Signs of a Narcissistic Partner/Personality

signs-of-a-narcissistDo you suspect that a partner or person you’ve just met has a narcissistic personality? If so, the narcissistic behaviors listed below will help you to decide. Typically, we’ve been with our partner for quite a while before we begin to investigate the behaviors that have been giving us that nagging, uncomfortable feeling that something isn’t quite right. For many (myself included), it’s this length of time that becomes our biggest regret as well as the biggest obstacle to our acceptance of the fact that this person that we love has a narcissistic personality disorder. I mean, who wants to believe that?

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As we’re all aware, this person could be a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, mother, father, sibling, child, friend, or co-worker. Narcissism covers the gamut of human pathological relationship possibilities and has no geographic or demographic boundaries. In other words, they’re fucking everywhere.

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Recognizing Narcissistic Traits (Red Flags) in Someone New

Now, if you’re people-savvy enough to be reading this article before or during the initial stages of a relationship, then good for you. I didn’t begin my investigations until the eight-year mark of my involvement with a narcissistic boyfriend and this fact boggles my mind even today [See my book When Love Is a Lie for details].

Beware of the following Red Flags that indicate narcissistic traits or tendencies:

  1. You met him ONLINE or it appears that all of his exes were women that he met online OR he has several active online dating/social media profiles. The anonymous world of online dating and/or social media (particularly, FaceBook!) is a safe-haven and notorious stomping ground for textbook narcissists and sociopaths.  I would go so far as to guess that 7 out of 10 males that you might meet anywhere online are narcissists and sociopaths.
  2. A infamous narcissist tactic is that he/she will come on very strong right away, wanting or showing the willingness to spend 24 hours/day together. This is often referred to as love-bombing. Within days of meeting, you may even hear the words “I love you” or “You’re my soul mate” or “…we finish each other’s sentences” or “You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met”. And sex with a narcissist is usually deliberately wonderful. When you’re not together, he’ll send lots of texts “just checking in”.
  3. He/she refers to at least one ex as a psycho or as someone “who just can’t/couldn’t let go”. You may even be told that the relationship became sexually incompatible or that the ex was a selfish person. You may even hear that this ex still bugs him and that he’s had to ignore calls or change his phone number because of it (this is a HUGE Red Flag because you’re next!). The ex who “still” bugs him is the usually the one he is cheating on with you.
  4. Even though he has his own place, he seems to like to spend a lot of time at your residence and somehow it always ends up that way (even if the date starts out at his house). There’s a reason why he prefers you two not be at his place right now.
  5. He/she showers you with gifts from the start (part of love-bombing) OR you find that you are paying for everything. Either way, it’s a Red Flag. If you have to pay for things, the excuse usually is something like “I didn’t get a chance to cash my check” or “I’ll make it up to you this weekend” or “I’m kinda short on cash but I’d really like to see you” OR (as my ex actually stated) “Wow…I’m sure glad you’re not one of those girls who expects me to pay for everything. I hate that.” (I should have excused myself to the ladies room and snuck out the front door!)
  6. The time you spend together is, for the most part, just the two of you. Although he may mention the names of friends in passing, you haven’t met any yet and he hasn’t expressed any interest in introducing you to them OR he’ll say, “I kinda like it being just me and you right now.”
  7. When a narcissist shares a story about himself, it’s usually a story describing something someone else did to him. If he talks about past jobs, the reason he was let go or fired was NEVER his fault and he sees nothing unusual about having many past jobs that he can say this about.
  8. It’s AMAZING how many things you have in common with this person you’ve just met. Trust me, no one has that many things in common with an absolute stranger. Beware of hearing too many responses that being with “You’re kidding! Me too!”

