narcissists red flags
Once you are in a relationship with a narcissist or we were discarded, or we broke it off, we will most likely be wondering what red flags there were and what was missed. If you have been recently discarded, you are probably feeling a lot of pain and never want to go through this again and wonder how to prevent it by knowing the red flags. You might also be feeling fear to stay away from romantic relationships, with the fear to repeat this pattern again. With this knowledge it can aid in healing to eventually be ready for another more healthy relationship and to increase the awareness of these red flags.
In this article we will go deeper into the red flags to watch out for. A narcissistic person cannot play out their power dynamics unless they have someone to trust, believe, and follow them. They enjoy negative or positive supply. Narc’s are on a spectrum and are often either more overt or covert.
Let’s dive right in, these are the top red flags:
Future faking. They will display their true colors when asked to clarify what they mean by telling you their future plans with you.
WHY & HOW: One day they tell you they want to have kids with you, the next time you’re in an argument, they say, “It’s a good thing I never want to have kids with you anyways!”
Even though the argument had nothing to do with kids or anything about the future. You are thrown off and it changes the disagreement to have a new focus on why they will say something untrue, cruel, and that makes no sense. They will in turn gain negative fuel supply from you.
You might randomly mention a mutual friends wedding you both attended, “Oh, I loved their wedding.
External Validation. They want validation from others yet do not want to give it back.
WHY & HOW: If they do give you a compliment they will be waiting for you to say something nice back. If you ask them for a compliment, they say something along the lines of, “I like it when you are (XYZ) caring after me (it is all about what you do for them), in those times you are actually caring (backhanded compliment)…”
They respond, “Don’t get any ideas! You need to make more money first…how will we pay for that…”
Although you both have talked about getting married in multiple conversations.
You are left to wonder, what does this really mean? Do they know you, or only care about what you can offer them?
Is this a transactional relationship? By the way…yes it is, will be. Then they will expect and ask for tons of compliments from you. Also, needing constant validation from their social media, being on their phone constantly.
You may think the solution to this is to always validate them…they might have told you their love language is “words of affirmation.” There will NEVER be enough validation any one person can give them. After many times of them insulting you, then asking for nice, kind, affirmative words from you in the same sentence, most likely you will grow tired and exhausted of giving without receiving anything but NEGATIVITY back.
No matter how much validation one person gives, it will NEVER be enough, they will always be looking for a higher supply source or more validation, most likely from social media.
A typical Narc’s instagram, for example, will be riddled with ‘porn-like’ profiles, and often much younger women then them, when these women like their photos this will be validation. Or if they can flirt with them in some way through conversations. The ironic part is they might be the kind of person who wants you to dress modestly and act respectfully on social media and in public, although they are condoning acting in a COMPLETELY different way by interacting with these kinds of profiles online.
It is all about external validation…
You will most likely see some extremely ODD behaviors with their social media that DO NOT match their words or who you THOUGHT they were.
Unfortunately there needs to always be a constant stream of validation from the outside world.
THEY LACK EMPATHY. Yet might be faking empathy and can emulate empathy, especially in the beginning in the love bombing phase.
WHY & HOW: They do not actually want to hear about you day, and will not be happy if you are having an off day or are sick. You will not be ‘allowed’ to have off days. Your soul purpose.
This is one of the biggest factors in understanding if someone has narc tendencies or not.
Also, one of the most dangerous tendencies for someone to have, this leads to cheating, deception with money, control & power dynamics, the ability to purposely hurt someone with no remorse, rude to people they see as beneath them in society such as elderly, women and children. They will prefer to perceive everyone as objects.
When you start talking about your day, you may get silence on the other end of the phone. You ask, “Are you there?” They say, “Oh ya, here.” You ask, “Did you hear me?” They say, “Oh, ya, I heard you, driving.” If you all are not talking about them, they will zone out.
Annoyed by someone sharing their feelings.
WHY & HOW: They will call you all kinds of names for sharing your true feelings. You are supposed to keep those to yourself. The more ‘crazy/insistent’ you become aiming to have them truly hear you, they will say, “Everyone knows you are crazy, my family told me that too, I should have listened. All women are crazy too.’
Do not let yourself get ‘crazy’ because they are not listening, leave the situation, it is not worth it.
It is painful. Yet the best way to handle if someone is having an unhealthy response to you sharing your feelings is to practice the ‘grey rock method,’ this method means you respond instead of react.
