narcissistic behavior

8 Signs of Narcissistic Behavior in Relationships

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In this session with Bernadette Logue, (Transformation Life Coach focused on personal growth and positive living), we talk about how to recognize narcissistic behavior in relationships.

We cover:

* 8 signs of narcissistic behavior
* Warning behaviors/words that act as red flags so you can be aware as early as possible
* Plus, receive The Beginner’s Healing Roadmap, a resource you can grab completely free:

Make sure to visit Bernadette’s site at:


How to Recognize Narcissistic Abuse in Your Relationship

8 signs you’re experiencing narcissistic abuse:

People often don’t realize when they are being subjected to narcissistic abuse.  Typically, they first become aware that their partner has stopped being as loving as they were in the beginning of the relationship. And in spite of making valiant efforts to cater to their partner’s increasing complaints and demands, it’s never enough to resurrect the relationship.  They may begin Googling questions in an effort to determine why their partner acts a certain way. 

These questions may include: “Why does my partner ignore me?”, “Why does my partner lie to me?”, “Why does my partner give me anxiety?”

Then somewhere along the way, they discover the term, ‘narcissistic abuse’.  Even then, it may take months for them to come to terms with possibly being involved with a narcissist because by that point, a phenomenon called ‘cognitive dissonance’ has set in.  Additionally, they’ve reached a point of self-doubt because of psychological manipulation that’s used by narcissistic individuals.

8 Signs of Narcissistic Abuse

1 – You constantly obsess about your partner and feel insecure about yourself

Do you obsess for hours, wondering what you’ve done wrong and what precisely changed about you that caused your relationship to be sucked into a spiraling vortex of despair?

Are you unable to function at work or, worse, barely able to function as a parent because you’re immobilized by feelings of powerlessness and fear of what your partner is up to?

Do you constantly feel the awful knot of abandonment fear in your stomach, terrified that your relationship is on thin ice and in danger of falling into the subzero, deadly waters below?

Sure, maybe you’ve dealt with insecurity or struggled with low self-esteem before, but it was always a passing moment that you talked yourself out of.  Now, after meeting your partner, you feel like you’re among the dregs of society, despite your success and accomplishments. 

If you feel worthless, depressed, crazy, suspicious, and are unable to function in your daily life, it’s an indicator that you have Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome, which is an undeniable sign that you’re in a relationship with a narcissist.

2 – You’ve been encouraged to detach from your friends and family

Sometimes, a person in a relationship can become possessive. A possessive person tells you they care about your safety, and that their possessive behavior proves that they love you. Taken to the extreme, possessiveness causes you to isolate yourself from the people you know and love. The goal of isolation is to control you by breaking down your emotional will to resist.

Isolation is employed by cult leaders to prevent their followers from having contact with outsiders, including their family and friends.  Similarly, narcissists try to isolate their partners in order to deprive them of social support, thereby weakening their defenses and making them more dependent on the narcissist.

Additionally, the desire to isolate could be caused by a partner’s insecurity. They may project that insecurity onto you by trying to control everything you do, who you meet, and where you go. They may try to make you feel guilty for enjoying yourself or making friends.

It’s important to remember not to cater to this excessive insecurity because it’s dysfunctional and you will lose yourself in the process.  

3 – You are the target of consistent verbal abuse

Regular verbal attacks on your character and value destroy your self-esteem. Continuous verbal assaults may cause you to put aside your most important ideals and beliefs. 

Verbal abuse is characterized by critical or humiliating remarks about you as a person. If your partner continuously puts you down and makes you feel unworthy of self-respect, this is a warning sign that something is definitely wrong. Verbal abuse may escalate into sexual or physical abuse if you avoid taking action to protect yourself.

It’s also one of the biggest indicators of narcissistic abuse. When a narcissist becomes abusive, it’s likely you will start having errors in thinking because of the constant verbal abuse.

4 – Threats have been made to either hurt or kill your pet or worse, they’ve actually done it

This might seem obvious, but I’ve worked with coaching clients whose partner hurt or killed a beloved pet…yet, they were still in the relationship.

If the narcissist in your life has harmed or killed your pet or farm animal, this should be taken seriously, especially if you have children in the home.  Not only does this point to the fact that your children could be the target of this psychopathy at some point, it would be highly damaging to your child’s emotional and mental well-being, scarring them for life. 

