* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
There are so many red flags of a narcissist, there will be a red flag nearly every day that you spend with them.
Since qualities like love, trust, faith, obedience, understanding, empathy, compassion, conscience, denying themselves, choosing morally correct choices are all spiritual qualities, these qualities are what you will never get from the narcissist in the relationship.
You cannot plan, prepare, or manage your way out of box with someone who is manipulative, controlling, self-centered, and abusive.
The potential threat of an outburst will occur. Victims know this. These outbursts and horrible treatment of others (which of course includes you) will have consequences all the way around.
There are glaring red flags. In the end, you will deplete your energy, your capacity for joy, and your ability to see things clearly; as they are happening.
It is as if you become a pawn in this game that is a lose – lose. Your sense of who you are slowly begins to fade.
When you clear the distortions from your thinking, you realize that all the running around, worry, endless anxiety and fear of the narcissist and his/her potential blow-ups is permeating your inner world.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist who is controlling, manipulative, and dismissive of your deeply held wants and needs then the following would be some clear indicators that warrant further discernment and more clarity in perspective.
Table of Contents
- If you need a crisis hotline or want to learn more about therapy, please see below:
- For more information on mental health, please see:
- Some red flags of a narcissist include:
- In addition to these red flags, the following are the most common traits of a narcissist.
If you need a crisis hotline or want to learn more about therapy, please see below:
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) – 1-800-656-4673
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
- NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – 1-800-950-6264
For more information on mental health, please see:
- SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) SAMHSA Facebook, SAMHSA Twitter, SAMHSA LinkedIn, SAMHSA Youtube
- Mental Health America, MHA Twitter, MHA Facebook, MHA Instagram, MHA Pinterest, MHA Youtube
- WebMD, WebMD Facebook, WebMD Twitter, WebMD Instagram, WebMD Pinterest
- NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), NIMH Instagram, NIMH Facebook, NIMH Twitter, NIMH YouTube
- APA (American Psychiatric Association), APA Twitter, APA Facebook, APA LinkedIN, APA Instagram
- Does the victim find her/him self defending the actions of the narcissist to family, friends, and/or neighbors?
- Does the victim appear to acquiesce to the demands of the narcissist without assertion or a sense of control over her or his own decision-making?
- Does the victim second-guess herself on a consistent basis and feel a need to check and double-check all decisions with the narcissist?
- Is there an increased level of anxiety, jumpiness, rumination, and nervous energy permeating the victim?
- Does the victim attempt to anticipate the feelings, needs, and wants of the narcissist because of the unpredictability of his/her actions?
- Does the victim become increasingly more jealous and make repeated attempts to control or alter behavior in the narcissist that is quite frankly uncontrollable (drinking, flirting, work-status, cheating, gambling, etc.)?
The effort, anxiety, worry, and overall stress layered onto the victim over and over in the relationship get heavier and thicker as time passes.
All that chaos, fake charm, and the glittery façade of the narcissistic abuser fades over time. It begins to wear thin.
People start to see through the faded shine.
This is when you find yourself desperately trying to prevent, control, and mitigate the inevitable consequences of years of abuse. You feel alone and isolated.
Some red flags of a narcissist include:
There are so many red flags of a narcissist, too many red flags for the narcissist to hide it. Learn the manipulation tactics of a narcissist and the red flags to watch out for.
- They blame a lot of things on you, other people or the situation
- They believe they are always right
- Arrogance and over-confidence. They are just over-compensating for insecurity, but their ‘confidence’ can be very convincing
- They are critical of you, the way you do things, the way you say things, the way you are in bed etc. If you keep spending time with them they will knock your confidence
- They say things like “I’m perfect”, “I have good genes”, “I’m special”, “I’m unique”, “I’m gifted”
- They give themselves credit for everything and steal credit from other people
- They are charming and friendly around other people. But if you pay attention, you can tell there’s something fake about the way they’re acting.
- They often either act like a cocky salesman, or they act a bit shy and vulnerable.
- They might even have friends who haven’t seen their true colours, and think they’re sweet and maybe an emotionally vulnerable type of person who needs support from others
- They love to play the victim. They are always the victim
- There is something off about them which is hard to put your finger on. You have a gut feeling that something isn’t right
- They lie, they might even boast about the lies they’ve got away with
- They are grandiose. They say ridiculous things deadpan like “I’m the prophet”, “I’m the Buddha re-incarnated”, “I’m enlightened”, “I was put on this earth to tell people what to do”
- They say things like they would do a better job at running their workplace than the qualified manager, even though they have no manager experience
- They are in debt. Also they fall out with their friends / family because they didn’t pay them back, and they don’t pay you back unless maybe you remind them
- You feel insecure when you spend more time with them
- They don’t respect your boundaries
- They use people for their own gain.
- They get you to do things for them, and usually only do things for you if they have an agenda or to appear like a good partner in front of other people
- They try to take on the leader role in a group, even if that group all know each other more than they know him/her
- They say and imply that you need to change, but when you tell them what they need to change, they say things like “I don’t need to change. I’m perfect. But you’re doing this, this and this wrong and I’m not getting any compensation for it. I’ll get you to do this and this for me.”
- They are emotionally abusive, especially when they don’t get their own way
- You feel like you qualify for a diagnosis of PTSD
- They ‘guilt-trip’ you to get what they want or to shift the blame on to you
- They have been in past unstable relationships, but it’s always them who was the victim. They say demeaning things about exes
- They have / had some kind of drama / fall out going on with their family. Such as, when their ex threw them out their family wouldn’t let them stay at their house
- They have slept with a lot of people in the past and are likely to brag about it. My ex said he got 4 girls pregnant (!)
