10 Ways to Discourage Narcissists from Dating You

IMG_0501If you’ve ever ended up with a narcissist before, or if you are out there in the dating world, these are some of the things that you should be aware of when you begin to date someone new. These tips may keep you from realizing that you have been “captured” by a narcissist.

1. In initial conversations make sure you ask them as many questions as they ask you. Wait for an answer. If they say that they like something, ask a more specific question.

Why this is important

Narcissists actually probe you for information so that they can learn as much about you as possible. By asking them questions, you force them to tell you about themselves. This slows down the process of them collecting data and allows you an opportunity to determine if they are lying.

For example, you say, “I love dancing the Macarena” They reply, “I do too!” You can ask, “Where do you usually go dancing?” This next direct question forces them to be more specific. The first set of lies is very simple, but the more detailed the questions the more likely you will catch them in a lie. Also, it can put them off balance and make them less attracted to you.

It is important in any relationship that there be reciprocity, so asking someone about themselves as much as they ask you, is a good thing.

2. Never reveal personal or private information early. The rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t tell everyone at work, it is not something to share in the first couple of weeks of a relationship.

Why this is important

Sharing personal information has two effects. The first is that it gives you a sense of intimacy with this person. Exchanging private information is one of the ways that we get close to someone. Narcissists use this method to get close fast. Getting really close to someone before you know them is never a good thing. The second problem is that sensitive material can be used against you and if the person turns out to be a narcissist you will regret sharing things that you did not want everyone to know.

Realize we all crave intimacy.

There is a strong urge to reveal things to the same level as someone else.

It is good to base any relationship on trust and intimacy and these things take time. There will be time in the future to share these details if this is the right person.

3. Don’t fight for the relationship right at the beginning. If someone that you are just starting to date tells you that their friends or family would not approve of your relationship or if they let you know that they are leaving town or that they are worried about you breaking up with them right away it is a warning sign. They are looking for assurances, way before it is reasonable, for you to say that you would not leave. If for any reason, the relationship seems to have opposition or an expiry date, see it as a red flag. Statements like, “This is just a summer fling” are a warning sign.

Why this is important

Think of dating a narcissist as a job interview. They want someone that will be there for the long haul. They want to know that you will go the extra mile to make the relationship work. All of these things are desirable in a good, long-term relationship, but they show you are desperate in the short term. Narcissists are attracted to someone that is too desperate to easily leave any relationship, even a bad one.

If their friends or family wouldn’t approve, why would you want to be with someone when you would be an outcast or disliked? If the person you just started dating may have to leave town for a job or to go back to school, recognize that it is too early to make that kind of commitment and don’t. These situations can also be a ploy. If you move to another town with them early in the relationship they have you trapped because you are relying on them for everything and none of your friends or family are around.

If early on you get the impression that there might be opposition to your relationship or an expiry date you are being pressured to make a commitment prematurely.

4. Maintain your private time. If you are being flooded with attention it may initially feel like you are loved. This is not the case. A narcissist will flood you with attention as a way of controlling you. You get used to this level of attention and then you expect it, long after it is taken away. Try to not respond to the multiple texts, messages and calls. Don’t respond until it is convenient. Constantly interrupting your time with other people is one of the ways that narcissists distance you from your friends.

Why this is important

Narcissists need constant nourishment from others. They are trying to figure out if you are the one that is going to give it to them. By not giving it to them, you are less likely to be pursued.

A person that actually loves you, respects your right to privacy, time with your friends and your need to have time to yourself.

5. Keep seeing your friends, doing your hobbies and pursuing your interests. If your new dating partner insists on seeing you every minute, it as a sign of pathology not adoration. The beginning of a relationship is too early to be spending most of your time with someone.

It is one thing to say, “I’m going to the movies with friends.” But if someone you have just started dating digs for more detail: which friends, which theatre, which movie, are you going out afterwards? It is best to not give it. “Hiding” information from a narcissist will drive them crazy and they will not want to date you.

Why this is important

The ultimate goal of a narcissist is to have you all to themselves. This is part of the control that they have over their partners because the narcissist manages to eliminate everyone else from your life as much as possible. Having only one person in your life makes you very dependent on this person.

Realize you may want to be “good”

and not realize that you are wired to “obey”

when someone asks you to do something.

In a healthy relationship your partner will want you to be happy and having friends, hobbies and interests is a large part of that.

6. Maintain your private space. Agreeing to have someone move in right away, or suddenly noticing that one “sleep over” has resulted in the person never leaving is a major red flag. You should make other plans and tell them that you want to go out with your friends and that they can’t stay at your place.

Why this is important

This is just one element of how a narcissist moves in and takes control of your life. Suddenly, you will realize that they are living at your place full time. The longer they are there before you stand your ground the more difficult it becomes to maintain your space. Having someone move in right away does not allow time for you to balance this new relationship with the other priorities in your life.

Realize you are fighting biology here.

We instinctively want others around. It feels good to have company.

Quality relationships are not based on spending as much time together as quickly as possible. They are based on mutual respect for each other’s lives and priorities.

