BY JEN MAKIN, CMHC
It is easy to get caught up in the charm of a narcissistic man.
Often, we think to ourselves, this is too good to be true. And it turns out, he is.
This article focuses on early warning signs that you may be in a relationship with someone who is a narcissist or has narcissistic tendencies. It's an opportunity to get educated because education is the key to seeing clearly.
But when it comes to being in a relationship with someone who is a narcissist, women can face various forms of abuse. Examples of narcissistic abuse include: spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical. It’s like a slow burn, where at first the narcissist turns on the charm and makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the world.
Then, like a two sided coin, something changes. A switch is flipped. Whether it’s engagement, marriage or some kind of commitment - their true self comes out.
One side of the coin is shiny. What the narcissist wants you to see.
But the truth is, the other side of the coin is immersed in cow dung. It can be shocking when it flips. But the truth is, you sometimes see the mask fall when you’re dating. His true colors.
You try to call him out when the mask falls on his lap while driving. He road rages. You are startled and say something. He says, “I’ve had a hard day. My boss is a dick. And that guy cut me off.” And maybe he even says sorry, but it’s, “Sorry you got scared.” Not, “Sorry I harmed you by scaring you with my road raging behavior.”
It is important to be aware of the early signs that the person you are dating could be a narcissist.
This article mentions 7 different early warning signs to look out for while dating. They can help protect you from future harm and hardship.
1. Speedy courtship.
There is a quick connection and there is a push to begin dating quickly. You feel a sort of glue like attachment; at the hip from the get go.
NARCISSISM LOOKS LIKE:
Him: What are you doing tonight? You: We have hung out every night. Him: So, what does that mean?
IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE:
Him: What are you doing tonight? You: We have hung out every night. Him: I know right. It's been a blast. Have a great night and let's catch up soon!
2. It seems too good to be true.
Narcissists are charming at first. They charm the pants off those around them and whisk you off your feet. They say and do all the right things and make you think and believe they are Mr./Mrs. Perfect.
NARCISSISM LOOKS LIKE:
You: I am not sure if I am ready to date right now.
Him: Then why did you say that you wanted to go out? You don’t make sense.
IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE:
You: I am not sure if I am ready to date right now. Him: I understand. I would love to just be your friend. Let me know if you’re ever open to hang out.
3. Emotional boundaries are broken quickly.
They are playfully disrespectful. They excessively tease you and make constant jokes on your behalf. They brush it off as “this is how you know I like you” or “you know how I am” or "you're too sensitive; you have zero sense of humor."
NARCISSISM LOOKS LIKE: I love you. (After two weeks of knowing each other)
IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE: It’s so fun getting to know you.
4. Physical boundaries are broken quickly.
They push your limits. They touch you early on and initiate sexual acts. When you ask them to calm the physical things down they either do not listen, or say just the right things you want to hear. However, their behavior says otherwise.
NARCISSISM LOOKS LIKE: “You’re such a prude.”
IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE: “I don’t want to do anything until you’re ready.”
They put on a perfect show. When they need to impress someone the charm oozes out, but once that person is gone their character changes, even slightly. Once they know you are fully committed and fully invested (exclusive relationship, engagement, marriage) their mask slips off and their character changes permanently. You see the other side of the coin and they do not treat you as they once did.
NARCISSISM LOOKS LIKE: “Are you really wearing that dress tonight? We are going to a nice restaurant.”
IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE: “You look nice.”
6. Overwhelming gifts and attention.
They shower you with love and attention. They buy extravagant gifts, and constantly bring you “surprises.” They are overly touchy. This is called love bombing, meaning they overboard you with loving gestures (insert flowers, words of affirmations, false promises, excessive apologies). Their love bombing aims to control and reign you back in especially after a fight.
NARCISSISM LOOKS LIKE: He brings you flowers after a massive fight where he spoke poorly about your family.
IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE: He brings you flowers ever Friday, just because.
7. Prince Charming.
They are the smooth talkers. They can charm themselves out of any situation. Narcissists are overly charismatic. While in public they put on an act to seem as if they are the greatest and most perfect person in the world or at least in your world.
NARCISSISM LOOKS LIKE: “Most girls can’t handle me. I can tell you can.”
IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE: “You’re very smart. I love talking to you.”
TAKE IT SLOW
While dating, it is important not to rush things. Take everything one step at a time. Pay attention to words AND actions. If something feels off, trust your gut. Do not brush your gut feelings under the rug. If you feel the need to constantly defend and “talk up” the person you are dating. they probably are not as awesome as they are portraying to be. It shows an indication that you don't trust them enough to stand on their own. You have to step up and protect them because nobody understands them like you do.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Dating a narcissist is a serious and potentially dangerous situation. Keep your eyes open, talk to loved ones and if something doesn’t feel right, trust yourself. Once you are in a committed relationship or married, that gut feeling will completely be overridden by their voice.
Your voice, desires and needs will go silent. You will end up in second place if you’re lucky. Work, friends, addiction … the list goes on … come first. In a healthy relationship, you are a whole person in a relationship with another whole person. Completing one another is toxic and lies from the movies. In reality, it means that one person is getting their way more than the other.
Find your voice and never lose it.