Recognizing Narcissistic Traits in a Long-Time Partner

  1. There are times his cell phone is off for long periods of time or he’s seems to always be out of cell minutes or he has a tendency to leave his phone in his car “to charge” or on vibrate when he’s with you or your calls seem to always have to go to his voice mail first before he calls back or when he does call, the background is unusually dead silent or hollow-sounding (indicators he has had to go elsewhere to call you). In addition, if you question any of this, he quickly brushes it off as no big deal and states that you’re making a big deal out of nothing.
  2. If YOU, for whatever reason, don’t answer your phone or respond to a text, a narcissist will become greatly offended or accusatory and may even subject you to a silent treatment as a punishment for not being available.
  3. He will change his cell phone number for no reason at all. With a narcissist, this typically means he is trying to avoid the calls of someone else he’s been seeing and is now blowing off.
  4. There will be unexplained disappearances and unexpected reappearances and he will become highly annoyed if there are repercussions or questions about any of it. If you think about it, it’s as if he pushes a relationship reset button whenever he feels like it, fully expecting to continue on as if he’d never been gone.
  5. He gives illogical and even ridiculous excuses when questioned about anything and nothing about any of it rings true. After awhile, it appears that he may even lie when the truth is a better story just for the sake of lying in general and this is exactly what a narcissist does to confuse you about what’s true and what isn’t so that you’ll eventually stop questioning everything! If pushed, a narcissist will use the tactic of plausible denial, twisting the truth and/or denying everything and admitting to absolutely nothing (even with evidence front and center) until he is blue in the face.
  6. He becomes highly accusatory for no reason and nothing you can say will dissuade him from his rant. This Red Flag can be used to your advantage because whatever the narcissist is accusing you of is usually precisely what he’s up to at any given time.
  7. He keeps a distance between you and his family and even if this isn’t openly apparent, you can simply sense it.
  8. He seems to have a completely different persona in the out side world and others may see him as a really funny guy. If he does have friends and co-workers, he spends a good amount of time talking badly about them to you behind their back. This Red Flag is also a give-away. Is there a girl at work that he talks a lot to you about but in derogatory tones…how annoying she is, how he can’t stand working with her? That’s the one he’s probably interested in.
  9. A narcissist will create chaos about nothing just to start trouble. This is particularly apparent on any occasion that is celebratory for you (i.e. birthdays) and also on holidays. He/she may even disappear at the same time every year. I call this tactic the Narcissist’s Seasonal Discard. If this happens regularly for any amount of time (my ex disappeared every October until after New Years for 13 years!), you can be fairly certain that he’s spending this time at his other place of residence with the person that he discards to be with you during the rest of the year!
  10. You’re starting to feel manipulated into asking no questions about anything this person says or does no matter how illogical it sounds. Manipulation is the key here because a narcissist can be very passive-aggressive. You’re reality is being created by a Narcissist Puppeteer and he’s very good at what he does! Executing this manipulation successfully is how a narcissist manages down your expectations of the relationship until he is able to do just about anything he wants and still return to your open arms.

Trust your intuition! Trust your gut feeling! The above are only a handful of the narcissistic ploys and tactics that a potential partner or a long-time partner or spouse can display to give themselves away – but don’t let too much time pass trying to figure it all out. If you suspect that something is up or if stories suddenly don’t make sense or sound even the slightest bit logical, confront! If the answers given aren’t good enough or if, more than likely, this person refuses to answer you at all or if you’re subjected to punishments simply for asking the question, it’s time to get out of this relationship or nip in in the bud before you get hooked.

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Lingering in the confusion and continually giving this person the benefit of the doubt leads to the type of codependency to hope that gets us nowhere. Narcissists are everywhere and they are the most patient of demons. A victim’s unhappiness is how the narcissist measures his control and he has all the time in the world to watch you suffer.

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26 Comments

  • Alexa

    July 17, 2017 at 8:44 am Reply

    I am sorry it’s such a long post! I did not intent to write so much when I started. Thank you for reading X

    I am so depressed with the situation with my ex boyfriend who as it transpires was possibly a narcissist. I feel like I was duped into loving this man with all I could (unfortunately I am a highly perceptive/sensitive/anxious type which has made it so much worse…).

    For about 8 years before we got together he seemed to focus a lot of his attention on me, and out of his entire ‘harem’ of women he would flirt with online I seemed to be number one. I falsely thought this meant we had the deepest of connections, and that it was just timing that had kept us apart (we’d both always been in relationships, never single at the same time), but now I believe it was just that he wanted something superficial that I had to offer and I would be able to raise his profile and get him more attention than the other women. I won’t go into why as I would like to remain anonymous but based on how he ‘used’ me during our time together I’m assuming this is possibly true.

    We got together and everything was amazing, we said we’d loved each other for 10 years and it felt like the most romantic beautiful love story ever told. This didn’t last for too long (maybe a few months) before I started having trust issues with him. Nothing seemed to add up and he was always distant and dismissive when I had an issue with him completely ignoring my messages. I felt so alone, and wondered what I had possibly done to deserve this treatment and it only got worse.