7. Resist the urge to “take care of someone” you just met. If someone tells you early in a relationship that they have come upon bad times at work, in health, a tragedy, ask yourself why you want to take care of them and why there is no one else in their lives to fulfill this role.

Why this is important

This is one of the tactics that narcissists use to get close to you. Examples are, “I’ve just lost my job and have no money”. “I was living with my last lover and I ended it, so I have no place to live”. “I just moved into town and have been living on a friend’s sofa but I’ve outstayed my welcome”. If they say that they just got out of a bad relationship with an awful person, insist that you don’t want to be their rebound person and move away quickly.

Realize that you are fighting instincts here.

We all want to pick up the fallen bird and nurse it back to health.

Healthy relationships are between two self-sufficient individuals. If this person cannot support themselves now, they are unlikely to take care of their half of the responsibility in a relationship.

8. We all like to dream and plan, but the beginning of a relationship is a bad time to be planning to be together forever. Try the phrase, “I think we are getting ahead of ourselves”. This allows you to be honest and can be used like this: “Yes, I would love to move to New York City with you and pursue my comedy career, but I think we are getting ahead of ourselves.”

Why this is important

One of the tactics narcissists use to keep you from leaving is to point out that you “agreed” to this relationship and wanted this relationship from the beginning. Now you are a “quitter” or “selfish” or “mean” if you are just abandoning this dream. Often, the dream was premature.

It is good to have dreams and long term plans together but these should be based on a solid relationship, not an elusive goal that is agreed upon before all of the facts are in.

9. Pay attention to how your date treats others. Ask yourself if you want to be treated that way.

Why this is important

Narcissists often think that they are justified belittling those around them. They think that they are superior and therefore they can treat others badly. In any relationship, how your partner treats others can be how they will treat you — eventually.

A nice person has respect for others and respect for you and treats people accordingly.

10. Focus on reciprocity. If they compliment you, compliment them back. If they ask about you, ask about them. If they do something for you, do it for them.

Why this is important.

Ideally, we all want good relationships. Keeping things in balance is a good starting point for a relationship based on mutual support. By treating them exactly how they treat you, you will become aware of whether or not it “feels normal”. For instance, if they buy you several gifts and it feels abnormal to buy someone you just met that many gifts, you realize that this is a red flag. This method helps you see past the joy you felt in receiving the gifts and puts them in context. If you feel like you are being disingenuous complimenting them repeatedly, realize that their level of compliments may be abnormal and this is certainly a red flag.

It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of a new relationship and suddenly realize that your whole world has changed. With a narcissist it is important to be very aware at the beginning and not let this happen.

This is kinda a good news, bad news type of post.

The good news is that this information will help you side step a relationship with a narcissist, someone that can wreak havoc on your life for decades.

The bad news is that your next new relationship might not work out.

Keep in mind you don’t always want relationships to “work out”; some of them can be bad for you.

Narcissism Navigated

The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

Top 10 Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

Protecting Yourself from the Narcissist

Leaving the Narcissist

Top 10 Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

IMGP4864


At the beginning of a new relationship it is difficult to know what is normal and what is pathologic. Here are some red flags that should make you question whether or not you are with a
narcissist.

1. They are VERY interested in you.

When you first meet your initial conversations have less of a ‘get to know you’ feel and are more like an interrogation. They may join in the conversation, but they tend to want to know as much about you as possible. This is the initial situation, soon they become very full of themselves and only want to talk about how great they are.

     Why this pulls you in:

They show so much interest in you when you first meet them. This can be irresistible to someone that has been ignored, unheard or otherwise lonely. This burst of attention can make you feel like this person cares about you. If you desperately want some attention, you are at risk.

2. They reveal something very personal early.

Most people share private details with someone as they get to know them. This is different, because these are shared long before the relationship warrants this type of exchange.

     Why this pulls you in:

Revealing something personal is associated with attaining a certain level of intimacy. This is often reciprocated. In normal social interactions, people want the same level of vulnerability. We all want close, personal, relationships. Sharing personal things before you have known someone very long (regardless of how close you feel!!) is risky because they can and will use this personal information against you.

3. They elicit sympathy.

They give you a reason to feel sorry for them: broken home, lost job, just got out of a bad relationship, hard times.

     Why this pulls you in:

This plays on our natural instincts to help one another. If someone shows vulnerability we feel like we want to help. One of the most common examples is that their last lover was very mean to them and treated them badly. They now are hurt, vulnerable and scared to get involved with another person. We can all relate to having an Ex that hurt us. This helps build the relationship by creating a common experience, a common understanding. If you did have a bad relationship before, they find this alluring. They want drama in their lives and if you get pulled into Ex bashing, they have found a true partner.

4. All of their spare time must be with you.

Narcissists cannot be alone. Do not mistake this for them really, really wanting to spend time with you. They are trying to avoid being alone.

     Why this pulls you in:

If you have been lonely, or alone too much, this can make you feel special and loved.

5. Quickly, they start making long-term plans.

They can see your future for decades. They get really close really fast, well before it would normally happen.

