Narcissism is a personality trait characterized by an excessive preoccupation with one’s
own self-importance, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.
Individuals with narcissistic traits often have an inflated sense of their own abilities and an intense desire for validation and attention.
Dealing with a narcissistic ex can be emotionally draining and confusing because they’ll never admit to having all that toxicity..
If you are wondering whether you dated a narcissist or not, this article provides ten signs that may indicate your ex is a narcissist.
Let’s walk through them.
10 Signs Your Ex Is a Narcissist: Spotting Red Flags and Moving Forward
1. Lack of Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.
A lack of empathy is one of the hallmark traits of a narcissist.
In the context of a relationship, this means that your ex may have shown little genuine interest in your emotions or struggles.
When you tried to express your feelings, they might have dismissed them, belittled them, or simply ignored them altogether.
This behavior can leave you feeling isolated, unimportant, and emotionally neglected.
For example, if you had a bad day at work and tried to talk to your ex about it, they might have responded with comments like, “You think that’s bad? Let me tell you about my day!”
This kind of response shows a lack of empathy as they are more concerned with redirecting the conversation back to themselves rather than showing concern for your feelings.
2. Excessive Self-Centeredness
Narcissists have an intense preoccupation with themselves and their own needs.
They may have dominated conversations, always steering the topic back to their achievements, desires, or problems.
During your relationship, you might have noticed that discussions often revolved around their interests, and they rarely took the time to ask about your day or well-being.
In times when you were excited to share some good news about an accomplishment, your ex might have responded with little enthusiasm or quickly shifted the focus back to their own accomplishments.
This self-centered behavior always leaves people feeling unheard and unimportant in their relationships.
3. Grandiose Sense of Importance
Narcissists often have an inflated sense of self-importance and believe they are extra special or unique.
They may see themselves as always superior to others and expect constant admiration and recognition.
This grandiose attitude can manifest in various aspects of their life, such as their career, appearance, or social status.
During your relationship, you might have noticed that your ex constantly sought attention and never gave it.
They desired praise and applause for their achievements but never praised or applauded you when you won.
The need for constant admiration can be exhausting for those in a relationship with a narcissist, as it leaves little room for genuine emotional connection and support.
3. Manipulative Behavior
Narcissists are skilled manipulators who often use various tactics to control and undermine their partners.
During your relationship, you may have experienced gaslighting, a common form of manipulation used by narcissists.
Gaslighting involves distorting the truth, denying past events, or making you doubt your own perception of reality.
Your ex might have made you feel like you were overreacting or being too sensitive, even when they were clearly in the wrong.
If you confronted them about their hurtful behavior, they might have responded by saying things like, “You’re just being dramatic,” or “I never said that. You must be imagining things.”
This manipulation can leave you feeling confused, doubting your own judgment, and more likely to second-guess yourself in the future.
4. Lack of Accountability
Narcissists rarely take responsibility for their mistakes or acknowledge their wrongdoings.
Instead of apologizing when they’ve hurt you, they may shift the blame onto you or others, making excuses for their actions.
This lack of accountability can be frustrating and hurtful, as it prevents any possibility of resolving conflicts in a healthy and constructive manner.
For instance, if they did something hurtful and you tried to address it, they might have responded with defensiveness and avoidance, refusing to accept any responsibility for the situation.
Their unwillingness to own up to their actions often makes effective communication and harmony in relationships challenging for their partner.
5. Constant Need for Admiration
Narcissists crave constant admiration and validation from others.
If you noticed while in the relationship that your ex was obsessed with admiration not just from you but also from friends, family, or even strangers, you may have been in a relationship with a narcissist.
They may have made sure their achievements were always in the spotlight, seeking praise and approval at every opportunity.
In social events, your ex might have dominated conversations, bragging about their accomplishments or finding ways to make themselves the center of attention.
Their relentless pursuit of admiration can be exhausting and may have left you feeling unimportant and overshadowed.
6. Exploitative Nature
Narcissists often have a sense of entitlement and may exploit others for personal gain without showing genuine appreciation or reciprocity.
So, if your ex was one that often took advantage of your kindness, resources, and vulnerability to exploit you with no gratitude or reciprocity, you were in a relationship with a narcissist.
They often expect you to worship them for the little they do for you but barely say words of gratitude when you do things for them.
7. Intense Jealousy and Envy
During your relationship, your ex may have expressed jealousy over your friendships, success at work, or other achievements.
They might have felt threatened by your close relationships and accomplishments, as it challenged their belief in their own superiority.
Their jealousy and envy can create a toxic and unsupportive atmosphere in the relationship.
8. Unwillingness to Respect Boundaries
Narcissists often struggle to respect the boundaries of others, as they believe their needs and desires should take precedence.
Those times when they repeatedly crossed your boundaries without regard for your comfort or consent were expressions of narcissism.
They might have invaded your personal space, intruded on your private time, or disregarded your preferences.
This lack of respect for your boundaries can lead to feelings of suffocation and frustration in the relationship.
9. Hoovering and Reappearing
Even after a breakup, a narcissistic ex may attempt to hoover you back into the relationship.
Hoovering is a manipulative tactic named after the sucking-in nature of the vacuum cleaner brand.
They might use various strategies such as love bombing, making false promises of change, or employing guilt and emotional manipulation to regain control over you.
However, once they feel they have reestablished control, their behavior is likely to revert to its previous patterns.
Recognizing these ten signs of a narcissistic ex can help you gain clarity about your past relationship and promote healing.
It will also guide you in future relationships, helping you decipher whether a prospective partner is a narcissist or not.
It’s essential to understand that being in a relationship with a narcissist can be emotionally draining and damaging to your well-being.
If you’ve identified with these signs, know that you deserve better.
You deserve to be in a healthy and supportive relationship built on mutual respect and empathy.
Seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional can be beneficial as you walk this path.
Also, practice self-care, setting and enforcing boundaries, and focusing on personal growth to help you move forward with renewed strength and confidence and pave the way for healthier relationships in the future.