When you are gaslighted, you start doubting your feelings and concerns and feel like you have to defend your reality.
All feelings are real. Instead of minimizing them, partners should encourage each other to explore why they might be feeling the way they do.
2- Triangulation in a Relationship
Triangulation in a relationship is a manipulation tactic used to gain control or someone by bringing a third-party into the relationship and controlling communication between the two parties.
Triangulation is an immature way of getting validation. This is a narcissistic trait because it’s used to win an argument, or “get what you want”. Most often, a they try to get others to “take their side” and turn against you.
Examples of Triangulation in a Relationship
- Saying negative things about your partner to your child, parent, or friend
- Talking about an argument with your partner to a parent, friend, or child to get them to take your side
- Attempting to manipulate a therapist into taking your side during marriage counseling
- Venting about your relationship problems to an “impartial” third party (coworker, etc.)
- Exposing your partner’s “secrets” to others
- Creating an “alliance” with a child, parent, or friend in order to team up and win arguments with your partner
- Pitting your partner’s friends or family against them
- Telling your partner that everyone thinks they’re wrong or that they’re crazy
3- Disregard for Boundaries in a Relationship
Among the common signs of narcissism in a relationship is a disregard for boundaries. A strong need for praise and admiration is one of the most common narcissistic traits. Having this trait makes it difficult to accept feedback. It also influences us to disregard others’ boundaries in order to have our needs met.
Signs of disregarding boundaries in a relationship:
- Forcing you to “continue the conversation” (argument) until they manipulate you into taking the blame and apologizing (calling you repeatedly until you pick up, refusing to give you space)
- Treating you poorly until you give them what they want or change yourself
- Guilt tripping and shaming
- Throwing a tantrum or giving you the cold shoulder
- Threatening you
- Giving themselves permission to say what they want to you (being critical or condescending)
- Not allowing you to voice your concerns without retaliation
- Entitling themselves to all your time and energy
We all do and say toxic things sometimes, but these signs of narcissism have no place in a healthy relationship. If you recognized any of these signs of narcissism in your relationship, read my post 3 Reasons Why We Self-Sabotage in Relationships.
You can also read 10 Ways to Have Good Communication in a Relationship or How to Communicate Better During Conflict Resolution for helpful advice on healthy communication!
I hope this post helped you recognize patterns of toxic behaviors so you can put a stop to them!