Updated August 8, 2022
Many of my LGBTQ therapy clients fall in love with narcissists. It’s pretty easy to do. Narcissists often are extremely charming, bright, and attractive. I call them “shiny”. Around them we can feel excited, more alive, entertained, and flattered that these shiny people chose us. While narcissists can make a charming first impression, they can be challenging to love. They tend to have trouble empathizing with others and so loving them in the context of a long term relationship can feel lonely.
If you want to feel “seen” by your partner then you might not want to date a narcissist.
What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition describing people with an inflated sense of their own importance, a need for excessive attention, and a lack of empathy for others. Not all people who show these traits have a personality disorder. This clinical definition is reserved for people who have an extreme version of these traits. While we don’t fully understand the cause of this disorder, most psychologists believe it comes from a mix of genetic factors as well as excessive adoration or excessive criticism in early childhood parental relationships.
Whether these characteristics are extreme or mild, they do make close relationships difficult.
Are you constantly feeling disrespect or unvalued in your relationship?
As an LGBTQ therapist, many of my clients typically feel hurt by their gay narcissistic partners because their needs are not valued and respected. It’s painful to keep giving and receive little care in return.
If you love a narcissist you may be spending a lot of time wondering why he doesn’t return your calls promptly, remember your birthday, or demonstrate a consistent interest and curiosity about you?
Here’s why. While narcissists look very confident to the outside world, inside it is a different story. Internally they are experiencing painfully low self-esteem. In order to avoid this feeling they spend a great deal of energy searching for new and greater sources of admiration from others. That search feels so important and consuming that it leaves little room for focusing on another person. It’s like a drug addiction.
Narcissism occurs in a range. We all have some narcissism within us.
- Healthy narcissism gives us the motivation to get out there and make a splash when we need to.
- Unhealthy narcissism isolates us from others when it blocks our capacity to empathize and authentically meet someone else’s needs.
If you consistently date people who are high on the narcissist scale then you may have a tendency to ignore your own needs in service to another. A common psychological term for this is “codependency.”
9 Signs of Narcissism in Your Relationship
How can you figure out if the person you are dating is a narcissist? Here are some common red flags and possible signs that can help you:
- You call and text them regularly but they rarely initiate contact.
- You remember their birthday and plan events to delight them but that isn’t reciprocated.
- You do most of the household drudgery and they don’t acknowledge you for that.
- You regularly ask them questions about their day but they don’t do the same.
- New acquaintances receive a great deal of inspired attention from them but you do not.
- When you mention some of these issues they become highly defensive and critical.
- Their friendships lack depth, are exploitative, or are short-lived.
- They frequently demean, belittle, or manipulate others.
- They lack empathy.
If you tend to be codependent then you might be asking right now, “What can I do that will help or change them?” Nothing. This is difficult to accept, but is the true and honest answer. Each of us must be motivated from within to change. Period.
What can you do when you’re in love with a gay narcissist?
So, what can you do if you’re in a relationship with a narcissist?
The solution is to start giving your own needs the attention they deserve. That means figuring out what those needs are, respecting them, and bringing people into your life who enjoy meeting them.
Cultivate Healthy Self-Love
A great first step would be cultivating self-love. The Gay Therapy Center offers a free online class, 30 Days to Feeling Good About You, that is specifically designed for the LGBTQ community and to build self-compassion.
Don’t Do This Alone
Loving someone who has trouble returning that love is a lonely experience. Support from others reduces that loneliness and makes you stronger. Your friends will be the first people to object when they hear stories of how you get hurt. Over time you will be able to internalize their support by creating the necessary boundaries to protect yourself from mistreatment. If you don’t have friends with whom you can confide, now is a good time to develop them.
Get Help from a Qualified Therapist Who is also LGBTQ
If you’re overwhelmed and feeling distressed about being in love with a gay narcissist and you’re confused about what to do, consider speaking with a qualified therapist. Being in a healthy relationship means your partner builds your self-esteem, not damages it. Are you drawn to people with high levels of narcissism? Learning the “why” is an important first step that therapy is designed to help you explore.
Schedule a free 15 minute consultation call and see if the Gay Therapy Center is the right fit for your therapy needs.