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

10 Things You Need to Know About Narcissists

IMG_1271Regardless of your relationship with a narcissist, several patterns seem to ring true.
1. They don’t care about you.

This is the most hurtful of their traits but it is the most consistent. It can be confusing because they often “pretend” to care about you and this is one of the reasons that people stay in these painful relationships for so long.

See it from their perspective. You have a purpose in their lives. They need you for what you provide for them be it the necessities of life, adoration or nourishment or you are their receptacle; a place for them to dump their negative emotions. In any case, this is your role, so if you leave they will have an unmet need. They have learned what it takes to keep you in their lives and because of that you may mistake some of their gestures or gifts or thoughtful acts as a sign that they care about you. This is not the case; they just know how to keep you around.

2. They must always win.

Realizing this helps to make disagreements and decisions make sense. They are often sore losers to the point that they’ll accuse you of cheating if you win at a game; or they will just be unpleasant. As far as making plans, if you want something that they don’t want, it is expected that they will not only disagree with you, they will let you know how subpar your suggestion is and why it is not valuable.

This can become confusing because they will often use tactics to get you to agree with them. On the surface, this can seem as though you “agreed” to do what they wanted, but further examination will reveal that they only do what you want if they also want to do it, or it will make them look good.

Common ways of convincing you to do what they want are by arguing that their idea is better, promising that you will get your way next time or simply convincing you their idea is far superior. If you insist, they will make your life hell and sooner or later you’ll agree with their ideas so that you don’t have to go through the drama that follows when you want your way.

3. They do as little work as possible, unless it benefits them directly.

For instance, they may work really hard at their careers because they benefit directly and success in a career is a way to get nourishment from people. i.e. people are impressed The flip side is that they do as little “invisible” work as possible.

Narcissistic parents often appear to be the most engaged because they are out with their children, taking them to the workplace and being involved in their activities. All of these choices make them look like good parents. In the home it is another story. There are no witnesses and spending time with their children is not valuable, so they choose to not be bothered.

Also, tactics will be used to make sure that you do most of the work. Name calling, accusations of being lazy, feigning illness or an inability to do the work are common ways that they get out of doing their fair share of the chores.

4. They lie. This is worth repeating.

I realize that everyone knows that narcissist lie, but what might not be immediately obvious is that they lie for no reason. This may be a way of feeling superior. This may just be to undercut your self-confidence or they may just not realize that telling the truth has value. The thing to take away is that they lie, even when the reason for the lie is not obvious.

This might not be directly obvious, but what you might experience is a perception that you are forgetful; that you may be losing your mind or that you are confused. This is a common response, because most of us do not immediately assume that the other person is lying for no reason.

5. They like drama.

I suspect that this is a result of being unable to feel love and joy the way that other people do. They crave emotion and hate and anger seem to be their preferred vehicle. This is not true for all narcissists. There is a type of narcissist that seems to prefer sadness and pity. Either way, they either start fights out of nowhere to fill this need, or fall into a state of despair. This puts the focus on them and they get deep into the emotion.

If you are their “receptacle” it will be your role to be either the target of their anger or the person that comforts them when they are, oh, so, sad. Drama is often used to sidetrack an argument or to avoid doing something for you. You may have disagreed, asked for a favour or needed some comfort.

Other times, the drama comes out of nowhere. Some insignificant oversight becomes blown out of proportion until the original slight is long forgotten.

6. They do not comfort others.

Sadness and anger are OK for the narcissist, but if you want to get support from them you are “needy” “You should leave your troubles at work” or “quit your job”. “Suck it up” “You are never happy”. “There is no way to please you”. All of these phrases can be used to make you feel like you should not require comfort.

In addition to that, if you do need some support, they are unavailable. This may take the form of their day being worse, a huge work deadline that must be attended to, other plans that came before you started to make demands or simply attacking you for not handling your situation better.

If you get attacked or put down when you wanted a shoulder to cry on or for them to lend an ear to a problem, you may be with a narcissist.

