If you look closely enough, movies and books are filled with characters with narcissistic tendencies. Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind), Daniel Cleaver (Bridget Jones’ Diary) and the manic kitchen towel straightener who was Julia Robert’s husband in Sleeping with the Enemy. Once you know these type of people exist, you will begin to see them everywhere.
Perhaps the most common trait of the narcissistic personality is the insatiable appetite for the attention of others. In a dating relationship, the narcissist secures your attention by means of “love bombing.” You will be made to feel very special and that your chance meeting was written in the stars. But behind this onslaught of compliments and affection is a deliberate attempt to harvest the “supply” he needs to feed his ego. Once the bombing has subsided, here are ten signs you have encountered a narcissistic personality.
1. One-sided conversations
A narcissist will dominate date night talk with subjects related to his achievements and interests. Oh sure, in the beginning there may have been two-way, heart-to-heart conversations, but those occasions fade like a mist of breath on a mirror. A true narcissist is only a good listener when it increases his dosage of narcissistic supply.
2. Isolation from family and friends
A narcissistic person will almost immediately set about isolating you from any support structure that he identifies as a threat to his control of you. In the early stages of dating, he may accompany you to gatherings with family or friends. After a short while, the narcissist withdraws from these activities and complains about you going without him.
In order to make you obsess over him, a person with narcissistic personality disorder will introduce other women into the mix. He may mention a woman from work who flirts with him or his ex-girlfriend who sends him messages through social media. Narcissists triangulate to create turmoil in your mind which solidifies his control of you.
4. Irritability and Aggressiveness
This may manifest in the form of road rage. A person with narcissistic personality disorder believes that his world should be full of agreeable and adoring people. His motto could be, “I’m the jerk that the world revolves around.” Even if it’s an elderly person who inadvertently drifts over in his lane, he will ride her bumper to let her know he won’t accept what is – in his mind – a personal insult.
5. The sound of silence
Has your dating partner given you the cold shoulder after an innocent remark meant to improve the relationship? He will apply the silent treatment to inflict maximum damage. Make no mistake, when ignored by the person whose attention means a lot to you, the reaction in your brain is similar to physical pain. Don’t ignore this sign. Normal people simply don’t do this.
6. Extreme, and often misplaced, arrogance
This man has a grandiose sense of himself. He will exaggerate his achievements and talents and expect to be recognized as superior without proportionate achievements.
7. Crazy ex-girlfriends
A truly narcissistic man despises and diminishes women. He views all females with contempt and as inferior gold-diggers. So of course every woman in his past is crazy. Narcissists are incapable of amicable breakups. Most will even go so far as to try to ruin the reputation of his exes.
8. Above the law
He can text his girlfriend, cut in line and cheat on his taxes because the rules apply to everyone but him. The narcissistic individual has zero consideration for others and he is not afraid to question authority because he is convinced that he is better than everyone else.
9. Irresponsible with money
Does your dating partner have a sob story about why he doesn’t have any money? When it comes to his finances, narcissists often engage in the kind of magical thinking that leads to shortsighted behavior and eventually heavy debt and financial crimes.
10. Future faking
The future faker will early and often talk about his plans for the future and these plans always include you. He may even speak of marriage after just a few weeks. This technique allows you to think there is a future so he can control you in the present.
Are the signs there?
You will find that normal, loving people do not raise any of these flags. If your dating partner consistently exhibits any of the traits listed here, run, don’t walk, away. A bona fide narcissist will deviously plot your downfall with an Oscar-worthy performance. Unless he seeks professional help, he cannot change and will only move on to the next target.
A quick disclaimer: Although women are not exempt from narcissism, we used the pronoun “he” because the male species is more likely to rate on the narcissistic scale. Also, the aforementioned red flags are associated with extreme narcissism – not the type related to healthy self-esteem.