Love shouldn’t hurt – ever

Signs you’re dating a narcissist
Dating a narcissist can be difficult, confusing, and in some cases, manipulative and abusive. Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder gain their identity and motivation from others often through grandiose, antagonistic and attention-seeking behaviors. Narcissists experience low levels of empathy and don’t consider the effects their behaviors have on others. Their relationships are often shallow and just a means to an end. While this isn’t the case for all narcissists, it’s good to be aware of the signs you are dating a narcissist.

1. Bragging: Does your significant other brag that they are the best at everything they do? This behavior could be a display of grandiose behavior. Grandiose ideas manifest most often as thinking one is better than everyone else and acting condescendingly toward other people.

2. Self-Centeredness: Another facet of grandiosity is self-centeredness. If your date has only talked about themselves all night and doesn’t remember anything about you, it might be a sign that they’re a narcissist.

3. Gaslighting: In a nutshell, gaslighting is a tactic of emotional abuse designed to make someone distrust their own view of reality. Narcissists easily gaslight people, on purpose or accidentally, because they need to feel like they are better and smarter than you. If you express your opinion to a narcissist, they’ll do everything in their power to change your mind so you believe they’re right.

4. Emotional Detachment: In the beginning, most narcissists seem like the perfect partner. They will build you up and flatter you, but once they’ve gotten all the assurance, validation and ego boosting they can from you, they’ll start to pull away. If your partner suddenly seems distant or annoyed at your presence, it could be a sign that they are moving on to a new supply.

5. Instant Messaging: Many narcissists need instant gratification to be satisfied because their sense of self is tied to others. If you are with someone who gets angry or annoyed when you don’t answer your phone right away, that’s a sign of narcissism and it’s not fair to you when you are trying to live your own life.

6. Drama Kings and Drama Queens: Narcissists are the stars of their own blockbuster movie. They need their life to be high stakes so they can receive admiration and respect from others. If your date has been talking about their tragic life story a lot, take it with a grain of salt. They may just be trying to get a response out of you.

7. Controlling: A narcissistic dating partner will want to take charge of everything from when and where you go on date night to your relationship status on Facebook. They need to be in control because it makes them feel like they’re in power. Whether that power is real or perceived doesn’t matter; they’ll fight for control until the bitter end.

8. No Means No: Usually when someone says no, it means no. However, to a narcissist, “No” is just another challenge and they LOVE a challenge. Narcissists consider themselves the exception to any and all rules. They’ll even take your preferences or difference of opinion as a challenge. For example, if you’re vegetarian, your date might try to convince you to eat meat using any technique possible to convince you that you’re wrong and should change. Your personal boundaries are of no concern to them, and if your partner oversteps your boundaries often, it might be time to let go.

9. Feeling Used: If you’re dating a narcissist, you’re going to feel a little used sometimes. Ask yourself if you feel satisfied in your interactions with your partner. Do they ask about you or care about what you’re going through? If you find yourself tagging along on their adventures and listening to their stories and ideas with no reciprocation, it’s a sign you have found yourself dating a narcissist.

Do you recognize any of these signs? Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Please contact us locally at 256.574.5826, on our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000, or at our website www.csna.org. Advocates provide free, confidential support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

-Rebecca Hieronymi

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