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7 psychological phrases to know if you’re dating a narcissist

If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, or someone who you suspect might be a sociopath, it can be difficult to explain what’s happening. For example, day-to-day in the relationship you may feel alone but not quite understand why. You may feel like you’re always saying the wrong thing and making your partner angry, but you have no idea what set them off.

Without the right words, everything can seem confusing, especially if you haven’t read about personality disorders before.

Psychologists and the online community of survivors of narcissistic relationships use several terms to help make sense of what happened to them, such as why they fell for a narcissists charm, why they were targetted, or what made someone they loved treat them this way.

Because once you start to be able to talk about it, you can start to realize the way you were treated wasn’t okay.

 

1. Love bombing

1. Love bombing

Unsplash / Jamie Street

When you first met the narcissist, they may have showered you with affection. They probably told you how different you were to anyone else they’ve dated, how you were “the one,” and you two were “meant to be.” They might have complimented you all the time, given you expensive gifts, even taken you on holiday.

In reality, they probably weren’t Prince/Princess Charming at all, they were just reeling you in, psychologists say. They spotted you, and they wanted to use you as their source of supply, and so turned on the charm using a technique called love bombing. It’s when someone makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the world, and they must be the one for you because they seem so perfect.

However, none of it is real, and this isn’t how a normal relationship is supposed to progress, Dr Steven Stosny writes in a blog post for Psychology Today.

If you feel a relationship is progressing too fast, then it probably is, says Stosny. If someone has declared their undying love for you a few weeks after meeting them, and telling you you’re their soul-mate, and they’re making you uncomfortable, then the affection probably isn’t coming from a good place.

2. The predator

2. The predator

Unsplash / Massimo Mancini

Before they hooked you, the narcissist may have already been looking around for a new target. It’s not unlike a predator searching for its prey, because they knew they had to find someone weak who they could easily exploit.

Narcissists search carefully for the next person they can charm, seduce and trap, and they’re very good at it. It has to be someone who they know they can get a lot from, but also with vulnerabilities, according to a blog by therapist Silvia Horvath on Psych Central, which is why they often target people with low confidence and an underlying self-esteem problem.

However, the mark is also usually a very caring person who is willing to do things for other people, says Horvath, and often they also show passion for their family, friends and career. Having these qualities means you’re more likely to see the good in the narcissist, before they turn on you.

Sometimes, the narcissist may even have known about you before they started speaking to you. They may have stalked you on social media or seen you around before they asked you out, because they were sussing out whether you’d be a good target.

 

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