     Why this pulls you in:

They want you to see this imaginary future and start planning long term. Later, this will be used against you if you try to break away from the relationship because this imaginary life is something that you have agreed to and probably want. This is the opposite of someone that “won’t commit” and can be misunderstood as desirable.

6. They lie.

They exaggerate or give only partial information about things. Like, their last job may have been lost because they didn’t show up for work. They say that their boss was a jerk.

     Why this pulls you in:

They are pulling on your heartstrings often by telling lies that inflate them, make them look like the victim or make them seem interesting.

7. They blame others for all of their problems.

They do not take responsibility for the loss of their last relationship, job, friends, or anything else.

     Why this pulls you in:

It can give you a misrepresentation of who they are and not let you see how much trouble they cause. It also elicits sympathy because they have had such a hard time.

8. They have a need to know where you are and whom you are with at all times.

They blame this on their last relationship and make you feel like it is up to you to make them feel safe and loved, because they were hurt so bad before.

     Why this pulls you in:

It can make you feel special and loved to have someone contacting you to say hello. These calls (texts, emails or whatever) are often masked as, “I miss you and wanted to say hello.” These are actually check-up calls so that they can keep track of you.

9. They display anger disproportionate to the situation.

Anyone that has road rage, gets snippy with a clerk, waiter or someone that they barely have contact with is showing inappropriate anger. These can be subtle at the time, but are MAJOR. Normal people do not have this amount of pent up rage.

     Why this pull you in:

If you tend to lack assertiveness, it can be nice to be with someone that stands up for you.

10. History of reckless behaviour.

They tell stories about great and daring things that they have done.

     Why this pulls you in:

These stories are often interesting and make the person seem daring and exciting. It feels like being with them will make your life more expansive and enjoyable.

Kindle cover

 My Book, The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available. 

10 Ways to Discourage Narcissists from Dating You

Protecting Yourself from the Narcissist

Leaving the Narcissist

Revealed! 6 lies Narcissists Tell 

10 Ways to Discourage Narcissists from Dating You

IMG_0501If you’ve ever ended up with a narcissist before, or if you are out there in the dating world, these are some of the things that you should be aware of when you begin to date someone new. These tips may keep you from realizing that you have been “captured” by a narcissist.

1. In initial conversations make sure you ask them as many questions as they ask you. Wait for an answer. If they say that they like something, ask a more specific question.

Why this is important

Narcissists actually probe you for information so that they can learn as much about you as possible. By asking them questions, you force them to tell you about themselves. This slows down the process of them collecting data and allows you an opportunity to determine if they are lying.

For example, you say, “I love dancing the Macarena” They reply, “I do too!” You can ask, “Where do you usually go dancing?” This next direct question forces them to be more specific. The first set of lies is very simple, but the more detailed the questions the more likely you will catch them in a lie. Also, it can put them off balance and make them less attracted to you.

It is important in any relationship that there be reciprocity, so asking someone about themselves as much as they ask you, is a good thing.

2. Never reveal personal or private information early. The rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t tell everyone at work, it is not something to share in the first couple of weeks of a relationship.

Why this is important

Sharing personal information has two effects. The first is that it gives you a sense of intimacy with this person. Exchanging private information is one of the ways that we get close to someone. Narcissists use this method to get close fast. Getting really close to someone before you know them is never a good thing. The second problem is that sensitive material can be used against you and if the person turns out to be a narcissist you will regret sharing things that you did not want everyone to know.

Realize we all crave intimacy.

There is a strong urge to reveal things to the same level as someone else.

It is good to base any relationship on trust and intimacy and these things take time. There will be time in the future to share these details if this is the right person.

3. Don’t fight for the relationship right at the beginning. If someone that you are just starting to date tells you that their friends or family would not approve of your relationship or if they let you know that they are leaving town or that they are worried about you breaking up with them right away it is a warning sign. They are looking for assurances, way before it is reasonable, for you to say that you would not leave. If for any reason, the relationship seems to have opposition or an expiry date, see it as a red flag. Statements like, “This is just a summer fling” are a warning sign.

Why this is important

Think of dating a narcissist as a job interview. They want someone that will be there for the long haul. They want to know that you will go the extra mile to make the relationship work. All of these things are desirable in a good, long-term relationship, but they show you are desperate in the short term. Narcissists are attracted to someone that is too desperate to easily leave any relationship, even a bad one.

If their friends or family wouldn’t approve, why would you want to be with someone when you would be an outcast or disliked? If the person you just started dating may have to leave town for a job or to go back to school, recognize that it is too early to make that kind of commitment and don’t. These situations can also be a ploy. If you move to another town with them early in the relationship they have you trapped because you are relying on them for everything and none of your friends or family are around.

If early on you get the impression that there might be opposition to your relationship or an expiry date you are being pressured to make a commitment prematurely.

