I recently had quite an unpleasant, frustrating, encounter with a couple of narcissists. It brought out in me many negative emotions. In my effort to understand where they were coming from, I kept getting more and more outraged, but I admit, I let it happen. Their lack of empathy for others and utter disregard for human compassion was mind boggling. The more I saw and heard the more I couldn’t believe what I was hearing or experiencing. They just didn’t get it. Their world view was quite skewed, especially when it came to how they treated other people. But, I shouldn’t have been surprised because, after all, well, they’re narcissists.
According to psychologists, people with narcissistic personality disorder exhibit the following traits:
- they have delusions of grandeur
- they have an inflated sense of self-worth
- they’re always looking for validation and admiration, will spend copious amounts of money to treat others to something special just so people will notice them or think they’re something different and special (oysters and champagne anyone!? how about a round of drinks?)
- they have a sense of entitlement and unreasonable expectations of others around them
- they exploit others and use others’ experiences and status to heighten their own, that’s why they like to keep affluent or noteworthy friends on their roster, they like to be the one with all the right connections
- they lack empathy and cannot identify with the feelings of others or understand that their actions hurt others
- they are emotionally unavailable
It’s always all about the narcissist and their needs. They don’t care how their actions affect other people. They hurt people without even thinking twice about it and turn it around to be the fault of the victim. They just don’t get it and downplay what would be common sense to others. Narcissism and dating is a very real thing my friends. We ARE dating in the age of instant gratification after all!
So how do you know if you’re dating a narcissist? I did, I dated a narcissist once upon a time and loved every minute of it, until I didn’t. The “relationship tease” is a narcissist par excellence! You don’t realize right away how narcissistic someone is because they are great at hiding it behind their magnanimous and charming personalities. You get swept up in the experience. Live and learn, right? When you’re in a situation you don’t see the full dynamic of it, it’s only when you step outside the circle that you see the big picture.When I came across some great reading about this very topic I decided to write about why narcissism and dating are more common than you think. Recognizing the red flags are all part of dating smart.
Narcissism and Dating … Dating a Narcissist
In the article Could You Be Dating a Narcissist?, social psychologist Theresa DiDonato explains why it’s difficult to have anything meaningful in terms of personal relationships with narcissists. She lists the following 5 things as common when dating a narcissist (and of course including my thoughts ;)):
- They are commitment phobic and can’t sit in one place for very long, they need variety and change to an unhealthy degree, even at the expense of the one they’re with. To them, the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side. I like to call them people and sex hoppers, they hop from one to the other without missing a beat. They are the ones who will trade in the red hot Jaguar for the rusty old Chevy just for the sake of novelty (it is a different hole after all!). Why should they be satisfied with just one when they have so much love to spread around!! With them love and sex is a “free for all”.
- They are emotionally unavailable and unable to connect on an emotional level with others. They would much prefer to be admired and loved by the masses than have any meaningful connection with anyone. These are the types that will lead someone on for many months, or years, having absolutely no intention of letting them go, nor moving into a real relationship with them, and, of course, relationship teases fall into this category.
- They are more aggressive individuals. They don’t fight fair, whether it’s physical or emotional abuse, they hurt the person they’re with just to get a reaction out of them. They love the drama that comes with a disagreement or difficult situation. They actually thrive in that environment. When the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, they are there cool as a cucumber. They also tend to be the ones who give you the silent treatment when they want to show their dominance or control.
- They are more open to cheating. Because of their commitment phobic tendencies they are more prone to infidelity. They are driven by their egos and what’s good for them, having an utter disregard for their partners feelings or sexual safety.
- They are into playing games. The author says that narcissists “are more apt to lie, manipulate, and over-control their partners. They flirt with others and hide their real personality, making it difficult to form a trusting partnership.” They will set up situations and scenarios just to see what happens, all in the name of “having fun” of course. Like, for example, bringing together two people they’re sleeping with to see what happens when they find out or doing things leaving you wondering if it’s you who’s crazy or them.
So there you have it … narcissists are very real, they can take many shapes and forms, but the end product is essentially the same – they are toxic. Dating a narcissist is bad news and having gone through that, I caution you to stay away. Once the narcissistic tornado blows through and the shiny surface is gone, what’s left is hurt, confusion and broken pieces. You can’t change them, nor influence them positively in any way. This is a psychological problem that needs full realization that they have a problem and therapy to solve. All you can do is just ignore them! They really aren’t worth your time or energy. We waste too much time giving people like this the benefit of the doubt, but it’s not worth it. Pay attention to the red flags and stay away! For your sanity if for nothing else. Remember that a situation created by a narcissist is “NOT your circus and NOT your monkeys.” Move on! You’ll be glad you did!
