People with symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) have an excessive amount of self-regard, and they find it extremely hard to communicate or find a meaningful balance with their partners. This makes it difficult for a narcissistic relationship to prosper and grow.
Communication is one of the pillars of a healthy relationship because it allows the couple to resolve issues and conflicts that get in the way of their connection. Both partners must be committed to establishing a space for open communication.
Dr. Hawkins elaborates on what a healthy relationship looks like when dealing with conflict, in comparison to relationships dominated by narcissistic partners.
Are You In A Narcissistic Relationship?
Narcissistic relationships can be challenging and harmful, but how can you be sure you’re in one? Dr. David Hawkins, the director of the Marriage Recovery Center, has shared a simple yet insightful test to help you determine if you’re in a narcissistic relationship.
The Narcissistic Relationship Test
Dr. David Hawkins introduces us to the concept of a straightforward test to determine if you are in a narcissistic relationship. He suggests asking yourself a simple question: On a scale of one to ten, with ten being high confidence and one being low, how confident are you that you can approach your partner with a concern about them and be heard, empathized with, understood, and acknowledged?
This test, as he explains, serves as a litmus test for the health of your relationship. In a healthy relationship, you should be able to approach your partner with concerns and feel assured that they will respond with empathy and understanding.
The Importance of This Test
You might wonder why this test is so important. The answer lies in the essence of any relationship, which is a two-way street where information flows, and concerns are addressed. In healthy relationships, there is a flow of critical feedback that allows for personal growth and mutual support. When you can share your concerns and your partner listens, empathizes, and collaborates to find solutions, the relationship thrives.
On the other hand, in a narcissistic relationship, the exact opposite occurs. If you approach your partner with a concern, and they respond with defensiveness and self-protectiveness, it can lead to the suppression of issues and hinder any potential for growth.
Signs of a Narcissistic Relationship
Dr. Hawkins delves into the signs of a narcissistic relationship. He emphasizes the importance of your partner’s ability and willingness to “hold space” for your concerns. Holding space means creating an environment where you can freely express your concerns, and your partner can listen without reacting defensively.
If your partner is unwilling to hold space for your concerns, it can be a sign of a deeper issue within the relationship. In a healthy partnership, your concerns should be met with open ears and a willingness to be influenced.
Consequences of a Lack of Space in Narcissistic Relationships
Dr. Hawkins explores the consequences of a lack of space in a narcissistic relationship. If your partner is unwilling to hold space for your concerns and reacts defensively, it’s essential to communicate the consequences.
Dr. Hawkins advises that you express the potential outcome if your concerns aren’t taken seriously. You might say something along the lines of, “If you’re not willing to hear my concerns, I won’t share them. Our relationship will suffer.”
It’s a bold statement, but it’s a necessary one. A relationship that doesn’t allow open communication and concern sharing will eventually wither. The lack of mutual support and the stifling of concerns can lead to feelings of abandonment, rejection, and resentment.
In conclusion, recognizing whether you’re in a narcissistic relationship is crucial for your emotional well-being and the health of your partnership. Dr. David Hawkins’ straightforward test and the insights shared can help you evaluate your relationship. If your partner is unwilling to hold space for your concerns, it’s time to communicate the potential consequences and consider whether the relationship can truly thrive without open and honest communication.
Remember, a healthy relationship is built on mutual support, understanding, and the ability to address concerns. If these aspects are lacking, it’s essential to evaluate the future of your relationship and consider seeking professional guidance to navigate these challenging dynamics.
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.