4. Maintain your private time. If you are being flooded with attention it may initially feel like you are loved. This is not the case. A narcissist will flood you with attention as a way of controlling you. You get used to this level of attention and then you expect it, long after it is taken away. Try to not respond to the multiple texts, messages and calls. Don’t respond until it is convenient. Constantly interrupting your time with other people is one of the ways that narcissists distance you from your friends.

Why this is important

Narcissists need constant nourishment from others. They are trying to figure out if you are the one that is going to give it to them. By not giving it to them, you are less likely to be pursued.

A person that actually loves you, respects your right to privacy, time with your friends and your need to have time to yourself.

5. Keep seeing your friends, doing your hobbies and pursuing your interests. If your new dating partner insists on seeing you every minute, it as a sign of pathology not adoration. The beginning of a relationship is too early to be spending most of your time with someone.

It is one thing to say, “I’m going to the movies with friends.” But if someone you have just started dating digs for more detail: which friends, which theatre, which movie, are you going out afterwards? It is best to not give it. “Hiding” information from a narcissist will drive them crazy and they will not want to date you.

Why this is important

The ultimate goal of a narcissist is to have you all to themselves. This is part of the control that they have over their partners because the narcissist manages to eliminate everyone else from your life as much as possible. Having only one person in your life makes you very dependent on this person.

Realize you may want to be “good”

and not realize that you are wired to “obey”

when someone asks you to do something.

In a healthy relationship your partner will want you to be happy and having friends, hobbies and interests is a large part of that.

6. Maintain your private space. Agreeing to have someone move in right away, or suddenly noticing that one “sleep over” has resulted in the person never leaving is a major red flag. You should make other plans and tell them that you want to go out with your friends and that they can’t stay at your place.

Why this is important

This is just one element of how a narcissist moves in and takes control of your life. Suddenly, you will realize that they are living at your place full time. The longer they are there before you stand your ground the more difficult it becomes to maintain your space. Having someone move in right away does not allow time for you to balance this new relationship with the other priorities in your life.

Realize you are fighting biology here.

We instinctively want others around. It feels good to have company.

Quality relationships are not based on spending as much time together as quickly as possible. They are based on mutual respect for each other’s lives and priorities.

7. Resist the urge to “take care of someone” you just met. If someone tells you early in a relationship that they have come upon bad times at work, in health, a tragedy, ask yourself why you want to take care of them and why there is no one else in their lives to fulfill this role.

Why this is important

This is one of the tactics that narcissists use to get close to you. Examples are, “I’ve just lost my job and have no money”. “I was living with my last lover and I ended it, so I have no place to live”. “I just moved into town and have been living on a friend’s sofa but I’ve outstayed my welcome”. If they say that they just got out of a bad relationship with an awful person, insist that you don’t want to be their rebound person and move away quickly.

Realize that you are fighting instincts here.

We all want to pick up the fallen bird and nurse it back to health.

Healthy relationships are between two self-sufficient individuals. If this person cannot support themselves now, they are unlikely to take care of their half of the responsibility in a relationship.

8. We all like to dream and plan, but the beginning of a relationship is a bad time to be planning to be together forever. Try the phrase, “I think we are getting ahead of ourselves”. This allows you to be honest and can be used like this: “Yes, I would love to move to New York City with you and pursue my comedy career, but I think we are getting ahead of ourselves.”

Why this is important

One of the tactics narcissists use to keep you from leaving is to point out that you “agreed” to this relationship and wanted this relationship from the beginning. Now you are a “quitter” or “selfish” or “mean” if you are just abandoning this dream. Often, the dream was premature.

It is good to have dreams and long term plans together but these should be based on a solid relationship, not an elusive goal that is agreed upon before all of the facts are in.

9. Pay attention to how your date treats others. Ask yourself if you want to be treated that way.

Why this is important

Narcissists often think that they are justified belittling those around them. They think that they are superior and therefore they can treat others badly. In any relationship, how your partner treats others can be how they will treat you — eventually.

A nice person has respect for others and respect for you and treats people accordingly.

10. Focus on reciprocity. If they compliment you, compliment them back. If they ask about you, ask about them. If they do something for you, do it for them.

Why this is important.

Ideally, we all want good relationships. Keeping things in balance is a good starting point for a relationship based on mutual support. By treating them exactly how they treat you, you will become aware of whether or not it “feels normal”. For instance, if they buy you several gifts and it feels abnormal to buy someone you just met that many gifts, you realize that this is a red flag. This method helps you see past the joy you felt in receiving the gifts and puts them in context. If you feel like you are being disingenuous complimenting them repeatedly, realize that their level of compliments may be abnormal and this is certainly a red flag.

It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of a new relationship and suddenly realize that your whole world has changed. With a narcissist it is important to be very aware at the beginning and not let this happen.

This is kinda a good news, bad news type of post.

The good news is that this information will help you side step a relationship with a narcissist, someone that can wreak havoc on your life for decades.

The bad news is that your next new relationship might not work out.

Keep in mind you don’t always want relationships to “work out”; some of them can be bad for you.

____________________

img_6462

Boundaries,

what you never learned

if you have ever ended up with a narcissist, or your parent was one.

This course is for you.