7. They do not like to be alone.

This can take the form of demanding that you stay in when you’ve made plans to go out. It may also be that they have several on-line relationships that nourish them and provide unconditional acceptance. You will find that if you have a life that takes you away from them, they are quick to find someone to fill the time that you are away.

This can also be expressed by them calling you repeatedly while you are at work, texting you constantly or simply showing up when you least expect them. They do not want to be alone and if you are in their lives, they want you around as much as possible.

8. They do not take responsibility for things.

This is a combination of convincing you that you must do all of the work, lying to make it seem like they did not know that it was their responsibility or blaming you for any problems. For instance, they may have done something to hurt you in the past, but it is only a problem because “you” can’t get over it.

If they forget something, for instance, it was up to you to remind them. If it is their turn to do the chores it is because you are lazy.

9. They do not acknowledge the accomplishments of others.

It is important to them to “win” at everything. If someone else is successful, in some part of their life, this is swept under the carpet. No one else’s accomplishments have any meaning to them because it detracts from how wonderful they are.

If you’ve ever shared good news from work, tried to get some excitement over an accomplishment or looked for a little acknowledgement about something that you have done and been shut down, you may be dealing with a narcissist.

10. They can be extremely charming and solicitous.

Most narcissists have learned that they can fool people by being nice to them. If someone is kind and compliments you, you are less likely to see them for who they are. This is how they get their foot in the door in relationships. It is also a way for them to create drama because they can make you look unreasonable to people who only see their charming side.

If someone seems to good to be true, they probably are. You may be dealing with a narcissist.

 

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Look here for the full story on Narcissists. How to identify them, deal with them and leave them.

Why Were You With a Narcissist? — Part 3

20130723-135839.jpgThis post is continued from Part 1 and Part 2.

We need to examine two things at the beginning of any relationship:

Are they capable of love?

What is reasonable to expect when someone says they love you?

Here are some of the clues to the answers:

1. How they act is more important than what they say.

It is easy for a narcissist to tell you what you want to hear, so let’s look at how those types of statements actually look and if they are doing what they say.

They say they support you.

Support is not a verbal thing. If they are your partner, support means that they do part of the work, talk to someone on your behalf, do things that make it easier for you to get whatever it is done. They do not just say they support you; they do something to show it. In addition to that, they will express kindness and encouragement. If someone is providing support, the work is easier with them around.

Ask yourself if your partner is helping you or if they are emphasizing that you should be ‘independent’ and not so needy. Does their “support” actually mean “allow”?

They say that they respect you.

Someone that respects you honours your privacy, priorities, opinions and accomplishments. They do not use jokes to undermine your self-confidence. They do not belittle you or insult your friends.

Is it possible for you to have a different opinion from your partner or do they have to have the last word? Can they see the grey areas that allow you to disagree without being shamed or treated like you are in the wrong? It is not respectful if you are forced to see the world the same way that they see the world.

Try setting boundaries around your private time, interests and friends and see how they react. Do they respect your right to choose how you spend your time and with whom? Do they respect your right to have your own opinions and be independent from them? Do they like you as you are, or are you expected to look and behave in certain ways?

They say that they are your best friend.

Best friends are people that bring out the best in you, make you feel good about yourself and enjoy doing some of the same things that you do. They listen to you when you speak. They share excitement about your accomplishments, celebrate when you are happy and console you when you are upset. After spending time with a friend, you should feel good. Friends will try new activities with you. Does your partner rejoice when you share good news?

Observe whether or not your partner is a sore loser and has an unhealthy need to win or be right at all costs. Invite your potential partner to try something that you enjoy and that they have never tried. What type of reaction do you get? Do they go through the motions or do they actually get involved in the new activity to see if they like it?

They say that they love you.

When someone loves you, they love you all of the time, not just when they feel like it or when they want something. Even if they are mad at you, they do not put you down, insult you, attack you or undermine your self-confidence. If they do lose their temper they are immediately remorseful and will offer an apology. If a balanced person is angry with you they may not speak for a couple of hours, but giving you the silent treatment for extended periods, or often, is an attempt to control you. A person that loves you will not be trying to control you.

