• In a narcissistic relationship pattern, narcissists are often arrogant, lack empathy, and manipulate their partners, which can make identifying narcissism behavior difficult.
  • Signs of narcissistic personalities include a constant need for attention, unreasonable expectations, and an obsession with power and control.
  • While it’s important to remember that this is a mental illness, it’s more important that you prioritize your health and wellbeing.
  • If your partner has narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic tendencies and you are suffering as a result, consider what is best for you — and a mental health professional can assist.

The basis of all healthy relationships typically includes empathy, patience, and mutual support between everyone involved. But in a narcissistic relationship pattern, these healthy markers aren’t usually present. One of the key indicators of narcissism is a disregard for the well-being of others.

In a relationship with a narcissistic individual, someone with narcissistic tendencies or narcissistic personality disorder, it can feel like your voice isn’t heard, valued, or even respected. To make things more confusing, you might be subject to periods of honeymooning, followed by gaslighting and emotional abuse.

While a narcissistic relationship pattern might seem confusing when you’re stuck in the loop, the truth is that from the outside, the rollercoaster of emotions you were (or are currently feeling) make much more sense. Explore the twists and turns of a narcissistic relationship pattern—and how to avoid getting pulled in again.

What Are the Relationship Patterns of a Narcissist?

A narcissistic relationship pattern from beginning to end, may include:

  • Love bombing or future faking to first entice someone into the relationship
  • Use of leading questions to probe for the other individual’s insecurities and personality traits
  • Subtle forms of manipulation, including compliments, over-the-top displays of affection
  • Use of guilt to control the other partner’s behavior and life choices
  • Periods of emotional and/or physical abuse to further increase the narcissistic individual’s control
  • False apologies for out-of-line behavior—followed by a period of honeymooning, including gifts, love bombing, and false promises

In relationships of all kinds (not just those that are romantic in nature), a narcissistic individual may often feel as though they are better than the other person; simply put, they are likely to think the other person is lucky just to be with them. Any issues the relationship has are likely to be blamed on the non-narcissistic partner’s shortcomings.

A narcissistic individual can be highly demanding, and charming, among other things

A common example could be a narcissistic person struggling to understand why their partner needs to go out and see their friends. In a narcissistic relationship pattern, the desire to see other people may be viewed as a threat that weakens the narcissist’s control—triggering the narcissistic relationship pattern listed above. 

What Are Some Other Narcissistic Signs & Traits?

Other signs of a narcissistic relationship pattern could include a partner that consistently:

  • Envies others or believes others envy them.
  • Requires constant attention and admiration.
  • Holds unreasonable expectations for friends, family, and partners
  • Has a tendency to take advantage of you or others, emotionally, financially, or in other ways
  • Displays general disregard for the feelings of other people
  • Shows arrogant behaviors or attitudes
  • Has an obsession with the idea of having success and power
  • Has a tendency to exaggerate their own importance.
  • Insists that they are special compared to other people

For those trying to recognize whether they are in a narcissistic relationship pattern, seeing these signs after having established a long-term relationship is a huge red flag. If your partner is willing, couples therapy or marriage counseling is highly recommended to help bring balance, stability, and health into the relationship.

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What Is the Break Up Pattern of a Narcissist?

The breakup pattern of a narcissistic person could potentially involve:

  • Highly demanding, ordering you to stay
  • Likely to issue threatening remarks about what will happen if you leave
  • Ruthless if they feel slighted or disrespected
  • Emotionally or physically abusive
  • Willfully oblivious to your personal life or interests outside of the relationship
  • Prone to using gaslighting tactics or behaving abusively toward you

During a breakup, a narcissistic individual can be highly cunning. They may decide to let the other partner walk free—or if they feel disrespected, they may respond with vengeful, over-the-top behavior.

If you’ve consulted these warning signs and realize that your partner meets this description, consider your options. As stated, you can try to bring up couples counseling as well as individual counseling but it’s likely they won’t take these suggestions well.

How to End a Relationship with a Narcissist

You are not obligated or expected to maintain a relationship with a narcissistic individual, especially if doing so proves to harm your wellbeing. You can make an exit or break off the relationship by: 

  • Planning your exit. Tell your friends and family you will need extra support and some time to reorganize your life as you separate from your partner.
  • Limiting contact with your narcissistic partner after you leave, as they will likely try to persuade you to return if the breakup was not their idea.
  • Avoiding leaving any valuable information, electronics, social media accounts, or other ways of accessing your personal or digital life behind. A narcissist that feels slighted may try to drag your reputation or take your finances.
  • Talking with a mental health professional about the fallout of leaving your relationship. For those who have been or are currently victims of narcissistic abuse, you may feel isolated, devalued, and unsafe. Therapists who specialize in treating trauma and relationship issues can help.

If you need help with this situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional for guidance or assistance. And if the situation is potentially dangerous, it’s essential that you contact the proper resources to facilitate you leaving the relationship—and never share your plans to leave the relationship with an abusive partner.