Learn more here

____________________

Narcissism Navigated

The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

Top 10 Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

Protecting Yourself from the Narcissist

Leaving the Narcissist

Top 10 Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

IMGP4864


At the beginning of a new relationship it is difficult to know what is normal and what is pathologic. Here are some red flags that should make you question whether or not you are with a
narcissist.

1. They are VERY interested in you.

When you first meet your initial conversations have less of a ‘get to know you’ feel and are more like an interrogation. They may join in the conversation, but they tend to want to know as much about you as possible. This is the initial situation, soon they become very full of themselves and only want to talk about how great they are.

     Why this pulls you in:

They show so much interest in you when you first meet them. This can be irresistible to someone that has been ignored, unheard or otherwise lonely. This burst of attention can make you feel like this person cares about you. If you desperately want some attention, you are at risk.

2. They reveal something very personal early.

Most people share private details with someone as they get to know them. This is different, because these are shared long before the relationship warrants this type of exchange.

     Why this pulls you in:

Revealing something personal is associated with attaining a certain level of intimacy. This is often reciprocated. In normal social interactions, people want the same level of vulnerability. We all want close, personal, relationships. Sharing personal things before you have known someone very long (regardless of how close you feel!!) is risky because they can and will use this personal information against you.

3. They elicit sympathy.

They give you a reason to feel sorry for them: broken home, lost job, just got out of a bad relationship, hard times.

     Why this pulls you in:

This plays on our natural instincts to help one another. If someone shows vulnerability we feel like we want to help. One of the most common examples is that their last lover was very mean to them and treated them badly. They now are hurt, vulnerable and scared to get involved with another person. We can all relate to having an Ex that hurt us. This helps build the relationship by creating a common experience, a common understanding. If you did have a bad relationship before, they find this alluring. They want drama in their lives and if you get pulled into Ex bashing, they have found a true partner.

4. All of their spare time must be with you.

Narcissists cannot be alone. Do not mistake this for them really, really wanting to spend time with you. They are trying to avoid being alone.

     Why this pulls you in:

If you have been lonely, or alone too much, this can make you feel special and loved.

5. Quickly, they start making long-term plans.

They can see your future for decades. They get really close really fast, well before it would normally happen.

     Why this pulls you in:

They want you to see this imaginary future and start planning long term. Later, this will be used against you if you try to break away from the relationship because this imaginary life is something that you have agreed to and probably want. This is the opposite of someone that “won’t commit” and can be misunderstood as desirable.

6. They lie.

They exaggerate or give only partial information about things. Like, their last job may have been lost because they didn’t show up for work. They say that their boss was a jerk.

     Why this pulls you in:

They are pulling on your heartstrings often by telling lies that inflate them, make them look like the victim or make them seem interesting.

7. They blame others for all of their problems.

They do not take responsibility for the loss of their last relationship, job, friends, or anything else.

     Why this pulls you in:

It can give you a misrepresentation of who they are and not let you see how much trouble they cause. It also elicits sympathy because they have had such a hard time.

8. They have a need to know where you are and whom you are with at all times.

They blame this on their last relationship and make you feel like it is up to you to make them feel safe and loved, because they were hurt so bad before.

     Why this pulls you in:

It can make you feel special and loved to have someone contacting you to say hello. These calls (texts, emails or whatever) are often masked as, “I miss you and wanted to say hello.” These are actually check-up calls so that they can keep track of you.

9. They display anger disproportionate to the situation.

Anyone that has road rage, gets snippy with a clerk, waiter or someone that they barely have contact with is showing inappropriate anger. These can be subtle at the time, but are MAJOR. Normal people do not have this amount of pent up rage.

     Why this pull you in:

If you tend to lack assertiveness, it can be nice to be with someone that stands up for you.

10. History of reckless behaviour.

They tell stories about great and daring things that they have done.

     Why this pulls you in:

These stories are often interesting and make the person seem daring and exciting. It feels like being with them will make your life more expansive and enjoyable.

Narcissism Navigated

Kindle cover

 My Book, The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available. 

10 Ways to Discourage Narcissists from Dating You

Protecting Yourself from the Narcissist

Leaving the Narcissist

Revealed! 6 lies Narcissists Tell 

My Friend is Dating a Narcissist What Should I Do? 7 Thoughts

IMG_1028For anyone familiar with a narcissist and how nasty they can be, it is very difficult to watch someone you like be involved with one. We all know how they got there. Initially, the narcissist is “the perfect soul mate” and showers them with affection and attention. Then, as the relationship progresses more and more of the pathology starts to show.

There will be mentions of multiple arguments and confusion about events. Increasingly, your friend will want to stay home or will cancel activities at the last moment. Most notably, the relationship will either be “on the rocks” or “wonderful” when you talk to your friend and this will keep changing back and forth. Often, plans will be cancelled because your friend needs to stay home and tend to the relationship.

The narcissist can appear in many different ways to your friend’s family and social group. Some narcissists will maintain the charming side when dealing with everyone that knows their partner. Some will immediately offend everyone and some will just be unavailable for most social activities, or any combination of the above.