In a normal relationship, the affection ebbs and flows without attachment to what can be gained from the exchange. Sex and time spent together is followed by warmth and contentment, not abandonment and being ignored. You deserve love, attention and affection that you can depend on. If you are ignored or treated like an inconvenience, at any time, this person does not love you. How do they respond when you are sad, happy, concerned, late? Are they capable of showing love when you need it? Are they capable of showing empathy and understanding?

2. Observe their other relationships.

How do they treat people that they don’t know?

At a minimum, a nice person is courteous and may also be helpful when dealing with people that they encounter during the day. Does your partner show concern for other people? Or do they make jokes at other peoples’ expense? Is their humour mean or based on how stupid, incapable or unattractive people are? Is it racist or sexist?

An honest person acts with integrity. Sometimes a narcissist will boast about being able to “pull one over” on someone. They will be just as dishonest with you.

What types of friends do they have?

It is important to meet your partner’s friends. Normal people have friends that share the same interests, get together to do things they enjoy and support each other in good times, working times and bad times. Does your partner act differently around their friends? Behaving in a different way around friends is a red flag because it means that they are dishonest. Especially around friends, an individual should be comfortable relaxing and being themselves. A person capable of loving someone will be capable of forming strong bonds with good friends.

What types of dynamics are at play in their family?

Visit. See how they treat each other. Are they supportive and kind or are there a lot of mean jokes and put-downs? Is the mood festive, or subdued? Are the family members sharing stories and anecdotes? How are these stories received? Is there a feeling of openness and sharing or are one or two people asking a lot of questions?

Despite how family gatherings are stylized on television, many, many families actually enjoy each other’s company. Is your partner kind to their family members or do they “hate” some of them? Are they “annoyed” by their families? A person capable of loving someone will show love and respect for their family.

How did their last relationship end?

An individual may have been hurt, disillusioned or abandoned by their last relationship, but it is important to ask detailed questions about what happened. A person capable of loving another will be able to explain in concrete terms what was wrong, how the relationship ended and why it didn’t work. Claiming that their Ex was just “crazy” or “insane” is likely a major red flag.

3. Are they capable of discussing emotions and feelings?

Balanced individuals express a range of emotions. They can be happy, sad, excited, angry and content. Is the full range of emotions expressed? Are you allowed to express the full range of emotions or are you told to “suck it up”? How does your partner respond when you need comforting, emotional support and attention? These should all be available when you need them. I do not mean that your partner should be available 100% of the time, but when you feel sad, for instance, they should recognize that you need comfort.

It is not unreasonable for you to want someone to spend time with you if you are in distress. There are limits to this; if you are distressed all of the time, but you should be able to rely on emotional support.

Is your partner open about their feelings? Have they managed to work through old painful memories or do they still find them overwhelming? Can they express the full range of emotions or do they mainly express the familiar narcissistic ones, which are: “poor me”; “I hate something” and “Wow! I’m great”.

So, the final thing that you must face head-on is, “Are YOU capable of loving someone?” Do you feel empathy when someone else is being emotional or does it make you uncomfortable? Any relationship that you are in should be an equal partnership and if you are not capable of forming these bonds, you may not be capable of having a relationship with someone that can.

My Newest Book, The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

No Contact now Possible when Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

IMG_5929Narcissists need a receptacle for their anger. They need to direct their hate and animosity at someone. It is not enough for a narcissist to dislike you, they want to make you suffer. The only way to avoid being on this constant emotional roller coaster is to break off all contact. For those of you tired of the drama inherent in dealing with a narcissist, the best advice is NO CONTACT.

This is a major step for many individuals. If it was a romantic relationship, the first step is to stop having sex. Gradually, no face to face communication, then no telephone calls and the contact becomes less and less personal. Get an answering machine, block them on Facebook, direct their emails to a specific folder to be opened on your terms and stop responding to texts, or block the texts altogether.

This advice falls short when a relationship must be maintained for a co-parenting agreement. It is impossible to avoid all communication if you have children with your narcissist ex. Now there is hope! There is a website designed perfectly for this situation.

This portal provides the tools necessary for the exchange of information, scheduling and the communication that is required when there are two people, that no longer like each other, trying to co-ordinate parenting responsibilities.

