How to spot a narcissist
Narcissists can be seductive and charismatic. In fact, one study showed that her pleasant appearance was only penetrable after seven meetings. But you don’t want to fall in love with one. Over time, you can end up feeling ignored, neglected, and unimportant. Typically, a narcissist’s criticism, demands, and emotional unavailability increase, while his confidence and self-esteem decrease. You will try harder, but despite your pleas and efforts, the narcissist seems to be oblivious to your feelings and needs.
Narcissistic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) occurs more in men than in women. As described in “Do you love a narcissist?” someone with NPD is grandiose (sometimes only in fantasy), lacks empathy, and seeks admiration from others, as indicated by five of these summary characteristics:
1. Has a great sense of self-importance and exaggerates achievement and talent.
2. Dreams of unlimited power, success, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. Requires excessive admiration
4. Believe that he or she is special and unique, and that he or she can only be understood or should associate with other special or high status people (or institutions)
5. Lacks empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
6. Unjustifiably expects special and favorable treatment or compliance from others.
7. Exploits and takes advantage of others for personal ends.
8. You envy others or think they are envious of you.
9. Has an “attitude” of arrogance or acts that way
How a narcissist behaves
Basically this looks and feels like someone who puts themselves above everyone else. However, you may not notice it at first.
LOOKING FOR ADMIRATION
Narcissists often like to talk about themselves and their job is to be a good audience. They may never ask for you, and if you offer something about yourself, the conversation quickly returns to them. You may start to feel invisible, bored, annoyed, or exhausted. On the other hand, many narcissists are charming, beautiful, talented, or successful. Therefore, you may be fascinated by their good looks, seduction, or fabulous stories. Be aware that some narcissists who excel at seduction may act very interested in you, but that diminishes over time. Flattery is also a means to seduce him.
FEEL GREAT AND SPECIAL
Not only do they want to be the center of attention, they brag about their accomplishments and try to impress you. When you first meet, you may not know the extent of their hype, but it is likely the case. If they haven’t achieved their goals yet, they can brag about how they will do it or how they should be more recognized or successful than they are. They do this because they need constant validation, appreciation, and recognition.
Because they like to associate with high status, they can name celebrities or public figures and then find out. Similarly, they can drive an expensive car and wear designer clothes, show off their school, and want to go to the best restaurants. This may dazzle you, as can its charm, but it is actually a symptom of your need for an attractive facade to hide the emptiness underneath. A simple, intimate restaurant you prefer will not meet your standards or provide the public visibility you seek.
LACK OF EMPATHY
Although some non-narcissistic people lack empathy, this trait is a crucial and defining symptom when combined with a sense of entitlement and exploitation. Notice their expression when describing sad stories or their reaction to yours. Do they lack empathy for the difficulties of others and, in particular, for their own needs? I once told a narcissist that I couldn’t travel to meet him because of a back injury. I was surprised by his insensitive response: “You wouldn’t let a little back pain hold you back.”
Simple examples are rudeness, not listening, walking in front of you, ordering what you should eat, ignoring your limits, taking calls when you speak to them. It is true that these are minor things, any one of them alone may not be important, but they add up to paint a picture of someone who does not care about you and will behave that way in more important matters. They are not comfortable with vulnerability, their own or that of others, and they are not emotionally available. Over time, you will notice that they keep you at a distance, because they fear that if you get too close, you will not like what you see.
A sense of entitlement reveals how narcissists believe they are the center of the universe. Not only are they special and superior, but they also deserve special treatment. The rules do not apply to them. They may not only want to, but wait for a plane or cruise ship to wait for them. If they are convicted, it is everyone else’s fault or the law is wrong. It should be tailored to their needs, too: store their favorite treats in your car, like what they like, and meet at your convenience on your schedule. A relationship with this person will be painfully one-sided, not a two-way street. Narcissists are interested in getting what they want and making the relationship work for them. Its purpose is to satisfy your needs and wants.
You may not pick up on this trait until you get to know a narcissist better, but if you start to feel used, it may be because you are being exploited. An example is someone who takes credit for their work. A woman (or a man) may feel used for sex or like a sweet to the arms if a narcissist shows no interest in her as a person. A man (or woman) may feel used if he gives money to a narcissist or provides his services.
Manipulation is a form of covert assault to influence you to carry out your orders. Narcissists are masters at that. For many, dating is an art of play. Whether it is an “intimate relationship” or not, narcissists generally do not care about the other person, their feelings, wants, or needs. (Read “How to tell if a narcissist loves you.” When relationships feel one-sided, givers feel exploited. They do so because they allow it and do not set limits.
A more serious exploitation involves lying, lighting gas, cheating, and fraud involving financial and business transactions. These can include legal violations. You may not see it coming, but a narcissist can brag about how one happened to someone they took advantage of. Someone who had an affair may not be a narcissist, but a pattern of lies can be a symptom of various narcissistic traits. Other more obvious signs will appear.
Narcissists want to be the first and best, and they don’t like their competitors. They want what they have. Instead of rejoicing over the successes of others, they are envious. They can bring down the person they envy and say that the person doesn’t deserve what they have. Narcissistic parents do this with their own children and partners! They project and believe that other people are envious of them. When someone has a good reason to criticize them or they don’t like them, narcissists will dismiss their complaints as envy, because they are cool and cannot tolerate criticism.
Narcissists act superior because deep down they feel inferior. They may look down on other people, classes, ethnic groups, or races. Watch how they treat the people who serve them, such as waiters and doormen, while they suck up people of influence. Their critical comments are often tinged with disdain and are often rude, attacking the individual, and not just complaining about the service. It can manifest itself in the form of sudden anger or covert hostility. This gives you an idea of how they will treat you when they get to know you better.
They generally believe that they are infallible and are always right in any conversation. You may feel questioned or crushed in a debate or that your words are skewed. Narcissists never take responsibility (unless it’s for success), rarely apologize, and often blame others for misunderstandings or when things go wrong. Their hostility can take various forms of narcissistic abuse. Hear how they talk about their past relationships. Are they acting like the victim and still seething with resentment?
Beware of falling in love with a narcissist
Relationships with narcissists are often painful and can be emotionally and sometimes physically abusive. If you are the son or daughter of a narcissistic parent, you are more susceptible to falling in love with one, because they feel familiar, like a family. Once united and in love, it is not easy to leave. Divorcing from a narcissist can be costly not only financially, but also emotionally scary and draining. On the other hand, you may feel devastated if you are rejected and / or replaced.
© DarleneLancer 2018