How To Tell If You're in a Relationship with a Narcissist

My own definition of a narcissist is -- a person who seems to constantly talk about themselves and how great they are. Then, when they are done talking, they take a breath and say this to you:

"Well...enough about me. What do you think of me?"

The psychiatrists at the famed Mayo Clinic give this definition of a narcissist:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental disorder in which a person has an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you're not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling. defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a pattern of traits and behaviors which signify infatuation and obsession with one's self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition. Research shows most narcissists (75%) are men.

Typically, narcissism begins in infancy, childhood and early adolescence. It is commonly attributed to childhood abuse and trauma inflicted by parents, authority figures, or even peers.

As you can imagine, there is a whole range of narcissistic behaviors - from the mild, reactive and transient to the permanent personality disorder. There are different ways of classifying narcissists into groups. Here are two ways of categorizing them: they are either "Cerebral," which means they derive their narcissistic tendencies and behavior from their intelligence or academic achievements. Or, they may be classified as "Somatic," which means they derive their narcissistic behavior from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and "conquests."

The treatment for someone with a narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around "talk therapy" (psychotherapy). Many psychotherapists believe that the prognosis for an adult narcissist is poor, though his adaptation to life and to others can improve, over time, with treatment. "Medication is applied to side-effects and behaviors (such as mood or affect disorders and obsession-compulsion) - usually with some success."

9 Ways To Tell If a Person Is a Narcissist

The person with a narcissistic personality tends to exhibit these characteristics: an "all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity either in fantasy or in their actual behavior, a need for admiration or even adulation, and a lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts." To be considered a narcissist, five (or more) of the following criteria (below) must be met. (The Criteria listed is based on or summarized from: American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition, Text Revision (DSM IV-TR). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.)

1. Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2. Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion

3. Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions)

4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation - or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious

5. Feels entitled. Expects unreasonable or special and favorable priority. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her expectations

6. Is "interpersonally exploitative," i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends

7. Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others

8. Constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her

9. Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted

One of the interesting dynamics of narcissistic relationships is often the "co-dependent" person who has a relationship with the narcissist. By definition, a codependent is someone who depends on other people for their emotional gratification, ego acknowledgment or daily functions. They tend to be needy, demanding, and submissive. They live in fear of abandonment, tend to cling to the other person and display immature behavior in their effort to maintain the "relationship" with their companion or mate upon whom they depend. No matter what abuse is inflicted upon them - they remain in the relationship. By eagerly becoming victims, codependents seek to control their abusers.

The Covert Narcissist

Sam Vaknin, the author of, Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited says that the "covert narcissist" is a co-dependent who depends exclusively on narcissists (narcissist-co-dependent). If you are living with a narcissist, have a relationship with one, if you are married to one, if you are working with a narcissist, etc. - it does NOT mean that you are an inverted narcissist.

To "qualify" as an inverted narcissist, you must crave to be in a relationship with a narcissist, regardless of any abuse inflicted on you by him/her. You must actively seek relationships with narcissists and only with narcissists, no matter what your (bitter and traumatic) past experience has been. You must feel empty and unhappy in relationships with any other kind of person. Only then, and if you satisfy the other diagnostic criteria of a Dependent Personality Disorder, can you be safely labeled an "inverted narcissist".

As you can imagine, thanks to the American Psychiatric Association and many other fine organizations there is a tremendous amount of information available on the identification and treatment of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. But, amazingly, you can also gain insights into whether a person has narcissistic or co-dependent tendencies by looking at their natal chart (i.e. Horoscope).

The Horoscope of Narcissists (and Co-Dependents)

Here are some of the planetary combinations often seen in the birth chart of people who have a pre-disposition to narcissistic (or co-dependent) behavior. You will also see a brief explanation of the issues that can arise when this planetary aspect is seen in their horoscope.

If you have a copy of your birth chart (or a birth chart of a person you're interested in knowing more about) and a basic understanding of astrology, you may be able do your own analysis and interpretation of the natal aspects below. If you would like to order a copy of your astrological birth chart and a personal Horoscope, order it here: Personal Horoscope Report.

Otherwise, since this is a very serious subject, it is recommended that you consult with a professional astrologer to get the most accurate interpretation and understanding of what these planetary combinations mean - before concluding that anyone (including yourself) is a narcissist or co-dependent personality.

Look for These Planetary Aspects

Pluto square aspects to Sun, Mercury and Mars = Can indicate manipulating, exploiting, controlling, selfish, entitled and arrogant, angry behavior, need to be feared.

Neptune square aspects to Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars = Can indicate distortion, illusion, fantasy-thinking, over-idealization in love relationships, self-deception, low-self esteem, lack of boundaries and special pre-disposition for co-dependent relationships.

Uranus square aspects to Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars = Can indicate arrogance, haughty behavior, stubborn independence, distain for living by rules and standards that he insists others live by, devoid of empathy, emotionally detached.

Saturn square aspects to Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars = Can indicate shame and self-esteem issues which can lead to compensatory narcissism or even co-dependent behavior, calculating, manipulation for personal gain, anxiety and depression.

Jupiter square aspects to Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars = Can indicate arrogance, grandiosity, self-indulgence, self-importance, entitlement, feelings of being special, excessive need for acknowledgment.

Your Horoscope can tell you a lot about whether or not you have a tendency to attract relationships with narcissistic or co-dependent people. It can also help you better understand the personalities of the people you are in a relationship. If you would like to order a copy of your astrological birth chart and a personal Horoscope, order it here: Personal Horoscope Report.

If you want to know how the planets in your Horoscope are affecting your relationships right now, go to the Free Transit Calculator and enter your birth date. And, if you're curious to learn more about your personal Horoscope and what it says about your love relationships, and marriage prospects, as well as career, investments and health in 2016: Order your customized Report: Your Horoscope & Future in 2016.

If you're already in love and want to find out if you're really compatible for marriage (or partnership) with another person, go to the FREE Love Compatibility Calculator and enter your birth date and theirs. And, if you want a customized report on your compatibility together, order Your Love Compatibility Report.

Larry Schwimmer is an astrologer in private practice. For private consultations, contact him at: or go to

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Larry Schwimmer is president of, a San Francisco-based consulting company. The firm uses planetary cycles analysis to counsel individual and corporate clients on picking the "best dates" to make successful decisions of all types: personal, marketing, financial, and political. Schwimmer is an internationally known business consultant, life coach and astrologer (with a Fortune 500 M&A background). Visit his website:

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