ON reflection, you cannot pinpoint a single encounter in which your partner was self-centred, attention-seeking, manipulative or harsh while you were dating. If anything, he was quite the opposite —full of charm, kind, compassionate and respectful.
No way he could be narcissistic, right? Wrong, says relationship counsellor Wayne Powell, who pointed out that it is not easy to pick up on their undesirable traits in the initial dating stages because narcissists are good at building façades.
“The narcissist thinks very highly of himself and exhibits this sense of self-importance that is usually highly exaggerated. He would want to give you the impression that he is God's gift to you specifically, and to mankind in general. Then, of course, he has the gift of making you feel like you are the most important person in the world, even if all he wants to do at the moment is to reel you in,” Powell explained.
He said that while all narcissists might bear similar traits, there are some — covert narcissists — who are not openly grandiose and as such will hint at things and are less likely to be outward in their actions.
If you are not quite sure if your partner is a narcissist, Powell shares some red flags that he may think too highly of himself.
He lacks empathy
This is a trait seen in both overt as well as a covert narcissists — this is characterised by a general inability to share or even understand the feelings of his partner.
“The narcissist lacks sympathy and will expect that even if you are sick, he wants you to go the extra mile to please him and continuously stoke his ego,” Powell explained.
He acts like he is a superior being
“In his presence, you are led to believe that he is too hot to handle and that he is rich, smart and famous and blessed with awesome skills and talents,” Powell said. As such, he will let you feel that he is in a higher class than you and you need to recognise his intellectual pedigree.
He acts as though the world revolves around him (and so should you)
In conversation he demands your admiration and will be offended if you fail to acknowledge his brilliance. If a decision is to be made, your opinion will not count.
“He expects that you will accept his as the only right option (because, of course, he is ALWAYS right),” Powell said.
He is overly critical
He is highly critical of you and anything that you set your hands on. In addition to this, he belittles you and if you call him out on it, he tries to make you feel like you are overthinking it with words like “you're too sensitive/emotional” just because he does not want to admit that he aimed to make you feel bad about yourself.
He is arrogant
When others ignore him, he believes that they are envious of his so-called successes and gains.
“Mr Mention tends to display haughtiness and arrogance, believing that he is not just the best thing since sliced bread, but that he is the sliced bread,” Powell advised.
Struggles to maintain relationships
It's not just with you that he struggles to maintain decent relationships — it's with everyone, including his children. The only person he can bond with and show love to is himself.
He often puts on an emotional show
Narcissists are great pretenders. They know just how to charm their way into your life and how to act in situations that benefit them. Their lack of empathy and emotions, however, can be a dead giveaway when they pretend to be sincere.
Always shifts blame
It's NEVER his fault. It's always you or someone else who triggered him and made him do it, and as such not only will he refuse to take fault, but he will not apologise. He will also go to great lengths to show how he has been wronged and why the world should be sorry for him.
A need to feel entitled is another way that you can identify a narcissist. He wants you to make sacrifices for him, but he will not lift a finger for you. If you should point out that he is constantly thoughtless and unfair in his actions, he will protest.