Have you noticed a developing pattern in your relationships? They begin as an irresistible attraction. The chemistry fizzes. Your partner is already talking about your future and it’s only the third date. It’s intense. It moves quickly. And then almost as quickly you are struggling to maintain their interest. You think there is something wrong with you that you are unable to sustain a loving relationship. You know it’s all your fault because they tell you so. So why do you keep falling in love with narcissists?
You aren’t alone. The problem is that when you are falling in love, it’s impossible to see those red flags. It takes a lot of burned fingers before you finally realize you have to move your hand from the hot stove. And anyway, who’s to say that this time won’t be different?
In Love with a Narcissist? – Questions to Ask Yourself
- Did it seem like instant attraction?
- Did you feel like the center of his or her attention?
- Is the relationship moving fast?
- Have you noticed your partner showing signs of sensitivity?
- Have they been inexplicably mean to you?
- Are you happy one minute and then completely deflated the next?
- Do they sometimes devalue you? Undermine you?
- When you talk about splitting up, do they turn the charm up to full volume?
- Do they know how to make you uncomfortable?
- When you try to end the relationship, do they pursue you?
- Do you always agree to a ‘second chance’?
- Do you justify their behavior to others?
- Do they want you to look after them and expect you to anticipate their needs?
- Do they enjoy outsmarting you?
- Do you find yourself adjusting your behavior, and even your personality to please them?
If you answered yes to most of those questions, you are in a relationship with a narcissist or even a sociopath.
Why Do You Keep Falling in Love with Narcissists?
Firstly, remember that they are very clever and they know exactly how to manipulate your feelings. It isn’t your fault. Narcissists are charming and will present themselves in ways that are irresistible. Some will display a veneer of vulnerability. Others might pretend to be a little dorky. Some will be ultra-smooth and capable of working a room to their advantage. They will often be popular; all things to all people. There’s no way of telling up front unless you have a narcissist antenna on full alert.
When you are subject to that charm offensive, it’s difficult to step back. He or she is funny, witty, smiley and it’s impossible to walk away when you are caught in their headlights. And you think, “I’ll just see where this is going.” So you stay. Just in case this person turns out to be the love of your life.
The Warning Signs
Check these signs before going any further:
- They are self-confident
- They present themselves well
- They love an audience
- They have a wicked sense of humor
- They maintain their looks and clothes to perfection
- They smile easily
- They are comfortable in their surroundings
- They have charisma
Remember that just because someone shows those traits, it doesn't mean they are a narcissist. However, couple them with certain patterns of behavior and it's very possible that they are narcissistic.
Another point to take note of is whether their friends are long-term or new acquaintances. While some narcissists do have old friends, they seem to be one step removed. The bulk of their friends seem to be relatively new. This is because that the narcissistic personality is unattractive once they are recognized as such. Therefore people tend to distance themselves from the narcissist when they find that he or she is only interested in how useful they are.
It’s True; Narcissists are Perceived to be More Popular
A study carried out by Back, Schmukle, and Egloff in Germany produced the results that out of 73 students of mixed sex, who'd never met previously, the ones with the highest narcissistic traits were initially the most popular among their peers.
“In the situation in which individuals introduced themselves to potentially meaningful peers, narcissists exhibited neater and flashier appearances, more charming facial expressions, more self-assured body movements, and more humorous verbal expressions. Of importance is that these cues were evaluated as positive by unacquainted peers. Consequently, narcissists were indeed more popular at first sight.”
Cure Yourself of Falling in Love with Narcissists
Is it possible to stop falling in love with narcissists? Of course, but you have to be aware of the signs, and you have to be aware of your own reactions to certain people. Too often, there are external distractions such as flowing alcohol or romantic situations that alternately dull and heighten your senses. It’s difficult to resist when everything is encouraging you to throw caution to the winds.
There are several things you need to do in order to avoid deep entanglement with a narcissist. Only ever give a suspected narcissist one chance. If they behave badly, treat you mean, humiliate you, or otherwise cause you hurt, then leave them. Never, ever give them a second chance. Not even when they turn that charm offensive onto full beam. Know that if they can do it once, they will continue to do it. Don’t participate in their game playing.
Understand that if they cross your boundaries early on, they will keep doing it. Again, once chance only. Then walk away.
Once you have decided that this person is not for you, wait, and see how they react. Very often as soon as they become aware that you aren’t interested, the charm disappears and the tantrums and insults start. You are ‘stupid’ or ‘a loser’ for not wanting to be with them. They will then attempt to dump you even though you have already dumped them. They cannot bear to lose or fail a challenge. And that’s all you are—a challenge.
Be glad you escaped.