- They don’t show much empathy when you’re upset. Even if they do sometimes, it’s either an act or they lack empathy compared to an average person
- They brag about their ‘success’. “I’ve been to the best art college in the country”, “I’m in a position to give advice because I’ve had a lot of success”, “You’re just jealous of all my success.” “I just win at life”
- They knock you down to build themselves up. And they might disguise put-downs as jokes and banter
- They love-bomb you at the start, where they give you loads of attention, say you’re their soulmate after like a week, say they’re falling for you before they’ve even met you in person etc. etc.
- They idealise you by saying things like “I would use you as an example of a perfect human being”.
- Their compliments are often implying that you’re better than other people.
- When they realise you’re anything less than perfect, they devalue you. Which is emotional abuse btw. This is called splitting, where they alternate between seeing you as all-good then all-bad. And you’re either better than other people or less than other people
- They have low self-control and find it hard to resist temptation. They often have addiction problems
- They have a sense of entitlement, they just deserve the best in their mind
- They project their insecurities and wrong-doings on you. And their insecurities are “your fault”
- You don’t trust them, except maybe near the start
- You feel like they could cheat on you at any moment. If you feel like that, it means they are probably capable of cheating and are likely to at some point.
- They are expert liars. If they actually have NPD, it’s basically a ticking time bomb until they cheat on you and you might never find out.
- They have the attitude of “what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her”
- They gaslight you.
- They put down and mock you, their friends behind their back and like everyone on TV
- They never bother to hide from you that they find someone else attractive. You will start comparing yourself negatively to other people
- They don’t put effort into buying people presents
- They display crocodile tears, where they pretend to cry to get their own way and appear vulnerable and sensitive
- Their emotions are over the top, and they are volatile. Although sometimes they will appear like they have no emotions. This could be for lots of reasons other than NPD but pay attention. You will also become an emotional wreck and often feel empty around them
- They compete with you on everything down to the washing up
- They also give you compliments and act nice to you inbetween, you think ah but they’re so nice sometimes
In addition to these red flags, the following are the most common traits of a narcissist.
The narcissist will assert the he or she has been victimized by:
Emotions Most Narcissist Do Not Feel:
Emotions the Narcissist Does Feel:
- Shame brought on by potential perceptions of others
The Narcissist Expects Significant Other (SO) to treat the narcissist with:
Maladaptive Coping Mechanism Utilized:
- Silent treatment
Compares SO to others via Triangulation:
Do as I say; do not do as I do. The narcissist does what he wants to do, when he wants do it, with whomever he wants to do it with. Hypocrisy Boulevard is one way street.
Spoils Birthdays and Holidays:
The narcissists creed– “If I a am not the center of attention, I am going be throw “a wet blanket” over the event.”
Job and Relationships:
short-term and highly tempestuous–there will be no shortage of drama, trauma, and chaos.
Texts and Phone Calls:
When the narcissist calls or texts, the SO better respond without delay. On the other hand, when the SO calls or texts the narcissist, the narcissist will get to it when he gets to it.
None given as the significant other (SO) is always at fault. The narcissist has no regrets, feels no remorse/contrition, and admits to no vulnerabilities.
- blame shifting
- silent treatment
Intimacy: Post love bombing phase, the narcissist finds intimacy to be.…
According to the narcissist, displaying emotions is a sign of.…
- a whiner
- an immature person
- pathetic behavior
- a cry baby
- childish behavior
Frequently has financial woes…
- not apt to repay loans
- forgets wallet
- vanishes when check arrives
- will assert the SO will get paid back in the future
Often prefers SO’s who are…
- fair minded
- aspires to try to always maintain personal and relationship integrity
Often prone not to be faithful
- one night stands
- sex may be used as a weapon
- hook ups with strangers
- sex may be used to exert power and control
- if somatic narcissist will hook up for revenge and w/o being selective
Narcissist does not introduce his current SO to…
- former SOs
Cell Phone Habits:
- takes phone to bathroom
- always places phone face down
- does not leave phone out when it’s being charged
- tells SO not to text but rather email
- has multiple email and texts addresses
- turns ringer off/leaves phone on silent mode
- speaks to people so that he can not be heard
- has more than one phone
- has apps for dating sites used
- frequently checking phone
- constantly making remarks about how SO is doing sneaky things with his or her cell phone
Intense disdain for true self which is considered…
- “too soft”
- less than
- too emotional
When angry with SO, will accuse SO of being…
- “too soft”
- less than
- too emotional
Physical Intimacy ASAP:
•comments made about hyper sexuality
•discussions about additional people involved in sexual escapades
•will discuss pushing boundaries sexually — eager to try new things
•sex often is ace card to expedite the NT SO’s emotional vesting
Computer Habits Suspect:
- not allowing SO to see what is on screen
- history is cleared after narcissist uses
- multiple email addresses
- dating sites
- social media hook ups
- computer is apparently a boon for narcissistic supply
- hovers when SO using computer
- asking SO passwords but not providing same
- puppet accounts
*narcissists not aware SOs cousin or friend knows narcissist by as both narc and SO using different names; 3 degrees of separation.
•Vagueness about past relationships.
•Narcissist vacillates between grandiose self-perception and self loathing.
•Finances often in poor shape.
•Very few, if any, close friends.
•Multiple abortions; multiple children with different mothers.
•Expensive gifts and holidays.
- schools attended
- graduation dates
- awards received
- programs took part in