Individuals exhibiting traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) often exude an air of superiority and uniqueness compared to others. Signs that you might be romantically involved with someone who has NPD can include a lack of close friendships, a deficiency in empathy, and the occurrence of gaslighting behaviours.

You might have encountered someone who floods their social media with self-centred selfies or dominates conversations with tales of their own greatness, perhaps even during a first date. While such behaviour may prompt you to label them a narcissist, it’s crucial to note that true narcissism, as defined by Narcissistic Personality Disorder, entails a deeper psychological dimension.

Those with NPD harbour a belief in their innate superiority, expecting recognition and treatment commensurate with their perceived grandeur. They often struggle to acknowledge the opinions and needs of others, dismissing their concerns as inconsequential.

What delineates the nine traits of a narcissist? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) enumerates these criteria, specifying that meeting five suffices for clinical classification:

  1. Grandiose sense of self-importance
  2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. Belief in their special and unique nature, associating only with similarly special or high-status individuals or institutions
  4. Craving excessive admiration
  5. Sense of entitlement
  6. Engaging in interpersonally exploitative behaviour
  7. Lack of empathy
  8. Envy of others or a belief that others envy them
  9. Display of arrogant and haughty behaviours or attitudes

Initially, those with NPD may present as charming, drawn to grandiosity and illusion. Early stages of a relationship with a narcissist might resemble a fairy tale, replete with constant flattery and declarations of affection.

They tend to monopolise conversations, perpetually extolling their own accomplishments with grandiosity. Such behaviour stems from a sense of superiority and a desire to cultivate an image of unwavering self-assurance.

Narcissists thrive on adulation, often masking low self-esteem beneath a veneer of confidence. Consequently, they incessantly seek validation and praise from others, fishing for compliments to bolster their fragile egos.

An inherent lack of empathy characterises individuals with NPD, rendering them unable to comprehend or acknowledge others’ emotions and perspectives.

Their social circle may be sparse, marked by frequent conflicts and a notable absence of enduring friendships. Additionally, their hypersensitivity and insecurity can manifest in possessiveness and criticism towards their partner’s social interactions.

Gradually, teasing may devolve into outright hostility as narcissists seek to undermine their partner’s self-esteem, thereby asserting their own dominance.

Gaslighting, a tactic of manipulation and emotional abuse, is another hallmark of NPD. Through distortion of reality and deceitful narratives, narcissists aim to exert control over their partners’ perceptions and experiences.

In conclusion, recognising the behavioural patterns associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder can facilitate understanding and prompt necessary interventions within relationships affected by such dynamics.