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Narcissists are individuals who have a personality disorder referred to as narcissistic personality disorder. And perhaps one of the most fundamental aspects of this personality disturbance is how the narcissist shows up in extremely dysfunctional ways in their relationships.

While a narcissist can have a long-term relationship, it isn’t typical, because narcissists are not only abusive but also tend to abandon their partners. For most people who end up in a relationship with a narcissist, the experience is painful, to say the least. And while each narcissist presents the characteristics of their disorder in their way – there are most definitely patterns that most narcissists tend to follow in relationships.

Here are 9 things narcissists will always do in relationships.

1. They hold their partner to unreachable standards.

Narcissists hold unreachable standards for their partner, expecting nothing less of perfection. And because perfection isn’t possible- there is no way for their partner to reach their standard. In turn, their partner always ends up feeling less than good enough.

2. They emotionally abuse their partner.

Narcissists tend to emotionally abuse their partners, through manipulation, gaslighting, stonewalling, and several other tactics. Whether they are intentionally trying to be abusive, or simply don’t care, because their needs supersede the needs of others does not matter. The damage they cause happens regardless.

3. They idealize and devalue.

In the beginning, narcissists come on strong. They begin their relationships with a period of love bombing, in which they will swear their new beaux is their soulmate, their perfect partner, etc, etc. They lay it on thick. However, because this is a mask, it doesn’t take long before their true selves come out and they begin tearing their partner down. This cycle often repeats itself.

4. They lack empathy.

Narcissists do not possess empathy. Because of this, their relationships are almost always one-sided, making it hard for anyone to be able to stay with them for long. Those that do, often end up with massive emotional damage.

5. They are always looking for an out.

Narcissists believe that they deserve nothing but the best, and no one is ever truly good enough. No matter how long they have been with someone, they will always wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. And in many cases, they have backup partners waiting for the moment they decide to leave their partner.

6. They try to change their partner.

Nothing and no one is ever good enough for the narcissist. In their relationships, they will often try to change their partner, not because they want better for their partner, but because they view their partner as an extension of themselves, rather than their identity.

7. They play with their partner’s heart.

Narcissists will toy with people, even the people they claim to love. They don’t truly love anyone, not in the way that a normal person does, and when it comes down to it- if they can get something from someone, they will do whatever it takes to get it. Even if it causes harm to the other person.

8. They try to isolate their partner.

Narcissists often isolate their partners, because they need constant admiration, attention, and validation. If their partner’s focus is on anyone else- they will try to control the situation and isolate their partner.

9. They drain their partner.

Because narcissists are in constant need of attention, and admiration, and because of their abuse, they can be quite draining. This is especially so to their partners who are around them and know them more than most.