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Is this normal...or narcissistic? I wanna know your opinion...


freeindeed
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So I'm in a fairly new relationship, and I'm starting to think that maybe my boyfriend is a bit of a narcissist. Whenever someone brings up a subject he instantly finds a way to tell a story about himself relating to the subject. I know that's it's normal to share similar stories, but it's almost as if he pulled out a "key word" and didn't listen to the rest of what the other person's saying. Here's last night's example:

 

His best friend stops by after work and just says "man, what a day it's incredible to be working at ____." And my boyfriend doesn't even ask why it was incredible he just starts talking about how he couldn't stand working at _____ because of someone. And his best friend says, "no bro, you don't even know...it's incredible." And then my boyfriend starts telling a story about something that happened there with him. I mean, it got really uncomfortably silent after my bf stopped talking, so I broke tension and asked his friend, "so why was it so incredible?" And his best friend started talking about why...(you can tell that he wanted to share the story, he was super excited).

 

I know that doesn't seem like a big deal but I notice a pattern with him. It's like he doesn't really hear what any body says, doesn't ask anybody anything, always likes talking about himself, and seems to be the star of his own show. Which is was totally fine in the beginning because I thought since we were getting to know each other, he just really wanted me to know who he was and stuff. But now it's just getting annoying. He makes EVERYTHING about him.

 

I wrote him a long email about various things the other day, and he responds with 5 paragraphs about him, and his future, and his desire and his goals, and NOT ONE mentione of anything I wrote. I text him a joke, and he texts back about something funny he did that day. I call him and just mention that I've had a lousy day at work, and he interrupts with the wonderful day he had staying at home lounging with his buddies.

 

We've only been dating for about 1 month or so. So are we still going through the "I want this person to get to know me" phase? I actually thought it was supposed to be "I want to get to know the other person" phase, not the "I want them to know all about me" phase. Am I thinking wrong?

 

Is it wrong to think he's being narcissistic?

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I think you can call it whatever you want, but the point is it's irritating you NOW and it will only get worse... It's a personality glitch with him. Cut your losses, unless you feel you can deal with this long-term.

 

But remember "all about him" will likely start to translate to the bedroom, to which family's home you spend holidays at, to what you do on outings/vacations, etc... If it hasn't already.

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It's not enough to diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but it is enough to be annoying! These are the kinds of guys you go out with and let them talk all night while ordering martinis on their bill. They aren't the kinds of guys you get into relationships with.

 

If you're really into him and don't want to end the relationship, then sit him down and have a serious talk about his behavior. He may not even be aware that he does it and he may even want to change it.

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He may be an NPD or an HPD. I'm actually reading a really good book about people with personality disorders ... "Emotional Vampires". It is so good!!! It talks about how people with disorders manipulate others. It you think your boyfriend is a narciss.., you should take a look at the book. It actually gives hints on how to manipulate them back... not something that you want to do... but just in case!

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If you're really into him and don't want to end the relationship, then sit him down and have a serious talk about his behavior.

 

LOL, this will likely be the one conversation about HIMSELF that he isn't completely into! Sorry, I couldn't resist... I'm not making fun of you or your situation, freeindeed, it's just that guys like this you kinda have to chalk up to the experience.

 

Or you could always say "shut up... All you ever do is talk about yourself. I'm sick of hearing about it. I will leave if you mention yourself once more in the next hour."

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I don't think it's productive to throw labels around - it seems like you need an external justification to find this annoying -if you find it annoying, that's sufficient. Usually in a new relationship I want the person to know about me - that is, to know that I am a good listener, supportive and love hearing about other people including him.

 

I would stop doing the long emails - that's not a good indication of whether he is self centered because email personalities can be very different.

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Hey free,

 

Ugh, how annoying. Thing is, when you start to pay attention to something, it will somehow seem like the biggest thing ever. So addressing it to him is I think necessary if you feel you want to be in a serious relationship with this man. I don't know how I'd address it without offending him. Try to talk about it from your own perspective. 'I have noticed, and I could be wrong, but it seems... etc.'

 

What are the things you like about him, and do you see a future with him? Or is it too early to ask?

 

Take care,

 

Arwen

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Wow, thank you for the quick responses!

 

Jayar - Yes, you called it exactly, it IS very irritating. I thought at first it was cute because it seemed like he was just eager for me to get to know him better. But then one day I realized that he doesn't ever really respond to what I say, my thoughts on a subject, and my feelings or ideas, but he manages to talk plenty about himself. I feel like I'm his audience sometimes. But maybe I enabled him to do that? But you mentioned "outings".... this is where it's confusing: He's not like my ex, where we could only do things, run errands, go places that he needs to go, or needs to accomplish. With my new bf, when I need to go somewhere he seems to be very willing to go with me, and wait for an hour if he has to. So he's not selfish at all about that sort of thing. It's just the conversating and talking, I believe at this point.