READERS: Are you dating a narcissist? Have you ever dated a narcissist? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
Copyright Single Dating Diva
You nailed it!! I loved your line “I dated a narcissist once upon a time and loved every minute of it, until I didn’t.” the best, I, as well dated this same guy. It was a roller coaster of emotions for nearly 4 years. My head knew everything you wrote and logically, I knew I should walk away a long time ago…but that charmer in him. Oh boy are they great at manipulating and knowing exactly what to do!! Getting away was the hardest and best thing I ever did! Thanks for sharing! Loved this!
Thanks Deanna! It’s hard to leave, I know, but you did and your life is so much better because of it. Some people are just toxic and we need to keep them where they belong – OUT of our lives.
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What a great article! I got involved with one and am still recovering. I don’t think many people understand it until they have been through it. I got attached and fell in too deep before I even knew what was happening, he had vanished and subjected me to the silent treatment. I think being ignored regardless would drive anyone insane especially when you have developed strong feelings for someone.
Thanks so much! Sorry you had a bad experience with a narcissist. They really do get under your skin don’t they?! Glad you got through it and are in a much better place now.
I was married to one for 21 years, with him 25. So on point.
Wow! Thanks for sharing. That’s a long time to put up with a person like that.
I love your piece. I recently discovered my husband is one, after 4 years of a tornado of a marriage. I do not think they can change, I was in denial about his behaviour for years. As much as it hurts, you should always get out. Life is too short for a one way love.
Thanks for sharing your story Roman. We don’t always see the bad side right away and have hope that they can change, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Best to move on from this negative situation into something potentially better.
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wow i dated a narcissist for a year .Its hard they are so selfish,cheaters and they wsnt to dominate .it was the worst experience i had.
Thanks for sharing your story Grace. Sorry for your bad experience … sometimes we can’t see the negative until much later, but thank goodness you got out of it.
Sounds like many cocaine addicts too… I agree… RUN! LOL!! GREAT post as always Diva! Love your articles!!! Sharing this one EVERYWHERE!
Your so right Lisa Jey!! Run is RIGHT!! These people are just as toxic as cocaine too!! You are awesome!! Glad you liked it and thanks for sharing!!
Your point that narcissist tend to be charming and magnanimous is an important one! It’s intoxicating and blinds us to other facets of their personality that may have served as red flags. It’s painful when you realize their chivalry and benevolence were used as weapons of manipulation. Here’s to a narcissist-free 2015!
Thanks Marrie! You’re absolutely right! They are sometimes great at hiding behind their charming facade that we turn a blind eye to what’s really underneath the shiny packaging. Definitely on to a more positive year!
My ex BF I was with for only 3 months and met online for that matter was one. It was fun at first because I was being taken out to dinner and movies etc almost every night, then one day it was not fun anymore. The negativity etc that comes with it is not worth it in the long run.
Thanks for sharing your experience Danielle! These people tend to suck the life right out of us, I agree. It’s good you realized it and move on before getting in too deep.
I couldn’t agree more, I’ve been with a few men like this over the years. It starts out great with all the good times to go along with it, but inevitable it ends in disaster.
The big question is how do you spot this kind of thing early on in a relationship, especially when they are so good at hiding it?
Awesome post Suzie!
Thanks for sharing your experience Samantha! I think the key to spotting it early on is seeing behaviors in someone that just don’t feel right or make you uncomfortable for some reason. That’s your instinct telling you something is off … unfortunately we don’t always see it right away!
Agree with Lisa Jey – this is total addict behavior as well. Very fun and exciting…until it isn’t. Sorry for your two narcissist dates!! Moving forward to 2015. 🙂 Thanks for this post – really important!!!
Thanks Kelly! Not fun being around negative people that’s for sure! They weren’t dates at all, just people I met and had the displeasure of spending time with. Onwards and upwards right?
Women are narcissists too; perhaps the most vicious and vitriol!
That they are Rob, thanks for pointing that out 🙂 The post was not meant to focus on men alone.
I agree Rob! I dated a woman once that was a narcissist. She was afraid of commitment and would emotional not only myself but others as well. Also, she was emotionally unavailable. It was if there was this wall that was there stopping us from really digging in deep to get to know one another. In the end, I’m happy that the relationship didn’t work out as I would be miserable.
Dating a narcissist is tough because they can be so self-confident and charming. If you’re attracted to a narcissist maybe you should look in the mirror, too. It tells you something about who you’re attracted to and how you can have more healthy relationships.
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