dating a narcissist red flags to watch out for

Guest Post by Marissa Katrin Maldonado

Chances are at one point in your dating history you have encountered a narcissist. And if you’re dating a narcissist, red flags probably abound by now. No, this is not a man or woman who stares at themselves all day in a mirror! Narcissistic personality disorder is a real thing, a serious mental health disorder. If you have been unfortunate enough to experience this particular manifestation of mental illness firsthand, you most likely have quite a tale to tell.

Surviving a relationship with such a disordered person is a long, difficult process. Victims of a narcissist often end up shriveled and beaten down in spirit, and completely emotionally depleted. If you are involved in the dating scene and are unaware of what narcissistic personality disorder is, it is a good idea to get up to speed and learn those “Oh no — I’m dating a narcissist” red flags before you invest too much time in a sour relationship.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

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Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition that stems from an unhealthy and outrageously inflated view of one’s own super status compared with others around them, or — in their minds — the rest of the peons out there! Individuals with NPD often seek to latch onto partners who are damaged, needy and have low self-esteem — those who the narcissist hopes will serve as a willing host for their unquenchable need for adulation.

Coming from a place of self-importance, the NPD individual will demand constant admiration while swiftly knocking down any efforts the poor victim may make to draw some attention to themselves now and then. The narcissist will tolerate no competition — there is only room for one person on the seat of the throne.

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There are many red flag narcissistic behaviors to look out for. People with NPD may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of entitlement
  • Lack empathy or compassion
  • Expect others to fawn over them with admiration
  • Belittle others, talk to them with condescension
  • Take advantage of others to benefit themselves
  • Have a vaunted sense of self-importance
  • May monopolize conversations
  • Emotionally unavailable
  • Believe that others envy him/her
  • Can be boastful and pretentious
  • Become angry if challenged
  • Have bad tempers, sudden angry outbursts
  • Easily slighted, vulnerable to criticism
  • Inability to recognize the needs of others
  • Stingy, both materially and emotionally
  • Secretly feel insecure and often are self-loathing

Individuals with NPD usually refuse to get help, believing that they are perfect and beyond reproach. It can be difficult for someone with NPD to ever make any significant changes in their abhorrent behavior.

Dating a Narcissist? Red Flags You’re with a Narcissist

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The dating landscape is dicey enough without having to worry about how to spot a narcissist when dating. In fact, many times narcissists look wonderful on paper. They may be physically attractive, intelligent, outwardly confident and accomplished people — a 5 star dating profile, it would seem. But beware this seemingly perfect specimen!

How do you know if someone’s a narcissist? Are you dating a narcissist? Red flags are all over the place, you just have to know where to look. Here are ten signs you may have crossed paths with a narcissist in your dating life.

  1. King Tut Syndrome. Narcissists believe they are superior to others and should therefore be treated as such, expecting praise and acknowledgement of their superiority.
  2. Master Manipulator. Narcissists will use their charms to use others for their own benefit. They may end up with things like a car or free room and board as a result of this manipulation.
  3. Empathy Challenged. Narcissists do not admit to wrongdoing or guilt, and will not experience any remorse or condolence should they cause someone pain, or witness someone in pain.
  4. Resists Boundaries. Narcissists invade your boundaries and use people without hesitation. If the victim (host) is passive, the narcissist will take full advantage.
  5. Special Treatment. Narcissists feel entitled, expecting their partner to bend over backward to accommodate their needs and desires without feeling any compunction to reciprocate.
  6. Talking Themselves Up. Narcissists are self-absorbed and can go on and on about their achievements and talents, while being uninterested in learning about yours.
  7. Unpredictable Temper. Narcissists may come across at first as calm and sensitive types. Only after they hook you do you discover their nasty, unpredictable temper, causing you to walk on eggshells in their presence.
  8. King of Put Downs. Narcissists love to criticize and micro-manage in a relationship, making the victim feel powerless and controlled by them.
  9. Emotionally Absent. Narcissists do not want to be in a committed relationship, preferring to keep their options open to pursue their selfish interests. They resist bonding emotionally.
  10. Assumes they are the Envy of All. Narcissists idolize themselves and believe that everyone who he or she comes in contact with must also love and adore them. When they sense that someone isn’t buying into it, they punish them.

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If you recognize several of the above-mentioned traits in the person you are dating, you may be dating someone with narcissistic personality disorder. You may be wondering how to deal with dating a narcissist. The simple answer is don’t. Run — don’t walk — away. Narcissists are bad news, period.

About the Author

Marissa Katrin Maldonado has been working in the behavioral healthcare industry for over 12 years. She is the founder of The Treatment Specialist, a national online resource and helpline for those seeking treatment for addiction and mental health conditions. Dedicated to guiding individuals to the help they seek, Marissa believes that with the right support and guidance, those struggling will have the opportunity to turn their lives around and enjoy a healthy and happy life. She is a proud mother and wife and enjoys long distance running, traveling and music.

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