What to Look For
Of course, it’s their positive, not negative, qualities that make us fall in love, but if we’re dating someone with a narcissistic personality disorder, they won’t be able to hide their true colors for long. Some narcissists openly admit they have difficulty with relationships or intimacy. Believe them.
Even clients who say their spouse completely changed after the wedding, admit that there were telltale signs early on, once they learned more about narcissism and themselves. For example, narcissists often come on strong. They work hard to make you like them in order to get their needs met rather than build a relationship based on knowing you, which doesn’t interest them.
It’s common for narcissists to have outbursts of anger. A small disagreement can quickly erupt into a major conflict.
They won’t take responsibility. Everything is someone else’s fault, and that includes us. But even if they treat you wonderfully, notice if they denigrate their ex, act entitled, or are inconsiderate, manipulative, or demeaning of other people. Assume one day you will be on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse. Don’t excuse bad behavior toward you or other people. It’s a pattern.
In the beginning of dating narcissist, we’re fascinated by hearing their achievements and listening to their stories and entertaining banter. This is also how narcissists elevate their status in their eyes and ours.
As time goes on, it’s clear that the conversation is all about them. Being a good listener is an asset, but with a narcissist, it ensures that we won’t be heard or seen. Some narcissists are dogmatic to maintain superiority.
They always have to be right and won’t listen to a differing opinion. If we’re honest with ourselves, they don’t really seem interested in us, except long enough to get their sexual and emotional needs met. Notice if you feel disengaged, invisible, patronized, or drained by the conversation.
When a narcissist can no longer maintain a superior status through charm and boasting, or should we complain, a narcissist will devalue us to feel superior. They find fault with us or tell us how we should act, dress, eat, or change in some way. Perfectionistic narcissists are the most difficult.
For example, a narcissistic woman might try to makeover her man and tell him how to dress. A male narcissist might focus on his girlfriend’s physical appearance. If we express hurt, narcissists will say that they’re being helpful or that we’re too sensitive. At first, we might overlook criticism, especially if it’s delivered in a teasing or calm manner and we’ve been abused in the past or have low self-esteem. In time, demeaning remarks will become more frequent, overt, and callous.
When control is extreme, narcissists might interrogate us about our other relationships and conversations with family, our therapist, and friends. They might insist we dress and behave a certain way and try to limit our contacts and activities.
A true narcissist lacks empathy. We end up feeling that we don’t matter and that our needs and feelings are unimportant. If when we share something sad or important to us, our partner doesn’t show appropriate emotional responses, it may signal a lack of empathy.
Relationships with narcissists are challenging for codependents because of the symptoms of codependency present obstacles to discerning these warning signs. There are multiple reasons why we might still love an abuser and find it difficult to leave. This may be because we have an abusive parent or narcissistic mother or father who didn’t value our needs and feelings. Healing codependency will help us change these relationship dynamics so that we’re able to receive real love.
What do you think? Are you dating narcissist? Leave your thoughts in comments.
© Darlene Lancer 2020
Written by Darlene Lancer
Originally appeared in WhatIsCodependency.com