 

Hazey Amber - Haha, you just described my ex.... he would talk all day long, but I was cool because he ALWAYS footed the bill. This relationship is a little different because my boyfriend doesn't have much money. Anyway, how do you suggest I bring it up? I cringe at the thought of having to tell him that he talks way too much about himself, and doesn't seem to care about anyone else's thoughts and opinions. Because he does try to be very sweet to me.

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If in fact he has a personality disorder, the worst thing you can do is to comfront him.... he will become defensive and will run away from the relationship. People with those type of disorders can not stand to hear anything negative about themselves. Although they are mentally ill, they are quite aware of what they are doing (calling attention to themselves).

 

Your best bet is to learn more about his condition, and then - and only then, make an informed decision about your relationship. You should also know that people with personality disorders rarely improve.

 

There's so much information about these and many other disorders online -- you shouldn't have a problem finding it.

 

My fiance has HPD --- and very severe! I know we're not going to make it to the altar. Howeve, I have learned so much about his condition that I can walk away from him now with no remorse and without feeling rejected.

 

I comfronted him couple of days ago (before reading the book Emotional Vampires) and he didn't walk away --- he ran for his life. I didn't hear from him for 2 days. This morning he told me that he didn't enjoy the conversation we had the other day and that he thought I was the one with the problem (typical of an HPD).

 

I know this sounds really bad... but now that I know everything about his condition (again, he's quite aware of what the pain he causes), I'm going to draw him back to me before I dump his 'crazy' behind for good!!!!

 

Good luck!

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new venus - I will definitely take a look at that book. Thank you for the reccomendation

 

Jayar - that was hilarious! I was laughing out loud.

 

Batya - Sorry, I wasn't meaning to throw labels around...it was easier to put that in the subject line than describe my annoyance in the subject line('cuz it wouldn't fit). And yes, I've admitted that it's irritating. Wasn't really trying to find an external justification, I was truly just wondering if this is signs of a narcissist? I didn't automatically label him, I was asking.

 

arwen - that's great advice. Thank you, I will definitely take that approach when if this continues and I have to talk to him about it.

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He needs to know it drives everyone nutty! When he does it again and it's just you two, just stop him when he does it (gently)...

 

And say, "Hold on...what do you think about my situation? I didn't ask you about your experience (or whatever)"

 

See what he says. If you stop him RIGHT when he does it, it'll kind of slap the dumb out of him and get him to look at it.

 

If he gets mad, oh well...it's constructive.

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newvenus - I might sound really dumb asking, but what's HPD?

 

hazeyamber - oooh...still just a skosh too harsh ....Anyway to bring it down just a notch?

 

isisastaria - actually, that does seem like something I can do. thanks.

 

So do you guys think that this is something I can change without him feeling like I'm changing him? I never want to change a person, but I really like this guy, just not this attribute....as well as the "doesn't have a real job" attribute, but that's a whole 'nother post.

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Throwing labels around? Woah! I think you're just trying to figure out what makes this guy so annoying!!! I think it's good...if you research it, you can figure out a lot of people and get around in this world more easily!! Doesn't everyone agree??? SOUNDS PRETTY ACCURATE!

 

From Psychology today:

 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

 

 

Definition

Symptoms

Causes

Treatment

Read Psychology Today articles on "Narcissistic Personality Disorder"

Go to Condition Center for more terms

 

Definition

 

Find a therapist

near you.

Enter your City or Zip:

 

 

 

 

An individual with narcissistic personality disorder exhibits extreme self-importance, inability to empathize with others and heightened sensitivity to criticism. Self-involvement and lack of empathy characterize this personality disorder.

 

People with narcissistic personality disorder are frequently perfectionists and need to be the center of attention, receiving affection and admiration, and controlling the situation. To get the attention he craves, he may try to create crises that return the focus to him. Like patients with antisocial personality disorder, this person places entitlement issues at the fore. He feels that the world owes him, regardless of whether he makes a contribution.

 

Alcohol and other drugs (AOD) can induce states that mimic a personality disorder, but if an AOD-using person with a personality disorder abstains, only the symptoms of the personality disorder will still be evident. AOD use may trigger or aggravate a personality disorder. The course and severity of personality disorders can also be made worse if other psychiatric problems, such as mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders are present.