So what do you do?

7 Thoughts

1. Blurting out, “I think you’re with a narcissist” is not going to work. For that matter, it may be exactly the wrong thing to do. Thing is, when bonding starts between two individuals one of the effects it has is to enhance the “us” versus “them” feelings and any attacks directed at the narcissist will fortify the narcissist’s position. (more on this here) You become the enemy and the narcissist will be skillful at making sure that your relationship with your friend diminishes.

2. Where you can be helpful is by truthfully answering questions — when asked. It is a societal norm to lie to one another about what we know about relationships. Think of how many people you know are having affairs and how no one tells the spouse. I was floored when I divorced my husband and people I barely knew came out of the woodwork to tell me things they had known for years.

But, I was more hurt by my closer acquaintances that had known things and decided not to discuss them with me. The argument went something like this, “We thought you knew and we were helping you save face.” Unfortunately, when you are involved with a narcissist and being lied to by the narcissist and then everyone around you is lying as well, it can be kinda crazy making. I had never actually known what most people thought of him, even though I had confided in some of these people about how awful it was.

Keep your statements to the facts. When I confided that we argued a lot, it would have been nice to have someone say, you seem to be arguing more than normal. Or, he seems to be cruel, or, I don’t think I could be in a relationship when someone was that mean to me. It is not helpful to hear, “I’m so sorry to hear that.” “You should get counseling.” “Everyone argues.” These may all be true, but when you know that there is more pathology, it would be helpful to point to facts. A person in a relationship with a narcissist needs clarity above all else. You can see the outside of the relationship and if you can point to something, let them know — when asked.

3. Never join the narcissist in humiliating your friend or making jokes at their expense. This is a common tactic that makes people feel inferior, unloved and picked on. Nothing is worse than having to help people taunt you. Just because your friend is laughing along does not mean that they are enjoying the insults and putdowns, even if they are in the form of a “joke”.

4. Be aware that the narcissist is likely using manipulation to get what they want. This includes withholding affection, money, conversation and anything else they have power over. The person will have become very sensitive to this dynamic either consciously or unconsciously, so any attempt to manipulate them by saying, “If you don’t break off the relationship I will no longer be your friend”, normalizes the behaviour. In other words, your friend may think, “Even friends withhold attention if I don’t do what they want. This must just be the way that people get what they want.”

5. The best thing that you can do for your friend is to stay in touch, give facts and information when they are requested and focus as much as you can on your friendship, rather than on their other relationship.

6. If the relationship gets bad enough, or an opportunity presents itself, it might be time to say that it sounds like their lover might be exhibiting some of the traits of a narcissist and direct them to some resources on the topic.

7. At the end of the day, most people have to go through the painful realization on their own and this is when friendships are the most important because they will need a lot of support to reclaim their sense of self, get their self-confidence back and try to rebuild their lives. Knowing as much as you can about narcissists is very valuable at this point so that you can help them understand what happened.

The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

 

10 Ways to Discourage Narcissists from Dating You

IMG_0501If you’ve ever ended up with a narcissist before, or if you are out there in the dating world, these are some of the things that you should be aware of when you begin to date someone new. These tips may keep you from realizing that you have been “captured” by a narcissist.

1. In initial conversations make sure you ask them as many questions as they ask you. Wait for an answer. If they say that they like something, ask a more specific question.

Why this is important

Narcissists actually probe you for information so that they can learn as much about you as possible. By asking them questions, you force them to tell you about themselves. This slows down the process of them collecting data and allows you an opportunity to determine if they are lying.

For example, you say, “I love dancing the Macarena” They reply, “I do too!” You can ask, “Where do you usually go dancing?” This next direct question forces them to be more specific. The first set of lies is very simple, but the more detailed the questions the more likely you will catch them in a lie. Also, it can put them off balance and make them less attracted to you.

It is important in any relationship that there be reciprocity, so asking someone about themselves as much as they ask you, is a good thing.

2. Never reveal personal or private information early. The rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t tell everyone at work, it is not something to share in the first couple of weeks of a relationship.

Why this is important

Sharing personal information has two effects. The first is that it gives you a sense of intimacy with this person. Exchanging private information is one of the ways that we get close to someone. Narcissists use this method to get close fast. Getting really close to someone before you know them is never a good thing. The second problem is that sensitive material can be used against you and if the person turns out to be a narcissist you will regret sharing things that you did not want everyone to know.

Realize we all crave intimacy.

There is a strong urge to reveal things to the same level as someone else.

It is good to base any relationship on trust and intimacy and these things take time. There will be time in the future to share these details if this is the right person.

3. Don’t fight for the relationship right at the beginning. If someone that you are just starting to date tells you that their friends or family would not approve of your relationship or if they let you know that they are leaving town or that they are worried about you breaking up with them right away it is a warning sign. They are looking for assurances, way before it is reasonable, for you to say that you would not leave. If for any reason, the relationship seems to have opposition or an expiry date, see it as a red flag. Statements like, “This is just a summer fling” are a warning sign.