    He had a really dismissive way of arguing, and I would become so frustrated during arguments that I would end up screaming and crying hysterically, to which he would call me crazy and shout at me for getting so worked up before completely ignoring me to browse the internet whilst I lay in bed crying for anything up to 2 hours… He would refuse to hug me and when I said I’d never been like this in relationships, and that it was the way in which he was blanking me that was escalating things he just called me every name under the sun. His name calling was so brutal and shocking I should have left the first time, but in these situations you always doubt yourself so much. If the person who you love and claims to love you so deeply says ‘you’ are self-absorbed, ignorant, a liar, disgusting surely it must be true?

    He then went on to flirt outrageously with other women online, and guess what. I found out, was given proof and I forgave him. I recognised that he ‘needed validation from other women as he had low self-esteem so thought I owed it to him to stay, and ‘help’ him to become happy within himself.

    The same issues seemed to repeat themselves over and over until I came to the conclusion that he resented me and hated me so much that I would continue to be emotionally abused until I left.

    That was 7 months ago, but as soon as I left him our ‘relationship’ became perfect again. We seemed to get on so well when we weren’t living together that we decided to start seeing each other… This is when the demise really began and to be completely honest this period of time has become so destructive for me. I started to read up a lot about psychology and found various brackets that I felt he belonged in, and in my new found confidence I had whilst apart, I told him what I thought his faults were (I guess a part of me was retaliating for all those horrible names he called me). During this dating period he lied about me, denied dating me, lied to his family, added his ex-girlfriend on FB and asked to meet her, sent both me and my parents letters (image building), told me he loved me but at points also said he didn’t and resorted back to calling me horrific names and saying he would never marry me.

    I can’t help but question what on earth I did to make a man who loved me so much that he wanted to marry me within a month, to saying I was disgusting and would never marry me… I know after all this I should hate him but it has made me want him more. I know I am happier when I am not with him but I miss him so so much. I am sick of feeling so empty and worthless…

    He’s now not bothered about me at all… He’s not contacted me, and when I broke it off finally he just agreed with me. This was the first time I really pulled him up on lying and being selfish and it seemed like he just didn’t want to acknowledge it, so the best thing to do to avoid talking about it at all was to just agree and cut me off. But then part of me thinks I’m just not worth the chase…

    I know I shouldn’t want him to want me anyway, and I’m better off without but every day I miss him. I miss the feeling of being ‘the one he chose’…

    • Zari Ballard

      July 23, 2017 at 10:27 pm Reply

      Hi Alexa,

      I’m going to respond to your post by speaking to several of your points. In doing that, maybe you can find your own answers in your own words. Sometimes I think it would take someone to simply re-read their own comment here to understand what they are doing. For example:

      If the person who you love and claims to love you so deeply says ‘you’ are self-absorbed, ignorant, a liar, disgusting surely it must be true? How so? I don’t care WHO it was…if anyone said those things to me, I would AT LEAST say “Fuck you!” and slap him in the face even as I cried. I just don’t understand this. Even when my ex was on a verbally abusive rampage (which he would be a lot!), I always KNEW it was him not me…that HE was the douchebag. I may have cried and pleaded for the relationship to work, blah blah and I may have reluctantly forgiven him just to appease my anxiety, but it never occurred to me that ANY of the names he called me were TRUE! That is a fact. Why on earth would you BELIEVE that? I mean, consider the disgusting source!! I can understand wanting to believe the narcissist when he says “I love you” or when he’s future-faking but to believe that you are actually an ignorant, self-absorbed whatever simply because he calls you that? I just don’t get it. How can you look at someone who is so absolutely awful and take him at his word?

      I can’t help but question what on earth I did to make a man who loved me so much that he wanted to marry me within a month, to saying I was disgusting and would never marry me… I know after all this I should hate him but it has made me want him more. First, YOU didn’t do anything. Again, why do you give this awful person so much credit and why hasn’t it occurred to you, after all that you’ve read, that every bit of the nightmare belongs to him. HE is the evil one. Just because he’s good sometimes doesn’t make him a better person than you…it just makes him a person that can be good sometimes. Even a narcissist likes to have fun. The problem is he doesn’t mean it. As for missing him more after he called you horrible things, I don’t believe it. You can’t possibly miss THAT. What you miss is what you imagined but it was never there. He doesn’t deserve you and you need to understand that.

      I know I shouldn’t want him to want me anyway, and I’m better off without (That’s right!) but every day I miss him. I miss the feeling of being ‘the one he chose’… But the truth is he never “chose” you and you were never the “favorite”. A narcissist sees everyone on the same emotional level meaning we are never any more important than the next girl or the next stranger he meets. We were, however, the most convenient.

