The thing about toxic relationships is that you may not realise you’re in one until it is too late. By that time, you have become unhealthily bonded to your partner and find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to leave without help. Does that mean then that there is no way to avoid such a situation? No, not if you know the indicators that your partner may be a Narcissistic abuser. I was in a relationship with a Narcissist for a Decade, and I promised myself that I would never be in an abusive relationship again. I have identified 5 main signs to look for early on in the relationship with a Narcissist.

Most important is to realize your relationship is toxic and to get out of it. It is difficult and might seem hard. But, we are there and we care. If you think you need some counselling, do register here.


This one can be indistinguishable from how people generally behave at the beginning of a relationship when we are being our “best” selves. Love-bombing goes further though, in that your partner idolises you, gives you extravagant gifts and compliments, and tries to get a commitment from you quickly.

My ex told me on our first date that he had never met anyone as amazing as me, who he could talk to! He told me that he was going to America on holiday for a month, a couple of days later, and begged me to “wait for him.” I decided that I would see a few other guys until then. Standing at the airport, he called me asking for a recommendation for a good book which he could buy for himself. The next day, a huge bouquet in shades of orange and peach was delivered to my home; he had remembered my favourite colour! I then decided that I wouldn’t date anyone else.

When I saw him again, he gave me a pet name, “Princess” and asked me to accompany him to Amsterdam the following month, at his expense, of course! Whilst we were there, we met some people he knew and he introduced me to them as his “future wife!” Being of a highly romantic nature, I fell for it. Unfortunately, love bombing stops once you are in a committed relationship with a Narcissist. So beware of overblown gestures and behaviour like this at the start of the relationship.

toxic relationship

Attitude to Exes:

OK, our exes are exes for a reason and most of us have had at least one bad break up. But we don’t demonise that person, or say that all of our exes were crazy! But this is what a Narcissist does. All of their exes had BIG problems. They will eagerly tell you how awful they were. Completely. They may express it as, oh, how they tried to help them, but in the end, they couldn’t cope anymore! It is abnormal to see people as all good or all bad. We know that people, even those – whom we don’t like, have good qualities and we can acknowledge that. But for a Narcissist, their exes are all bad.

My ex told me just how cold and uncaring his ex could be. Then one day I finally met her when we picked up his children from her home. I then conveyed that she seemed nice. My ex then proceeded to tell me about all the terrible and kinky things she got up to at University, and during their marriage. It was indeed a tactical move to spin things around and quickly get my opinion about her off track. So, if your new lover has perpetually been cursed in their choice of previous partners, be on the alert. Nobody is that unlucky. Plus, it is worth mentioning that the things they accuse their exes of doing are usually their behaviours projected on to them. 


Narcissists exaggerate their achievements and life experiences, and they tell outright lies. On his online profile, my ex said that he lived in a cottage in the country. Ok, he did live in a village about 10 minutes walk from a canal, but his house was a red brick semi surrounded by similar houses on a regular estate. Yes, he was a Managing Director of a company: with two employees under him. He also exaggerated his sporting and musical achievements hugely (in truth he was a pathetic cornet player). Nevertheless, he went on to lie about his neighbours, and his past, and even his plans for our future. 

So if what your partner tells you about themselves and their life often fails to match up to the reality, then ding! Another warning bell for sure.

abusive and toxic relationship

Attitude of making mistakes:

A Narcissist never makes mistakes. Well, that is what my ex told me, in those exact words. Whilst very few people proudly broadcast their failures, we all admit to them, and even turn our mistakes into funny stories, or explain how we have learned from them. You will not hear a Narcissist do this unless it serves some preconceived agenda which benefits them. 


They also cannot cope with being wrong. A sentence my ex NEVER uttered is: I’m sorry, I got that wrong. Even if you produce evidences that something they told you was incorrect, from everything such as a historical or political fact down to what they did or said themselves, they will simply deny they told you that, say you misinterpreted what they meant, that in fact, it is YOU that is wrong. 


You do not want to be in a relationship with someone who insists they are never wrong. Do you?


Covert Criticism:

Here, the confessions you made about your mistakes, fears and quirks are used against you to decrease your self-esteem. It is done in the form of cruelty disguised as humour and patronising remarks disguised as indulgence. I told my ex that I have always been slim and petite, but when I was a teenager, I was borderline anorexic as I always thought my thighs were too large in proportion to the rest of my body, and that I had seen my muscle toned calves as bulging and unattractive. He then told me one day that, my dress looked nice except that it was the wrong length for me because it made my calves look big. Then he grinned and told me, awww… you have thighs like little tug boats! 

He also downplayed my talents and achievements, as if they were of no consequence. For example, when I wanted to share the poetry written by me, he said, he had never really understood poetry. If I said I was upset, he accused me of being too sensitive or said it was only a joke or he hadn’t meant it the way I had taken it. 

This chipping away at my self-esteem is one of the things Narcissists do. This results in weakening you when the real abuse cycle starts. It is indeed a real sign that you are engaging in a toxic relationship. If you experience these 5 signs or anything similar, my advice is, end the relationship. Put a full stop! Anything less could mean you end up trapped in an abusive relationship like I was. I am a survivor, so I know what I’m talking about. Nobody needs to be in a relationship that, if you manage to break away from, you are now a survivor, or you’re into something worse than you imagine.

Most important is to realize your relationship is toxic and to get out of it. It is difficult and might seem hard. But, we are there and we care. If you think you need some counselling, do register here.

Leave a comment