If you\u2019ve just learned that your ex has a narcissistic personality disorder, or you strongly suspect they do, you\u2019re likely dealing with a lot of emotions. You might wonder how you could have ever dealt with someone so uncaring and what attracted you to someone like that in the first place. You might also wonder about what sort of mental health treatment is available for you and your ex.\u00a0 Don\u2019t fret. There\u2019s a lot about dealing with those diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder that is hard to know about before getting involved. Getting the correct mental health treatment for yourself and encouraging your ex to do the same can go a long way to right the wrongs that happened during your relationship.\u00a0 Learning more about narcissistic personality disorder, how it can manifest, and how individuals assume control in relationships can help you gain some of your power back. Keep reading to learn how you can heal from the damage done during your time with your ex. Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder Narcissism involves more than just being a jerk. It is a diagnosable personality disorder plagued by an inflated sense of self and a deep need for attention. Those with this personality disorder also tend to have troubled relationships and often lack the skill of empathy.\u00a0 Here\u2019s a more detailed list of symptoms of this personality disorder.\u00a0 \tAn exaggerated sense of self-importance \tFeeling entitled to attention and constantly requiring it \tExpecting recognition of being superior, even if their achievements don\u2019t warrant it \tExaggerating their own talents and achievements \tPreoccupation with success and power \tBelieving in their own superiority and only seek to associate with others who are superior \tBelittling those they see as inferior \tExpecting favors and compliance with expectations \tTaking advantage of other people to get what they want \tUnable or unwilling to recognize the needs or feelings of other people \tEnvy other people and believe that others envy them \tFeel slighted easily \tCome across as arrogant and pretentious \tInsisting on the best, no matter the price \tDon\u2019t handle criticism well \tGetting angry or impatient when they don\u2019t get what they want \tHave difficulty adapting to change \tDon\u2019t react well to stress \tOften feel moody and depressed because they aren\u2019t perfect \tHiding widespread feelings of shame and insecurity Sadly, rarely do individuals seek personality disorder treatment for narcissistic personality disorder. Rather, they may find their way into care for depression or other mental health issues. However, if they do receive mental health treatment, they might see treatment recommendations as insults and are unlikely to follow through.\u00a0 Different Subtypes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by clinicians to make formal diagnoses, only a singular type of narcissistic personality disorder exists. However, the American Journal of Psychiatry published an article in 2015 denoting the rich literature supporting the existence of different subtypes in a clinical population.\u00a0 According to Well and Good, there are six different subtypes: Bullying Narcissist Type The bully builds themselves up by putting down other people. They\u2019re obsessed with winning and aren\u2019t above threatening others to get what they want.\u00a0 Closet Type The closet type is hard to spot as they tend to be more codependent. These people will pretend they are selfless while associating themselves with high achievers to look better. Exhibitionist Type The exhibitionist is the polar opposite of the closet subtype. They let everyone around them know who they are and what they believe. They don\u2019t try to hide their self-centeredness and feel the need to be in the spotlight.\u00a0 Toxic Type While some might argue that all those who demonstrate narcissistic tendencies are toxic, this subtype is continuously causing drama and pain. They demand unreasonable amounts of time and attention from those in their lives and do not reciprocate. If your ex has caused extreme issues in your life, such as forcing you to lose your job or physically abusing you, then they are this subtype. Psychopathic Type\u00a0 The psychopath is unstable and aggressive and can be considered an even more specific subtype. Serial killers often demonstrate this kind of narcissism. Seducer Type Finally, we have the seducer. This subtype makes you feel great as they win you over as their latest conquest. They first admire you and then leave you when they don\u2019t see you as having any use anymore.\u00a0 What Kinds of People are Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder Attracted To? Ultimately, those displaying narcissistic tendencies are attracted to people who can do something for them. Four qualities attract someone with this personality disorder. They include things like someone who will make them look good, such as success in work or someone with impressive talents.