Narcissists prioritize power over intimacy. (See Conquering Shame and Codependency.)They loathe vulnerability, which they consider weak. To maintain control, they avoid closeness and prefer dominance and superiority over others. Game-playing thus strikes the perfect balance to both get their needs met and keep their options open to flirt or date multiple partners.
When they lose interest and decide the game is over, it’s devastating to their ex, who can’t understand what happened and is still in love. Breakups are especially hard during the romantic phase when passions are strong. Being dropped after love bombing can leave discarded partners in shock. They feel confused, crushed, and betrayed. If the relationship had continued, eventually they would have seen through the narcissist’s seductive veneer.
Narcissists can develop positive feelings toward their partner, but without deep love, they lack the motivation to maintain their façade and romance. That’s when fault-finding begins. They can become cold, critical and angry, especially when they don’t get their way. Eventually, they must look elsewhere for their narcissistic supplies.
What to Do
There are steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a narcissist’s games and changing the relationship dynamic. If it doesn’t improve, it may take courage to leave, but it’s painful then being left.
1. Knowledge is power. Not only information about narcissism but learn about your date before you start fantasizing a romantic future and give away your heart. Pay attention to words and actions over time, not just flattery and words of love. (See “How to Spot a Narcissist.”) If you’re uneasy or suspicious, trust your gut.
2. Walk away from a date who doesn’t respond, seems too busy, preoccupied, or interested in you.
3. Talk about distancing behavior. Share your feelings, and find out what’s going on. You may learn that your date is seeing other people, just wants to have “fun,” or doesn’t want a commitment.
4. Take control and confront bad behavior, such as unreliability, criticism, and rudeness. This requires the ability to trust your feelings, to be assertive, and to set boundaries. Confrontations aren’t ultimatums. Instead, learn to do it strategically. Get Dealing with a Narcissist.
5. Don’t be available 24/7. If you’re a man, restrain yourself, and don’t call or text multiple times a day in the beginning of a relationship. If you’re a woman, do not chase a man, period! Stop calling or texting him first. If he disappears, you can confront that, but the bottom line is that his behavior speaks volumes. Just move on. Remember, not only are there other fish in the sea, this one is toxic!
© Darlene Lancer 2018
Related Video: 12 Red Flags You Are Being Psychologically Manipulated
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Written by Darlene Lancer JD, MFT
Originally appeared on WhatIsCodependency.com
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