by Karen Rose
Originally published in Big Island Now June 2013
The dating world is savage territory, full of bizarre, enticing, and sometimes despondent, dreadful creatures. It’s a jungle out there. So this week, I thought I’d interrupt the dating vagabondage and take a moment to analyze one of the jungle’s most fascinating specimens.
The Narcissist. (Author’s note: for the purpose of this article, I refer to a woman dating a male narcissist, but the opposite can also apply. Feel free to substitute genders as necessary.
It’s fairly simple to identify the classic narcissist. Merriam-Webster defines narcissism as extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.
However, it becomes much more challenging when it’s not so obvious. For example when the man you’re dating is perceived as the perfect ‘nice guy’. He may initially present as polite, charming, and too good to be true. He may suck you in like a Hoover Cyclonic WindTunnel, and before you know it, you’ve become emotionally invested.
But take heart ladies, I’m here to provide you with information that will protect you from being sucked into that windbag, and a checklist of characteristics that should raise red flags brighter than the flamed torches at King’s Landing.
First of all, you must realize that The Narcissist isn’t necessarily good-looking, or successful. More than likely he’s the guy next door glassing the territory for his next potential admirer, while camouflaging his insecurities with arrogance and pseudo-charm. That being said, I give you:
You Might Be Dating a Narcissist If…
1. He needs an excessive amount of attention and admiration. A narcissist craves the limelight. He will be loud and boisterous, acting like he is on stage when engaging in simple conversations, or tell past events with a dramatic flare in order to be the center of attention.
2. He exaggerates incessantly about his social status, achievements, family, etc. A narcissist will seek attention by flaunting his talents, or the talents of others if he feels their accomplishments will reflect positively upon himself. He often has a strong sense of entitlement and feels like the world owes him something.
3. He is argumentative and easily offended. A narcissist will over react to anything he perceives to be criticism. He is easily offended and takes everything as a personal assault against his very being. His ego bruises easily, so you have to be careful how you word things
4. When you express your needs he gets defensive. A narcissist is more concerned with his image, than your feelings. He will defend himself instead of apologizing. He will often turn the tables and make you feel like you are the one responsible for his behavior (‘gaslighting’). A healthy relationship is one in which both parties feel safe to express their needs without judgment. If he can’t do this, it’s time turn tail and run.
5. He is extremely judgmental of others. Because The Narcissist believes he is always right,anyone who disagrees with him is subject to harsh criticism. Whether it’s their beliefs, appearance, demeanor, or some other trait he disapproves of, nothing escapes the verbal, guillotine-style executions of The Narcissist.
You can usually tell within the first couple of dates if a guy harbors these tendencies and thus, should seriously consider heading back into the jungle for another safari. Run, don’t walk away. Consider it a lucky escape, and never look back.