Dating & Lovebombing Red Flags
This is at the outset of the relationship, when you are just getting to know each other. They are intent on making you fall in love with them as quickly as possible, and to fall in love hard. Watch out for the following:
- Mirroring – Narcissists position themselves as being your soulmate by mirroring. In the early days, anticipate plenty of in-depth questions as they size you up. Getting to know one-another is normal in a relationship, but with a narcissist it is more of a study, and it’s very one-sided. They won’t want to give anything away until you have first disclosed. Then they will pretend to like all of the same things as you – hobbies, past-times, sports, interests, music, food, places to visit, drink etc.
- Good Listener – Don’t mistake this one for the warm and kind style of listening and empathising – the narcissist’s form of listening is more intent studying. From the outset they are looking for opportunities to get their hooks into you, seeking out your vulnerabilities and insecurities, signs of weakness, and trying to get an indication of the tank of narcissistic fuel you represent. As they say, anything you say can and will be used against you – one day.
- Your ideal soulmate – the mirroring is so effective, that in no time at all you will think that you have met your ideal soulmate. If you haven’t come to that conclusion yourself, they’ll signpost if for you soon enough.
- Intense Contact – plenty of messages – usually by text, but emails and phone calls too. A constant stream of communications all designed to say “Think of me” – the classic attention-grabber that is also designed to ensure your eye isn’t caught by anyone else. Messages may seem rather generic, and not necessarily tailored to you specifically – and that’s because they are not genuine or original, but may be copied or mimicked from films, books and the like. Don’t forget, Narcs simply do not have the same emotions that normal-range people do, and they can’t feel love. So their courting you is the same charade that is their entire lives.
- Quick with Intimacy – whereas normal relations take a while to build and establish themselves, expect the narc to move quickly – quick to talk about sex, quick to use the love word, quick to talk about marriage and long-term plans. Their aim is to entice a long-term vision and commitment. Whereas neurotypical folk want affection to develop slowly alongside their emotions, remember narcs can’t feel such emotions and so they have different reasons for rushing closeness.
- Overly Sexual – in classic charmer or femme fatale style, expect them to be sensuous, not just for show but with intent. Plenty of sexual overtones as they entice you further into their web. Whilst they may not be able to feel love, sexual conquest represents validation, and therefore narcissistic supply, to the narc. So expect them to be sexual before your level of intimacy has built commensurately.
- Plenty of Crazies – Narcs leave a wake of destruction in their paths. But they themselves cannot be accountable for this state of affairs – so it must be their victims, right? Look out for them dismissing their exes etc as crazy or having a screw loose. And often abusive – they are masters at projecting their own faults onto their victims. Prior relationships will not have ended amicably, and consequently there may well be signs of the carnage – ongoing scraps over houses, cars and other vestiges of wealth. They won’t want you meeting the ex for obvious reason.
- Overlap – narcs desperately need narcissistic supply, and, much like a Class A drug, cannot risk being without a regular source of it. So it is very common for there to be overlap with partners – as you are coming on to the scene, it is likely that the other relationship is not yet over, whether you are aware of this or not. They will have found a new supply well before they start the process of discarding you.
- Friends are cautious – whilst you feel that you have met the love of your life, your close friends are less sure, and you are either dismissive or disheartened by their reaction to them.
- You’re the Hero – Whilst thier most recent/soon-to-be-ex will be billed as crazy and abusive as just described, and you will be positioned as the knight in shining armour, come to save the day. Moreover, you may well have this sense that you are not the only horse in the race, and that you are being played off not just against the soon-to-be-ex (STBX) but other potential suitors. You may well find her awkward about social media and dating apps as a result.
- Wobbles – just when you thought that is was going well, if a little rushed, you hit a rocky patch or two. You’re not quite sure what the big deal is – but you sense that something is off. It could be an argument that they have picked over little of consequence.
- Stress-Testing – Wobbles develop into something more fundamental, and it’s got you confused. It all seems nonsensical, you sense this is going off the scale. You’re not even sure that it was that triggered the argument / disagreement, but out of nowhere it’s escalated into something beyond your expectation or comprehension. Essentially you are now being tested – what is your resilience to bullshit, how do you react, can you still be controlled, how predictable are you, you will put their needs first, where are your boundaries stand and how well will you defend them? This is the test that you don’t want to pass.