How to avoid getting hooked up with another narcissist is the million dollar question. No one wants to lock themselves up for the rest of their lives; just thankful to be off the emotional roller coaster you were on with the narcissist, but sometimes it seems like the only option to keeping your heart safe. There are women out there who have been abused by a narcissist or psychopath, survived and gone on to fall in love with a wonderful man and live happily ever after so it is possible for you too.
It is impossible to identify a narcissist just from looking, they come in all shapes and sizes and because they take on many of the characteristics of their target it can seem impossible or overwhelming to think about trying to figure out if a guy is the real thing or memorex. We want love to be fun and exhilarating. We don’t want to have to analyze everything we feel and doubt everything he says he is feeling.How do we protect ourselves and know with all certainty; that the man we just met is or isn’t a narcissist/psychopath?
Are we an N magnet?
If you are fresh out of a relationship with a narcissist the likelihood of you meeting another one are higher than if you heal and identify your boundaries and learn how to protect them. For one thing all women, and men for that matter; should deal with any esteem issues they were left with by the ex narcissist/psychopath before they venture into the dating pool. If you start dating because you feel inadequate and are looking for a man to mend the scars the narcissist left, to reassure yourself that you are attractive and desirable you will be a magnet for the next narcissist with time on his hands. he might not even be a narcissist, he might just be a run of the mill asshole who is picking up on your weakened state.
As much as becoming a victim of narcissistic or psychopathic abuse is NOT the victim’s fault we still have to take responsibility for our own safety and learn from our mistakes.
What is that saying? “Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me”. Now I am no one to talk when I say that. I am not pointing a finger at anyone more than I point it at myself. I went back to JC (I didn’t even switch abusers I stuck with one I KNEW was abusive, what does that tell ya?)so many times I lost count and he was more than pleased to remind me of my stupidity. When he came to give me his teary “heart-felt” apology and said, “You know it kinda was your own fault I hurt you, you kept taking me back, most women would have told me to fuck off long ago.” Or when he told me HE had enough, and it was over and I had replied, “YOU have had enough?! I was faithful, you were the one with other women and personal ads, not me!” and he looked at me over his glasses with exasperation and said, “And what did you do?” Indignantly I responded with, “I stayed.” and he smirked and said, “EXACTLY”. touche! that shut me up didn’t it?!
So what can we do?
We practice restraint and maintain control of the pace the relationship is going, we have to remember that what we had with the narcissist was not normal and he was not a normal honest guy.
It is so important to remember the relationship with the narcissist had nothing to do with love, he never loved us, it is not that he “fell out of love with us”, he did not discover some flaw of ours that made him stop loving us. IT NEVER WAS ABOUT LOVE, it was ALL ABOUT CONTROL. It was about seek, disarm, devalue and destroy; he used the illusion of love to hook us.
For us older women it pays to remember that most narcissists refine their techniques with every relationship and as they age and their good looks fade they become more charismatic and better at hiding their true nature. That doesn’t mean you can’t date or you have to be a paranoid bitch, nor run to the nearest convent; it means you set boundaries, take time to get to know the person BEFORE you have sex with him and remain level-headed and alert to red flags. AND listen to your gut………all things we should have done all along.
In a perfect world no one would lie and we could take a person at face value but it is far from a perfect world and to act like it is, is setting yourself up for heartache. You need to know yourself and what your triggers are and where your boundaries aren’t the strongest so when you meet a narcissist you are able to see through his charismatic facade. Sure we can always yell foul,” He lied to me!! it wasn’t MY fault,” and be absolved of all responsibility but really if we know the signs to look for and ignore them are we not also to blame for our own pain? and when you know the fundamental goal of the narcissist is to destroy you isn’t it prudent to make sure you do everything within YOUR power to prevent the narcissist from getting too close?
