Are You Really In A Relationship with A Narcissist or Could It Be Something Else?

Mar 24, 2022

Statistics reveal that the number of actual narcissists is actually very low, only around .05 to 1% of the population. So why does it seem there are narcissists everywhere you look?

If you look at social media, you might mistakenly believe that the stats would be as high as 50% of the population are actual narcissists. One explanation could be that there are so many people that possess “styles” of narcissism - which can be almost as toxic, it’s just that they aren’t diagnosable.

You may want to “pump the brakes” when calling someone a Narcissist, and I’ll tell you why:

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), (which is the book the psychological community uses to diagnose personality disorders), people who are pathologically narcissistic possess very specific symptoms. For a clinical diagnosis, they must display at least five of the following:

  • Grandiosity and an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of success and power
  • The belief they’re special and can only be understood by similarly special people
  • Need for praise and admiration
  • Sense of entitlement
  • A pattern of exploiting others for personal gain
  • A lack of empathy
  • Jealousy, envy, distrust
  • Arrogance and scorn

If a person possesses 5 or more of these traits, they will be consistent in the traits, these traits will be pervasive (all the time), not occasional. An actual personality disorder is a constant way of being.

I want to introduce what may be more prevalent in our society and no-doubt just as frustrating in a relationship –the Narcissistic Style.  Narcissistic Style is when a person possesses some of the NPD traits some of the time, which can be just as maddening, but not pathological. Narcissistic Style is more of a ‘disconnection from one’s heart and emotions (feelings)’ than a personality disorder. 

Our society facilitates Narcissistic Style just by our lifestyles of busyness-running from work to extra-curricular activities, etc. from morning until night and waking up to do it all over again, numbing out on Netflix, lack of family or personal communication on a regular basis…these ways of life have many of us living in disconnection from ourselves as well as from those others in our lives.

What would Narcissistic Style (or disconnected style) look like in a relationship?


When you try to talk to your partner about your own life and frustrations, and they don’t listen, and you don’t feel listened to…instead they give advice or try to fix it.  You almost never feel seen, heard, or understood by them.  Eventually, you stop coming to them with your life stories because it’s not a very satisfying experience.


When you tell a story that has to do with your life, they bring the conversation over to them (or hijack the conversation) and how this relates to their life. Again, not listening.


They can be manipulative and seem to use whatever it takes to get you to do what they want. You begin to feel like you’re living their life with/for them rather than living your lives together.  This can feel very lonely. 


Controlling behavior is another trait of NS that can be frustrating. Whatever it is they want to do, where they want to eat, the time they want to meet are all on their terms, all the time. You feel like an appendage to your partner. 


They are disconnected from their feelings, so they come across as unfeeling or lacking empathy…they avoid any negative feelings. They are unable to really BE THERE for you emotionally.


They possess a sense of entitlement.  They feel they deserve this and that and are rarely grateful, like an--it’s owed to them attitude.  You begin to feel taken advantage of.


They can appear as cold. This can cause you to wonder what you’ve done to cause them to be cold toward you. 

The good news is that if you or your partner has Narcissistic Style, this can be transformed with good therapy; where as in an actual diagnosis of NPD has little to no of hope for change.

If you feel you or your partner aren’t connected with your emotional life, my Whole-Life Self-Care Course teaches you HOW to get connected with yourself in a deeper way.

If you are in a relationship with someone who possesses Narcissistic Style, you may have some people pleasing style.  My From People Pleasing to Life Balance Course would be perfect for you!

Because you matter! ~ Cindy