1) Love bombing. They will rush intimacy and it may feel like you’re “soulmates” and have common interests, common goals. – they will “mirror back” what you are looking for. The relationship does not progress at a normal pace – it gets intense really quickly and feels all-consuming.
2) They have a big ego, act superior to you or others, crave power and control, are self-centered, and act entitled. They may exhibit jealousy at parties for other people, when others are celebrating their success, etc. They take control of conversations and always find a way to make it about them. They will boast about all their accomplishments when, in reality, they are false claims. They talk about the BIG plans they have for their future and how great it will be when XYZ and you realize that day never actually comes. The grass is always greener on the other side for them.
3) They may have few personal possessions but are obsessed with the newest/best thing. They may change cities often. They get bored easily and move on quickly. They may offer gifts to you for seemingly no reason… and they later use it against you as a reason you should give them something or do something for them because you “owe” them.
4) They are reckless and impulsive. It may seem fun and adventurous at first, but you start to notice they keep doing the same things without regard for themselves or other people. Then they seem surprised by the consequences and blame it on external factors or other people.
5) They don’t respect boundaries. They keep badgering you until you give in to what they want. They may force their sexual desires with disregard for yours. You find yourself making exceptions for them with things that you’ve deemed intolerable in the past.
6) They degrade you, and may smear your name if you “mess up”. They can list your imperfections and shortcomings, but they ignore their own and will become defensive or angry if you bring them up. They may use jokes as a way to insult you. They are unable to laugh at themselves and become irate if you ever do it. They constantly correct you because nothing you do is right. They belittle your accomplishments and may try to take credit for them while refusing to admit when you help them accomplish something. They feel entitled to benefit from your successes.
7) They seek to control you. It will start with small issues… and you may give in because they seem to have a strong opinion and you don’t care either way. But then you put your foot down and say “no, I’m going to do it this way” and they become angry, they beg you, they try to “reason” with you. This behavior stops when you give in to what they want. They get angry about decisions you make that are none of their business (what color you paint the walls or if you get a new tattoo without “asking permission”). They make comments about how you spend your money or they try to encourage you to buy the newest/best thing, even if it is out of your budget or you want a different brand.
8) It feels like the relationship has a scoreboard. They keep track of nice things they do for you, and all the times that you “failed” them. They may also conveniently forget all the nice things you’ve done for them or downplay them when they come up later.
9) There’s no conflict resolution. During a disagreement, they talk you in circles until you’re exhausted and just want it to end. Or they will agree and promise to change, and their actions reflect the opposite. They will remember things you said or did days/months/years ago and bring them up in an argument. Every disagreement or fight feels like the end of the relationship – you worry about them suddenly not loving you anymore.
10) They can’t keep a job or stable housing. They don’t have any long-term friends. They have substance abuse problems. Of course, none of this is ever “their fault”.
11) They act jealous of your pet or accuse you of loving your pet more than them. Your dog doesn’t like them. (These apply to children as well).
12) Trying to compromise with them doesn’t work because you are the one constantly giving in to what they want to keep them happy. They use guilt and pity ploys (sometimes anger) to make this happen. They may get very emotional and make promises to change and then break those promises so you are kept in a loop of ups and downs just hoping to see the change they promise and being constantly disappointed.
13) Your family and friends don’t like them. They don’t like your family and friends. They always find something they don’t like about someone they meet and talk bad about them. They mention that they don’t think you should hang out with your friend because they “aren’t good for you”. This will spread to other people and family members in an attempt to isolate you so they can further exert their control.
14) You feel like you are responsible for fixing their problems for them. You want to swoop in and “save” them. Or they make you feel like shit if you don’t. The best way to determine (even early on) is, when they ask you for something or a favor, say “no”. See how they react. A normal person might be bummed or disappointed, but a narcissist may explode at you, keep trying to change your mind, get overly “emotional”, or retaliate against you.
15) They don’t have their own life. They don’t remain independent when you start dating.. they neglect all their hobbies and friends and they may make you feel guilty for not doing the same. (It’s best to not set this precedent to begin with, but if it extends past the honeymoon phase…it’s a problem)
16) They withhold their attention as a way to manipulate you. You find yourself distraught if they are ignoring you and feel the need to try to “fix” things right then. If you appear unaffected and do your own thing, they will swoop back in to gain your attention. Any attention – good or bad – is sought after by them.
17) They cannot grasp the idea of alone time. To them, it feels like you don’t love them and they may be unable to give you the space you require. They find a way to interrupt your alone time so they can receive attention from you. They don’t want you to focus on yourself or love yourself the most. They want to be the center of your world.
18) They gaslight you and you feel like you are going insane. It is subtle at first – they said or did something and, when confronted about it, deny it ever happening. It will become more overt as time passes and you may find yourself accepting stories that you know are false and then questioning your own reality.
19) They abuse you – verbally, emotionally, physically, and with other tactics such as sleep deprivation. These may start small as they test the boundaries and begin to push them slowly. It may begin with verbal and emotional abuse and progress to physical abuse. They will test the limits and see what you’ll put up with…then they’ll escalate. They may damage your possessions or property when they are angry, be mean to your pet, shove or kick you. If they hit you, they will do it again and it will escalate. They may try to keep you awake past your bedtime. They might wait until you are asleep for the night and then come and wake you up to begin an argument about something you said last month that upset them. They may do this every night for weeks or months until you are unable to fall asleep and become sleep deprived.
20) After the honey moon phase ends, the bad times far outweigh the good times and you find yourself wondering where the person you fell in love with went and if they are coming back. You may be depressed, scared, worried and constantly on edge. You lose pieces of yourself overtime until you are completely lost and unsure what your life is. Your instincts tell you something isn’t right but you can’t quite put your finger on it. You feel like you are always walking on eggshells and proactively avoid doing or saying anything that might upset them.
21) You begin to realize that for all of the love bombing, occasional jealousy, and the little crumbs of attention you get from them, their “love” for you seems superficial, hollow, and lacking. You secretly know that they don’t really care about you, although you don’t want to face it.
22) You find yourself looking up what a narcissist is and counting how many traits your partner exhibits. As the number climbs, the puzzle pieces begin to fall into place and your reality begins to make a little more sense.