 

A patient with a personality disorder frequently uses AODs to relieve her symptoms: to raise self-esteem, decrease feelings of guilt and amplify feelings of diminished individuality.

 

Narcissistic personality disorder often leads to use of drugs, particularly stimulants. As a disinhibitor, alcohol may help lower anxiety and alleviate depression. A shy person with narcissistic personality disorder may depend on marijuana to relieve her social anxiety, while others use steroids to boost confidence in physical perfection. Without AODs, a person with narcissistic personality disorder may believe that others are overly critical or do not adequately appreciate her good qualities. In a crisis, she may become severely depressed.

 

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Symptoms

Overreacts to criticism, becoming angry or humiliated

Uses others to reach goals

Exaggerates own importance

Entertains unrealistic fantasies about achievements, power, beauty, intelligence or romance

Has unreasonable expectation of favorable treatment

Needs constant attention and positive reinforcement from others

Is easily jealous

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Causes

The exact cause is not known. Although onset of the disorder is usually early adulthood, it is likely to be in response to childhood experiences. A psychological evaluation may be performed.

 

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I just think that what Batya meant was that:

 

a) LABELS are thrown around now for so many things that basically ANY personality can fit under some definition of a "Personality Disorder" as decided by the mental health community, and...

 

b) A label, whether he has NPD or HPD or is just a jerk (which is, incidentally, what someone with NPD would have been considered at one time, sans fancy lingo) doesn't change the fact that she is irritated by him.

 

Sorry for speaking for you, Batya... I agree with you though that labels mean nothing at this point.

 

Edited to Add: At one time, long ago (before mental health practitioners realized they could only profit off of a person if they could tell them they had some sort of fancy disorder that required treatment) there were simply jerks (who were mean and self-centered) and there were weirdos (who had any variety of other affliction that basically deemed them unsuitable for dating/marriage). Neither required a diagnosis, and neither required treatment (or sympathetic handling with kid gloves so his affliction wasn't triggered). I think society has gone nuts.

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To me, he just seems Self abosorbed. I don't think it's the "getting to know him phase" I think it's just a lack of intrest in others & only in himself.

I have a friend like this, I thought at the start it was nothing, maybe she just had a lot to talk about....

But now its been 2 years, and everything is about her. If I try to talk about myself, the first chance she has to speak...it's back to her. It's almost like she just doesn't care or is not intrested in me. And she does the same to anyone I introduce her too.

Sounds just like your boyfriend. If it's annoying after 1 month..It will only get worse in a year. I wouldn't bother attempting to change or help him. This is him.

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Isisastaria - He does seem to have a lack of empathy...he never asks anyone (i"m not just talking about me, I'm talking about his friends too) what's wrong, how things are with their family, how their life is, etc... If he does, it's always led to some sort of joke or prank. When someone looks like they're hurt, he always says, "they'll get over it."

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hazer...

 

You're right!

 

I used to say the same thing about my bf. We were planning to get married so I started calling him my fiance. Then we broke up, but I was still calling him my fiance because it was easier than, "that guy whose kid I'm carrying who I was going to marry but then decided not to". Anyway, now we're back to dating but I try to avoid the topic of marriage.

 

Back to the op - perhaps my suggestion of how to approach the topic was a bit harsh. But the most important thing, I think, is that you don't accuse him. Rather, try to open a conversation and see what his opinion on the issue is - if possible.

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I used to have a flatmate who sounds very like you boyfriend. Anything any of us said...she had a story that was better. Once another flatmate was saying how she'd been snowed in on a coach in Scotland, unable to get the ferry back to Northern Ireland until the next day. This flatmate (who lives in Aberdeen and thinks she's the world expert on the Scottish) said "Well I was once snowed in my house. It was so much worse" "How could it possibly be worse? She only had the clothes she was wearing, no heating, and nothing to do. You had all the clothes you own, heating and tv, food..." "Yeah, but there was NOTHING on tv and the heating is rubbish" She wouldn't back down. Once also said to a friend whose mother had had to move into a women's hostel "I'm so much more depressed than you" because she'd had an argument with her boyfriend. Once also said she was going to kick my friend's head off her shoulders.

 

The thing with people like this is...although they drive you *insane* it's not malicious. Thye just don't comprehend that there are things other than themselves...that people might not want to know about them, that not everything is a competition. I'm not sure what I can suggest about your boyfriend, because it's obviously a different relationship to the one I had with my flatmate. I just did my best to avoid her, because when she said anything that annoyed me, I'd just blow up.

 

Personally...I don't know if I could stay with someone who never asked about my day, even after I'd said it had been rubbish. Could be a sign of what's to come.

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