We all have our own set of character traits and quirks that make us who we are. Some people may be more extroverted, others more introverted; some might be naturally drawn to the arts while others prefer to stay in bed with their covers up.
But no matter what your natural preferences are, there’s one thing almost everyone can agree on: If someone is constantly showering you with compliments, they’re not being genuine.
And if that person is also trying to control every aspect of your life, from where you go on dates to how many people you hang out with, to whom you talk to, and how much money you spend at the store, then you should probably question whether or not you’re dating a narcissist.
1. They don’t have any hobbies
Narcissists don’t care about anything outside of themselves, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they don’t seem to enjoy any activities other than those centered around them.
They often claim to be “busy” but rarely do things for fun unless it involves getting attention from other people, like going to concerts, attending plays, or hanging out with friends. When asked, most narcissists will admit that they don’t really have hobbies, because they just want to be admired by others.
2. They never express love
If you date a narcissist, you’ll find yourself constantly getting into arguments over trivial matters such as whether or not you should bring dessert to a dinner party. And when you try to point out that you’re feeling hurt by something he said or did, he’ll tell you that you’re acting like a child—which, of course, makes him sound like an adult. But this tactic only works while you’re still in the honeymoon phase.
Once you get to know each other better, narcissists will stop expressing feelings of affection or respect, instead using words like “love,” “honor,” and “respect” to describe their interactions with others. This shows that they’re insecure about their relationships, and doesn’t bode well for the future.
3. You feel pressured to change
You’ve been dating a narcissist for awhile, and suddenly you realize that you’re starting to become more independent than ever before. You think that you won’t fit in anymore with his crowd, and you start planning ways to leave him behind. He starts to panic, because he knows that he has nothing left to offer you, and begins to use all sorts of pressure tactics to keep you around.
He might accuse you of cheating on him, call you names, threaten to cut off all contact with you, etc. The worst part is that even though these actions usually seem to work (because you’re too scared to end the relationship), you feel guilty and wonder if you should stay in the relationship anyway.
This is called gaslighting, and it’s one of the warning signs that you’re dating a narcissist.
4. They say ‘I love you’ without meaning it
While narcissists can easily say “I love you” to anyone they meet, they often choose to use this phrase when they want to manipulate you into staying in the relationship. For example, after a fight, they might tell you that they love you, in order to guilt you into staying in the relationship because you don’t want to lose them.
On the surface, this seems innocent enough—but, in reality, they’re just saying this to keep you close to them, and once they’ve had enough time away from you, they’ll drop the “I love you” bomb and break up with you, leaving you heartbroken and confused.
5. They lie about everything
People who are narcissistic tend to be extremely manipulative. They’re always lying about little things, like telling you that they’re doing great in school when they aren’t, or claiming that they’ve lost weight when they haven’t.
Eventually, you catch on and realize that they’re always making excuses to back up whatever lies they tell you. When you ask why they lied, they act like they didn’t hear you, or simply ignore the question altogether.
6. They’re very critical of others
Narcissists are known for looking down on others, because it makes them feel important. They often criticize you for not living up to their standards, and they don’t hesitate to pick apart your flaws and shortcomings until you’re ready to throw in the towel.
In the beginning, it may be hard to notice this trait because you’re still in the honeymoon phase, but once you start to see it more clearly, you might notice that your partner has started criticizing you whenever you’re around other people.
7. They’re jealous of other people
Because narcissists crave attention, they’re typically insecure about the amount of affection they receive from others. Instead of dealing with their own problems, they focus on yours.
For example, if you went out with someone else last night, they might criticize you for it and imply that there was something wrong with you. Or, if you told them about a new friend of yours, they might say that you must be secretly hoping that they’ll replace you as their best friend.
8. They expect you to read their mind
Narcissists have trouble expressing their thoughts and emotions, and they often get frustrated when you try to understand their mood swings. Because they lack empathy, they can’t understand why you’d want to stick around in a relationship with someone who acts so immaturely.
Instead of explaining themselves, narcissists will often blame you for their negative feelings, and use the “crazy girlfriend” excuse to justify breaking up with you.
9. They try to control everything about you
Narcissists are generally controlling personalities, which means that they need to know absolutely everything about you. If they don’t, they’ll assume that you’re hiding something from them, and they’ll push you to confess everything about yourself in order to satisfy their curiosity.
10. They have low self-esteem
Narcissists view themselves as superior beings, and they feel entitled to the admiration and adoration of others. Since they’re incapable of showing others that they actually care about them, they’ll often go through life with low self-esteem, believing that they’re unworthy of love and affection.
If you’re dating someone who exhibits any of these red flags, it could indicate that they’re a narcissist.
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