Narcissist or nah?
I pay attention to single women when they speak. I hear the things they say, and read the things they write. Many believe that they have, at least once, dated or entertained a narcissistic man. In a time where we often mention self-love, healing, rejection, and daddy issues, narcissists is just another word that often times gets overly (and often incorrectly) used. I hear women say they were involved with one, but... were they?
Exactly what is a narcissist? It's one who has an inflated sense of self-importance. While narcissism mainly affects men, women aren't exempt. The actual cause of this condition is unknown, but it likely has to do with environmental factors along with genetics.
It seems easy for us to toss this term out there because it's "in." But understand that a true narcissist is one that has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). This is characterized by an exaggerated sense of importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, lack of empathy for others, and often having troubled, unhealthy relationships. "What it boils down to," says licensed therapist Rebecca Weiler, LMHC, "is selfishness at the (usually extreme) expense of others, plus the inability to consider others’ feelings at all."
Pay attention, because with true narcissists, signs are present. This can take the form of a few of these signs:
excessive need for admiration
disregard for others' feelings and a lack of empathy
an inability to handle any criticism and a sense of entitlement.
grandiose sense of importance
preoccupation with unlimited success
belief that one is special and unique
exploitative of others
arrogance and jealousy of others
These symptoms cause significant distress in a person's life
What it boils down to, is selfishness at the (usually extreme) expense of others, plus the inability to consider others’ feelings at all.
In the recent DSM manual, there are 9 official criteria, and only 5 are needed to be professionally diagnosed. I've mentioned some of these above, but here you can find the official standards.
grandiose sense of self-importance
preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
belief they’re special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
need for excessive admiration
sense of entitlement
inter-personally exploitative behavior
lack of empathy
envy of others or a belief that others are envious of them
demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes
Now that you've read all this information, can you still say that you believe that you have dated a narcissistic man before? Multiple? When you have a clear idea of what the conditions are, you can sometimes tell when you're romantically in the presence of one. One of the most dangerous weapons that a narc will use is love bombing. They shower their "victims" with love and affection. Psychology Today has this to say:
"Love bombing is the practice of overwhelming someone with signs of adoration and attraction— think flattering comments, tokens of affection, or love notes on the mirror, kitchen table, or windshield, and you’re beginning to get the picture. It’s flowers delivered at work with hearts dotting the i’s in your name. It’s texts that increase in frequency as they increase in romantic fervor. It’s surprise appearances designed to manipulate you into spending more time with the bomber — and, not coincidentally, less time with others, or on your own." It feels good until the bomb explodes. Now that he's lured you in, hell breaks loose. It's all a part of their manipulative practice.
Aside from love bombing, there are signs that a man you're involved with might be a narcissists.
Initially, he'll be very charming. To the point that you're either skeptical, smitten, and/or unsure if it's too good to be true.
They tend to hog the conversations because, well... they're awesome.
You'll realize they feed off compliments. And I mean yours; they love to hear others speak on their positive traits. Especially when you do it.
Typically they lack empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of another). This is why empaths and narcissists are often drawn to each other...
You will find that they don't have many long-term friends. Your average person who is emotionally, mentally, and psychologically healthy doesn't stick around long...
Picking on you is something they enjoying doing. They love to crack jokes at your expense.
Gas lighting is something else they enjoy doing. Anything to make you think that you're the one with issues. Know that just because someone gaslights does not mean they suffer from NPD.
The kicker? They love to dance around defining your relationship. Anything to play with your mind...
They will always believe that they're right, and almost always, they refuse to apologize.
Should you ever decide to end things, they'll lose their mind and lash out at you.
One thing we must be mindful of is that in the social media age, it's easy to post about being single and desiring a mate. Now you're sending out signals that you're available to the narc seeking for his next prey. If they ever believe for a second that your guard is down, he'll see you as an easy target for his manipulative tactics. Enter in the love bombing. Something to determine is not why this is something they suffer from. Because truth be told, narcs actually can be treated. They can be "fixed" so to speak. Talk therapy is an effective method used by professionals. Know that this isn't something you can do, however. Not unless you're skilled or qualified. But what you need to figure out if you were ever in a relationship with one, especially multiple, is why. As a coach for women, I've heard many women say they were involved with a man that fits this category on more than one occasion. There's a reason for this.
Ensure that you heal for the parts of you that allows certain levels of toxicity to remain in your life. As God-fearing women, we don't have time entertaining anyone who that will get in the way of who we've been praying and preparing for up until now. Know that I'm here for you when you're ready to take the steps to be done with past behaviors.