How do you easily spot a narcissist so you can stop dating him/her for once and for all?
(Author’s note: for the purpose of this article, I refer to a woman dating a male narcissist, but the same holds true if you switched genders. Feel free to substitute woman for man).
It’s pretty easy to spot the classic narcissist as defined by Merriam-Webster. Narcissism is defined as extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.
It’s a bit more complex when it’s not so black and white, when the man you’re dating is cleverly cloaked as the charming “nice guy.” It’s intoxicating to be around him. He’s fun and exciting. It feels like he’s your true soul connection. It’s easy to lose your head and heart once you become emotionally or sexually involved.
If you learn how to spot a narcissist from the outset of a relationship, you can stop dating him right away. You won’t experience the shock and heartbreak that Gina did. And soon you’ll begin to attract healthier relationships into your life.
Here are six ways to recognize and stop dating a narcissist:
- When you express your needs, he gets defensive. A narcissist puts his own needs first. He doesn’t care about what matters to you, and will defend himself instead of apologizing. Address it the first time this happens and see how he responds. If he can’t respect and honor your needs, walk away.
- When the going gets tough, he gets going. A narcissist can’t handle the pressures of your emotional life. He will be there for the fun times, but as soon as you have any type of personal crisis, he won’t be there to support you. A good relationship is built on mutual support. This guy will not be there for you in tough times. Leave now, before it gets harder.
- When he’s hurt, he doesn’t feel sad. He feels rage. If you express that you’re upset with something he said or did, he will rage at you and deflect responsibility for his actions. A healthy relationship is one in which both parties feel safe, can express their needs without judgment, and take full responsibility for their contribution to the problem. If he can’t do this, you should not stay with him.
- He runs hot and cold. Narcissists will give you mixed signals. He’ll be really into you, telling you that you’re the most incredible woman he’s ever met, and the next day, he is pulling away, acting aloof. It is crazy making. If you see these signs early on, it’ll be easier for you to make a clean break.
- He gets angry when you discuss exclusivity. Narcissists are often enamored with their freedom. If you talk to him about commitment after you’ve been dating for a few months, he will probably feel like a caged bird and blame you for wanting to box him in. In a healthy relationship, if one person is not ready to be exclusive, you can talk about it in a respectful way. You both get to choose whether it makes sense to stay or go. If a man is not on the same page as you in terms of monogamy, leave him to make room for one who wants an exclusive relationship.
- His actions and words don’t match. Pay attention to what he does more than what he says. Many narcissists are wordsmiths. They lure you in with their charming words, but they don’t follow through with their actions. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.
If he exhibits any of the above behaviors, you should get out of this relationship as soon as possible. How?
- Don’t make demands on him to change. He won’t.
- Don’t nag him or play games with him, such as making him chase you by playing hard to get. These tactics will never get him to be the kind of guy with whom you can forge a healthy relationship.
- Do speak to him with firm conviction. Tell him that this relationship is not working for you.
- And this is crucial: walk away, never to look back and hope for reconciliation.
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