Of course we all do this somewhat at the beginning of the relationship. We tend to worship our new partner. Can’t stop thinking about them. Compliment them repeatedly. That’s normal. However, the narc will be ‘over the top’ and a bit too good to be true. Listen to your gut if something is feeling not quite right or not quite genuine.
One red flag alone doesn’t make your partner a narcissist. However, if coupled with other red flags that’s the time to start thinking more about it and doing your research.
In my opinion the top red flag is your gut. Your inner voice. Listen to it.
The fact that you’re looking up narcissist red flags is a big enough red flag. That alone should tell you something isn’t quite right. Have you ever had to look up narcissism in any other relationship? If not why now? If your relationship was perfect you’d be looking up wedding venues not traits of the narc. Again, listen to your inner voice! You’re not here because everything is rosy are you?
There are many many red flags but here are the most evident ones.
1. Speed dating – from first date to talking about marriage and spending the rest of your lives together almost from the offset. They fall in love with you rapidly. They’ve never loved anyone like they love you. They’ve finally got it right. You’re their soulmate. They can’t imagine living without you. They love EVERYTHING about you.
2. He (or she) is the perfect partner. You can’t believe your luck. They’re everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Showering you with gifts, compliments, showing you off to friends, meeting the family rapidly. You’re their ‘princess’. Constantly posting photos on Facebook of you both, making status’s of how wonderful you are and how happy they are (yes their ex can see these posts and that’s partly why they do it. It’s called triangulation)
3. All their ex’s are crazy manipulative bitches/bastards. Yes, ALL of them. Of course there’s reason why we aren’t with our ex’s still but do ALL our ex’s have exactly the same traits? Bear this in mind….a narc projects their OWN traits onto others. What you’re likely hearing is what is wrong with THEM not their ex. Listen carefully and trust your gut if something tells you what they’re saying doesn’t quite ring true. Also something to definitely keep in mind is that when you’ve escaped or they’ve discarded you you will be painted in EXACTLY the same light. You are going to become number 427 psychotic crazy bitch ex.
4. Everything that has happened in their life is someone else’s fault. They NEVER take responsibility for anything in their lives. Listen carefully for their excuses. Listen carefully for them taking responsibility for their own life. If that doesn’t happen, realise it’s a red flag.
5. When they’re telling you about all the shitty things their ex did or said realise that what they’re actually doing is making sure you don’t do any of those things. It’s very subtle. “She never had a meal on the table ready for when I’d finished a 25 hour day shift” (Yep, exaggeration is another red flag) “she always wanted to spend so much time with her friends which left me feeling neglected and unloved” “she would never publicly say anything nice about me” “she always refused sex” etc etc. The list is endless and you WILL hear all about what the ex didn’t do for him very quickly into your relationship. All designed to make you, the ‘better’ partner make sure you don’t treat him the way his ex (supposedly) did. If you find yourself deliberately making sure you don’t make the same ‘mistakes’ as his ex then you’re already being controlled. If you realise it or not! It’s called coercive control. They don’t need to say to you “you’d better make sure my dinner is on the table” or “you won’t be going out with your friends as I demand all of your attention” They don’t need to. And of course in the beginning if they did say such things you’d be off like a shot wouldn’t you? Nope, they are clever and very subtle. They make sure you can’t accuse them of control by doing it coercively.
6. They seem to have unrealistic accomplishments. “I’m an engineer” was a favourite of my ex’s. He’d never stepped foot in a Uni but somehow he was highly trained and highly qualified. If your partner tells you of an accomplishment that you know cannot possibly be true take that as a red flag. And if you dare call him out on it expect rage and projection. “Are you calling me a liar?” “So you don’t trust what I say?” “Why can’t you just take my word for it?” “Oh this is exactly what my ex used to do!” All projection and all to take the focus of what he’s done wrong and turn it into something you’ve done wrong. Major red flag!
7. There is no ‘grey’ everything is black and white. Total extremes. They either love someone and they are on a pedestal and they are amazing (family,friends,colleagues etc) or they hate someone and they are total bastards. There is no in between. Everyone and everything is black or white. Loved or hated. Good or bad. It’s unrealistic isn’t it? Yep, another red flag.
8. They aren’t interested in ANYTHING you have to say. They may appear to have an interest (often over the top) in the beginning but before long when their mask starts to drop you’ll find them picking their phone up whilst you’re talking to them or changing channel on TV. When you call them on it they’ll again twist it into you being the one in the wrong “I can do more than one thing at once you know!” “Why do you always have to have a go at me, it’s like you deliberately want to start an argument” “I had enough of this shit with my ex” again conveniently avoiding justifying their own behaviour by making it into something YOU have done wrong. Ask yourself this…is it wrong to want your partner to show you respect and listen to you when you are talking to them? You know, like you do for them. Of course not. Big red flag.
9. You start to feel on edge or anxious when with them (or all the time) but you can’t put your finger on why. You certainly can’t put it into words. They have (you believe) done nothing to make you feel this way so it can’t be them can it? You question yourself as to why you don’t feel ‘right’ or why you feel anxious or on edge. You don’t for one minute think it’s anything to do with them but you can’t dismiss the feelings as they are very real. This all confuses you and you start to doubt yourself. Because you can’t find a reason for it you can’t talk about it either because it doesn’t make sense and it’s impossible to verbalise. Truth is this is your body reacting to danger. You’re already being controlled but your conscious mind has no idea. If you start to have these feelings of anxiousness or something not ‘quite right’ this is a HUGE red flag. Do NOT ignore it. You’re already on the road to complex post traumatic stress disorder, you just don’t know it yet.
10. They’ll insult you and try to make you jealous. You won’t even realise this is happening because it’ll be undercover. They’ll say it in a jokey way “oh you’re such a dumb ass haha” or “I can’t believe you didn’t know that haha” call them on it and you’ll be ‘overreacting’ or you just can’t ‘take a joke can you’ or ‘lighten up and stop overthinking’ I remember when my narc met my best friend. He said “oh you look lovely, I think I picked the wrong one haha” everyone in group gasped including his family but it was ok because I was over reacting! I was making a big deal of something he said in humour. Hmmmm right.
So there are 10 red flags to get you started. They will all appear fairly quickly into the relationship. There are hundreds more that I’ll try to cover later but these should give you a basic indication.
As I said, one red flag does not mean you’re with a narc but if a few of the 10 ring true then I think you need to keep reading.