Why this is important

Think of dating a narcissist as a job interview. They want someone that will be there for the long haul. They want to know that you will go the extra mile to make the relationship work. All of these things are desirable in a good, long-term relationship, but they show you are desperate in the short term. Narcissists are attracted to someone that is too desperate to easily leave any relationship, even a bad one.

If their friends or family wouldn’t approve, why would you want to be with someone when you would be an outcast or disliked? If the person you just started dating may have to leave town for a job or to go back to school, recognize that it is too early to make that kind of commitment and don’t. These situations can also be a ploy. If you move to another town with them early in the relationship they have you trapped because you are relying on them for everything and none of your friends or family are around.

If early on you get the impression that there might be opposition to your relationship or an expiry date you are being pressured to make a commitment prematurely.

4. Maintain your private time. If you are being flooded with attention it may initially feel like you are loved. This is not the case. A narcissist will flood you with attention as a way of controlling you. You get used to this level of attention and then you expect it, long after it is taken away. Try to not respond to the multiple texts, messages and calls. Don’t respond until it is convenient. Constantly interrupting your time with other people is one of the ways that narcissists distance you from your friends.

Why this is important

Narcissists need constant nourishment from others. They are trying to figure out if you are the one that is going to give it to them. By not giving it to them, you are less likely to be pursued.

A person that actually loves you, respects your right to privacy, time with your friends and your need to have time to yourself.

5. Keep seeing your friends, doing your hobbies and pursuing your interests. If your new dating partner insists on seeing you every minute, it as a sign of pathology not adoration. The beginning of a relationship is too early to be spending most of your time with someone.

It is one thing to say, “I’m going to the movies with friends.” But if someone you have just started dating digs for more detail: which friends, which theatre, which movie, are you going out afterwards? It is best to not give it. “Hiding” information from a narcissist will drive them crazy and they will not want to date you.

Why this is important

The ultimate goal of a narcissist is to have you all to themselves. This is part of the control that they have over their partners because the narcissist manages to eliminate everyone else from your life as much as possible. Having only one person in your life makes you very dependent on this person.

Realize you may want to be “good”

and not realize that you are wired to “obey”

when someone asks you to do something.

In a healthy relationship your partner will want you to be happy and having friends, hobbies and interests is a large part of that.

6. Maintain your private space. Agreeing to have someone move in right away, or suddenly noticing that one “sleep over” has resulted in the person never leaving is a major red flag. You should make other plans and tell them that you want to go out with your friends and that they can’t stay at your place.

Why this is important

This is just one element of how a narcissist moves in and takes control of your life. Suddenly, you will realize that they are living at your place full time. The longer they are there before you stand your ground the more difficult it becomes to maintain your space. Having someone move in right away does not allow time for you to balance this new relationship with the other priorities in your life.

Realize you are fighting biology here.

We instinctively want others around. It feels good to have company.

Quality relationships are not based on spending as much time together as quickly as possible. They are based on mutual respect for each other’s lives and priorities.

7. Resist the urge to “take care of someone” you just met. If someone tells you early in a relationship that they have come upon bad times at work, in health, a tragedy, ask yourself why you want to take care of them and why there is no one else in their lives to fulfill this role.

Why this is important

This is one of the tactics that narcissists use to get close to you. Examples are, “I’ve just lost my job and have no money”. “I was living with my last lover and I ended it, so I have no place to live”. “I just moved into town and have been living on a friend’s sofa but I’ve outstayed my welcome”. If they say that they just got out of a bad relationship with an awful person, insist that you don’t want to be their rebound person and move away quickly.

Realize that you are fighting instincts here.

We all want to pick up the fallen bird and nurse it back to health.

Healthy relationships are between two self-sufficient individuals. If this person cannot support themselves now, they are unlikely to take care of their half of the responsibility in a relationship.

8. We all like to dream and plan, but the beginning of a relationship is a bad time to be planning to be together forever. Try the phrase, “I think we are getting ahead of ourselves”. This allows you to be honest and can be used like this: “Yes, I would love to move to New York City with you and pursue my comedy career, but I think we are getting ahead of ourselves.”

Why this is important

One of the tactics narcissists use to keep you from leaving is to point out that you “agreed” to this relationship and wanted this relationship from the beginning. Now you are a “quitter” or “selfish” or “mean” if you are just abandoning this dream. Often, the dream was premature.

It is good to have dreams and long term plans together but these should be based on a solid relationship, not an elusive goal that is agreed upon before all of the facts are in.

9. Pay attention to how your date treats others. Ask yourself if you want to be treated that way.

Why this is important

Narcissists often think that they are justified belittling those around them. They think that they are superior and therefore they can treat others badly. In any relationship, how your partner treats others can be how they will treat you — eventually.

A nice person has respect for others and respect for you and treats people accordingly.

10. Focus on reciprocity. If they compliment you, compliment them back. If they ask about you, ask about them. If they do something for you, do it for them.

Why this is important.

