Toxic Relationships: Are You the Narcissist or the Victim?

Find out how to recognize and address toxic behavior in your relationships. Take responsibility for your actions and work towards a healthy connection.


Toxic relationships are like quicksand – once you’re in, it’s hard to get out. But what if you’re not the victim, but the narcissist? It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s important to recognize your role in the toxicity. Are you the one causing the pain, or are you the one suffering from it? It’s time to take a closer look at your relationship and find out where you stand.

Two narcissists in a relationship is like a mirror reflecting back on itself - it's hard to tell where one ends, and the other begins.

Key Points

Conflict Is Healthy

As individuals, we constantly grow and evolve, which can impact our relationships. It’s essential to recognize that relationships require recalibration from time to time to maintain a healthy connection. Conflict is a natural and necessary part of a healthy relationship, and discussions, arguments, and even fights can be healthy ways to work through disagreements. However, both partners must share a mutual intent to find solutions and work towards the joint goal of rekindling love. I call this process “renegotiating” the relationship.

Negotiating the Relationship

Negotiation in a relationship often revolves around finding ways to stay together. However, it is healthy and perfectly alright to negotiate an amicable separation as well; if that’s what both parties agree is the best course of action.

For effective negotiations, both partners must communicate openly and honestly and intend to work towards a mutually beneficial outcome; this could involve setting new boundaries, redefining expectations for the relationship, or discussing unmet needs or desires.

When Do Problems Begin

Negotiation is critical for a healthy relationship, but it requires both partners to be honest and committed to finding a resolution, even if it means ending the relationship.

However, problems arise when one or both partners stop communicating honestly and with mutual respect. Instead, conversations become laced with contempt, disrespect, and even hatred. This breakdown leads to unresolved issues and disagreements.

When disagreements go unresolved, they create a buildup of negative emotions like resentment and dissatisfaction, which causes mental and physical anguish. It’s like a ticking time bomb, just waiting to go off.

If these issues remain unresolved, they can cause one to either implode or explode; either way, the relationship is toxic – and dead.

Who Is The Culprit?

The truth is we all have the potential to be selfish and narcissistic. But while some of us can control these tendencies, others struggle. This demon within makes it hard to admit when we’re wrong.

As a relationship counselor, I’ve seen this happen too often. Communication starts to break down because one partner no longer wants to be in the relationship, whether they say it or not. Meanwhile, the other partner is still holding on. Maybe they’re hoping things will improve, or they’re just dependent on the relationship. Whatever the reason, this mismatch in goals can create a very volatile situation. 

Things can take a dark turn. Often, the partner who wants to stay is the first to use narcissistic techniques. They unleash their inner demons, committing relationship crimes to break down their partner’s will, sanity, and strength to negotiate or leave. A vicious power game transpires, fueled by gaslighting, stonewalling, passive aggression, and sometimes even physical abuse, causing a never-ending cycle of pain and hurt.

The partner who unleashes their “energy vampire” first is the one who causes the eventual breakdown. They have no right to complain about whatever follows. They are the guilty ones. 

What About The Victim?

It’s essential to recognize that there are no innocent parties in a toxic relationship; everyone contributes to the problem. However, the person who initiated the cycle of toxicity bears the primary responsibility. The subsequent actions of others are reactions to their provocation.

Although the victim may not be entirely blameless, the main burden of the chaos lies with the first party. They are the ones who started the nasty game of narcissistic torture.


Maintaining a healthy relationship requires equal effort from both parties, and healthy communication is the key. Disagreements are normal, but how you handle them can make all the difference. If you feel like your relationship is in trouble, taking action and getting to the root of the problem is essential.

It can be challenging to acknowledge that you may have contributed to the problems in your relationship, but being honest with yourself and your partner is crucial. Start by having an open and honest conversation to address your concerns and work together to find a solution. Remember, effective communication requires both speaking and listening. If you refuse to talk, it can be as harmful as refusing to listen. Both stonewalling and gaslighting indicate narcissistic behavior – avoid both. 

If neither you nor your partner is making an honest effort to negotiate and resolve the problem, then both of you are responsible for the toxic situation.  

Before accusing your partner, step back and question your own behavior. Don’t let your ego steal your chance for happiness. Remember, a healthy relationship requires effort from both parties. Make the first move.

If things still don’t work out, consider separating amicably. It’s never an easy decision, but sometimes it’s the best one for both parties. 

No matter what you decide, know that you’re not alone. Don’t hesitate to seek help and support during this difficult time. Good luck!

A dynamic personality with years of experience in the software industry and professional mainstream broadcasting. Now, he is dedicated to sharing his experiences about life, faith, and relationships to help others enable themselves to live a better life.


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