Its features are amazing. It is possible to record everything that is said on this website. It is also possible to give lawyers and other caregivers full access. This means that any verbal assaults will be recorded. It also means that you can stream line your encounters to one place. No more middle of the night calls, texts while at work or unwanted comments on social media. It becomes possible to block them completely. Add in an individual that physically moves the children between homes and you are scott-free!

The website I’m referring to (there may be others) is “Our Family Wizard“. Sign up with your ex and start garnering the benefits of a true no contact situation.

The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

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 

6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist– Part 3

This Post is a continuation of Part 1 and Part 2

IMG_16104. Living a Fantasy

Narcissists lie. I know, I shouldn’t just blurt it out like that, but it is true. One of the things that they use this skill for is to inflate themselves, what they’ve done and what they are likely to do in the future. This imaginary world they create can be confusing because it is easy to think that they believe it…and they may.

If you live with this for a long time you might find that you have become accustomed to

looking down on others as inferior.

No one is as gifted, talented and deserving as you and your family. You may also have an inflated sense of your entitlement. Some people refer to this as one of the narcissistic fleas. You get this behaviour from being with a narcissist and you have to remove it when you leave.

You may believe that you are the most successful, beautiful or intelligent.

Some of this may or may not be true, but you have been subjected to this fantasy creation for so long that it is even more difficult than average to be objective.

It is easy to get pulled into the illusion that is created with the web of lies. It can be very comforting to think that you

know more than anyone else

and that you are the only one that is “right”. This extreme form of having an opinion and arguing it at all costs is simply a reflection of insecurity, not better information, greater intelligence or an ability to understand.

Everyone forms their own opinions based on the information they have at hand and their own experience. Standing firm that any opinion is the “right” one and all other opinions are “wrong” feels strong but actually lacks wisdom. It is very seductive to be with someone who is very confident about how right they are until you realize how foolish they actually look to others around them. It is not possible to know anything for sure. All you know is what your opinion is.

You may also have an inflated sense of entitlement and feel as though only the very best is good enough for you.

You may be insulted if you are not treated preferentially.

This, of course, stems from the fact that you were living in the narcissist’s fantasy for a while and came to believe that some of the lies or exaggerations were true.

The opposite response to this situation is that you might

worry that people won’t believe you or take you seriously.

You secretly fear that you are not as successful, intelligent, accomplished, insert descriptor, as the narcissist you’ve been living with and therefore people will not think you are valuable.

5. An Inability to Trust

The lies have another impact on your perception of the world around you. You may have developed an inability to trust. If you happened to be the receptacle of the narcissist; a term I use as the person that gets blamed for things, baited and undercut, or the “scapegoat” in a family of narcissists, you may also fear people are out to get you. Someone HAS been out to get you, but behaving like this is still happening can have a negative on your relationships.

If you interpret every mistake as a slight and proof that

 people are out to get you,

you are still in pain from being undermined in your relationship. Most people are not out to get you. Mistakes happen. They are normal and human.  This behaviour is not ridiculous when you have been living with someone that is out to get you and to make you feel inadequate, small and ‘less than’. But it does look bad when you interpret accidents as attacks.

The extensive lying leaves you less likely to be able to trust.

The inability to trust may superficially sound like a good thing. You may tell yourself destructive things like, “if I hadn’t been so gullible, I would not have believed everything”.  Deciding not to trust can feel like the perfect way to protect yourself, but ironically, it makes you more likely to end up with another narcissist in your life.

In order to form a genuine relationship with a new friend or lover, you need to be able to trust them. At the beginning of a relationship there is always an exchange of information, favours and gestures. If you immediately distrust people, this exchange does not occur, unless the person is persistent and floods you with attention, support and compliments — which is what narcissists do.

By not trusting you are effectively eliminating the potential friends and lovers that you actually want in your life and giving the narcissists the advantage.

I have another post dedicated to how to discourage a narcissist from dating you. If you are worried about choosing another one, it might be worth a read.

6. Depression, Anxiety, Nervousness

Finally, you probably experienced emotional hardship at the hands of your narcissist. This could leave you

depressed, “emotionally raw”, anxious, nervous, sad, angry…..

