Here are 5 ways to know if you are dating a Narcissist:
One. They become fixated on you immediately. This is often referred to as “love bombing” but I prefer to use the term Over-Idealization. You are placed on a proverbial pedestal and they reach out to you with constant, over-the-top contact. They stimulate your excitement early on. Sort of a two of you against the world and you are the only one that “gets them”. They have never met anyone as beautiful, brilliant, etc. They play to your being unique, different from every other person on the planet.
Two. You begin obsessing (even if you usually don’t do this). You start thinking about Romeo and Juliet, Antony, and Cleopatra, Bogie, and Bacall, You become rather swept off your feet and mesmerized. This can last for weeks or many months.
Three. You become comfortable, trusting, honest, transparent as time goes on. You have found a “soul mate” or so you think……now comes the turn of events and it’s not very pretty. (Hint, this is where your vulnerabilities and needs will be used against you and goodies withdrawn shortly to keep you in control).
Before we move on to number four, let’s go over a quick summary. In a healthy, emotionally balanced relationship, once the honeymoon fades a bit and reality sets in, the partners (both) become more realistic, grounded, and less fantasy-driven. It doesn’t mean the attraction or fun times stop but we let the relationship evolve at a balanced pace.
Four. In a relationship with a Narcissist here is where you will see a “switch”. Instead of Empathy, Compassion, Honesty, Realism, Support, Healthy Communication, you will be placed under a microscope. Any flaws or perceived flaws will be magnified. Any attempt to say no, confront, suggest, point out, give feedback, disagree, with the Narcissist will be met with contempt. (The contempt may be subtle at first) but it will be there. A true, pathological Narcissist will react with a pity ploy (it’s not me, it’s you or the world) or with passive-aggressiveness. You will pay a price later, how dare you not adore and defer to me.
Five. If you make it past this point, even if you are strong-willed and have decent self-worth, the true Narcissist will become a Jekyll and Hyde and sprinkle you with intermittent reinforcement throughout your time together. If you please them and supply them with the adoration and admiration they need, you will get a goody or two. If you dare challenge them, payback, punishment, vindictiveness will be around the corner.
Though it, unfortunately, takes a bit of time to really “see” a Narcissist behind the façade of normalcy, it will unfold. People are there to serve them, shine the light on them, admire them, agree with them and should feel grateful and privileged that they were accepted into their golden circle. If you should sway from the rules of the God Zeus, there will always be hell to pay to put you back in line.
If you pay attention to these suggestions you will be able to spot a pathological Narcissist. Also, give merit to how you feel. Confusion, uneasiness, emotional exhaustion, are common. Their sense of entitlement, their audacious arrogance, their superficial charm, and their contempt for those who do not worship them will eventually become evident, even if it is covert at first.
Remember, no matter how wonderful the fantasy or how brilliant the acting, observe and trust your judgment. The true Narcissist will always eventually tip their hand.