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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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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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