How to Avoid Relationships with Narcissists
The difference between a healthy and an unhealthy amount of narcissism is like comparing a calm, blue sky to a class 5 tornado. If only it were that easy to spot a pathological narcissist before getting entangled with one. Narcissists can be fascinating, fun, confident, decisive, charismatic and popular. As they position themselves to be the center of the universe, they seek attention, affirmation, approval and admiration. The best way to avoid getting involved with a person who has this disorder is to know how to identify it.
Notice that when a narcissist relates a story, it’s as if no one else is involved, unless the others are portrayed in minor roles. He is the star. He may state that he gets no help at all from the people he lives or works with, when in reality, the opposite is true. He is so convincing that you may never catch on to his deceptions. The narcissist puts down the abilities of those around him and seeks to gain sympathy for the hardships he faces or admiration for the self-sacrificing good he professes to do for those undeserving others.
Look for a grandiose sense of self-importance, often without much to back it up, although narcissists can hold high positions. Clinical psychologist Linda Martinez-Lewi states that narcissists assign and direct roles to those in their inner circle. The roles are enforced by conditioning role players with rewards and punishments.
A good way to avoid attracting a narcissist is to have your own role — a diva — since narcissists are not interested in people who won’t try to please them.
Listen for a preoccupation with fantasies in conversations he instigates regarding his success, appearance, power, brilliance and ideal love. Any attempt to bring truth into the picture can trigger a negative response from the narcissist as he tries to maintain the false reality he has created. A narcissist chooses people to associate with that reinforce his fantasies of being special.
A narcissist requires excessive admiration. In fact, giving praise and flattery are the best ways to motivate a narcissist to do something you need to get done. You can avoid relationships with narcissists by refusing them their narcissistic supply.
Recognize that a narcissist has a sense of entitlement and can be easily riled when she doesn’t get what she wants. Strong personal boundaries can help you avoid getting deeply involved with a narcissist.
Expect exploitative behaviors. The narcissist takes advantage of others to obtain what he wants, and he does it without caring if it hurts anyone. He will not play fair and has no remorse. He will often try to make you feel guilty in an attempt to manipulate you.
Understand that a narcissist may be envious of you and wants to believe that you are envious of him. For example, to prove he is a genius, he will make a point of being right about a subject while pointing out your mistakes or perceived faults.
Trust that she will be arrogant, haughty and patronizing. This behavior can be confusing to someone in a romantic relationship with a narcissist because she initially places her “love object” on a pedestal and idealizes him, proclaims his perfection to her and all those around and may ply him with gifts. If the relationship seems too good to be true, chances are that’s the case.