There are as many possible emotional responses as there are people. Be honest with how you are feeling. Honour your experience. Try to observe how it is affecting your behaviour.

You may have turned to addiction.

This could be legal or illegal drugs, eating, working, shopping, sex, gambling etc. These are all a way of not confronting how you feel. They keep you numb or preoccupied so that you don’t feel all of the emotions that are waiting to come out.

Know there is a hole in your heart and a tear in your self-confidence that need mending. The work required takes a lot of time and support and it is a painful process, but it is worth it. Becoming aware of how this experience may have changed how you act is a good step forward and away from that part of your life. Good luck.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

51j5nO-sxRL._SL110_Eckhart Tolle explains what “living in the moment” actually means in this book. He helps us take a broader look at our lives and our place in the world.

6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist– Part 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis post is continued from Part 1.

2. Refusing to Ask for Help

Since a narcissist never wants to be inconvenienced by you or your needs, any time you ask for help you will be turned down, unless they are about to ask you for a favour or are trying to get back on your good side. So, instead of saying, “no”, they attack and make it because “you are too needy”, “you can’t do anything yourself”, “you are too demanding”, “you aren’t smart enough to figure it out on your own” or whatever attack they prefer. In other words, they use your personal vulnerabilities as a way of manipulating you into not asking for help.

Love and attention are given in exchange for other things in a relationship with a narcissist. “If you don’t make dinner, I won’t even speak to you or acknowledge your presence”. This may not be said out loud, but when you’ve experienced the silent treatment for extended periods of time, you learn to behave a certain way. Consciously or unconsciously you find yourself doing everything that you can to make them happy. You become very aware of how you act and how you look.

It is common for a narcissist to accuse you of being selfish when in fact they are usually the more selfish one. This may create an imbalance with

you becoming increasingly selfless. Everyone else is more important than you are.

This is a more socially acceptable way to behave than the bursts of anger discussed above, but in extremes it is abnormal. Also,

it puts you at risk of choosing another narcissist.

If you are selfless already, you are perfect.

In addition to manipulating you into not asking for help, a narcissist may say that they will do something and then not do it. The result of this is that you become increasingly reluctant to ask for help, even when you need it. Why risk the attack when you know they are unlikely to help you? How can you rely on anyone? You may become aggressive towards those individuals that ask for help.

You may see people that ask for help as weak.

The opposite reaction is to

learn how to manipulate people into helping you.

Or you may find another person in your life to do what you need done and

use them the way a narcissist would.

You might become bossy and appear arrogant as a way to control others.

All of these responses would make you look like a narcissist as well, but they are simply maladaptive survival techniques. Some people refer to this as one of the narcissistic fleas. You get this behaviour from being with a narcissist and you have to remove it when you leave.

You see people who do favours for others as weak.

The best way out of this is to keep a journal and write down each time you help someone or someone helps you. How do you manage to get things done? Make a note of what other people do for you and see if there are one or two that you “control” more than others. Force yourself to ask people for help. This is honest. Everyone needs help. Choose people who are the most likely to help you. Examine whether or not the relationships you have are reciprocal or if they are imbalanced. Observe this dynamic between you, your friends and family. What is your role?

Observe how you feel when you hear about someone else getting a favour. Do you think less of someone who asks for help? Why? It is normal for people to help each other. We live in societies because we need each other. We all need help and we all deserve it.

3. Lack Self-Confidence

Part of the abuse you received while you were with a narcissist is that you were made to feel “less than.” A preferred way to manipulate people is to make them feel like no one else would put up with them. No one would tolerate your (insert your own button here). The result of this is a profound loss of self-confidence.

When something did go wrong or an error was made, it was usually your fault, or blamed on a “scapegoat” in your household. Any conversation during which there was disagreement was used to assign blame and ensure that the narcissist was not at fault. Arguments, or heated discussions were not about resolving issues they were about pointing fingers and “winning”.

Your response to this can take many forms.

You may be aggressive and arrogant as a way to cover your insecurity.