There is no one type of woman a narcissist is attracted to. The narcissist is empty and takes on the likes and dislikes of the women he is targeting. Every woman who crosses his path is a potential victim, he throws out the bait and waits to see if anyone takes it. Depending on how many women he has on the hook or if he is bored with his “sure thing” he might be out just to get laid or he might be looking for a roof over his head or for someone to finance his next scheme. Either way you should be safe because you aren’t going to sleep with anyone on the first date and you certainly aren’t going to support a man or lend any man any money, right?
There are certain types of people who are more apt to stick it out with the Psychopath/narcissist and they are empathetic, self-assured, reliable, loyal, trusting and forgiving. You don’t have to become cynical but you do have to stay aware and alert to red flags. Narcissist always play the empathy card and we all know when our sympathies are being tugged. If you find yourself thinking, “He has so much potential, all he needs is a good woman like me to believe in him to be successful.” slap your face and run away as fast as you can.
No one is immune and the abuser may pick the shy introvert thinking he will hook her by giving her attention she is not accustomed to getting. The Psychopath might even hook up with the drunk in a bar, or the slut that is all over all the guys in the bar but it would only be for some mild diversion if he is bored and nothing better is happening. Any port in a storm sort of speak. It seems to me that the majority of them pick women who are self-assured, self-sufficient and empathetic, women who are confident enough in themselves that they feel they can help someone and still have enough for themselves. An insecure woman is too much work for the narcissist and not a big enough challenge at the same time. He might take on an insecure woman to pass the time until he finds an independent woman he feels can give him what he needs, respectability, a home, backing, business contacts, a woman who presents a challenge and would symbolize that the abuser is superior to other men just because he has her on his arm and then the big pay off; that huge rush of self-satisfaction when he brings her to her knees. There are few things more gratifying to an N than breaking the poise of a confident woman. The only thing better would be if the woman is in a relationship with another man. The ultimate ego trip for the abuser is to steal another man’s woman and seeing as his main goal is to destroy lives; he is able to annihilate many lives all at once, through one woman; bonus!!
If you are married and find yourself in a whirlwind romance with a guy, stop, go home and deal with your marriage, for many reason; not just because you could be the target of an abuser. It is just the right thing to do.
Infidelity is one of the foremost traits of a narcissist, if a man says he has never cheated before and it is only because he has met you, the woman of his dreams; that he is doing it now; he is bullshitting! Or if he admits to cheating but swears it was only because the woman was such a bitch and he would never cheat on you because you are perfect and he would have no reason to cheat on YOU! RUN! Often times the narcissist will admit to some indiscretion like he was unfaithful once, or she pushed his buttons and he hit her one time, he will appear so sorry and say he should have been stronger than to let her push him to the point of hitting her. YOU would never push him like that, he can talk to YOU, YOU are special. Stop kidding yourself, if he screwed around once he did it dozens of times and if he says he hit her once you can bet it was more, a lot more, besides, once is too much, there is no excuse. Of course they are going to say that their partner is a psycho bitch and they are together in name only and the marriage has been dead for years, they only stay for the kids, the ex will leave them penniless, and any other number of excuses they will use to make you feel it is ok to get involved with them.
I am continually surprised at how many women actually believe the married man’s version of the relationship, you don’t have to have met a narcissist to know most men will tell you anything to make themselves look better and get you into bed. It doesn’t make him a narcissist, it makes him horny. Since I was in my early 20’s I have steered clear of married men (I learned my lesson early in life, so I can’t say I never went there, just that I learned my lesson and never did it again). Married men should be off-limits, period. You are setting yourself up to always come second to his wife, to be alone every holiday, to be on call for when he can make time for you. Sure it is exciting and he makes you feel so attractive and you just know that one day he will leave his wife and you and he will live happily ever after. IF he does leave his wife and you do end up together and dealing with real life relationship issues it will be YOU sitting at home wondering why he is late coming home from work and checking his phone to see who he’s been calling.
There is ALWAYS two sides to every story and I am sure their partner would have a totally different version of what is wrong with the relationship; IF they even know there is something wrong. Women especially, please have some loyalty to your gender and check your ego. Narcissists play on a person’s ego; it is the greatest form of manipulation to make a woman feel she is superior to another woman. That is how the narcissist engages his victims in triangulation using each woman’s ego to hurt the other. He sets the stage, get the competition started and then sits back and gloats about how powerful he is to have two women fighting over him.
