If you’ve ever been taken in by a narcissist, you know that they can be extremely charming, persuasive, and manipulative. While it’s not your fault for falling prey to their tactics, science has revealed the exact methods narcissists use so you can spot the red flags and hopefully avoid them in future.
They exploit your weaknesses. While it’s important that you feel safe opening up to the person you’re dating and letting them get close to and see the real you, trust with information like that needs to be earned and shouldn’t be given freely. A narcissist will love nothing more than to exploit your weaknesses and using them to their own advantage, so avoid expressing these things about yourself early on.
They look for people who want to be saved/fixed/completed. Narcissists succeed in being so manipulative by looking for people who are easy to manipulate. You’re way more likely to fall into this camp if you’re incomplete on your own or are looking for a partner to fix or save you. If you feel this way, you’re far less likely to be aware of the narcissist’s questionable and downright terrible behavior because you’ll be too excited to have someone in your life.
They make you fall too fast. There’s a saying that love makes you do crazy things, and this is true. It’s easy to overlook red flags or ignore serious transgressions when you’re head over heels for someone. Once you’re in love with them (or at least think you are), all bets are off when it comes to being able to spot and put a stop to a very problematic situation. Take your time getting to know someone before you dive in head-first. You’ll be glad you did.
They go for people who lack boundaries. This comes back to the point about wanting to be fixed or saved. You might be cool on your own but when you get in relationships, you have no clearly defined boundaries or expectations. This is a narcissist’s paradise, because you can’t fault them for crossing lines when you haven’t set any up to begin with. Lacking boundaries is the quickest path to being gaslighted, emotionally abused, cheated on, or worse.
They take advantage of neediness. Again, if you need someone, you’re not going to want to do anything to risk losing them. It doesn’t matter if they’re a terrible partner who treats you like crap and makes you miserable more often than they put a smile on your face—you feel like you need them so you put up with it because you think it’s better than being alone. Don’t put yourself through this crap (or let them put you through it)—hold your head high and hold out for someone who treats you like the valuable person you are.
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