On the other hand, you may simply defer to everyone else’s opinion,

seldom speaking up for yourself.

Either way, a calm confidence in your own opinion is not what you are expressing. If you were not on the defensive (which is caused by the narcissist) you could simply state what you think.

Any feedback would be seen for what it was; just a part of a conversation about a topic with different points of view and opinions. It is difficult to realize people are not going to attack and blame you just because they disagree with you.

Observing yourself adamantly defend yourself, especially when you know you might be wrong,

is a warning sign that this is part of your unconscious behaviour.

You may have also adapted to your situation by

acting more important than others

or

competing and trying to prove your worthiness.

“I am better than you are” or smarter, braver or whatever. You may find yourself exaggerating how wonderful you are. The opposite extreme is to compete for sympathy, “You may not feel well, but I feel awful.” “You had a bad day, you should hear about mine!”

When you feel like you can’t do anything right, it makes you more aware when other people make mistakes. A narcissist will use every error as more support for the hypothesis that you are not good enough. This makes you eager to point out other’s mistakes. This can be seen as

intolerance for other’s mistakes.

You make sure that everyone is aware when someone makes mistakes, which makes you look petty and vindictive, when in fact you are just insecure and trying to prove that you are no worse than anyone else.

Part 3   Do You Live in a Fantasy or find it Difficult to Trust?

 

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

51EayW0fCGL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU15_Byron Katie has mastered a method of helping you see past the lies that you tell yourself and dig down to the truth. This book is very helpful when you are examining who you are.

The Narcissistic Pattern

IMG_5025Being attractive meant that Jesse got a lot of attention. She was regularly asked out and was often disappointed to find that her suitors were disappointing. (and when I write “she”, I mean “he” as well. The sexes in this scenario are arbitrary. This can be written exactly the same with any genders). Her looks drew them in but then, once she was in the relationship, things felt flat, unrewarding and she questioned whether or not there were any men that actually wanted more than to be seen with her.

Jamie was different. He asked all about her, pursued her relentlessly and made her feel secure and loved. Having a history of short, unrewarding relationships, Jesse was careful, but Jamie understood. He had been hurt before. He confided in Jesse that he did not know why he picked such troubled women but they had all turned out to be “not quite right”. He said that his last girlfriend was almost certifiable.

He was willing to take it slow. He told Jesse how he dreamed of breaking out of his rut, starting a family, perhaps moving to a new town. These notions appealed to Jesse and his interest in her was unquestionable. Calls, gifts, dinners and surprises were all part of this perfect package. Jamie got along well with her friends and always had something exciting to talk about, people he had met, things he was going to do.

Jesse fell hard for Jamie. The whirlwind romance continued for weeks and Jamie got a new job in another town and asked her to go with him. Jesse had already said that moving to a new town was appealing to her and when she hesitated, Jamie pointed this out. He had only looked in other towns because she said she would like it. She knew it was too soon, but she had never been more sure of anything and quickly said yes. He was her soul mate. This man wanted all of the same things, doted on her and was very romantic. Problem was, it was all a lie.

The stress of the move, living with someone new and living in a new town all caused strife. Jesse knew they were arguing a lot, but isn’t that normal under so much stress? Jamie’s new job gave him more reason to be tense. His direct supervisor turned out to be a jerk and he was having trouble getting along in his new working environment. Jesse took a low paying job, the only job that she could get quickly, and thank-goodness, because Jamie quit right away. How could he be expected to work in such an unreasonable situation?

Jesse now found herself living in a new town, no friends or family around, working to keep the two of them afloat and Jamie was no longer kind. He criticized her for being selfish, not realizing how difficult it was for him to have to rely on her income. He wanted her to feel sorry for him and take care of him and if she encouraged him to get work, there was always an excuse why that couldn’t happen. He would blow up at her and accuse her of being a bitch, trying to control him, acting like his mother.

Jesse wondered what she had done wrong. Where was the romantic Jamie that was so concerned about how she felt? Where were the flowers? Why didn’t he dote on her like he did before? Why couldn’t he even do laundry? She was the one that worked all day. She tried harder. She wouldn’t complain or make demands. She knew the entire situation had been hard on Jamie. He would come out of it if she was just patient enough.

