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Dating can be challenging at the best of times, but sometimes you get warning signs early on that something is not quite right with your date.
If you feel you’re walking on eggshells, fearful of not meeting your date’s expectations or on the receiving end of subtle criticism and abuse, it’s possible you may be dating a narcissist.
Narcissism is a term that refers to a personality style that can develop in some individuals due to environmental factors when combined with some genetic ones.
It’s not fully known how it develops, but common experiences include childhood abuse, neglect, trauma or a childhood of excessive pampering where the child is constantly praised as special and unique.
How do you know if you’re dating a narcissist? Here are three signs to watch out for:
One of the most common feelings you experience with a narcissist is you constantly feel like you’re walking on eggshells.
Common communication styles include the use of aggression to express anger and rage.
Because the narcissist has such an inflated sense of self, they often view people in their lives as objects that are there to meet their needs and expectations.
As soon as they are disappointed, they will often criticize, blame and confront you or others.
The classic sign of this is seeing your date spontaneously explode in anger at wait staff because they didn’t get what they ordered or are not getting the expected service.
It’s this pervasive tension you are picking up on in your dates that leads you to be on tenterhooks and to start to worry you’re going to upset him.
“If you have concerns, make
sure you take things slowly.”
Another common trait of the narcissist is they have a huge need to control situations and outcomes. Because of their grandiose view of themselves, they expect you to respond exactly as they want.
In social situations, they will often have a very clear, predetermined idea of what they want to have happen. If the social situation deviates from their plan, they will often react with anger and blame.
The idea of losing control for a narcissist is sometimes a terrifying thought, so they will do all they can, including emotional manipulation, to ensure it does not happen.
This can show up in something as small as having to wait too long for a table.
While this might be an event you or I might be mildly annoyed at, the narcissist can experience this as a gross loss of control and take it as a personal affront.
The narcissist’s first response is to confront, attack, blame and criticize.
Tit-for-tat style of communication is common with the narcissist, as they will finger point and make accusations as soon as any issues are raised with them.
There is often no filter for their thoughts and they will not hesitate to make a scene in a public setting or with friends and family. It’s like watching a toddler throw a tantrum when they don’t get what they want.
In a dating situation, as you’re still getting to know each other, this might show up in very subtle ways, so look for warning signs such as a lack of respect for you or others, being sarcastic or making fun of you or saying hurtful things and then laughing them off as a joke.
Often it can be difficult to clearly see the personality style of your date early on in the dating process, so if you have concerns, make sure you take things slowly and keep tracking their behavior and responses to you and others in social situations.
Time will tell if your date is a narcissist, so be cautious if you have any concerns and don’t rush into getting too close too soon until you truly feel you’re getting to know your date on a deeper level.
Have you dated a narcissist? If so, how did you deal with him?
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