What to Expect From a Narcissist on Valentine’s Day

Calda Social Valentine's Day
Author: Claudia M. Elsig, MD

Is Valentine’s Day an occasion you look forward to, or are you dreading it? If you are dating or are married to a narcissist, the chances are you fall into the latter category.

If you don’t have a narcissist in your life, you may wonder what the fuss is about. When you read more, you may breathe a sigh of relief! Or perhaps you have seen glimpses of manipulative and controlling behaviours in your partner and are intrigued to know if these are warning signs of narcissism. 

As anyone close to a narcissist knows, they love nothing more than an occasion to devalue a person and carry out their manipulative ways. Special times like birthdays, holidays, and Christmas get cruelly sabotaged. Valentine’s Day is no exception – it may even be the most likely date for narcissists to reveal their true selves.

This blog explains what behaviours you can expect from a narcissist on Valentine’s Day and why.

What is a narcissist? 

A narcissist is a person with a mental health condition known as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). 

So, what defines a narcissist?

Generally, people who are narcissists have an unreasonably high sense of self-importance. Deficient emotional empathy is at the core of NPD. Narcissists are obsessed with themselves and ignore the needs of those around them. 

A narcissist craves attention and wants people to admire them. They will hold court and hog conversations. Narcissists are often arrogant, have a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, and expect adoration. They are also very controlling and manipulative and react badly to the slightest criticism. In life, narcissists are preoccupied with power, success, and looks – they will be captains of industry and hold positions of leadership in business. They are primarily extroverts.

In their relationships (family, partners, friends, and work colleagues), narcissists are often exploitative and superficial. They will gaslight, make false accusations and tell blatant lies. 

Though this describes a typical narcissist, you will see a broad spectrum of behaviours in people suffering from this disorder. You will even find some narcissists who are self-loathing, socially isolated, and unable to hold down a job. Though, they are more likely to be successful and have a high opinion of themselves.

Ideally, narcissists aren’t the kind of people you want in your life! But they can be difficult to spot at the beginning of a relationship because their true self will be hidden. At the outset of a romance, a narcissist will be utterly charming, and it will appear that they are genuinely falling head over heels in love with you. They will love-bomb you! For some, this will ring alarm bells, but many get duped into thinking they’ve met the most incredible person in the world.

Sadly, narcissistic abuse is widespread.

How will a narcissist behave on Valentine’s Day?

If your narcissist date is new in your life, you’ll probably have an amazing Valentine’s Day because you are still in the honeymoon phase; they will be focused on winning you over. At the beginning of your relationship with a narcissist, they will shower you with gifts, adoration, and attention as they seek to gain your trust.

But if cracks in your relationship have already started appearing, Valentine’s Day could trigger unexpected and unsavoury behaviours. Of course, what comes your way will depend on where you are in the abusive cycle!

Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery Specialist and award-winning author, shares her experience of previously being married to a narcissist and speaks of an ‘unspoken contract’ when one commits to a narcissistic partner.1 The narcissist thinks they are the only one that matters in the relationship, and the unspoken statements Kaszina refers to include things like:

 It is my inalienable right to hurt, humiliate, reject, and belittle.

Things will be done my way, to my complete satisfaction.

You are there to serve me. Every Day in every way.

It is my right to constantly make you feel less than other people.

Nothing will ever be my fault.

It is my right to remind you of your many failings however often I please.

These are the unspoken words of a narcissist.

Kaszina says if anyone knew about the unspoken contract before they dated a narcissist, they would never agree to it! She refers to her experience of Valentine’s Day, saying he would engineer a pre-Valentine’s Day fight. Before the fight, he would also make it known that he had purchased a Valentine’s card but would never give it to her.

Narcissists may arrange a special evening, then cause an argument on the way there and spend the evening in stony silence. They may buy a gift which they then throw away in a sulk or rage.

Another behaviour commonly acted out by a narcissist on Valentine’s Day is to bail on a specially arranged date. Narcissists are notorious for infidelity, so they may well already be cheating. In this case, they will be angry if they feel forced to spend time with you on Valentine’s Day. Commonly, if there is cheating going on, they may just disappear and do as they please. They will often instigate this by starting an argument so they can storm out and get away.