If you share your feelings and someone goes into a rant about why you shouldn’t feel this way, or how ’emotional’ you are, all to divert the topic or push your buttons, the best response is to say something along the lines of, “Oh, that’s interesting you feel this way.” or “Thanks for sharing that with me.”
Hence, no emotional reaction, no emotions. Let it go in the moment. This is especially helpful if you continue to stay in a relationship with a person with NPD.
If it’s not about them, then they don’t want to hear it.
Refuse to acknowledge the feelings of others, and might mock others for having feelings. Calling them names and making accusations, such as ‘snowflake’, ‘dramatic’, or ‘you always make a huge deal out of everything.’
WHY & HOW: When they understand your true feelings about something, they will often make a snarky comment about it, then say, ‘I was just joking,’ or ‘god you are so sensitive!’ When you know for sure they were not joking. You are left to wonder how much of the joke was actually true.
Having our feelings invalidated creates low self-esteem over time. Eventually we are left to distrust ourselves and this is meant to turn you to this person for ALL validation of your ideas to be only their ideas.
Can use sexual prowess to hook others in.
WHY & HOW: They will often rush into sex, and aiming to get you hooked in before the mask slips.
They do not like others who they perceive as truly confident. They will aim to knock them down somehow.
WHY & HOW: Ever been to a party with your Narc, to leave and all they can talk about is that one person…They go on for hours about, “who does she/he thinks she is…they are just a (XYZ)…”
They don’t like healthy people, period. Anything they can do to knock a person down that seems healthy they will do it or say it. Except when you leave a party or an event how they will immediately find the confident person to talk badly about, and the next person they will target is you, your confidence will be destroyed by them over time.
Healthy people with great boundaries are the best repellent of Narcs.
They do not like it when their partner is happy, truly happy.
WHY & HOW: This is one of the most hurtful things to admit from a non-narc point of view. We desperately want our partners to support us as much as we support and are happy for them and their achievements.
We sometimes gloss over this because we believe a person who truly loved us would be happy for us.
If you really dig deeply though you will most likely notice a pattern with these kinds of relationships, to where when you were happy, something happen to bring you ‘back down to Earth,’ by the Narc.
When you are happy from something that happen at work, with friends, or in general…they will listen (after the love bombing stage), then they will either be silent (acting as if they didn’t hear you), act distracted (on their phone maybe), or mumble something like ‘oh wow,’ (sarcastically), or say something about how they achieved success at work too today, if they don’t want to listen they will start a petty argument to direct the attention back to them.
Ultimately, they cannot be truly happy for you because it would mean you are no longer beneath them.
Everything is a competition, if you are happy about achieving something they internally feel as though they needed to achieve more than you, or anyone else.
Strangely, it might be something they never thought about achieving and this leads the other party to be deeply confused.
An example of this can be, you say to them, “Wow I’m so happy with my new position as Team Lead of this Tech Project…”
When there is silence, or a blank stare from them you ask, “Aren’t you happy for me, aren’t you proud?”
They respond, with a blank, deathly stare, plus a smirk on their face, “Ha, me proud, it’s not like you’re a millionaire yet, you are acting like you are amazing or something! I could get an engineer job tomorrow if I wanted to.”
You’re dumbfounded, this person is not an engineer, and has never shown interest in ever becoming one.
With this kind of comment it throws someone off. It ruins happiness in the moment. It is unsupportive and demeaning.
We ultimately want our partners to support us and be proud of us and want us to be happy.
Act as if they are interested in the same things as you are.
WHY & HOW: They almost seem to be the same person as you with very slight differences.
Especially in the beginning…you might find yourself saying, “Oh my gosh, it’s like we are the same person. Am I dating me?”
His is on purpose, to make you fall hook line and sinker for yourself, to fall in love with yourself, with the mirror, because they don’t have a real self.
If a Narc has multiple relationships, they might be a vegetarian with one, a meat eater with another, and in general whatever they feel they need to be enough to secure the supply of grade A fuel source.
If you are no longer with the Narc, you might see them later with a woman who is absolutely nothing like you, and if you talked with this woman they would know a completely different version of this person.
Please take this into consideration when you see them with a new person and you wonder WHY ON BLOODY EARTH this person is with her…
Before throwing stones, stop for a second and understand they are disconnected from their true self. When you fell in love, you fell in love with a mask, and sometimes a mirror of yourself. This new woman is feeling the same way and hopefully will eventually see the cracks in the mask and the real them, the poison you saw.
Have faith she will see the evilness sooner than later. Let go of resentment, and better yet wish her the best, to escape as soon as she can.
