There is nothing worse than having a narcissist for a partner. Instead of looking out for your interests, he’s constantly looking out for number one.
We have all met a narcissist at least once in our lives. Most of the time, we are free to walk away, lest they poison us with their negativity.
Ben Michaelis, Ph.D., a clinical and media psychologist, lists the following signs to look for in a potential significant other, to protect yourself from exploitation and abuse.
1. He exaggerates his achievements in the hope of receiving praise from other people.
2. He’s preoccupied with fantasies of limitless success, love, and brilliance.
3. He believes he’s special and should only associate with other special people.
4. He needs to be admired.
5.He feels entitled and believes his needs should always be met.
6. He takes advantage of, and exploits other people.
7. He lacks empathy for other people.
8. He gets jealous of other people and believes they are jealous of them.
9. He’s arrogant and he displays self-important, condescending, behaviors.
He explains how the signs manifest in a relationship.
1. He’ll shower you with attention at first, and then become hot and cold.
Early in the relationship, narcissists may seem like the perfect partner. They are quick to give compliments and they will make you feel loved and cared for. However, when a narcissist is confident that he “has” you, you will feel a power shift. All of a sudden, his needs are more important than yours. He may start to belittle you so he feels better about himself. According to Dr. Michaelis, “You’ll find yourself adored, but then devalued.”
2. He’ll quickly grab control of the relationship.
Narcissists are often very controlling of their partners. Once they sense that they are losing their power over you, then their behavior might worsen.
3. He will fail to respond to your emotional needs.
Narcissists don’t have the ability to empathize – not with you and not with other people.
They are incapable of connecting with you on an emotional level. It is not that they don’t want to, it’s just that they can’t. Expecting them to respond to your emotional needs is an exercise in futility. According to Dr. Michaelis, you should ask yourself this question, “What is he actually doing to meet my emotional needs?” It may be time to break up with him if he always fails to meet your emotional needs.
4. He’ll play mind games with you.
According to Dr. Michaelis, narcissists like to play mind games. One technique they are fond of is gaslighting. It is a psychological tactic wherein a person manipulates his victim into questioning reality. This keeps the narcissist in a position of power and keeps you questioning your own experiences.
The term gaslighting comes from Gas Light, a 1938 play by British dramatist Patrick Hamilton. It was later turned into a movie starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, and Joseph Cotten.
In the movie, Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer) leads Paula (Ingrid Bergman) to believe that she’s going out of her mind. One way he does this is by isolating her from her friends and playing with the gas light inside the house, making the flame flicker. When Paula sees this, she starts to believe she’s going insane.
Michaelis points out how “a narcissist may actually change their behavior for a brief period of time and become the ideal partner for a little while. But they usually slip back into their old ways when they feel that the person will not leave.”
Narcissists are not only egocentric, they can be quite dangerous as well. They will abuse you psychologically without batting an eyelash. It is best to watch out for the signs before you’re in too deep.