The Narcissist’s Trap: How to Identify and Avoid Toxic Relationships

Dating a Narcissist

If you’re dating someone who flirts with other people right in front of you, tries to hush your opinion, or makes you feel like you can never measure up to them, well, maybe you’re dating a narcissist. Even worse, perhaps they are doing it all on purpose.

The term narcissist often brings an image to mind that seems synonymous with being self-obsessed. However, there’s more to a narcissistic personality than meets the eye. Narcissists come in all shapes, sizes, and severity of disorder. While some are grandiose and have an extroverted perspective, others are insecure, vulnerable, and inherently fragile.

Yet, they all share one distinct quality: they can wreak havoc in your life through various manipulative tactics and make the relationship a living hell. Try reasoning with them, and you’ll find yourself talking to a wall because, based on clinical studies, narcissists don’t know they’re narcissists. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help yourself and, better yet, seek yourself out of a narcissistic relationship. Your best bet is to learn the warning signs of a narcissist and protect yourself from being narcissistically abused.

5 Warning Signs That Flag A Narcissist 

1. They come too strong initially and then vanish into thin air.

The interesting thing about narcissists, whether grandiose or vulnerable, is that they don’t truly love themselves. Most of them are vividly aware of what they lack and put extra effort into brushing off their insecurities. That’s where their “extroverted” personality stems from because they are always trying to one-up themselves, and being in relationships is no different.

A narcissist would fall head over heels for you, a.k.a love bombing. Yes, we all love to feel lusted for at first, but when it seems too good to be true, chances are that your instinct is correct. The first few months will be a frenzy of intense chats about how you two are soulmates and ideal for one another, coupled with weekend getaways and candlelit dinners. But the moment you fall for them, they will stop trying to woo you and leave you on read, stroking their egos instead.

2. Everything is always about them

Talking about themselves is a narcissist’s favorite pastime. They can go on and on about their achievements and accomplishments. It makes them feel better and wiser than everyone else and helps them create a facade of self-secure. But it doesn’t stop there!

The best happens to a narcissist and also the worst. So, either you will find them blowing their horns and going nonstop about how their folder had more pages than their colleagues, or you will listen to them whine about how difficult their life is because everything terrible always happens only to them. There’s no way in between. And they are not interested in hearing your life story, regardless of its theme.

3. You scratch their backs, but they aren’t going to scratch yours.

Narcissists may come across as confident people, but they lack self-esteem and empathy and require excessive admiration. They constantly need validation and a lot of praise, and if you’re not giving it to them, they’ll fish for it.

Narcissistic people use highly empathic people to supply their sense of self-worth and make them feel mighty. They feed off compliments to boost their self-esteem and then punish everyone around them for their lack of self-confidence. How twisted is that?

What’s worse is that narcissists expect you to be nice to them and continue to uplift their self-esteem but have no regard for your feelings. They are so tangled in their own that they will neglect any conversation involving others’ emotions of any sort.

4. They have no long-term relationships or friends

Habitual of rubbing people the wrong way, narcissists are always getting into conflicts with others. Regardless of what they say upfront, dig deeper into their relationships, and you will find they have very few friends, let alone close friends. But again, they want to trade their breadcrumbs with your loaf of bread.

They are sensitive and highly insecure, which makes them lash out and manipulate you into thinking that though they have a great life, they are still taking the time to spend with you. It’s you who don’t have a life and can’t manage to be with them for the most part. As soon as you fall for their trap, they will try to isolate you from your friends and family, who may see through their behavior and urge you to leave.

5. It’s not teasing; they’re picking on you

While they like to term their act of bringing people down with snarky comments and expressions as teasing, narcissists are well known for picking at people constantly, and you will be no exception. They might do more to you than others. They will chip your self-esteem little by little to ensure you know you’re lucky to have them and are not better than them. Because, to a narcissist, nobody is better.

They’ll highlight your insecurities, call you names, hit you with “funny” hurtful one-liners, and make jokes that feel like second-hand insults. They aim to gain power over your emotional state and take the edge away. And if you try to confront them, the infamous blame game comes into play. You will never even know when the court shifted, and now you’re suddenly in the wrong.

How do you protect yourself:

Narcissists are complicated beings. They fail to feel content in relationships or any area of their lives because nothing is ever special enough for them. So, you’ll never be enough for them because they’re never enough for themselves, either.

It’s why the best way to protect yourself from a narcissist is to cut ties altogether. Stick with what’s known as the No Contact Rule — It means exactly how it sounds. Sever any contact you may have with them and save yourself the trauma, heartbreak, loneliness, and a plethora of emotions that are not fun to experience.

Bottom line: the best way to date a narcissist is not to!

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RENEE Freeland
1 year ago

Excellent, informative article. It’s often difficut to know if someone has narcissistic traits, like most of us do, or is a full-blown narcissist. Your article is helpful is delineating between the two categories.