This is because they are void of a real self. Somewhere along the way they disconnected from their true self. They do not want to look inward.
They will tend to agree with everything you say in the beginning.
WHY & HOW: This is in the love bombing stage, they say what is needed, future-fake & faking empathy…you will believe they are the angel God has sent down for you. You start to believe you have a lot in common, and enjoy all the same things.
They act like they are really into you! REALLY into you!
WHY & HOW: They want to see you everyday, and if you take a break to have alone time or be with your loved ones.
At first you may feel, ‘wow how romantic.’ Then you start to realize this person WANTS all of your time.
Use secrets against you.
WHY & HOW: At the beginning of the relationship they are getting you to reveal something personal, and when they are losing an argument, they will bring it up out of nowhere. Using what you told them against you.
This is especially hurtful because you told them something in confidence. They will also tell their flying monkeys, and extremely over exaggerate the truth of what you said.
Always have to be one- up on you or others.
WHY & HOW: They need to believe they are always a few steps ahead of you or others. They will not be happy for your success. Anytime you are up they need to pull you down. They always need to win.
They make a smear campaign about you towards the middle of the relationship.
WHY & HOW: They might tell their family they helped you a lot to make more money and that you’re just not that successful, even if you make more money than them. The smear campaign will have started WAY before the discard or the break-up…because they want to make sure they can say, ‘Ya well, we all knew she was crazy…’. Everything is about saving face and keeping the mask in tact for them.
They have a lot of rage, envy, jealous of people in their inner circle.
WHY & HOW: They notice other’s cars, houses, or material things and they talk about how they will have that one day, or talk dirty about those people.
They will always be jealous of your success, even if they sometimes encourage you to succeed it will only be to help them have a better life.
They only will be nice when you are offering them something they want.
WHY & HOW: Examine what they do, say, or how they treat someone who cannot give them anything. This is also why you see them act the meanest when they are about to discard someone and they have secured new sources, or sources. The mask falls off when the person can give them nothing in return.
They want to have full control.
WHY & HOW: They want you to delete your past, and know where you are at all times! They might start telling you how to dress, who to be friends with, how much make-up to wear, which jewelry to wear…
They slowly infect your friendships, further isolating you.
WHY & HOW: They will find everything wrong with your friends and aim to isolate you in order to have more of your attention. Pay attention to their friends, they will be WAY less ‘perfect’ than yours, they will have their flaws. If you bring up flaws about their friends, they will be harsh on you, making personal accusations about you if needed.
They have a sole purpose to get all of your attention, time, and often money.
WHY & HOW: Are you noticing that when you do things for you or with others they aim to make a small argument to get your attention. All of the sudden they are upset and wanting to take all of your time away from what you are doing and give it to them. They see your success as ONLY there to benefit them, with money.
They often act kind to strangers and cruel to loved one when no one is around.
WHY & HOW: You start to want to be around strangers, their family or yours because they act completely different around them, not wanting others to see them without their mask on.
This has a purpose, to not expose their true self to the outside world, therefore it will look like you are ‘the crazy one,’ whenever you speak out about the abuse from them later. The covert narcs tend to be quiet, reserved, shy, serious, seemingly nice guy vibe; the overt tend to be outgoing, talkative, confident, seemingly successful got it together guy.
They have indifference towards people in their inner circle, and see them as objects.
WHY & HOW: When you get into an argument with them, you may see a weird indifference as if you didn’t matter to them at all.
They are capable of saying and doing things, that make you shake your head and wonder how a person who says they love me can do or say this.
They do not bond emotionally in a healthy way with anyone in their lives, therefore there is a bond they don’t mind to easily break with you.
For any little thing, they can break the bond, and be onto another supply while giving you the silent treatment. They hope when they come back from the stone-walling or silent treatment you will have learned your lesson.
They can treat you as they have no bond to you at all.
WHY & HOW: Threatening to divorce you or break up, they will actually follow through when they think they have a new better supply because they ultimately see you as an object they do not actually have a real bond with you, as you do them. – Remember, the person who cares the least in a relationship often has the most power… this phrase describes a narc’s relationship philosophy, they have to have power.
Often abuse people and then tell them, ‘look what I do for you.’ You are so ungrateful.
Then they say something like, “Well if you are going to be ungrateful, I won’t do anything at all for you then.”
WHY & HOW: They do not want to hear any feedback or need to reflect on how to improve themselves, this will make them need to look at their inner self and they don’t want this! Saying, “Hey when you said xyz it really hurt me…”
They will say, “Oh, sure! Well, you said xyz last year too, and this relationship is starting to feel one-sided. You know what!!?? I’m leaving the house, do whatever you want. I do so much for you, and you only focus on this!”