\u00a0 Another quality these kinds of people look for is someone who makes them feel good via compliments and grand gestures or displays of affection. They also want someone who will validate their feelings and overlook their flaws. Someone with these characteristics can be easily controlled and prevented from leaving during abuse.\u00a0 The Scars of Narcissistic Personality Disorder At first, they may have attracted you because of their charm. As the latest target of their infatuation, they drew you in by their seeming likability and charm. You allowed them to sweep you off your feet.\u00a0 It\u2019s common to feel that during the entire relationship, you lacked emotional safety. Narcissists see you as an extension of themselves instead of as your own person. Talking about your feelings probably felt frustrating because you either felt the need to tread carefully to avoid an argument or because they never seemed to value your input. When you\u2019re continually tiptoeing around your ex\u2019s feelings, you avoid talking about things that bother you. Instead, you learn to hide your feelings, which means you internalize things that cause you stress. If left unattended for long enough, this can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders.\u00a0 Ties Between Narcissism and Addiction Narcissism and addiction have a lot in common. Addiction involves a cycle of cravings, building tolerance, and then withdrawal when the effects wear off. Narcissism involves attention cravings and seeking conquests. When they cannot satisfy their desires, they exhibit their own version of withdrawal symptoms via distress.\u00a0 Both disorders involve someone looking to fill their internal void with external stimulation. Those with a narcissistic personality disorder\u2019s need for attention only grow with time, similar to how those who live with addiction ramp up their use.\u00a0 Overlapping symptoms include: \tAnger \tBlame \tBlack and white thinking \tControl \tCodependency \tDenial \tEmotional avoidance \tLow self-esteem \tMinimizing others \tNormalizing toxic behavior A dual diagnosis of addiction and narcissism is common. The best outcomes occur when mental health treatment is going through rehab and personality disorder treatment at the same time. Proper assessment is the first step in identifying narcissistic personality disorder and learning more about it.\u00a0 Often, because this personality pattern is so destructive, it\u2019s difficult for them to form lasting bonds with other people. Without meaningful connection, this can lead to them developing an addiction to cope with their inner turmoil and loneliness.\u00a0 How Codependency Comes Into Play Codependency is a type of reliance on someone else to fulfill physical, emotional or mental needs. Most codependent relationships involve a taker and a giver. They are an unequal power dynamic that favors the taker\u2019s demands.\u00a0 Codependency presents in two ways in relationships where narcissism is also present. Both in your behavior towards them and theirs towards you, patterns of codependency likely exist.\u00a0 Signs of codependency include: \tFeeling like you\u2019re walking on eggshells to avoid conflict \tRequiring excessive check-ins and affirmation of your worth \tFeeling the need to ask permission to do things \tFrequently apologizing \tFeeling sorry for the other person all the time \tTrying to change or rescue under-functioning people \tDoing anything for the other person, even when it makes you feel uncomfortable \tPutting that other person on a pedestal \tNeeding others to like you before you can feel good about yourself \tStruggling to find personal time \tFeeling like you\u2019ve lost yourself to your relationship\u00a0 How to Heal from a Relationship Plagued by Narcissism The first step in healing is acknowledging that you\u2019ve been in a toxic, abusive relationship. Admitting this is one of the most challenging steps because your ex has conditioned you to accept blame in the relationship. Learning to put the responsibility where it belongs can help you recognize the reality of what happened.\u00a0 Once you can do that, you\u2019ll learn how to set and stick to boundaries. Often, this means cutting off contact, no matter the grand gestures your ex does in an attempt to win you back. Remind yourself that you deserve a relationship built on mutual respect.\u00a0 Recovery from this type of relationship is complex and involves sorting through complicated emotions. Normal breakups are painful and involve grief, anger, and sadness. But ending a relationship with someone abusive often means experiencing emotional distress compounded by anxiety and shame.\u00a0 Another critical aspect of healing from your past relationship is reclaiming your identity. Because your ex was so controlling, you may not know who you are without them. Be patient, and take time to explore yourself. If you\u2019ve just left a relationship with someone you suspect has a narcissistic personality disorder and you\u2019re feeling hurt and betrayed, you don\u2019t have to go through this alone. The Ranch has a personality disorder treatment program that can help you or your ex get the help you need to live a rich and fulfilling life again.