(AscendHealthy.com) – Love can be complicated enough when both people are honest, straightforward and committed to the relationship. “Complicated” can take on a whole new meaning when your significant other turns out to be a narcissist. Not always easy to spot, especially at first, these self-centered manipulators can destroy lives and dissolve genuine relationships. Watch out for these seven signs to avoid serious heartache later.
1. Nothing Is Ever Their Fault
Narcissists lack all sense of accountability. Psychology Today warns that it doesn’t matter how clearly they’re at fault or how much evidence someone has against them; these people aren’t capable of owning their mistakes, which means they also can’t learn from them. How brave and truthful someone is when they’re forced to face something they’ve done says a lot about their character. A narcissist will do anything to keep from facing the music, including turning the blame around onto the people they claim to love.
2. It Always Has to Come Back to Them
Narcissists need to be the center of attention. No one can tell a great personal story in their presence without being one-upped. Everything is about them, and if it isn’t, they’ll find a way to redirect it. They live to be admired and told how exceptional they are.
3. They Can’t Handle Criticism
Watch out for people who aren’t open to constructive personal and professional critique. Narcissists believe they’re the best at everything they do, and they don’t take criticism well. Most of us are willing to consider an honest critique, and many people are grateful for helpful corrections and guidance. Be wary of someone who thinks they know more than everyone else — including the real experts.
4. They ‘Love-Bombed’ You Early On
A red flag that may be especially difficult to spot is “love-bombing.” They come on strong early in the relationship, often showing too much interest and communicating excessively. This is a tactic the narcissist uses to gain control. Being on the receiving end of this behavior feels heavenly. Who wants to suspect their significant other of manipulating them when every moment with the person is like an incredible walk in the clouds? Moving too fast? Do they seem too into you? If so, your partner could be love-bombing.
5. They’ve Grown Controlling
Narcissists are obsessed with appearances and outside opinions, so once all the love bombs have fallen, criticism and control are likely to come next. The person may become manipulative, exploiting weaknesses to get their victims to do what they want. They may attempt to live vicariously through others’ talents to boost their sense of self-worth, micromanaging the person in an attempt to “perfect” them. This behavior isn’t for the other person’s benefit; it’s solely for the narcissist’s own perceived image.
6. They Dismiss Other People’s Feelings
Some people lack empathy, plain and simple. It may be a difficult concept to grasp for those of us who do feel it, but these people aren’t capable of seeing others the way empathetic people do. Where most of us can’t help but feel for those around us, especially individuals we care about, narcissists can only appreciate their own feelings and experiences. As far as the narcissist is concerned, people are merely pawns to be used and discarded, and life is one big game of chess.
7. They Make You Question Yourself
Gaslighting is, hands-down, the narcissist’s most damaging tool. Positive Psychology explains that this type of manipulation progresses gradually. It begins with the victim questioning small issues, knowing something is wrong but being unable to pinpoint the problems and ends with the person feeling exhausted, confused and unsure of everything. This use of mind games is another tactic narcissists employ to avoid accountability and control their partners.
Do any of these tactics or traits look familiar? Don’t ignore any potential red flags. Remember, narcissists often make the best first impressions, so it’s important to have a clear idea of what to watch out for. Personal safety is number one, and there are predators out there just looking for another pawn for their chessboard. It’s up to each of us to identify the game — and then walk away. If you’ve already caught in a narcissist’s web and aren’t sure how to get out, consider making an appointment with a mental health counselor.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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