      Please keep it in perspective…it is the only thing that will save you. In order to let it go, see it for what it is and see HIM for who he was – a nothing and a nobody. Then, go forth and be free finally and forever. Life is too short for this ridiculous nonsense.

      Zar xo

  • Melissa Sullivan

    April 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm Reply

    Glad I found your site. I recently broke things off with a guy that I just couldn’t quite figure out. After 3 months of dating, I felt as though I did not know him at all. I had zero emotional attachment with him but had hoped over time he would stop bragging and become more of who he really is. Now that i have read your website, it is all very clear to me, he is a classic narcissist. All of the red flags were there and explains why there he had no emotional depth to his character. Here is a quick recap of the “highlights” or low points, depending on your perspective.

    We met online (shocker!) He couldn’t believe “we found” each other, how much we were alike and felt the need to tell everyone about us. I liked him, but didn’t see his self described similarities of why we were SOOO meant to be together. I would overhear him on the phone or skyping, he would tell his friends we were the perfect “attractive” couple and he couldn’t wait to introduce them to me. That seemed odd to me because we had been dating less than 1 month and who describes themselves as being a part of an attractive couple?

    He had many amazing stories about his life and his accomplishments. At first his stories were interesting to anyone willing to listen. But then many of the stories carried a similar theme about him being very wealthy, expensive cars he had owned, the expensive labels of clothing he owns and all the celebrities he knows or that know him (which seemed to be a very important point). He talked about all the high profile dangerous work he did in the military and his post military career in private security, protecting famous people. He even asked me, how does it feel to date a bad ass ninja? I just laughed because, again, who says that? Most guys that I know that are ….don’t talk about it, they just ARE. It screamed insecurity and was ultimately a huge turn off

    By the second month, it was the holidays and he introduced me to his parents. He said he was living with them to take care of them. His parents were really nice but i could tell they didn’t seem to share everyone else’s same enthusiasm about his self absorbed stories. It also did not really seem as though they required his care, they seemed pretty self sufficient.

    Barely into month 3, he said he was in love with me and wanted to get married within the next year. Never asked my opinion or whether i felt the same. During a party that he asked me to throw and invite my friends, two strange things occurred: 1) Behind my back, he complained to my friends that he just did not understand why i wasn’t in love with him. He told them he is a really good guy and all he wanted to do was to take care of me. He was trying to get them on his side. 2) Subtle Gas lighting: If I said oh isn’t this a lovely red table. He would say, as if I was dumb, oh…sweety that table is orange. My response, Ok then, isn’t that a nice orange table……the point is, do you like it? Then he wouldn’t respond. He would just kiss me on my forehead. This didn’t strike me as odd at the time, but when I look back, it happened on many other very irrelevant topics and he would argue that he was right.

    He wanted to spend all his time at my house. Yet, he was suppose to be caring for those ailing parents. One evening, he was going to come over late because he was taking his mom to dinner and then wouldn’t arrive at my house until after 11pm. I’m pretty darn sure his 70 year old mum didn’t stay up past 9pm. I told him, he should come over the next evening and we will cook dinner together. He arrived the next evening at 4pm with flowers and wine. After midnight he received a call from a girl. He didn’t answer the phone but he actually showed me that she was calling . He had her picture saved with her contact detail. He told me she was obsessed with him and was some random girl /military groupie that he slept with before he met me. Well, that was a lie, because he had told me he was in a 8 year relationship and dated only one girl before me. Plus he has not been in the military for more than 13 years, so his story was a lie. I made a mental note and laid down the challenge: I told him it was inappropriate for him to show me that she was calling and that if we are in an exclusive relationship because he loves me “SOOO MUCH”, he should simply handle the situation appropriately and not include me in this drama. This is where it gets good: His response, had absolutely nothing to do with the topic. He said, I was the one that was wrong. Because I cancelled on him the night before, he drove from his parents house to Tampa and stayed in a hotel because he did not want his ailing mother to know I cancelled on him. Nice way of trying to divert attention, not accept responsibility and attempt to make me feel guilty. I listened, realizing this jerk was most likely on a date with this woman that just called. Why else would she be calling late at night. I glossed over it, didn’t accept responsibility and told him it was his own free will choice and he failed to mention it through the various texts he had sent that evening and the next day. So, I told him, no I don’t feel bad about it at all.

