Things started so well. They seemed perfect and, even better, they made you feel perfect too. They lavished praise and attention on you. It felt wonderful. It was everything you ever dreamed of.
Then they stopped being so affectionate. They started talking about someone new at work. Everything they once said they loved most about you suddenly seemed to irritate the crap out of them.
They tell you it was you but you aren’t sure. Nevertheless you try everything to win back their acceptance.
But it’s not enough and although you do anything and everything, nothing works.
It’s all your fault
Or is it?
Individuals with narcissistic personalities tend to be grandiose, entitled, and self-centered. They are often impulsive and anxious, have ideas of grandiosity and “specialness“, become quickly dissatisfied with others and maintain superficial, exploitative interpersonal relationships.
It’s why they find it so easy to move on to the next “supply” and so easily discard you.
They react to criticism with feels of rage, stress or humiliation (even though they will never express that). They take advantage of others to achieve their own ends.
Other personality disorder processes are high levels of over-dramatic emotional displays (silent treatment or rage), paranoia (jealousy and suspiciousness), antisocial behaviours (aggression, domestic abuse and verbal abuse) or obsessive compulsive behaviours (rigid moralistic rules). These are often evident throughout the relationship, although not at the start as they usually have another person who is able to be their “regulatory other” (the person who regulates their emotions).
Overt narcissist (sometimes called grandiose narcissist)
Overt narcissists are characterised by grandiosity, attention-seeking, entitlement, arrogance and little observable anxiety. They can be socially charming, despite being oblivious to the needs of others, and are interpersonally exploitative. They engage in superficial relationships and seek out external feedback that supports their grandiose sense of self and protects them from their fragile self image
Covert narcissist (sometimes called vulnerable narcissist)
Coverst narcissists present as vulnerable, fragile and thin-skinned. They are characterised as inhibited, distressed and hypersensitive to evaluations of theirs, while chronically envious and evaluation themselves in relation to others. Interpersonally they tend to be shy, outwardly self-effacing (modest) and hypersensitive to criticism, but are covertly grandiose and jealous.
They are characterised by the typical symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder as well as prominent antisocial behaviour, paranoid features and sadism towards others. they engage in chronic lying, intimidation and financial or interpersonal secondary gains which maintain their malignant pattern.
10 Signs Your Ex Wife/Girlfriend Is Narcissistic
I watched Gone Girl for the first time a few months ago and I thought Amy (pictured above, credit: thefincheranalyst.com) was one of the best depictions of a female covert narcissistic I have seen. She played the part of victim so well at the start to lure in her husband (Amy’s mother was a overt narcissist) and then later in the film to restore her delusion as “loyal wife”. Apologies if I have given too many spoilers away there, trust me that there is so much more to the film.
The female narcissists I have dealt with personally and professionally were covert and loved to act like the perfect partner and parent. They go to extreme lengths outside the family home to project this image of perfection. Obviously within the relationship things are very different.
Here are ten signs of a female narcissistic ex:
Continuous sense that she is disappointed
Take sides against you by default, assume the worst, distrust
Fantasies, several would involve another partner, not subtle
Your were paying for others mistakes against her
No true connection, emotionally distant, and callous
Ruined your special occasions by refusing to acknowledge them but wanted excessive displays of devotion on theirs
She prevented you from making friends, venting frustrations, or seeking support
Double standards in everything (they expect praise but gave you nothing but criticism, even if you did the same/similar thing)
You were made to feel guilty for wanting to be intimate
She regularly threatened to leave, threatening to pursue support in Family Court in order to destroy you financially (and may have followed through on this)
10 Signs Your Ex Husband/Boyfriend Is Narcissistic
I hate to admit this but I loved the first season of You. Joe was a terrifyingly good narcissist. So good that I think he lovebombed half the female audience! He displayed anti-social behaviour (malignant), vulnerability (covert) and was incredibly socially charming (overt). He was a full-house.
The male narcissists I have dealt with have also displayed all of the criteria. I have had men ring me telling me that their ex is stopping them from seeing their children only to make false allegations against me online 24 hours later because HE didn’t answer the call HE arranged. I have spoken to men who have overtly spoken of their own grandiose sense of self by stating how they were capable of doing x,y and z even though they emailed me for advice. I have also had conversations with someone who claimed they were alienated only to later discover that they were in fact a registered sex offender.
Here are ten signs your ex was narcissistic:
Infidelity is common but they will also engage in sexual fantasies and try to get you involved
He wanted to control your appearance appearance
His and your emotional needs were not attended to
Triangulated the children into arguments and expects the children to take his side
Was only interested in doing things he wanted to do
He was extremely jealously of other men
He was envious of any of your successes (including your relationship with the children)
He never listened, but expected a lot of attention and perfect memory
Downplayed the contribution of raising children or taking care of the household
Sees you as his only being there to meet his needs
Narcissists dispaly a pattern of self-centeredness and grandiosity. They have an exaggerated sense of their own abilities and achievements, require constant attention, affirmation and praise and believe they are unique and special and should only associate with others who are equally unique and special (you). These are all brilliant reasons they are your ex.
As stated, if you have children with a narcissist do check out our resources on parental alienation and divorcing the narcissist. Forewarned is forearmed.