Narcissists can be beguiling and charismatic. In fact, one study showed that their likable veneer was only penetrable after seven meetings. But you don’t want to fall in love with one. Over time you can end up feeling ignored, uncared about, and unimportant. Typically, a narcissist’s criticism, demands, and emotional unavailability increase, while your confidence and self-esteem decrease. You’ll try harder, but despite pleas and efforts, the narcissist appears to lack consideration for your feelings and needs.
Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT is a marriage and family therapist. She is a relationship expert and author of “Codependency for Dummies” and “Conquering Codependency and Shame: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You,” as well as five ebooks. She has worked extensively in the field of addiction and codependency. Her work is informed by training in Self-Psychology, Voice-Dialogue, Dream Analysis, Jungian Therapy, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Somatic Work, EFT, and Hypnosis. She has also previously supervised other therapists as an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and practiced law as an entertainment attorney.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) occurs more in men than women. As described in “Do You Love a Narcissist?” someone with NPD is grandiose (sometimes only in fantasy), lacks empathy, and seeks admiration from others, as indicated by five of these summarized characteristics:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance and exaggerates achievements and talents
2. Dreams of unlimited power, success, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. Requires excessive admiration
4. Believes he or she is special and unique, and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or of high-status people (or institutions)
5. Lacks empathy for the feelings and needs of others
6. Unreasonably expects special, favorable treatment or compliance from others
7. Exploits and takes advantage of others to achieve personal ends
8. Envies others or believes they’re envious of him or her
9. Has “an attitude” of arrogance or acts that way
How a Narcissist Behaves
Basically, what this looks and feels like is someone who is puts him or herself above all others. However, you might not notice it at first.
Narcissists often like to talk about themselves and your job is to be a good audience. They may never ask about you, and if you offer something about yourself, the conversation quickly returns to them. You might start to feel invisible, bored, annoyed, or drained. On the other hand, many narcissists are charming, beautiful, talented, or successful. So, you may be entranced by their good looks, seduction, or fabulous stories. Beware that some narcissists who excel at seduction may act very interested in you, but that wanes over time. Flattery is also a means to allure you.