10 Strange Behaviors of Narcissists In Relationships

If you're in a relationship with a narcissist, please let go of your conviction that you can change them. You'll never be able to persuade them to care about you or others. Click To Tweet

Serial killers are mostly narcissists. They lavishly adore both their terrifying mainstream persona and their image as the average next-door guy. They are almost awestruck by the person they see in the mirror.

No one loves a serial killer more than the serial killer himself, not even his mother. They truly feel their unique modus operandi is that of a genius, owing to their bloated ego and grandiose beliefs.

If it’s a two-person squad, like Bonnie & Clyde, make it two hopeless cases of self-loving public enemies trying to outdo each other within a team.

A narcissist’s murder scene is frequently disorganized and untidy. They don’t devise elaborate strategies to murder someone. Their murder crimes are usually the result of a violent outburst of anger in reaction to something that threatens their beliefs, aspirations, or self-esteem.

Narcissist In A Relationship

Living with a narcissist can be living in an abusive relationship. The narcissist does not empathize with the thoughts, feelings, and sufferings of their partner.

A narcissist can be your husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, boyfriend, girlfriend, neighbor, boss, church member, or anyone you come in contact with. There are endless possibilities of ‘who’ they can be. The important thing to remember is the actions, behaviors are all very similar.

― Tracy Malone, author

Some telltale traits of narcissism are a sense of entitlement and self-importance, a need for excessive adulation, a lack of empathy, and exploitative behavior. They are control freaks who bully the people in their relationships and try to micromanage everything they are involved with.

narcissist strange behavior

Strange Behaviors of A Narcissist

Here are some of the strange mannerisms of a narcissist:

1. Fragile Self-Esteem

They have fragile and low self-esteem, usually as a result of their parents, teachers, and relatives lavishing them with great honors for modest successes. This leads them to grow an overwhelming need for admiration from others.

You can keep a narcissist interested as long as you sing them praises. Narcissists love sycophants, even when they see through their antics.

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2. Need For A Fan

They see a partner more as a follower than an equal. For them, you have to be their fan and devotee first, and a friend later. In fact, they meticulously train you to become their ardent follower.

Over time, you become reluctant to hear anything, even if it is valid, against them. You can even sacrifice your friendships to oppose everyone who has an argument against them.

You must also remember not to call out their errors and failures, as this may cause them to explode. Though they rarely admit their mess-ups, the strange thing is, it is always fine when they count their own mistakes.

3. Emotional Aloofness

True narcissists often stay emotionally distant in their relationships. This makes it easier for them to ignore their partner’s needs and grievances.

They also come with a lot of emotional instability.

The odd thing is, no matter how big a supporter is their partner of them, they regularly doubt if the partner really likes them or cares about them.

4. Bloated Self-Importance

They come with an inflated sense of self-importance, of course. As a result, they expect you to drop whatever you’re doing and attend to them. You have to keep praising and serving them without expecting any for yourself.

5. Meaningless Praises

On rare occasions when they express their admiration for you, you can clearly see the hollowness of their show. Their words of praise mostly do not mean what they intend.

Narcissists establish their influence over others by appealing to people’s desire to feel important and appreciated. They’re likely to tell you this:

“You’re deeper than anyone realizes. People don’t recognize your exceptional intuition and brilliance. You should be a part of our elite group. We’re a bunch of people from prestigious positions that want to save the world. We don’t ask any credit for it, though we do get famous in other ways.”

However, when they criticize you for your incompetence, which they do at every chance, they mean every word.

6. High Empathy

People often describe narcissists as cold and unempathetic. This seems wrong because they can read your mind quite well. They can do so because they have a high level of a special type of empathy, called cognitive empathy.

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According to Hodges and Myers in Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, cognitive empathy, also known as empathic accuracy, is “having more complete and accurate knowledge about the contents of another person’s mind, including how the person feels.”

This kind of empathy helps a narcissist manipulate you and take advantage of you at every opportunity, as well as lay every blame for their mistakes on you.

7. Too Hard To Please

Narcissists tend to be very dramatic in a cruel sort of way. So, it is crucial to be able to read between the lines of what they say.

But it will always be a delusion if you claim that you fully understand them and can see their true nature. You cannot. Even if you’re on your toes all through your time together, always guessing what they’ll expect from you next and doing them, you’ll always fall short of their standards.

They will treat you well if they think you are useful to them. If you do not serve them to their satisfaction, they will most likely gaslight you.

Gaslighting is a manipulative technique to prove your notions and judgments wrong. It blurs and erodes your sense of reality, damages your capacity to trust yourself, and prevents you from breaking away from the abusive narcissist’s control.


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8. Perennial Takers

They harbor a sense of entitlement, which means they believe they deserve special treatment and be recognized for doing things they did not even earn ethically.

To put it another way, narcissists believe that the world owes them anything they desire, without ever needing to give anything back in return. They’re perennial takers.

It’s not a case of wanting it all, but a narcissist thinks it’s all his and people have to hand them back to him whenever they turn their gaze to it.

9. Envy

Narcissists live in their fantasies, thinking they are influential geniuses. Strangely, they also imagine that people are envious of their fame, clout, and brilliance.

On the flip side, they are envious of your achievements and believe you do not deserve them. They may even express those feelings in the most uncaring way, like, “I wonder why did they decide to give it to you? You’re way too below that level.”

10. Manipulation

Narcissists are emotionally shallow and self-centered, and often use others to serve their needs without considering the long-term consequences.

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They try to control others by manipulation, and if that doesn’t work, they use intimidation and abuse. Their main idea is to make you dependent on them. In fact, they seek out people who have codependent tendencies.

Some narcissists are violent and abusive, both physically and emotionally, when their subtle manipulation doesn’t work.

You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and continues to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go. – Daniell Koepke

Final Words

Extreme narcissists are usually apathetic to self-awareness and self-change. They don’t want to change because it means accepting they have flaws, and they don’t want to be held accountable for anything that went wrong.

So, don’t try to change a narcissist; they most probably won’t.

Often, it is better that you break ties and stop interacting with them, so you can rediscover your own reality and reaffirm your own identity. Holding on to your truth is crucial for your mental sanity and clarity.

In the words of Bree Bonchay, a “relationship with a narcissist in a nutshell: You will go from being the perfect love of their life to nothing you do is ever good enough. You will give everything, and they will take it all, and give you less and less in return. You will end up depleted, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and probably financially, and then get blamed for it.”

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Narcissists can hijack your sense of security. Find out how Psychological Safety instills a sense of trust so that teams can talk without fear.

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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes popular science articles on happiness, positive psychology, and related topics.


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