Each time Jesse worked up the nerve to leave, Jamie would become the thoughtful Jamie again. He would apologize, make promises and remember to do something sweet. Jesse knew the nice guy was still in there and she couldn’t make sense of the ups and downs. Things were either great or terrible. There did not seem to be a middle ground that lasted very long.

Her friends were all in a different town and when she said that she was going home for the weekend to visit, Jamie became incensed. Obviously she didn’t care about him or how he was feeling. He accused her of being selfish and thoughtless. The more she stood up for herself, the more demeaning Jamie got. He was now questioning whether or not he had chosen another wacko. Jamie accused Jesse of being insane. Jesse did her best to avoid fights, do what she could to placate Jamie and his abuse got worse.

Jamie started to go out late most nights. Since Jesse had to work early in the morning, she asked him to try to be quiet when he came home, so as not to wake her. Jamie started to bang the door a few times when he came in and blare the television set. He would prove to her that she couldn’t control him.

If some of the elements in this story ring true, you may have chosen abusive partners before. Here is what you need to pay attention to:

Jamie’s Red Flags

1. His last relationship, or a pattern of relationships, with people that are considered “crazy” or “insane’.

A history of very bad relationships is not a coincidence.

2. Intense romantic overtures early in the relationship. Rule of thumb is that if it would make you feel uncomfortable to match the gifts, surprises and compliments one for one, they are probably excessive.

Over “giving” and pursuing early in a relationship is not normal.

3. Early plans to make major changes in the way things are like moving away, starting a new career, spending a year travelling (with no clear means to pay for it).

Making major life changes early in a relationship is dangerous.

Things to Understand

1. Fights are Normal — Abuse is Not

All relationships have conflict, but the type of fight and the intensity can be pathologic. Someone that actually loves you does not put you down, physically hurt you or call you names. When Jamie started accusing Jesse of being insane, it was not an “argument” it was an attempt to control her. It was abusive.

2. Your needs are important

A partner should respect your needs. If you want to visit friends, this is not an attack on your partner. If you want a hobby, time to yourself, to pursue other interests, a person that loves you will support you.

3. Sharing the Work can be Expected

It is reasonable to get help both financially and physically from your partner to do the work of living. Asking for help and expecting to receive it are legitimate parts of a mutually respectful relationship.

History Repeats Itself

Too often, a pattern of finding a pathological partner stems from your experience of other relationships. If all you have ever witnessed is:

love is conditional on good behaviour,

people are mean to get their way and/or

really intense good times are followed by really bad times

then it can be hard to know that this is not normal. This is hurtful and abusive and only you can choose to not be in the relationship.

 

Narcissist_frontcover

A Narcissist on “The Good Wife”?

http://tvline.com/2015/11/01/the-good-wife-recap-alicia-jason-drinks-sex/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
http://tvline.com/2015/11/01/the-good-wife-recap-alicia-jason-drinks-sex/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
He is gorgeous, swarthy and confident. Jason, the new investigator on the series, “The Good Wife” swept in at the beginning of the season and has become the “bad boy” of the show. He flagrantly lies, has been disbarred for punching a judge and he is using his sex appeal to blind Alicia to his true colours.

But is he a narcissist? The writers dropped that possibility into the plot when Alicia called for a job reference and the man she was speaking to asked if she was thinking of hiring Jason. When she replied that she was, the man emphatically said, “No, no, no, no” and then went on to explain what a narcissist is and what they can do to your life.

So far, the writers have many of the characteristics bang on. He is attractive, confident, flexible with the truth, oblivious to laws and social conventions and for all appearances has been very successful. Or at the very least, he is able to demand top dollar for his services. He is also “new in town” which is characteristic. Once people become aware of a narcissist, the narcissist has no choice but to leave and start over in a new town. 

Jason mentioned last episode that he is up all night. This is my personal experience of the narcissists that I have known, but I don’t know if this is an actual “trait”. Let me know if the narcissist in your life sleeps erratically.

