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The 3 Early Red Flags You’re Dating A Narcissist

by | December 5, 2016

 

It can be difficult to tell if that great guy or gal you’re dating is really a narcissist. After all, hiding who they truly are is what narcissists do best. And the worst narcissists, the ones you definitely need to watch out for, are the best at concealing it. Even those folks who believe they’ve acquired Sherlock Holmes level detective skills for spotting these wolves in sheep’s clothing still find themselves raising an eyebrow, questioning every indelicate word, or dubious action. Fortunately, there are three tell-tale early warning signs. So, if you see any of these, do yourself a favor, and swipe left.

RED FLAG #1:  The relationship moves at lightning fast speed

Many people mistake the swift pace of the relationship as proof of love, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Narcissists move the relationship at lightning speed to get you invested emotionally, and often financially, in the relationship before you have the time to figure out their true character. Their sense of commitment urgency is not from a place of true love; it is a race to beat your BS detector’s alarm from sounding off and alerting you to danger. The early declarations of everlasting love and the talks about marriage and children are always to get you to lower your guard, and commit to the relationship. It’s characteristic of these personality types to marry or move in quickly. They build intensity quickly by monopolizing all your attention and spending every waking minute with you. And when not with you, you can bet your phone will be blown up with texts and phone calls reminding you how much they miss you, and how they can’t wait to see you again.

Always stay in control of the pace of the relationship, and don’t get swept up and mistake intensity for intimacy. Healthy people won’t be put off by your request to take things slow, but narcissists will guilt, or shame you into keeping up with their pace.

RED FLAG #2: You’re put on a pedestal

Who doesn’t like to be complimented and appreciated? Especially, when the praise is coming from someone, you’re really into. But, too many compliments are an early red flag of a predator.

You’re so much better than all my exes.

No one has ever made me this happy before.

You are the best thing to ever happen to me.

I have been waiting all my life for someone like you.

You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met before.

You’re the most loving and kind person I’ve ever known.

You’re the best at (fill in the blank) ________.

Compliments that sound like the above aren’t genuine compliments when the compliment giver hasn’t known you for long. You might be as wonderful as they proclaim you are, but seriously, it takes more than two weeks or even a couple of months for anyone to get to know all sides of you and to appreciate you for the multi-dimensional human being that you are. When compliments are given too liberally they aren’t compliments; they’re flattery. And the Webster Dictionary definition of flattery is: “Excessive and insincere praise, especially given to further one’s own interests.”  There are a few reasons why narcissists use excessive flattery and elevate their partners to pedestal level status. Flattery lowers your guard. Someone who thinks so highly of you isn’t someone who you need to be concerned about, right? Wrong! And personality disordered people need to raise their partners to near god/goddess-like status because the more perfect, and wonderful they build you up to be, the more special they become by association.

Beware, although the idealization stage feels amazing, and can be difficult to resist, it comes with a steep price. When you’re being lifted by unrealistic appraisals of your perfection, you can bet you’ll be expected to remain perfect 24/7, and if you dare falter, you’ll be criticized, and devalued for being, well… human.

RED FLAG #3: They never take accountability for their circumstances

If you listen carefully to their stories, you’ll hear a lot about how people have done them wrong, but what you won’t hear is any accountability of any wrongdoing. Whether they’re talking about how they have fallen on hard times, or why their previous relationships didn’t work out, they will always be the innocent party. Their unfortunate circumstances are always caused by something, or someone else, and they’re never at fault. Their boss had it out for them. A co-worker was jealous and lied to get them fired. Their ex was mean, selfish, crazy, not who they thought, and so on.

We all have the natural tendency of wanting to put our best foot forward in a new relationship. Of course, no one wants to make themselves look bad, but healthy people will share their history in a more balanced way. They may tell their stories with a positive spin, but won’t dump the entire blame for all of their misfortunes onto the laps of others.

Narcissists can’t admit they’re wrong because they view things as all good, or all bad. This is called All or Nothing Thinking, or Splitting. It is a defense mechanism that is characterized by the inability to integrate both positive, and negative qualities of self, and others into a unified whole. In their minds, people are either right, or wrong, or all good, or all bad. For narcissists to admit that they’re wrong is equivalent to admitting they’re all bad, and essentially horrible, and worthless.

