While you may not be physically hit or physically abused in a relationship with a narcissist, your heart will be broken 10,000 times. Even if you think you are a “strong” person and can handle it; your strength is not really strength, but rather, denial.
The following list is not exhaustive, but it is informative. If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist you’ll recognize them all. If you’re presently in a relationship with a narcissist, buckle up because you’ll eventually experience them all.
Here are 50 Things to Expect When in a Relationship With a Narcissist:
1. He will always define the terms.
2. You will live by a set of double standards.
3. You will not be truly listened to.
4. He will never resolve conflict, as a result, they will continue to repeat.
5. He will rarely consider your feelings; and will only do so if it serves him somehow.
6. He will never apologize in an authentic way that acknowledges his behavior or your suffering.
7. What will matter most to him is how he appears to others.
8. He will ruin all of your birthdays and holidays (unless he can somehow make it about him, i.e., HIS favorite band will play at your birthday party, a trip planned “with/for” you will be to a location that HE wants/needs to visit, etc….).
9. He will be sullen during events that are important to you because they are not about him.
10. He will NOT show up for you at times when you need a partner the most and will be rageful if you are upset about it.
11. He will demand forgiveness for his bad behavior yet do nothing to earn back your trust or change his behavior.
12. Your expectations will be managed down to mere crumbs; to the point where you will be happy just because he isn’t giving you the silent treatment, yelling at you, or cheating on you.
13. You will never win.
14. He will be dismissive and, at times, cruel to your pets.
15. Beyond the initial stages of dating, he will make NO effort to befriend your friends or family unless knowing them benefits him in some way.
16. Your value will be diminished to the point of nothingness in his eyes. In fact, mere strangers will hold more weight in his eyes than you will.
17. He will tend to make you his scapegoat.
18. He will dump his shame and rage on to you.
19. Simple conversations will become crazy-making endeavors.
20. You will find yourself walking on eggshells.
21. You will lose yourself because you will be trained to focus only on his feelings and reactions; never mind yours.
22. You will experience the silent treatment.
23. You will experience cognitive dissonance, confabulation, and gas lighting.
24. You will find yourself telling a grown adult (Him) how to have normal interactions with others.
25. Your relationship will revolve on a cycle: waiting — hoping — hurting — being angry — being punished — forgiving — forgetting — again.
26. He will isolate you from your friends, family or financial support and then blame you for depending on him.
27. He will say cruel and judgemental things about the friends closest to him while being nice to their faces.
28. He will blame you for all of the problems in the relationship.
29. You will blame yourself.
30. He will use your weaknesses, traumas and intimate secrets against you.
31. You will experience many dramatic exits, followed by a reappearance of the N acting as if nothing unusual had ever happened.
32. He will act like Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.
33. He will not do his fair share of household responsibilities and will criticize your efforts.
34. He will come and go as he pleases.
35. When you try to hold him accountable he will fly into a rage.
36. He will not answer questions directly.
37. He will never ask you about your day and wish you to “have a good day.” He will never show genuine concern for things that you care about.
38. You will feel stuck and unable to leave him.
39. You will miss him and wait for him all the time.
40. He will project his bad behaviors onto you and you will project your good intentions onto him, neither is accurate.
41. When you finally break up because of his crazy-making behaviors and the insanity of the relationship, he will call you a lunatic, others will think you are a lunatic, and you, yourself, will believe that you are just as bad as him (realize, there is no moral equivalence between expressing frustration and intentional abuse.)
42. No one else will see it. This will cause you to question your reality.
43. The entire experience will result in trauma for you because it is interpersonal violence.
44. He will compare you unfavorably to other women, especially his ex.
45. You will begin to feel crazy; then, over time, you will begin to feel numb.
46. If you go to couples counseling it will not work, and will most likely backfire on you. Please realize you do not have a marriage problem, your partner has a mental illness.
47. He will triangulate you with the other women in his life, causing tension and drama between them and you, while he remains unscathed.
48. Once you start to wise up and pull away he will begin to smear your character behind your back in an attempt to turn people against you. In fact, he was probably doing this throughout your entire relationship.
49. The negativity and cruelty with which he speaks about his former relationships will befall you as well should you find the strength to leave him. Brace yourself.
50. Most people will never fully believe your account of the relationship and the psychological trauma can take years to understand and recover from.
The narcissist has no concept of the model of love and relationships that you do. They don’t understand the concept of “give and take.” For them, it’s all about taking. His values, needs and the neural pathways in his brain are as different from yours as night and day.