    His actions never matched his words or what he claims as his past professional career. He would put us in odd situations where my security felt compromised, he would get disoriented or belligerent after only 2 or 3 drinks, and would contradict previous stories told. When asked to clarify a contradictory statement, his response was, “oh you must have misunderstood me” and his final words to me were to, shut up, That disrespectful “shut up” gave me the excuse to tell him to leave and never call me again.

    After I broke up with him, he texted and called many times throughout that evening saying he missed me. He went out of the country for work for a month, he texted and called several times a week. I listened, but said I did not feel the same and am happy with my decision. When he returned, after 1 week, he was posting pictures on FB with THE very girl he “claimed” was obsessed with him. I got rid of him on FB and luckily have not heard from him.

    My motto has always been, the truth always reveals itself in time. Watch peoples actions and if they do not match what they say, then it is definitely an inconsistency. I got my answer and am glad he is “GONE” and I’d like him to stay that way.

    • Zari Ballard

      April 25, 2017 at 3:03 pm Reply

      Thank you for sharing, Melissa! Yes, the truth does reveal itself without fail each and every time. Actions should always match the words and this is the biggest red flag. The first time this happens we need to boot a person to the curb. This is the type of behavior from a partner that mind boggles us and keeps us in the loop hoping that the NEXT time he/she will actually mean what they say and say what they mean. If they are narcissists, as we know, they never will. I’m glad you are free!

      Zari:)

  • Jae

    April 4, 2017 at 5:59 pm Reply

    Just read your article. Im currently being ignored by my partner/ex. I have been reading about narcissistic personality disorder and I think its exactly him. I’ll start by saying him and I had an argument and he called me a few names. He’s done this before and I thought it was a one time thing (silly me) anyway I have always been taught to be strong and know my worth. I know I don’t want to be with someone who goes that low. So I tried to end it right there. He told me to think about giving him a chance. I said I will not be in a relationship with anyone who calls me names and puts me down/blames me for everythinggggg!
    The first day of silence I was shocked. Second day, again, a shock as he said he will do anything to keep me. Its now day five and Im starting to think wtf am I getting the silent treatment???? Is he waiting for me to contact him? His last words were if I can just throw us away after a few names then I must have NEVER cared. But thats not true, I just refuse to be put down again and again.
    How the hell did he twist this to make me feel like I did something wrong! Ugh!
    I needed to vent this so that I don’t contact him. Thanks for listening!

    Jae

    • Zari Ballard

      April 14, 2017 at 2:32 pm Reply

      Hi Jae,

      I hope you’re doing okay! Please read all the articles on this website because it will bring great clarity to your situation. The problem is NOT you, it is HIM and you do not have to endure this. They will cross all boundaries and just when you think they have crossed them all and you are safe, they find one you didn’t even know you had.

      Stay no contact. It is the only way. If you need to talk about it, consider booking some talk time with me so we can work it out. Staying no contact will bring you amazing peace…you simply have to allow it to happen!

      Stay strong!

      Zari xo

  • Carmel Schwartz

    February 24, 2017 at 9:22 am Reply

    I met a man online. We met for a drink and had a very pleasant time. At the end he said he would like to invite me to go out.
    Two days later he called very animated and invited me to see a performance of the ballet. The performance was a Saturday
    matinee. From the moment I met him before the performance he was cold as ice. During the intermissions he hardly communicated with me, I might mention the tickets were very expensive but he could afford the price. When the performance
    was over we walked out and I thanked him profusely for inviting me. He then proceeded to walk away and that was the end,
    I was completely in shock.

    After reading your articles I think he is narcissist. During our first meeting he did tell me that after many years of marriage, his
    wife told him “she no longer loved him” and wanted a divorce,

    Judy

    • Zari Ballard

      March 1, 2017 at 12:06 am Reply

      Hi Carmel,

      I don’t know if he’s a narcissist but I’m sure glad that he didn’t hang around long enough for you to find out! Whatever and whoever he is, he is nothing nice. Yikes!! I dare say that you dodged an enormous bullet, sister. Whew! Forget it ever happened, seriously. The experience isn’t worth a second of your time. Unfortunately, narcissists and sociopaths LIVE on the internet and LOVE online dating so buyer beware the next time. But now that you’ve been researching it, you definitely know what to look for. This guy is a complete asshole!! Go forth and be happy:)

      Zari xo

      Zari xo

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