Do not want others to feel they have any power in the relationship.
WHY & HOW: Their goal is to have you beneath them to gain the supply from you, giving them the false sense of self-worth.
Use guilt and shame as weapons.
WHY & HOW: Use personal information about you to make you feel bad, and eventually do the thing they are asking you for.
Discard or seek to annihilate you when you no longer want to give them their supply, when you’re onto them.
WHY & HOW: You are no longer valuable to them if you are not giving ample supply.
In court they will draw out the case, wasting away your money, and they will lie about accounts you have made against them. With no regard to your money, time, or emotions.
WHY & HOW: We have heard many times, you do NOT want to be in court with a Narc. They will fabricate whatever needs to be said in order to get custody of their kids, even if they could care less about being a caregiver. If they think their kids will be an endless narcissistic supply and they will win against you, they will stop at NO END to achieve this. They will have their flying monkeys convinced they need those kids, or you were the ‘crazy one’ and they need to take all your money. They will aim to convince everyone how they are the victim and how they didn’t deserve your ‘horrible treatment.’ Expect lies.
They will do anything to aim to prove they are in control of the breakup. It will most likely be a discard not a final discard.
WHY & HOW: They usually will act as if they could care less if they breakup or not. By the time you all are in the devalue stage they might threaten breaking up to play power games and push pull. They will do everything in their power to prevent being abandoned, and be the one who abandons first.
They will make up lies to show everyone you are the crazy one.
WHY & HOW: They will say, “The other day when I was talking to my mom about what you said to me, she said, “Well, maybe you were just tired.” They want validation for horrible behavior and they will seek out people to enable them by making excuses for them. They will get their flying monkeys on their side WAY before they decide to discard you. You won’t ever truly know what they said about you, and you will wonder constantly what lies they said.
Tend to be flirty with the opposite sex, and accuse you of being insecure if you call them out on.
WHY & HOW: They make frequent eye contact with another person of the opposite sex. When you bring it up when alone with them they say, “Wow I had no idea you were so jealous, I wasn’t even looking at that person I was looking into the abyss. Do you expect me to look at you the whole time we’re on a date, or what? No idea what you are talking about. Jealous much?”
They believe they are better, smarter, more attractive, more successful than everyone.
WHY & HOW: They say, “Today at work I was asked to present a project, everyone was eager to hear from me.”
Often make excuses for horrible behavior, dismissing your feelings, minimizing your thoughts.
WHY & HOW: If they do say sorry, it will be something like, ‘sorry I hurt you, if you only wouldn’t always have an attitude with me, I don’t think I can handle your attitude for much longer…’
You feel insecure and jealous when you don’t normally feel this way in relationships.
WHY & HOW: You feel insecure and you don’t quite know why, you don’t feel as good about yourself now, as you did before you got into the relationship. You have always been able to easily talk things through with other partners, now you’re afraid to bring things up because of them getting angry or hypercritical.
You think you can never win with this person. It is never enough. You feel unmotivated to do anything around this person.
WHY & HOW: When you guys are cooking together you’re afraid of cutting vegetables correctly. You stop wanting to share things with them.
You always feel the need to be careful of how you say things around them, yet they do not seem to think things through before they tell you things.
WHY & HOW: They display being extremely thin-skinned and sensitive to your words, then in the next breath tell you something hypercritical with no remorse. This is often called ‘gas-lighting,’ in making everything your fault.
You have been exposed to masterful TRIANGULATION.
WHY & HOW: This is to always keep you on guard and aiming to ‘prove’ yourself worthy. An example, they say, “My Aunt words 70 hours a week, why are you tired?”
You might be thinking, ‘well, I have a right to be tired sometimes, how about be supportive of me, and I’m not your Aunt.’
They are thinking, ‘how can I extract more from this person.’
They will like to see you jumping through hoops for them.
Even if you stay and jump through every hoop, climb over every bar they set, they will only come back to create more hoops and raise the bars…It will never be good enough.
The biggest red flag is them having NO EMPATHY.
We must learn to attract people who can mirror our worth back to us.
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To learn more about getting started with Empire Life in launching and scaling your online empire you can contact Allison, Founder of Empire Life, on Instagram and LinkedIN.
“If they do say sorry, it will be something like, ‘Sorry I hurt you, if you only wouldn’t always have an attitude with me, I don’t think I can handle your attitude for much longer…’ “
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