Here are some signs of a narcissist that are often hidden in plain sight and some that are not mentioned very often. If you think you are in a relationship with a narcissist, time invested checking out what is actually happening is time well spent. It may save you years of heart-ache and suffering!
And because a victim of a narcissist may have difficulty recognizing the signs of a narcissist (because of the nature of mind control), it may be useful to ask a friend or family member to check the ideas here with you.
It is common that a relationship with a narcissist will move very quickly at the start. Narcissistic people often love-bomb their targets and the result is that the target feels like they have met the ideal partner, their soul mate, someone who finally understands them... All in the space of a few days!
This is a major red flag. If you find yourself besotted with another person within a very short span of time, it's vital to step back and check the person out. And at the same time, because there is a flood of emotions, love, lust, caring, respect, whatever, it's often very difficult to think clearly.
When emotions are running high, people often don't or cannot listen to reason. This gives rise to another major red flag situation. The target of a narcissist will be feeling so good about their new 'ideal' partner that they will not listen when a family member or friend (or even several people), try to warn them about the narcissist.
If you have said to close friends or family about your new 'friend', "You don't know him/her like I do" or "Wait until you spend more time with them, then you will understand why I like them so much" or even "Don't try and spoil things for me, you are only jealous..." then chances are that you are in trouble. You have been caught by a narcissist and you are so enamoured that you are ignoring sound advice from people who actually love you and care for you and are actually looking out for you.
Again, this is one of those important signs of a narcissist that people ignore at their peril even though it is so obvious to those outside the relationship. Later on when they look back, only then do they realize that people did try to warn them.
The positive vibe the victim gets from the narcissist also means that the victim overlooks the abusive behavior when it starts. Often when the narcissist does something nasty the first time, the victim may be somewhat caught off guard, but because they have such a high opinion of the narcissist, they justify the bad behavior or reason it away. "He/she is having a bad day" or "He/she is not normally like that, it'll be ok".
But once the person accepts the first bad behavior, whether it's a criticism, a lie, not showing up, breaking a promise, the second episode of bad behavior seems not as shocking and so on and so on. Eventually the abuse is so prevalent that, for the victim, it almost seems normal. "That's just the way things are."
Do you find yourself not telling those close to you about the bad things your partner has started doing? Or even has been doing for a long time?
Do you watch them outside the house being friendly, helpful, funny and charming? And then contrast that with how they treat you at home, with the shouting, harsh comments, name calling and so on? And you watch all these people being fooled and you say to yourself "If only you knew...!"
This inability to tell outsiders how badly you are being treated is one of the significant signs of a narcissist. Sometimes it's because you have been told not to or you have got into trouble for doing it before, but it's equally likely it's because you feel that you would be betraying the person or being disloyal, but you can't quite understand why you feel this way.
In fact, this feeling of not understanding what exactly is going on in your life is another important sign of a narcissist. As humans we like to attribute causes to things happening around us, and victims of narcissists will, of course, try to do the same. The difficulty is that there is no consistency in what is going on.
One day you say something and it's ok. The next day you get punished for saying the very same thing. Or you think an event went one way and your narcissistic partner tries to convince you that it happened differently. Narcissistic people will believe one thing one minute, and the opposite the next minute. You know you are not stupid, lazy, worthless or whatever but the narcissist in your life frequently criticizes you for being this way.
These narcissistic personality disorder symptoms are crazy making. There is no way to make sense of it until you use the ideas of mind control and narcissistic personality disorder as a frame of reference for studying what is actually going on. Then all the bits and pieces fall neatly into place.
There are lots of listicles about the typical signs of a narcissist, the self centeredness, the constant desire for compliments and accolades, the controlling behavior, narcissistic rage, the boundary violations, talking about themselves all the time...
But if you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it can be very difficult to recognize these traits in your partner, because you have basically been given alternative reasons why they are like this.
For example, if they call you frequently when you are out with your friends, the narcissist says that they are concerned about you and miss you and just want to hear your voice. The reality is that they are checking up on you, even if they have encouraged you to go out.
The narcissist may have given you a story about how they were abused in a previous relationship and that's why they need to hear you say nice things about them. You have come to believe that the narcissist is somewhat insecure and traumatized and because the story makes you feel sorry for them, you are happy to provide lots of reassurances. If someone tries to tell you that you are a source of narcissistic supply, you will most likely deny it because you believe your situation is different in that it is your choice to bolster the confidence of your loved one by giving lots of reassurance that you do indeed love them.
The idea about them destroying your boundaries is interesting. By the time a victim realizes that a boundary has been broken, that boundary has typically been destroyed a long time ago.
Are you lying to your friends or family now whereas you would never have done that in the past? Are you lying to yourself now? Have you done things of a sexual nature that you didn't really want to do? Have you engaged in activities that made you feel uncomfortable or that were outright illegal? If so, the narcissist in your life is pushing you beyond your limits, and your limits are part of what makes you who you are.
Trying to establish limits with a narcissist while you are still in the relationship is typically a waste of time, because the narcissist is much better at destroying your limits than you are at keeping them in place.
A classical sign of a narcissist is that they take credit for things that go well around them, no matter how absurd it may seem. They will always blame you (or others) for things that go wrong.
This is a particularly destructive pattern for the people around a narcissist because it destroys self esteem and self confidence. It also makes the victims very vigilant and anxious, and afraid of making mistakes because they know there will be hell to pay if they do. The narcissist typically expects perfection from those around them and whatever their victims do is never enough. They typically demand more and more...
If you want to read more about narcissism, this is a good place to start. Is my boyfriend emotionally abusive? What is an abusive relationship? For more signs of a narcissist or psychopath in relationships you can read more here, as well as the domestic violence cycle of abuse, healing from emotional abuse and narcissistic abuse recovery.
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
You have the theory but how do you actually apply it? This book spells it out...
Do you think that you might be in an abusive relationship? Are you realizing that the group you are in may be a cult?
Do you think you are being taken advantage of emotionally, physically, sexually or financially in your relationship? Do you want to leave but you can't seem to get away?