Do Narcissist Partners Know They Are Hurting You?

Yes, they do, and here’s what you need to know and may do.

By Kazuko Otsuka
Do Narcissist Partners Know They Are Hurting You?

What Are The Characteristics Of A Narcissist?

Me-me-me- oh did I say me already?- yup me. This is what goes on in a narcissist’s head. Dating a narcissist is nowhere near easy and many end the relationship because the narcissist was just too hard to bear. You might be thinking that your partner might just be over confident and not a narcissist. Well, here’s some red flags to watch out for that says “I am a narcissist.”

Superior to Everyone

The No. 1 sign of a narcissist is superiority. This is not being self- confident. In the mind of a narcissist, he or she is the all mighty one. With them on the top of the hierarchy, everyone below becomes wrong and inferior.

No Empathy

A narcissist does not even know what empathy is. It does not exist in their world. Because the concept of feelings does not make sense to them, a narcissist can't sense how another person is feeling. They are not able to validate or accept you.

Conversation Revolves Around Them

The moment they open their mouths until the time they close it, a narcissist will only talk about themselves. Because of their heightened sense of entitlement, they need to feed their egos, and they also crave constant admiration.

Gaslighting Left and Right

A big red flag to watch out for is gaslighting. Narcissists use this form of manipulation and abuse to make you feel like everything you do is wrong. Your self-confidence that you worked hard to build is destroyed by their gaslighting and you feel the need to apologize every single second.

How Are Narcissists In A Relationship?

In a relationship, a narcissistic partner is difficult to handle. Many times you feel like giving up on them because of their character, and other times you push yourself to keep on going because you love them. Here are some signs to look out for if you’re dating a narcissist.

No Labels

It’s hard to understand what goes on in a narcissist’s mind. If you’re dating a narcissist, you might wonder at times if your relationship even has a label. A narcissist expects you to treat them like their partner while keeping an eye out for possible prospects. If they flirt in broad daylight with you around, your partner is showing signs of narcissism. The sad part about this type of relationship is that if you speak out to them regarding their blatant flirting, they will get mad at you and tell you that you’re overreacting.

Never Apologizes

In a relationship, a narcissist never apologizes. Never. If they are wrong, and even when they know it, they expect you to apologize. Arguing with a narcissist is like arguing with a baby. There is no such thing as compromising; it’s you are wrong and they are right.

Break Up = Panic

Despite not wanting a clear label on your relationship, a narcissist will panic if you try to break up with them. They will try their best to keep you in their clutches by saying all the right things and sugarcoating everything and anything they do, but after a while, that will end, and their true nature will resurface. After the panic, they will get angry with you. The more adamant you are on your stand about the breakup, the angrier they get.

Do Narcissists Know They Are Hurting You?

Answering the question if a narcissist knows they are hurting you is like asking someone to spell out
“pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” the longest word known to man. Impossible, right? Because of their inability to empathize with others, the majority of narcissists don’t realize they are hurting you, and if they did know, they chose to hurt you still.

The way their mind works is different from ours and trying to decipher the situation rationally would lead to a headache. Normally, if you know your actions hurt someone, you stop. This is easier said than done for a narcissist. Because they enjoy being high and mighty, they don’t want to change. Even when they know they are hurting you, they are comfortable and bask in their status that anything that challenges that makes them defensive. To acknowledge that they were wrong entails an apology- this is something a narcissist will not do.

Different Types of Narcissists Behave Differently

In many of our heads, all narcissists are bundled in one group. However, there are actually types of narcissists with some being worse than others. Let’s hope your partner is the tamer narcissist.

Exhibitionist Narcissist

If you think of stereotype narcissist, this is the one you’re thinking of. An exhibitionist narcissist think highly of themselves and lack empathy. While putting themselves in a pedestal, they bring others down with their words and actions. Not caring about what others think and only caring about their ego is what an exhibitionist narcissist is all about. This type of narcissist is never insecure

Closet Narcissist

Next up is the closet narcissist. Not everyone can be open to their narcissistic behavior, and others are actually conflicted about it. A closest or covert narcissist wants to be the highlight of the conversation but feels insecure at the same time. Unlike exhibitionist narcissists who feel special by direct association, a closest narcissist's self-doubt makes them feel special only through association. Passive-aggressive is the defining characteristic of a closet narcissist. Due to their self-doubt, they say one thing and do another- this leads to pent up frustration that leads to passive aggression. Watch out for closest narcissists, they’re scary because you never really know what’s going on in their minds.

Toxic Narcissist

The worst type of narcissism to watch out for is the toxic or malignant narcissist. This type can be sadistic-not like 50 Shades of Grey kind of sadism. They enjoy hurting and making others feel bad about themselves. Talk about messed up. A toxic narcissist’s world thrives on chaos and they feed off the havoc they wreak on others. If you’re with a toxic narcissist, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your relationship.

What Can I Do To Help My Partner And Our Relationship?

A relationship with a narcissist is draining. Your mental well-being, as well as your physical well-being, is on the line every second of the day. Many psychologist don’t recommend proceeding with a relationship with a narcissist but it’s hard to just suddenly stop loving someone. If you’re already in it deep, what can you do?

The first thing you can do to help your partner and your relationship is to try to identify what type of narcissistic behavior they fall on. From here, you can take the necessary steps that are best for each category. Dealing with one type of narcissism will not be the same for the others. Try to be understanding and as much as possible do not argue with them. Remember that a narcissist can not understand emotion and they can not grasp the meaning of empathy. Arguing with them will just make things worse. To help them and your relationship, try to avoid arguments.

Narcissism is a personality disorder that does require medical attention if extreme. If you want to help your partner and make the relationship work, you can try getting them to seek professional help. With proper guidance, their differences can be addressed and the possibility of the relationship working out becomes higher

What Can I Do To Protect My Emotional And Mental Well-Being?

If you’ve made it this far into the article, chances are you’re dating a narcissist. You of all people would know that it’s not easy. All the criticizing, belittling, gaslighting has driven you mad, and you don’t know what to do. To protect your emotional and mental well-being is your number one priority.

Remind yourself every day that you are worth it and deserve better. All of the things your partner is telling you are not true and you are not worthless like they make you feel you are. Tell yourself that you are amazing and wonderful. Do this every day.

Talk to your empathetic friends. Open up about your relationship and tell them everything you are feeling. Don’t hide any details. This is an important time to refresh your memory of how people should act. Your partner’s lack of empathy is not the norm. People are not like that, and you need to remind yourself that people do care about you.

Get some therapy yourself. The best way to protect your emotional and mental well-being while you still have the chance is to seek help. Therapists in this field are experts and they can aid you through this hard time.

Related Article: Always Feel Not Worthy? You Might be Raised by Narcissists
Always Feel Not Worthy? You Might be Raised by Narcissists

15 signs that you were raised by narcissists and how to breakthrough


No one in their right mind wants to be with someone who constantly puts them down. There is nothing romantic about a relationship built on hurtful words. Maybe it’s time to move on and find someone who truly cares about you and you're well being.