If you are in a relationship with or dating a narcissist, you may have already noticed a “push/pull” dynamic. At times, she or he puts you on a pedestal, worshiping you as though you were a deity. But there are also times when they criticize you, belittle you, or subject you to icy silence. If your new love interest is a narcissist, this pattern is not going to go away; it will only get worse.
A narcissist first idealizes, then devalues, his or her “supply” (that’s you). The cycle worsens as time progresses, so eventually, she or he will stop idealizing you and only devalue you. Ultimately, they will discard you, but before that happens they will find someone to replace you. This new romantic interest will be the narcissist’s “new supply.” You are now “old supply.”
If this sounds like a situation you’d rather avoid, take a look at the nine red flags below for how to recognize.that you are dating a narcissist. Do you recognize more than three of these dynamics in your relationship? If so, proceed with caution.
Too Much, Too Soon
Does your new boyfriend or girlfriend seem to be rushing things? Do they become too into you, too quickly? For instance, they might suggest that the two of you get a place together after only a few weeks of dating or mention marriage quickly. You may also feel like this person is crowding you or preventing you from owning your personal space.
Runs Hot and Cold
Does your mate seem to run hot and cold in his or her feelings for you? One day you’re on cloud nine because they adore you; the next day, they completely ignore you or make cutting remarks about your appearance, etc. Or worse, they subject you to the silent treatment, completely ignoring you.
Disappearances and Reappearances
Are there times when your partner “goes dark” and doesn’t communicate at all with you for several days, weeks, or even months? Do they suddenly “disappear” with no explanation, only to return whenever they feel like it, expecting to pick up where you left off as though they hadn’t deserted you?
Manages Down Your Expectations
Has your partner gradually “conditioned” you to accept increasingly bad behavior? For instance, have they treated you cruelly or unfairly, and then demanded forgiveness “or else” they would leave you? They are training you to expect less and accept more of what they want. In forcing you to consent to their terms, they manage down your expectations.
Do you feel like there are parts of your loved one’s life about which you know nothing? For instance, do they refuse to introduce you to work associates, children of friends? If so, they are compartmentalizing you instead of integrating you into all aspects of his life.
Are there times when, in discussion with your mate, she or he twists your words around, makes unfounded accusations against you, and makes nonsensical points? After having one of these circular conversations that go nowhere, you’ll feel so confused that you’ll be too exhausted to continue the discussion.
Have you ever felt like the “odd man out” in your relationship? Has your mate deliberately pitted you against a third person in his or her life to make you feel jealous or unworthy? Perhaps you suspect s/he has even badmouthed you behind your back. You’re probably right. Narcissists are interpersonally exploitative.
Ignores Personal Boundaries
Have you attempted to establish personal boundaries, only to have your loved one ignore those limits? For instance, perhaps you’ve told your partner you cannot talk on the phone while you’re at work, yet they repeatedly call you at work. It’s likely that this person will also attempt to conduct surveillance on you; they may read your email, intercept your electronic communications and tamper with your computer’s webcam to watch you at all times.
Multiple Breakups and Makeups
If you and your partner have had three or more breakups and makeups, you should consider it not a good sign. A relationship riddled with dramatic entrances and exits is not the norm. All that drama is distracting you from what’s going on here.
If you suspect your new boyfriend or girlfriend is a narcissist, you have a valid reason to be concerned. Most likely, this person does not have your best interests at heart. In fact, narcissists have a mean streak, and a situation can be very nasty. Proceed with caution.