Spot the warning signs early!
In the beginning stages of dating, people are often on their best behavior. So how can you tell if someone is a true Narcissist, or just trying to make a good impression?
Every new romantic relationship comes with its own list of unknowns. One of the most important things you want to become aware of early on in the relationship is whether the person you’re dating is a narcissist.
Having a relationship with a narcissist can be unnerving, confusing and even downright messy as the relationship can suddenly become emotionally manipulative and abusive. Narcissists are not all the same, they may vary in their behavior, but luckily there are red flags that you can watch out for.
What Are Narcissists?
Let’s take a step back to define what a narcissist is: narcissism is a personality disorder that’s often a result of the combination of genetics and one’s upbringing. People with narcissistic personality disorders are not grounded in their own personalities. They are largely reactive, drawing from your emotional response, which they get through a series of manipulative behaviors, such as grandiosity, antagonism, and attention-seeking.
Narcissists experience extremely low levels of empathy and do not consider the repercussions of their behavior towards others. Their relationships are shallow, which means that you are merely a means to an end. That “end” is the satisfaction of boosted self-esteem or energy, while lowering your own. Pay attention, and you’ll notice that when you are in the presence of a narcissist you feel drained and tired.
Are You Dating a Narcissist?
Here are the most common narcissistic traits to watch out for when you’re dating:
- Excessive, obsessive bragging in an exhibition of grandiosity. As mentioned above, this is one of the main signs of narcissism. That’s particularly so if this showy behavior is done while acting in a condescending manner towards other people.
- Self-centeredness. A true narcissist has disregard for others’ thoughts, feelings, possessions, time, and physical space. They’ll use you without a hint of consideration or sensitivity. Caring for others is only done if it’s for their benefit. For example, keeping up the good image of a perfect family member or friend with good deeds that are later used as leverage to get what they want.
- Narcissists dominate a conversation. Listen to the way they speak. Has your date spoken only about themselves all night? A pathological narcissist loves to brag about their accomplishments and achievements. Narcissists are generally excited about their “envy-worthy” activities. There’s an excessive focus on personal ideals and concerns, as well as on outer appearances and materialistic achievements.
- Skin-deep charm. Narcissists often appear to be very alluring and attractive, especially during the early stages of a relationship. They’re often charismatic and work hard to get your attention. They’ll masterfully flatter you to make you feel special. They’ll seduce you through vices such as flirting, gifts, dinners, sex, etc. But make no mistake: this is all part of persuading you to get you to give them what they want. Remember they seek your energy in this way, but you have to willingly give it to them.
- Constant attention-seeking. Narcissists draw meaning in their lives through being needed. They fulfill that need by taking up as much space in your life as they can. They’ll often seek to fill their emptiness through physical and emotional intimacy.
- Unreliability. Narcissist don’t give a second thought when it comes to breaking promises or appointments. You make plans, but you never really never know if a narcissist will actually show up. When you’re already living with a narcissist, you’ll find your schedule and routine constantly disrupted.
- Instant Gratification. This is a common trait in every narcissist. They expect to receive whatever they want, the moment they want it. Not only that, but if they want you to give it to them, you must. If you want to test this person, state “No, let me think.” If their immediate reaction is to be aggressive and throw a child-like temper-tantrum, you’re likely dealing with a narcissistic personality. In fact, when any of the above criteria are not fulfilled, the narcissist will easily become angry or depressed.
- Require a constant line of communication. A narcissist will expect you to answer their texts or calls immediately. If you do not answer their phone call, they will call you multiple times, and perhaps try to reach you via other mediums as well. Their goal is to condition you to be constantly looking out for their phone calls or texts.
- High sense of entitlement. Narcissists expect preferential treatment from others. They need it in order to feel special. A narcissist will want you to foresee any needs they may have, and tend to them fully, regardless of your feelings, time or energy. Pay attention to how your date treats service people, such as a waitress or waiter, during dates.
- Gas lighting. The pathological narcissist manipulates you into no longer trusting your own view of reality. If you’re dating a narcissist, they’ll do anything in their power to make you believe that they are right and you are wrong.
- Sudden emotional detachment. Narcissists have a distinctive strategy. They start off as seemingly the perfect partner in the first week of dating. They flatter you, build you up, and make you feel validated and special. Then they suddenly become cold and distant towards you. They tear down your self-confidence with their unhealthy cycle of manipulation.
Be mindful of emotional detachment! This is the most telling sign, but it is unfortunately only apparent when you have already entered into their cycle of manipulation. Know that narcissists constantly create drama to get your attention, and they’ll blame the drama on you. Narcissist are both survivalists and predatory by nature. Their goal is to create an ongoing channel that draws your energy from you.
Any of the above behaviors look familiar? Here’s how to handle a narcissist that’s already in your life:
- Simply say “NO!” Narcissists need to feed off your emotional reactions to sustain their codependency. Emotional reactions from you such as terror, chaos, sympathy, compassion, massive amounts of admiration, overwhelming loss or godlike worship are what they live for.
- Make sure you have a support system. A narcissist will have taken all your attention away from your other important relationship. If you’ve already distanced yourself from friends and family members, get back in touch with them. Choose a select few to confide in to get the support you need to move forward.
- Get professional help in times of crisis. Untangling yourself from a relationship with a narcissist is no easy feat. A professional therapist can teach you how to deal with a narcissist, as well as help you refocus on your own needs and deal with any repercussions of your relationship with a narcissist.
When you’re dating, remember that, as an adult, you have control over who you allow to be in your life. As with any healthy relationship, a romantic relationship should be one of mutual give and take, and one that brings you joy. Feel free OPT OUT at any time that you feel unhappy about the relationship with the person you’re dating for any reason, especially if you’re dating a narcissist.
Need more dating advice? Schedule a free 3-minute consultation with one of our professional love psychics today.