Ever been so blindsided by something your partner has said or done you've been left wondering if they could actually be a narcissist?
In a new book, My Narcissist and I: How to find happiness, by psychotherapist and life coach Katarina Valentini, she outlines nine tell-tale signs, noting that men are more likely to be narcissists than women.
Here are the revealing traits, according to Valentini.
1. If the relationship is "all about them"
If you're finding that your needs and desires rarely get acknowledged and almost always remain unfulfilled, your partner could be a narcissist, says Valentini.
An example might be that they always ignore your restaurant suggestions and instead make a "better choice" because "they know best".
2. A strange "gut feeling"
A tell-tale sign could be feeling unconditional love for your partner, but also a strange feeling that you need to run away.
Have you ever felt happy and calm around your partner, then all of a sudden said or done something that irritates him and experienced him withdrawing, punishing you by becoming distant? This behaviour points to him potentially being a narcissist.
3. If you can't be yourself around them
It's a warning sign if your partner brings out the worst in you, not the best.
If you're feeling like your partner elicits responses you feel ashamed of, and more often than not, you feel mortified, guilty, disappointed, sad, angry and helpless - be wary.
4. Blurred boundaries
According to Valentini, in a narcissistic relationship, you won't always be certain of what is yours, what is his and what is commonly shared. You'll also be made to feel confused about causing problems and the consequences.
5. You don't grow together as a couple
If when the time comes to start planning your future together, he starts pulling away for no obvious reason, or the relationship seems to be going nowhere - be mindful that this can be a narcissistic move.
6. You're the only one making an effort
Are your affections never reciprocated or do you find your partner constantly trying to get the upper hand in everything you do together? Take it as a sign.
7. Constant drama
Valentini says constantly feel the need to mend the relationship, or rescue it from failure, is a huge red flag.
8. Breaking up is a massacre
Are you constantly breaking up and making up, just to break up again?
And when you finally do break up, do you wish your partner the worst and hope karma settles the score for you as soon as possible?
9. Recovery is endless
According to Valentini, when a narcissistic relationship breaks up, instead of focusing on yourself and getting better, you'll waste time focusing on revenge, knowing that you are not capable of it because you still love your narcissist.
This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.