Copyright © 2016 Bree Bonchay.  All Rights Reserved.

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A LITTLE ABOUT ME

Bree Bonchay, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist with over 18 years of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships. Her articles have been featured in major online magazines and she has appeared on radio as a guest expert.
She is a dedicated advocate, educator and facilitates survivor support groups and workshops.

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Healing stories about surviving toxic relationships with narcissists and sociopaths.

 

It can be difficult to tell if that great guy or gal you’re dating is really a narcissist. After all, hiding who they truly are is what narcissists do best. And the worst narcissists, the ones you definitely need to watch out for, are the best at concealing it. Even those folks who believe they’ve acquired Sherlock Holmes level detective skills for spotting these wolves in sheep’s clothing still find themselves raising an eyebrow, questioning every indelicate word, or dubious action. Fortunately, there are three tell-tale early warning signs. So, if you see any of these, do yourself a favor, and swipe left.

RED FLAG #1:  The relationship moves at lightning fast speed

Many people mistake the swift pace of the relationship as proof of love, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Narcissists move the relationship at lightning speed to get you invested emotionally, and often financially, in the relationship before you have the time to figure out their true character. Their sense of commitment urgency is not from a place of true love; it is a race to beat your BS detector’s alarm from sounding off and alerting you to danger. The early declarations of everlasting love and the talks about marriage and children are always to get you to lower your guard, and commit to the relationship. It’s characteristic of these personality types to marry or move in quickly. They build intensity quickly by monopolizing all your attention and spending every waking minute with you. And when not with you, you can bet your phone will be blown up with texts and phone calls reminding you how much they miss you, and how they can’t wait to see you again.

Always stay in control of the pace of the relationship, and don’t get swept up and mistake intensity for intimacy. Healthy people won’t be put off by your request to take things slow, but narcissists will guilt, or shame you into keeping up with their pace.

RED FLAG #2: You’re put on a pedestal

Who doesn’t like to be complimented and appreciated? Especially, when the praise is coming from someone, you’re really into. But, too many compliments are an early red flag of a predator.

You’re so much better than all my exes.

No one has ever made me this happy before.

You are the best thing to ever happen to me.

I have been waiting all my life for someone like you.

You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met before.

You’re the most loving and kind person I’ve ever known.

You’re the best at (fill in the blank) ________.

Compliments that sound like the above aren’t genuine compliments when the compliment giver hasn’t known you for long. You might be as wonderful as they proclaim you are, but seriously, it takes more than two weeks or even a couple of months for anyone to get to know all sides of you and to appreciate you for the multi-dimensional human being that you are. When compliments are given too liberally they aren’t compliments; they’re flattery. And the Webster Dictionary definition of flattery is: “Excessive and insincere praise, especially given to further one’s own interests.”  There are a few reasons why narcissists use excessive flattery and elevate their partners to pedestal level status. Flattery lowers your guard. Someone who thinks so highly of you isn’t someone who you need to be concerned about, right? Wrong! And personality disordered people need to raise their partners to near god/goddess-like status because the more perfect, and wonderful they build you up to be, the more special they become by association.

Beware, although the idealization stage feels amazing, and can be difficult to resist, it comes with a steep price. When you’re being lifted by unrealistic appraisals of your perfection, you can bet you’ll be expected to remain perfect 24/7, and if you dare falter, you’ll be criticized, and devalued for being, well… human.

RED FLAG #3: They never take accountability for their circumstances

If you listen carefully to their stories, you’ll hear a lot about how people have done them wrong, but what you won’t hear is any accountability of any wrongdoing. Whether they’re talking about how they have fallen on hard times, or why their previous relationships didn’t work out, they will always be the innocent party. Their unfortunate circumstances are always caused by something, or someone else, and they’re never at fault. Their boss had it out for them. A co-worker was jealous and lied to get them fired. Their ex was mean, selfish, crazy, not who they thought, and so on.

