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10 Signs You've Fallen (Prey To) In Love With A Narcissist

Updated on December 19, 2014
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Intro To The Narcissist

Those with narcissistic personality disorder often get away with inflicting a lifetime of torture on those they seek to harm. Between the gaslighting, projection and other tactics used by the narcissist, they manipulate their victims and those around them in very sneaky ways.

In romance, the narcissist is a very tactical "player" and master manipulator. To learn more about narcissistic traits, read 10 Weapons A Narcissist Keeps In Their Toolbox.

The narcissist does not know how to love, but they pretend very well. They feed off of hurting people and especially get a thrill out of playing mind games in romantic matters.

Tell-Tale Signs You're Dealing With A Narcissist

1.) They go from hot to cold.

It is common for people early in a relationship to get scared and hesitant, which can send mixed signals. With the narcissist, however, the intent is malicious. They are intentionally trying to make you tick. Typically, going from hot to cold includes being affectionate and generous one minute and then treating you like a complete stranger the next. They may act one way in front of friends or family and treat you differently when you are alone with them. If you are involved with a narcissist, your worst fear is most likely accurate: they are intentionally hurting you, not "confused."

2.) They belittle and degrade you.

The narcissist tells you what you want to hear in order to win your affection. Once they have won you over, they begin to tear you down, gradually and methodically. Forms of belittlement are not always obvious, especially early on, but might include backhanded compliments, not acknowledging your accomplishments or minimizing your efforts. They will also degrade you through excessive insults in the form teasing.

3.) The narcissist lacks emotional depth.

Sure, they have intelligence and can intellectualize, but when it comes to forming a true human connection, the narcissist is incapable of such depth. Their victims will have a lingering feeling that "something" is missing; something isn't quite right. The narcissist does not back up what they say with genuine emotions or actions. They may tell you how great you are, but they do not treat you in a way that makes you feel great. It is usually quite the opposite once they win you over.

4.) Lack of empathy.

The narcissist cannot experience empathy. Again, the narcissist can say all of the right words to mimic empathy, but they cannot feel true sorrow when they hurt someone or observe the pain of others. Their incredible ability to act can make it difficult to identify this lack of empathy.

Those with empathy go out of their way not to hurt others because when they do cause someone pain, it hurts them as a result (they empathize). However, a narcissist will not stop hurting others because this is how they get narcissistic supply. If a narcissist apologizes for inflicting pain, it is usually to save face, maintain their false image or to avoid embarrassment.

5.) The narcissist must always be in control.

Do you ever feel like what you said just went in one ear and out the other? Have you had your plans changed for you without your approval? Do you find that your boundaries are pushed or not respected? The narcissist cares about one thing and one thing only: being in control! When the narcissist does not get his or her way, you will know.

6.) They talk about you behind your back.

When you have fallen victim to a narcissist, you often don't realize that they have gossiped about you until it's too late. But, if you do find out that someone you are romantically involved with has talked about you behind your back inappropriately, this is a big red flag!

7.) They are highly critical of others.

A very common trait among narcissists is their criticism of others. When you are alone with them, they will tear others down. They feel superior to others. They prefer to only associate with or show respect to those high up on the social ladder rather than establishing respect based on a person's character.

8.) They are not accountable for their negative behaviors.

Narcissists are not accountable for their negative behavior - because, well, they are flawless! Even if they are called out, they will always find a way to justify their behavior because they are unable to be at fault.

The narcissist can do something that is obviously inappropriate in a room full of people, with everyone looking and they will always talk their way out of it and often convince everyone in the room that they did nothing wrong, successfully. What's worse, they generally find someone else to pin the blame on.

9.) Mind games are inevitable.

Perhaps the most notable characteristic of being romantically involved with a narcissist is that they play mind games; also known as gaslighting. They will lead their romantic interest on, cause them to question their own perception and intentionally let them down. If you suspect the man or woman you love is a narcissist, perhaps you may notice they will do things like keep you waiting on them, knowing all along that they would stand you up. Early on in romance, the narcissist is great at love-bombing their romantic prey by telling them how wonderful they are, spoiling them excessively, sharing secrets in order to make this target feel special. For the narcissist, this is the phase in which they lure their victim in.

10.) It is always your fault.

If you call a narcissist out for lying, for cheating or any other bad behavior, it is not their fault and if you are the one blaming them, chances are, it will be your fault for one or more reasons. They will come up with these reasons quickly or they will shut down, isolate and later blame you.

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    • loveaches profile image
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      Miriam Micheals 2 years ago from United States

      Thank you Lynda. I have to agree with you. I've seen more female narcissists too. I am overly cautious about trusting people because of my own abuse. They are sneaky. And, you are exactly right about people who get offended when you tell them "no." Thank you for sharing.

    • lyndapringle profile image

      Lynda Pringle 2 years ago from Austin, Texas

      I think that most of us have dealt with narcissists if we live long enough in this planet. When people, especially women, think of narcissists, they assume they are men but I have met far more female ones. Self-absorbed men are easier to spot because they are forthright and red flags are soon to be noticed especially if a woman has good intuition.

      But women are harder to read. They will be nice and professional to your face but do the most horrid things to you behind your back if they either don't take a liking to you or they perceive to have been slighted in some way in which they won't discuss. I worked with one attorney and it took me three years to discover that she did not like me and had been responsible for spreading gossip about me to new hires. I kept wondering why the new attorneys were so mistrustful of me.

      I worked for another attorney who I considered to be my best friend. However, I did know that she had control issues and that it was important for her to feel in control of her environment. Therefore, I prioritized her work and did whatever she asked of me, personal and professionally. I babysat her daughter, was a character witness at a custody hearing. I never said "no" to her. In return, I thought she had me on a pedestal. She had nothing but nice things to say about me to my employers. I was a favorite of our boss at the time but that did not seem to bother her despite the fact that the boss did not get along with her. I tell you-we were the best of buddies, so long as I did as she asked and never said one negative thing about her.

      Matters changed drastically when my boss took a shining to her and decided that she would be his new favorite. I was sad but was prepared to accept matters and understand that both would distance themselves from me. Nope. I believe this woman was threatened by my prior favoritism that she commenced to gossiping and spreading lies to me to our supervisors and co-workers. She committed the ulitmate sin by collating every negative personal e-mail I had sent her concerning my health issues and some of my Facebook postings and distributing them around the office. I asked her why she did this and she lied and claimed that a supervisor had asked her to do this which the supervisor denied. I believe those e-mails were her insurance that my credibility would be challenged should I mention a word about the increasing friendship between her and my boss. Essentially, I was thrown under the bus for a married man, who did not belong to either of us and who could do nothing for us. What hurt the most was losing my friendship with her daughter. But she refused to accept she was nothing but a good friend but now I understand that she was a narcissist who used me for her own purposes and cast me off once I was no longer expedient to her.

      With men, there are red flags one can note with narcissism such as constantly talking only about himself, not making time for you, not being good at showing empathy, not wanting to hear about your day, showing only superficial values such as materialism but not the important virtues of trust and integrity.

      Women are harder to read, much harder. But all I can suggest is to avoid people who have severe control issues, who become offended when you tell them "no" and who will not seek you out when you are not needed.