The Huffington Post published an excellent editorial today entitled How to Tell if You’re Dating a Narcissist. Narcissists are my favorite subjects because the entertainment industry is crowded with them. Just about every celebrity is a narcissist in one form or another.
One of the world’s most well-known narcissists is U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama and his long-suffering wife, Michelle, regularly take separate vacations. But most telling is the fact that the first couple did not spend Valentine’s Day (the most romantic day of the year) together.
As the founder of her own public relations agency called NKPR, Natasha Koifman has had quite a few brushes with narcissistic men. Her guide to spotting the narcissist in your life is accurate and very informative. Take heed of her advice so you won’t become the narcissist’s next victim.
And remember, narcissists can be male or female.
Narcissists believe they are the sun that everything — including you — should revolve around.
Dating a narcissist can be really exciting at the beginning. They’re attractive, successful, charming, popular… and you’re their partner! Yay you! But scratch under the surface and you’ll find that’s all you are to them… a sidekick, a trophy, someone to amuse and distract them. You’re there to feed their ego, to flatter them. You’re a part of their life, but are they a part of yours? Do they spend time with your friends… or are you always with their circle? Do they only see you when it’s convenient for them? Do you only do the things they like to do? It’s a one-sided relationship when you’re with a narcissist and they’re always the star of the show.
They thrive on attention and require constant reinforcement. Narcissists need you to praise them. All. The. Time.
You’ll start off giving them genuine love and attention for being the amazing person you think they are (or for the potential you see in them) and they’ll love the compliments. They need you to constantly tell them (whether you mean it or not) “You are the smartest… you are the most brilliant… you are the most talented… there is nobody more skilled than you.” But one day you’ll realize that you might as well make a recorded message and play it to him because it doesn’t matter who delivers these messages… he could be having them with himself… for all you really matter. The narcissist is being fuelled by your compliments. And if you have some honest feedback or constructive criticism? The narcissist will turn on you, throw a tantrum or sulk like a child. Being with someone like this will drain you… emotionally, physically, and mentally… but it will fill up your narcissist lover.
Narcissists need to put you down to build themselves up.
When you date a narcissistic man or woman, chances are they’re not going to shower you with the kind of love and attention they expect you to give them. If anything, they’ll give you the opposite. Narcissists don’t want an equal partner. They won’t like it if you’re in a job that doesn’t measure up to their standards, but they’ll be even more upset if you’re a success… because they’re extremely competitive and need to be the best. They will make you feel like they’re the boss and you’re the protégé, that you need to live up to their extreme ideals of achievement and that they know better than you what you should do with your life. Some narcissists may tell you how to dress or wear your hair; they may even try to tell you how to feel! You tell them that they made you sad; they’ll reply ‘No, I didn’t.’ Nothing is ever a narcissist’s fault.
They often behave how they think they should, not how they really feel.
This kind of pretense can include false modesty, politeness and courtesy… but also pompousness and extroversion. Narcissists surround themselves with sycophants and admirers; they want people to look up to them and envy them. The flipside of this is that narcissists have incredible envy of other people’s successes. They hate feeling inadequate or less anything than someone else. If you try to discover a narcissist’s weaknesses, you’ll likely find yourself kicked to the curb. One thing a narcissist does not want you to know is that they have any insecurities or shortcomings. If you push them for answers, they’ll get their back up fast. They do not seek self-improvement, they do not want to expand or evolve; narcissists want to grow bigger and better, yes, but it’s in an illusionary way. No one is better at keeping up appearances than him…and narcissists lie so much that they actually start to believe their own delusions.
Narcissism is a learned behaviour and is often a response to childhood abuse.
Chances are, the narcissist became this way because of something that happened in his or her past. Whether they had an overbearing parent or if they were constantly told they’re not good enough… this or another type of traumatic experience affected them deeply and created the self-defence mechanism of extreme egotism and lack of empathy. The problem with this is that the narcissist eventually comes to think he or she really is their new, grandiose persona and forgets who they truly were inside. This is the opposite of living an authentic life… something I believe very strongly in!