Ideally, we all want good relationships. Keeping things in balance is a good starting point for a relationship based on mutual support. By treating them exactly how they treat you, you will become aware of whether or not it “feels normal”. For instance, if they buy you several gifts and it feels abnormal to buy someone you just met that many gifts, you realize that this is a red flag. This method helps you see past the joy you felt in receiving the gifts and puts them in context. If you feel like you are being disingenuous complimenting them repeatedly, realize that their level of compliments may be abnormal and this is certainly a red flag.

It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of a new relationship and suddenly realize that your whole world has changed. With a narcissist it is important to be very aware at the beginning and not let this happen.

This is kinda a good news, bad news type of post.

The good news is that this information will help you side step a relationship with a narcissist, someone that can wreak havoc on your life for decades.

The bad news is that your next new relationship might not work out.

Keep in mind you don’t always want relationships to “work out”; some of them can be bad for you.

____________________

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Boundaries,

what you never learned

if you have ever ended up with a narcissist, or your parent was one.

This course is for you.

Learn more here

____________________

Narcissism Navigated

The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

Top 10 Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

Protecting Yourself from the Narcissist

Leaving the Narcissist

Top 10 Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

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At the beginning of a new relationship it is difficult to know what is normal and what is pathologic. Here are some red flags that should make you question whether or not you are with a
narcissist.

1. They are VERY interested in you.

When you first meet your initial conversations have less of a ‘get to know you’ feel and are more like an interrogation. They may join in the conversation, but they tend to want to know as much about you as possible. This is the initial situation, soon they become very full of themselves and only want to talk about how great they are.

     Why this pulls you in:

They show so much interest in you when you first meet them. This can be irresistible to someone that has been ignored, unheard or otherwise lonely. This burst of attention can make you feel like this person cares about you. If you desperately want some attention, you are at risk.

2. They reveal something very personal early.

Most people share private details with someone as they get to know them. This is different, because these are shared long before the relationship warrants this type of exchange.

     Why this pulls you in:

Revealing something personal is associated with attaining a certain level of intimacy. This is often reciprocated. In normal social interactions, people want the same level of vulnerability. We all want close, personal, relationships. Sharing personal things before you have known someone very long (regardless of how close you feel!!) is risky because they can and will use this personal information against you.

3. They elicit sympathy.

They give you a reason to feel sorry for them: broken home, lost job, just got out of a bad relationship, hard times.

     Why this pulls you in:

This plays on our natural instincts to help one another. If someone shows vulnerability we feel like we want to help. One of the most common examples is that their last lover was very mean to them and treated them badly. They now are hurt, vulnerable and scared to get involved with another person. We can all relate to having an Ex that hurt us. This helps build the relationship by creating a common experience, a common understanding. If you did have a bad relationship before, they find this alluring. They want drama in their lives and if you get pulled into Ex bashing, they have found a true partner.

4. All of their spare time must be with you.

Narcissists cannot be alone. Do not mistake this for them really, really wanting to spend time with you. They are trying to avoid being alone.

     Why this pulls you in:

If you have been lonely, or alone too much, this can make you feel special and loved.

5. Quickly, they start making long-term plans.

They can see your future for decades. They get really close really fast, well before it would normally happen.

     Why this pulls you in:

They want you to see this imaginary future and start planning long term. Later, this will be used against you if you try to break away from the relationship because this imaginary life is something that you have agreed to and probably want. This is the opposite of someone that “won’t commit” and can be misunderstood as desirable.

6. They lie.

They exaggerate or give only partial information about things. Like, their last job may have been lost because they didn’t show up for work. They say that their boss was a jerk.

     Why this pulls you in:

They are pulling on your heartstrings often by telling lies that inflate them, make them look like the victim or make them seem interesting.

7. They blame others for all of their problems.

They do not take responsibility for the loss of their last relationship, job, friends, or anything else.

     Why this pulls you in:

It can give you a misrepresentation of who they are and not let you see how much trouble they cause. It also elicits sympathy because they have had such a hard time.

8. They have a need to know where you are and whom you are with at all times.

They blame this on their last relationship and make you feel like it is up to you to make them feel safe and loved, because they were hurt so bad before.

     Why this pulls you in:

It can make you feel special and loved to have someone contacting you to say hello. These calls (texts, emails or whatever) are often masked as, “I miss you and wanted to say hello.” These are actually check-up calls so that they can keep track of you.

9. They display anger disproportionate to the situation.

Anyone that has road rage, gets snippy with a clerk, waiter or someone that they barely have contact with is showing inappropriate anger. These can be subtle at the time, but are MAJOR. Normal people do not have this amount of pent up rage.

     Why this pull you in:

If you tend to lack assertiveness, it can be nice to be with someone that stands up for you.

10. History of reckless behaviour.

They tell stories about great and daring things that they have done.

     Why this pulls you in:

These stories are often interesting and make the person seem daring and exciting. It feels like being with them will make your life more expansive and enjoyable.

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 My Book, The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available. 

10 Ways to Discourage Narcissists from Dating You

Protecting Yourself from the Narcissist

Leaving the Narcissist

Revealed! 6 lies Narcissists Tell