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There aren’t many upsides to having dated a narcissist, but here’s one you might not have thought of: at least now you know how to spot one. In reality, there are many red flags to watch out for. For example, as we pointed out in a previous blog article, narcissists probably do not use a lot of “I” language, as common sense might suggest. Instead, they make authoritative statements about the way things are.
In addition, according to Sanjana Gupta in an article for the website VeryWellMind, there are many other “signs that you’re dating a person with narcissistic tendencies.” These include:
- Need for approval.
- Superficial intimacy.
- Exploitative nature.
- Beliefs of grandiosity.
- Lack of empathy.
- Sensitivity to criticism.
- Exaggerated extremes.
If you’ve dated a narcissist, these characteristics might sound familiar. But it’s probably of more value to understand how to avoid falling into a pattern of developing relationships with narcissists. Gupta cites experts who offer the following advice for doing exactly that. Most important, taking these steps early in a relationship gives you the chance to decide if you really want it to continue.
Start expressing your needs. This is the first step in identifying a partner who will value your needs — and it prompts you to identify your needs in the first place.
Stop trying to be a caretaker to your partner. It’s not your job to heal your partner.
Take a step backward. It’s always wise to give yourself a chance to look at things objectively.
Seek social support. Friends and family can be invaluable for helping you decide if you’re perceiving the relationship accurately.
Prioritize yourself. Remember that each partner in a relationship is equally deserving of respect.
Recognize childhood influences. This can get complicated quickly, but people who are routinely attracted to people with narcissistic tendencies may have had a primary figure in childhood who was emotionally unavailable to them. If you suspect this may be the case, reaching out to a licensed therapist may be in order.
Get in touch with your feelings. The more confident you are in identifying your own feelings, the more confident you will be in trusting your perception of the relationship.
Set boundaries. That will help you communicate to your partner what kind of behavior is acceptable.
Recognize red flags. Then take action — whether it’s working to redefine the relationship or ending it.
Read Gupta’s full article on narcissistic relationship patterns here.