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Being in a relationship with a narcissist is a very difficult situation to be in. What makes it worse, is that narcissists are skilled manipulators who can mask their bad behaviors and disruptive personality traits.

Even with that being said, there are some surefire ways to tell whether someone is a narcissist. You simply have to look at the way they behave, the way they talk, the way they engage with others, and their patterns. Do not just look at the mask, but look beyond the mask. If you are beginning to wonder if your partner is a narcissist, check out the following 9 telltale signs that you are in a relationship with a narcissist.

1. The relationship begins with a love bombing.

In the beginning, a narcissist will love to bomb you. Their goal is to get you on their hook, and their facade of sweetness is meant to bait you in. They will use phrases like ‘soulmate’ and tell you they love you way too early on.

2. They cycle between idealization and devaluation.

A narcissist will start sweet, and once they feel as though you are on their hook, they will begin to show their true self. This roughly translates to them devaluing you, tearing you down, manipulating, and abusing you. However, they will cycle back to good behavior, which will make you question your sanity. You will wonder, “Maybe they aren’t so bad after all. Maybe it is me.”

3. Always playing

Through my own experiences dealing with narcissistic people, I have learned that not only do they have no empathy, but that a normal person will drive themselves insane trying to make the narcissist understand the feelings of others. You will constantly find yourself explaining to them how or why they should be more compassionate. But, it is almost always a fruitless endeavor, as they do not have empathy.

4. They gaslight.

Gaslighting is when someone works to make you doubt your sanity. The way that they do this is by making you question yourself. They will tell you that you are too sensitive when you get upset about their bad behavior. When you call them out for their lying or abuse-they will say it never happened. They will outwardly call you crazy, to you and others. Their goal is to undermine you, make you look like you cannot be trusted, and make you second-guess yourself.

5. They are always the victim.

I always tell people that the number one way to decipher whether someone is a narcissist is to pay attention to their claims of victimhood. While people are victimized in life, when someone is ALWAYS the victim of every situation-they are the problem.

6. Chaos follows them wherever they go.

Narcissists get bored when things are normal. So, to shake things up, they tend to start fights, stir the pot, and cause drama wherever they go.

7. They act as though they are always right.

Don’t hold your breath if you expect an apology from a narcissist. In their mind, they are always right. They will have you apologizing for their bad behavior.

8. They have entitlement issues.

Narcissists believe they are entitled to whatever they want. If you have something they believe they deserve-they will stop at nothing to get it. You will likely see them acting on this with everyone in their lives.

9. They are often trying to take advantage of others.

Narcissists are known to take advantage of others. They have no shame in conning others, manipulating others, and constantly working to get others to bend to their will. They have no problem stepping all over everyone to get what they want.