Speaking up will only make matters work – a narcissist will blame YOU for their behaviour. They may say unkind things and compare you to previous lovers in a derogatory way.

Or, if they aren’t cheating, they might use Valentine’s Day to vent jealousy. They may accuse you of unfounded affairs and hound you to confess to something you haven’t done. 

If this all sounds exhausting, it’s because living with or dating a narcissist is exhausting. It is emotionally draining, and in most cases, a highly abusive relationship chips away at self-esteem.

In a relationship, when does a narcissist start to act up?

The length of time a narcissist covers up their dark side in a romance varies. Red flags could appear within a few months, or it could take a couple of years for the person to unveil their narcissistic traits. The average time for a narcissist to reveal themselves is four months.

Remember, narcissists are great manipulators, so for a long time, you will be second-guessing whether you have done something wrong, not them. Gaslighting is one of the most common tactics used by narcissists. They will twist the truth, so you start to doubt yourself. This can start subtly, early on in a relationship.

Why do narcissists behave the way they do?

Narcissists think and act differently from people who are mentally and emotionally well-balanced. Deep underneath the façade is “toxic shame.”2 This is mostly unconscious. Despite appearing to have strong personalities, narcissists are incredibly fragile. They will have deeply hidden feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, and inferiority. Rarely does a narcissist recognise any underlying vulnerabilities; they convince themselves they are superior to others.

Empathy deficit is a key feature of NPD. Research shows subjects suffering from narcissistic personality disorder exhibit structural abnormalities in the cerebral cortex (the external nerve cell layer of the brain involved in the processing and generation of compassion).3

Can you change a narcissist?

Sadly, it is unlikely you will change a narcissist. Technically, with the right therapy and support, a narcissist could address some of the hurt, pain, and trauma beneath their narcissistic tendencies. However, this requires the narcissist person to admit there is something wrong and that they need help. 

This is a huge challenge. 

A narcissist will never see their defects. They believe themselves to be genuinely God-like! They think the problem is with other people, never themselves. In clinical or outpatient settings, a narcissist will appear high-functioning and relatable.4 They lack any insight into their abusive behaviours.

In addition, research studies looking at a series of sets of twins found that genetic influences on narcissism seem pronounced.5 Another critical influence is microenvironments, such as family. For example, narcissistic tendencies can develop if a child experiences too much adoration or criticism. 

NPD is complex and is often associated with other disorders and functional impairments. It is also one of the least studied personality disorders. As a result, there hasn’t been much work examining the efficacy of successful treatments for the disorder. 

The CALDA Clinic: getting help as a victim of narcissistic abuse

The CALDA Clinic is a private Swiss institution specialising in mental health rehabilitation, including recovery from narcissistic abuse. At CALDA, we provide the following to VIPs, UHNWIs, and prominent figures:

  • Tailored precision medicine.
  • One-to-one premium support.
  • Individual counselling.
  • State-of-the-art psychiatry
  • Access to a highly qualified team and network of experts.

The CALDA Concept is highly regarded as an effective treatment for narcissistic abuse.

Please get in touch with us if you want a discreet preliminary chat about your situation. All our clients are self-payers, so we can ensure absolute secrecy and privacy.


  1. Kaszina A. 14 Feb 2018. Why Narcissists and Abusers Spoil Valentine’s Day. Website: recoverfromemotioanlabuse.com [Accessed online 8 Feb 2023]
  2. Lancer D. 26 Aug 2020. Why Narcissists Act The Way They Do. Psychology Today. [Accessed online 08 Feb 2023]
  3. Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. 19 June 2013. Altered brain structure in pathological narcissism. Science Daily.
  4. Kassel G. (DiGiacinto J, Ed). 31 Jan 2019. 9 signs you’re dating a narcissist and how to get out. Healthline.com [Accessed online: 08 Feb 2023]. 
  5. Caligor E, e tal. 30 Apr 2015. Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Diagnostic and Clinical Challenges. Vol 172. Issue 5. The American Journal of Psychiatry.