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9 Signs You’re In Love With A Narcissist

9 Signs You’re In Love With A Narcissist

When outlining the attributes of a narcissist, it’s important to note that not all narcissists are those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The character trait itself is one that may be easy to fall for due to a deceptive charm.

Wikipedia states that “narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.”

Essentially, just like the young Narcissus, one of the essential components of the narcissist is that they are head over heels for one person — themselves. If you are dating a narcissistic person, the progression into a toxic relationship comes as swiftly as the relationship progresses. Just as the fish is drawn in by a dangling worm on the end of a line, once you’ve been hooked, it’s pretty difficult to wriggle free.

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So, are you in love with a narcissist? Here are 9 signs you should be on the lookout for.

1. Their love bombing is totally deceptive

The relationship kicks off with a foolproof seductive element, the love bombing, which might come in the form of persistent text messages, phone calls, and emails detailing their love for you. Their one goal is to entice you. Don’t trust it, and never forget that ultimately it’s all about them, not you. We all want to be swept off our feet, loved, admired, and noticed by a partner or lover, and it is totally understandable that you will be impressed by their charm and magnetic personality. If you have felt vulnerable, suffer from low self esteem, or if you’re still hurting from a previous relationship that turned sour, the narcissist can smell this a mile away.

2. They are incapable of admitting they’re wrong

In the initial stages of the relationship, everything you do is perfect — your conversation, your friends, what you wear. The narcissist will agree with most of what you say. This might give you a false sense of security. You may feel that no one else understands you, gets you, or has the ability to love the real you. Once the winds change, and they will, most of what you do will be met with criticism. They are always right — such is the narcissistic element. Remember that there is only one way, the narcissist’s way.

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3. They are too interested in their own needs to bother with yours

If you’re in love with a narcissist, you will become accustomed to constantly suspending your needs to fulfil their’s. Initially, you will feel special, like a hero who is always supportive of their partner. After some time, this will begin to grate at you, as you constantly need to keep changing, cancelling, and rescheduling arrangements for their benefit. Even when this is done, they do not seem altogether satisfied, such is their tremendous need.

4. They bombard you with gestures to seduce and impress

The narcissist’s strength is the knack they have for making sweeping gestures. Being in a relationship with a narcissist has all the elements of a hollywood blockbuster, including the sounds and visual effects. However, like all bad trips to the movies, you might get to the point where you wish you could just walk out of the theatre. Not so easy when it comes to a relationship with a narcissist. Since the relationship kickstarted with so many grandiose gestures and seduction, you will be yearning for this constantly. This is why you will put up with their excuses and criticisms once they arrive. The whole point is essentially to hook you in, and this is when the seasons change.

5. They are deeply envious of your relationships with others

Initially, they will claim to adore the fact that you have close friends and a wonderful family. Who doesn’t love a partner who adores the close relationships you have built with family and good friends? But make no mistake, once you are firmly entrenched in the relationship, this changes dramatically. Now, any time you spend with others is the time you will be unable to spend with them. Narcissists do not deal well with any competitive element — whether that be family, friends, pets, hobbies, or anything else that will take your attention away from them.

6. They live in a narcissistic fantasy world

The reason why most narcissists are able to provide you with an incredible floor show of poetry, grand gestures, and seductive techniques, is because they live in their own fantasy world. They love the fantasy of romance — Disney movies where Prince Charming saves a damsel in distress and they live happily ever after. You will be carried away with the beauty of their words, feelings, hopes, and dreams. However, like all good fantasies, they have a beginning and an ending. We never found out what happened after Sleeping Beauty married the Prince. The narcissist wants the romance only, which doesn’t equate to a long-term, committed relationship, as the only person they love and are committed to is themselves.

7. They use people as objects for their own needs

The narcissist moves around in relationships as a way to fill a vacant hole that resides deep inside them. Your role is simply to feed their ego for as long as possible until their interest fizzles out. This is where the relationship suddenly switches from sizzling hot to stone cold. The confusion can leave you exhausted and drained, as you try to make sense of the changes in their behaviour. Internally, your mind is constantly preoccupied with questions. You start analyzing each interaction you have with each other, to try and make sense of their behaviour.

8. They have a sense of entitlement

They live with a sense of entitlement in all their relationships. This makes it difficult when dealing with workmates, friends, and family members. Even when it comes to hurting others with the comments they might make, they feel that this is completely acceptable. You might not be so lucky, as each thing that you say or do will be screened and censored. Anything that is seen as not to their liking, they will berate you harshly for. Since they are always right, there is no point in trying to argue your case. The narcissistic sense of entitlement overrides everything as their psychological survival depends on this.

9. They have a demanding and controlling nature

The narcissist sees others as an extension of themselves, which can be quite tricky when it comes to building up your reserves of personal space. This is when the control element begins to seep in, as their need to have you by their side grows. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t because they love being with you or want to contribute to your happiness and wellbeing. This is simply because you can provide them with a sense of importance and boost their already-inflated ego. As this progresses, you might begin to feel as though you are wearing a noose. Their control and demands know no bounds or restraints, just like their narcissism.

If you do recognize any of the 9 signs above in your own partner, understand that due to the intense nature of this type of relationship, it is natural that you will have been dragged in head first. We have all been sucked into situations that have been toxic and destructive from the offset, but too compelling and exciting to leave.

The point to remember is that narcissists have a never-ending need. You are not their saviour or their reason for being, you are simply the vehicle in which they can travel in first-class comfort until the next victim comes along. Begin to focus on your own needs, and make a choice to enroll supportive friends or family to empower you to step out of this toxic encounter and into a relationship which nurtures you.

Featured photo credit: Sara Cimino via flickr.com

More by this author

Michele Attias

Life Coach, Public Speaker & Writer

9 Signs You’re In Love With A Narcissist

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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