We all have the natural tendency of wanting to put our best foot forward in a new relationship. Of course, no one wants to make themselves look bad, but healthy people will share their history in a more balanced way. They may tell their stories with a positive spin, but won’t dump the entire blame for all of their misfortunes onto the laps of others.

Narcissists can’t admit they’re wrong because they view things as all good, or all bad. This is called All or Nothing Thinking, or Splitting. It is a defense mechanism that is characterized by the inability to integrate both positive, and negative qualities of self, and others into a unified whole. In their minds, people are either right, or wrong, or all good, or all bad. For narcissists to admit that they’re wrong is equivalent to admitting they’re all bad, and essentially horrible, and worthless.

Copyright © 2016 Bree Bonchay.  All Rights Reserved.

Suffering from Narcissistic Abuse?

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My blood pressure rises every time I see quotes or memes like the one below, especially when they are written by individuals who provide relationship advice like the writer of the one included in this post.There are so many horrendous inaccuracies and faulty assumptions in the meme/statement below.And, sadly it’s these types of memes/beliefs that contribute to keeping narcissistic abuse victims stuck in and returning to abusive relationships. Statements like these echo the very WORDS of abusers. If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, you know.Words that are deliberately delivered to distract the attention away from the abuser’s behavior and keep the victim focused on his/her alleged flaws. Also, if the statement was true, why is it that manipulative and controlling people are often not fooled or easily controlled by other manipulators?Is it because manipulative people have healthy self-love?Is it because they’re emotionally healthy and sovereign?Of course not. It’s because they can easily spot the tactics that they themselves use. Simple.When dangerous advice and memes like this are so negligently tossed around, it’s no wonder why there are so many victims of manipulators.This type of advice offers the wrong diagnosis, the wrong solution, and gives individuals a false sense of protection.Let’s remember that manipulation by its nature means that manipulation is invisible and occurs just below the level of consciousness. If manipulation could be easily detected, then it wouldn’t be manipulation. It would be obvious.I’m not knocking self-love. It’s critical to well-being, but if you’ve been in an abusive relationship for any length of time, your self-confidence and self-esteem has surely been attacked and insidiously diminished, meaning it’s inevitable that your self-love will suffer.If you know anything about manipulators and controllers, then you know that many of their victims are targeted for what they have, not for what they lack. And, according to research from The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction, many narcissistic abuse survivors have the same cluster of trait elevations- agreeableness, conscienceness and openness/empathy.So, if you’ve been the victim of someone who is highly manipulative, controlling, and/or has a personality disorder that impairs their empathy or conscience, don’t assume it’s because you’re lacking anything. Instead, consider what you have in abundance.Even the leading expert in psychopathy, Dr. Robert Hare, has said that he can still be fooled and conned.We need to get the correct information and helpful advice out there. That’s why I’m including a book plug in this post.If you are stuck in an abusive relationship or know someone who is, check out Kristen Milstead’s book, “Why Can't I Just Leave: A Guide to Waking Up and Walking Out of a Pathological Love Relationship”.Kristen asked me if I would review her book and here’s what I had to say:"Kristen Milstead provides a social psychological analysis of narcissistic abuse using the empathetic voice of a survivor. Survivors who read this book will be able to trust the "lightbulb" moments this rare perspective offers." Kristen has a doctorate in sociology and uses the stories of survivors and social psychological research on compliance, cognitive dissonance, and thought control.Here’s what the description on Amazon says, “Why Can’t I Just Leave? explains how relationships with pathological partners can create impossible dilemmas that trap you in a distorted dream-state and hijack your thoughts and emotions. Learn what those who are conscience-impaired don’t want you to know and find out how to wake up and walk out of your partner’s invisible prison forever.”Let’s empower ourselves and others and make 2022 the best year yet! XO ... See MoreSee Less
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Thank you, Grow Theraoy, for my #livelyroot Money Tree plant. 🌱 I think it looks great in my office. ... See MoreSee Less
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💯 🎯💯🎯💯🎯💯🎯💯🎯💯And, it’s equally not helpful to say “it takes two to tango”. #narcissisticabuseawareness #wnaad #ifmywoundswerevisible #narcissisticabuserecovery #narcissisticabuse #coercivecontrol ... See MoreSee Less
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“Have you been in a relationship with someone you think had narcissistic and/or psychopathic traits? If you are 21 years old and over and reside in the United States, you are eligible to participate in a research study investigating the impact of romantic relationships with narcissists and psychopaths. You can use the link: tinyurl.com/narcissist-survey to take the survey. The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of the psychological well-being and trauma-related symptoms of those who have been involved in romantic relationships with individuals with narcissistic and psychopathic traits. You will take an anonymous survey which will request basic demographic information, ask you to self-report on scales concerning information about your past relationship experiences, trauma and abuse experiences, the personality characteristics of an ex-partner or current partner you believe had narcissistic, and/or psychopathic traits, and trauma-related symptoms.Please note: this is a study conducted by Shahida Arabi, a graduate student at Harvard University. I am not affiliated in any way with the research being conducted nor am I part of the research study team. You are not obligated to take part in this study and should do so only out of your own interest in contributing to this research. You will not be paid for your participation or receive any benefits from me for taking part in the survey. All questions and concerns regarding the study can be directed to the principal investigator.”Thank you so much! ... See MoreSee Less
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Get the book

