Trigger warning: This article deals with narcissistic personality disorder symptoms. Please ensure you are in a safe place to read this content and can access support if needed.
Wondering how you landed here again? The same thing in a different package? You’ve managed to escape one narcissist only to find your next relationship has ended up being the same… despite a seeming different start.
Sane.org reports that around 1% of adults in the general community experience Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), with some studies estimating up to 6%, and whilst it is a diagnosable mental illness, that doesn’t lessen its impact on victims, especially second or third time around.
Surviving one relationship with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is hard enough especially when you have to navigate co-parenting and recovery post that relationship ending.
Part of your recovery has no doubt been to vow to never again fall for someone with NPD…. and yet, here you are. Confused and in a relationship with another narcissist.
If only there was a road map of signs that could be easily spotted.
Here are the most common narcissistic personality disorder symptoms.
Learning the warning signs and growing muscle in practicing active observation provides you with the training to spot narcissists while they are still at arm’s length.
If they happen to get through your first layer of defences, how they behave in the next phase of your relationship will give the game away in quick time, and you can rip the Band-Aid off less painfully …. IF you’ve honed the skills in being able to identify the classic narcissist behaviours below.
There are key behaviours and phrases that they all have in common, we call this their “toolbox”, and it’s pretty limited. Each of these behaviours emerge at different stages of the relationship.
It is important then to recognise the 4 stages and their related red ‘flags’.
There are some early clues like the overuse of “I” language, and the seldom of use “we”. They use “you” or “they” predominantly solely for laying blame and scorn.
You can practice spotting these traits ahead of an emotional connection by observing those around you in everyday life. Red Flags will then jump out like flashing beacons when you’ve tuned into noticing them..
When we learn to watch and listen, there are clues to personalities in all language and behaviours. The below behaviours are common in Stage 1 with narcissistic personality disorder symptoms:
In the start of the relationship, they are doing their groundwork and getting you hooked into a false sense of “this is the one”. You will love them, your friends will think you’ve hit the jackpot … even your pets will swoon – this is the power of their full charm offensive.
We can narrow it down to be alert for these ‘tools’ during the early days. They will usually:
As you look over the above list, if your latest love interest has ticked 50% of what’s here, it may be time to exit stage left, and save yourself more pain.
Once the narcissist feels they have you, their behaviour usually starts to change. This change in behaviour may see you start to question what you are doing wrong and find yourself asking yourself “is this the same person you started with?”
Once you enter this doubting phase – even if only in your own mind and you never voice this to your friends – you may also start to withdraw somewhat, and no longer pander to their ego and what they want, or constantly tell them what they want to hear. This will cause the classic narcissist to want to take you down a peg or two … or ten!
It’s important to be aware of what tools are coming into play for the narcissist now. What you will start to notice:
By this stage you have probably worked out that what you are experiencing is not normal, and they sort of know that you know. In other words, the gig is up! This is the time to tell a safe group of family and friends what is going on and start making plans to safely exit.
Once you recognise the signs below, you know it’s time to go. Be sure to go when its safe. Look out for:
It’s important to know and remember, they won’t ever:
Please stop, breathe and trust your instincts. You may have been able to quash that little voice of concern inside you during the first part of the relationship but the signs can no longer be ignored.
It’s time to leave and live your best life… leaving them to a life that’s full of same, same.
It’s not your job to fix them, fulfil them or be their whipping post!
It’s your life to live with as much joy and love as possible xo
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