5 Narcissist Behaviors That Often Get Overlooked

Narcissist Behaviors

When a person acts selfish, arrogant, or manipulative, the narcissist label is usually not far behind. The trouble is that the term narcissist is tossed around so readily nowadays that it’s often not taken as seriously as it should. However, narcissistic behaviors by a partner can be extremely detrimental to not only a relationship but also to the well-being of the person subjected to it. But what separates a true narcissist from the occasional jerk? Here are the most overlooked narcissist behaviors.

What to Know About Narcissism

First, let’s talk about what narcissism is and what it is not. Most people can occasionally display narcissist behaviors, however, true narcissism is when a person shows frequent disregard for others. Essentially, they don’t understand how their behavior affects others, and most importantly, they don’t care.

Narcissism in and of itself can be considered on a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, some narcissistic behavior is frequent, on the other end, a person may be classified as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

But, regardless of whether your partner has been diagnosed with NPD or not, narcissistic behaviors are still unhealthy and hurtful in a relationship.

Commonly Overlooked Narcissist Behaviors

When you think of a narcissist, again, traits such as selfishness, arrogance, and manipulation come to mind as well as perhaps a lack of empathy. But there’s much more to narcissism than that and, unfortunately, not only are these behaviors overlooked as such, but they are also all too easily accepted in relationships. These five narcissist behaviors are most overlooked.

1. Habitual Non-Listening

It’s often a joke in a relationship that one or the other partner has selective listening. But in this case, a narcissistic partner not only won’t listen to any perspective that doesn’t mesh with their own but will also take over the conversation to make it about them. They think they know best and will make sure you know it always. In some cases, it may not be so overt. For example, they may pretend to listen but it’s really just a façade until they can find an opening to steer the conversation in the direction they want. The tell is usually that if you were to ask them advice or questions about what you just said, they’ll have no idea how to answer.

2. Procrastination

Narcissists are confident and think they know it all right? So why would they ever procrastinate? The truth is, insecurity often lies at the heart of narcissist behavior. Thus, they need to convince themselves and others of their perfection and they can’t do that if they fail a task. Enter procrastination. This gives them an excuse for not only doing less but also saving face if they don’t succeed by saying it was because they started late or were rushed, etc. However, there’s another reason as well. Narcissists will often avoid doing tasks that don’t innately appeal to them unless they can figure out a way to gain from it. They’ll delay until they can make sure the task will make them look good to friends, employers, or others they want to impress.

3. Playing the Victim

Narcissists are masters at manipulation and playing the victim is one of the key ways in which they do so. It can take the form of being excessively modest (to fish for compliments), belittling themselves through jokes (so you’ll validate them), and/or making themselves seem vulnerable (so you’ll feel responsible for them). Yes, anyone might act in one or more of these ways from time to time if you’re having a bad day and need a confidence boost, or even unknowingly. But with narcissistic behavior, it’s frequent and intentional. They want you to fall into their trap where they’ll play on your good nature, guilt, and/or fear to manipulate you for their gain. 

4. Overreacting to Criticism

A narcissist will overreact to any criticism, no matter how small. And not just criticism, even the most well-intentioned advice can send them into a rage. The reason is that narcissists want everyone to see them as perfect and they don’t want any crack in that façade. So they see every comment that doesn’t validate them as a personal attack. This can even extend to being presented with different viewpoints during a conversation. They HAVE to be right. A tell in your relationship may be that you often find yourself biting your tongue if you have a different opinion from your partner, struggling to find a way to suggest they do something differently that won’t set them off, and/or simply giving up in sharing your opinions just to keep the peace.

5. A Sense of Entitlement

By this, we mean that narcissists feel like the world owes them something; that they should get special treatment for no other reason than that they exist. You’ll see this manifested in ways like treating wait staff or service workers poorly, being mad at friends/family who don’t call or text on special occasions (yet they don’t either), refusing to help others, but expecting it when they need it, and/or holding grudges until that person does ‘appropriate’ penance in their mind. If you see this narcissistic behavior from your partner towards others, it will eventually present itself in your relationship as well.

If you believe your partner exhibits narcissistic behaviors and are considering a divorce, we can help! Learn more about our mediation services and divorce coaching by contacting our experienced team today.

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