‘I Am Free” is both a cautionary warning and illuminating light. It empowers readers dealing with the aftermath of a toxic relationship and serves as a wake-up call to those who are in-or think they may be in- an abusive relationship with a narcissists or sociopath.

Get the book

‘I Am Free” is both a cautionary warning and illuminating light. It empowers readers dealing with the aftermath of a toxic relationship and serves as a wake-up call to those who are in-or think they may be in- an abusive relationship with a narcissists or sociopath.

About me

Bree Bonchay, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist with two decades of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about narcissistic personality disorder and psychopathy in her blog, FreeFromToxic. She is the author of the book, “I Am Free” and has appeared on radio as a guest expert. She is also a board member of the Association for NPD/Psychopathy Educators & Survivor Treatment, a member of the International Association of Trauma Specialists, and is also the founder of WNAAD.

About me

Bree Bonchay, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist with two decades of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about narcissistic personality disorder and psychopathy in her blog, FreeFromToxic. She is the author of the book, “I Am Free” and has appeared on radio as a guest expert. She is also a board member of the Association for NPD/Psychopathy Educators & Survivor Treatment, a member of the International Association of Trauma Specialists, and is also the founder of WNAAD.

4 Comments

  1. Teena Eden

    How about constantly hiring Trailers to without my knowledge, to move me into his place! Suggesting Kidnapping of me to force the issue!

    Reply
  2. Dignityuncovered

    These are true but more important in my opinion is where the potential target is in thier own heart. Narconutz , as I call him, blamed himself for his failed marriage, which by the way I dont believe his wife knew it had failed! The targets vulnerabilities are what the predator looks for, to avoid becoming a survivor means being secure, loving yourself, and validating yourself before engaging in a relationship.

    Reply
  3. narcfree

    i’m 71 days NC – after almost 2 of the worst years of my life. Yes I got sucked in with #1 – but now know why, he said things about marriage only to HEAR what I said, which was “I don’t want to get married again” I was married 25 years, him 52 (now 54) never married – and never will be, but it sounded romantic, so he could say it knowing I wouldn’t ask for it. #2 you hit them all on the head – #3 yes all the lies and confusion —-If I knew this in the beginning knowing him now, he would have turned this all around, in fact he did. I called him a “player” from day 1 and he made himself out to be the most morally decent man. My gut said run, and then the game began for him, because he lives for the the chase. My story is sick, but I will say – I had tried to go NC before I even knew he was a Narc psychopath and it never lasted. This time with all the knowledge I have, absolutely getting to the point of done. I will not do the 5 years. I unfortunately did that in my last relationship and it went on for 7 years. I am now working on my codependency and coming out of this stronger.

    NO CONTACT – block him, delete his phone number, he doesn’t mean he “misses u” in emails, every time you go back thinking it’s change it’s not and all it will do is continue to kick you down.

    Reply
  4. venbaxter

    Excellent! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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Copyright © 2021 - Bree Bonchay/ Free From Toxic ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No material on this website may be reproduced in any format without prior written permission of Bree Bonchay.