If this happens, contact your local domestic violence center immediately for laws in your state and guidance on how to safely leave the relationship.

heal from abuse5 – Your child has started underperforming in school

If you have children and you live with an abuser, your children are at risk of developing brain abnormalities which can cause aggression, depression, ADD symptoms, and other forms of psychiatric illnesses. 

Recent studies using brain scans have shown that chronic stress, negative thinking (brought on by emotional abuse), and spending time with unhealthy people actually hurts the brain!

It shrinks the hippocampus and prevents new neurons from forming.  Simply put, chronic emotional abuse and living in a high-stress environment not only kills existing neurons, but it also prevents new ones from forming, leading to cognitive impairment or memory problems.

So, if your child can’t seem to improve in school, you can chalk it up to living in a toxic environment. 

But worse than that, it leads to PTSD, which is one of the most difficult injuries to treat as it is stored throughout the brain.  One of my readers recently wrote in to tell me that all of her children had been diagnosed with PTSD, sharing how remorseful she felt that she’d stayed in an abusive environment.

The takeaway here is that toxic stress derails healthy development in children and can affect brain development, leading to potential long-term consequences on learning, behavior, and health.

You can see, then, how the old adage of “staying together for the sake of the children” is not only harmful on many levels, it’s the root of generational dysfunction which has led to the epidemic of clinical depression, anxiety, and wounded adults in our society today.

6 – Your partner constantly points out things they “don’t like” about you

Oddly, they may be the very things they loved about you in the beginning.  Narcissists groom their targets by claiming to love everything about them…the way they dress, their hairstyle, their interests, their taste in music, their love of the arts.

Then shockingly, the things they once loved about you became the reasons they decided you are no longer compatible.

The reason this manipulative tactic has such a profound effect on your self-esteem is that you’ve spent a good portion of your life developing your preferences, interests, personality, and personal style.  Along the way, you became comfortable in your own skin.  Then, along came someone who appeared to love every little thing about you.  In fact, it seemed the two of you shared many things in common.

Then slowly, like dismantling a jigsaw puzzle, they began taking little parts of you away by claiming they were intolerable.  Things that meant the most to you.

True love doesn’t take away the things that make up who you are.  It doesn’t diminish you.  If you feel like you can’t do anything right, that you couldn’t possibly attract someone else, that you’re “too old”, too needy, too sensitive to be in a relationship with anyone else, these are signs you are the target of narcissistic abuse

7 – You have to behave like a parent to your partner

Being in a relationship with a narcissistic individual often feels like you’re raising a child.

Sure, maybe they have a great job…perhaps even a decent bank account.  Both of these make it all the more confusing that you find yourself having to constantly teach them the basics of human decency.

Adults should not be taking care of other adults as if they were children unless said adult is incapacitated.  Otherwise, this is the basic dynamic of denial and enabling. 

8 – You keep your relationship secret from the people you love

This may possibly be one of the more telling signs that you’re in a relationship that is very bad for you. 

If you were in a relationship with someone who respected you, treated you like you deserve to be treated, and generally helped you reach higher levels of happiness, there would be nothing to hide. 

The people in your inner circle would be happy for you, realizing you had a partner who was caring and compassionate towards you.

On the other hand, when you hide your relationship from people you love, it’s because they know you’re involved with someone who doesn’t treat you well. 

In the same vein, you know you’re involved with someone who doesn’t treat you well and you would be embarrassed for your loved ones to know you’re still putting up with the mistreatment, lies, and betrayals. 

Keeping your relationship secret is a sign of severe trauma-bonding.  Normal relationships do not cause you to form trauma bonds.  And it’s important to understand that a relationship in which you are trauma bonded will never change into a healthy, loving relationship.  In fact, the longer you stay, the worse the bond will become, making it that much harder to leave the longer you stay.

Getting Out and Getting Help

No relationship is perfect, but healthy relationships are free from fear and bullying behaviors. Being open about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and being there for each other are the qualities of healthy relationships. And remember, healthy relationships do not develop from trauma bonding.

If you recognize yourself in any of the above scenarios, seek support.  With support, you may feel more capable of getting out of a bad relationship.  Although it might seem impossible now, living a happy life without an abusive partner is not only possible – it is essential.

Recovering from narcissistic abuse is hard, and it’s okay to admit you need help. If you’re ready to go deeper now, check out the #1 therapist-approved online program for narcissistic abuse recovery. Thousands of people have benefited from this program that’s practical, proven, and reliable.  It’s the best place to begin a journey toward renewed self-worth and an end to feeling worthless.

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