So we’ll have to see what develops this week. If Jason turns out to be a narcissist it will go a long way to helping “others” understand why people get involved with them in the first place. We know Alicia has one foot in the door.

A narcissist on “The Good Wife”? We don’t know yet for sure.

The Confusion of Spotting a Narcissist

IMG_0583“I’m sorry I was late, I was waiting for you to call. You said that you would call me when you wanted to be picked up.” This sentence sounds plausible, and to a normal person that might not be 100% sure that they are right all of the time; it would work as an explanation for lateness. Liars, by their very nature lie. Instead of saying the truth, which might be as simple and telling as, “I didn’t feel like going to get you at the time we agreed” this lie pops up with no effort.

Most of the behaviour of a narcissist is less than honest, not just the words that they speak. Narcissists have learned how to behave properly by paying attention to what society expects. They know to bring you gifts, when appropriate, for instance. They can devise ways of making themselves look considerate and caring and above all, they understand that if they mimic “nice” people, they will appear to be nice.

The charming, engaging and complimentary person that you met recently might in fact be a narcissist. It is very confusing, because when you think of a pathological personality you expect the deep booming sounds of music in the background, the devious side glances and the “tells”. This is a misleading stereotype to bring to the mix. Anyone that has been in a relationship with a narcissist remembers being totally wooed at the beginning.

Even therapists find diagnosis difficult because narcissists have learned how to present the facts in ways that make them look good. If a child of a narcissist does not want to be in a beauty contest, the mother might accuse her of being ungrateful for everything that has been contributed to her daughter’s success.

Apologies are just as hollow. Asking a narcissist to say that they are sorry for something, might get the desired response. It may be more like, “I’m sorry I didn’t make you happy” which is a manipulative way of saying, “sorry I hurt you” or it may be a direct apology. Unfortunately, the element missing here is the understanding of why the narcissist should be apologizing in the first place. Since they seldom feel that they are responsible for anything, they may have learned to apologize simply when asked as a social convention.

Sabotage often appears plausible. “I would’ve picked you up when I said that I would, but I had trouble with the car.” This might take the form of an excuse that would appear to be an accident. It is only after a pattern of “car troubles”, “getting stuck at work” and “bad traffic” starts to form is their deceit seen and recognized for what it is. Since the narcissist will chose someone that is forgiving, these excuses can go on and on for a very long time.

Another tactic that allows the pathology to go under the radar is their ability to undermine your self-confidence. It does not matter what you are unsure about, that will be the cause of all of your problems, not something that the narcissist did. They do not drink too much relative to how much you overeat. They do not spend too much; look at all of the money you spent on groceries! It is not that they are uncaring; it is that you are too needy and on and on it goes.

The difficult part is when you try to tease out the “normal” from the “pathologic”. There are many aspects of this. All couples fight, but the relationship with a narcissist is extreme. Are the ups and downs of your relationship more extreme than others? The way that you can tell is that when there is a fight you are past upset. You are way more exposed and vulnerable than you should feel after a fight with someone that claims to love you. Physical violence, undermining your self-confidence, belittling you and name-calling can all be red flags. Also, the good times are just as extreme with elaborate plans, total engagement and special thoughtful gifts. This all sounds wonderful, but being on a rollercoaster is not.

Patterns emerge, like they are often late, forget things you’ve asked them to do, lose things that are important to you, are suddenly unavailable when you wanted them to do something with you and on and on.

Apologies are seldom, if ever given unless requested. Since they do not recognize that they are at fault, they do not spontaneously apologize, or the apology still blames you, “I’m sorry you got hurt”, for instance instead of, “I’m sorry I hurt you.”

All of this is an attempt to illustrate how murky the waters can be when you are in a relationship with a pathological narcissist. It comes down to recognizing whether or not you are happy. A relationship with a narcissist has an impact on your entire life because you spend so much time trying to figure out what happened and what is going on. You question yourself. If you spend a lot of your time worrying about how you act; wondering if you are losing your mind; trying to remember what happened; or trying to figure out what caused the problems, you are likely with someone pathologic.

My Book, "The Narcissist Survival Guide" is now available.
My Book, “The Narcissist Survival Guide” is now available.