JC even had the audacity to say to me that instead of being angry he had other women I should want to try harder to please him. I suppose in the past it had paid off for him and I saw it in the communication he had with other women that often times it did work. To be honest I had to really work at not biting the bait myself. It is a natural reaction to want to be better than the “others”.
It is one of the few areas I am proud how I handled things with JC; I never played into that game. I told him, “I have never competed for a man in my life and I certainly am not going to start now. If you think you have found or can find something better out there, go for it but if you think making me jealous is going to make me compete with another woman you are sadly mistaken; in fact it will have the exact opposite result.”
Many victims will say they weren’t initially attracted to the narcissist/psychopath but he won them over with his sweet personality and quick wit, they laughed a lot with the narcissist/psychopath in the beginning. According to research done on the topic I am the same as most women, looks are not the number one thing on our list of “must haves” when it comes to looking for a man. The number one trait most of us look for is a sense of humor. Almost every woman who has come in here will say it was the narcissists ability to make them laugh, their sweet demeanor, intelligence, and confidence that initially hooked them and then it was their ability in bed that sealed the deal and so it was with me also. With JC we laughed all the time throughout most of the relationship, even when things weren’t great we could still play off of each other’s quick wit but the last couple of years, when he let the mask drop completely I found his humor disturbing and well………simply not funny.
You can’t very well bring out a tape recorder or a notepad and start taking notes but it wouldn’t hurt to start a journal when you meet a new guy and when you get home write down some of the pertinent details of things he told you so that later if he contradicts himself and then denies saying it or says you misunderstood his meaning you can go back and check. One of our biggest mistakes we made with the N before was to doubt what we heard and doubt our inner voice, try to avoid any opportunity to doubt yourself. I wish I had done that with JC. There were so many things he told me in the beginning that I found out later weren’t true, he said I misunderstood what he said or that he never said it at all. Like he owned a home on the ocean, had a storage locker full of antiques and furniture, etc.
Be very aware of how open you are in the beginning. Let him tell you about himself without any hints from you as to what you might be looking for in a man. Now of course if you are internet dating you have put it all down in your profile so the narcissist can adjust his likes and dislikes to suit your interests, internet dating is a whole other ball game and a post all in itself so I will do that another day. I gave away a HUGE hint to JC the first time we really had a conversation, we do it without realizing we are arming a narcissist. He had given me his number and told me if my date didn’t work out he hoped I would call him. My date had been a pompous lawyer and I couldn’t wait to get away. When I called JC I told him exactly that. When he asked how my date went I told him he had been a “Pompous ass lawyer” and he had laughed and said “I love it!!” I had been complimented he thought it was funny but looking back he probably loved it because I had just given him a huge clue to what would hook me. He now knew not to brag or appear full of himself and it literally took me years to finally see he was full of himself. In front of me he seemed uncomfortable talking about his accomplishments, hesitant to brag, like he was downplaying himself and I appreciated it in him. I made note of it and it endeared me to him. Later once we were living together I would hear him talking to other people and I would be embarrassed for him because he sounded like such a bullshitter. I heard him out right lying to a fellow he was talking to, telling him that his race car was stored along with some other collector cars back in Sechelt and he didn’t bring them with him when he moved. I assumed he was trying to impress people and I thought he was impressive enough just as he was. Later when we were alone I had told him what I had heard and that he didn’t have to lie to impress people. I gently told him I thought he was wonderful just the way he was and so do other people but it lie makes him sound like a bull shitter and that turns people off. God, here I thought it was because he was a small town Saskatchewan guy who was trying to make new friends and in actual fact I was seeing the real JC.
Be vague about your life, there is no need to be an open book right away. We tend to give too much information too early in relationships, even healthy ones……keep it light and see how he responds, does he push for more information, share something really personal with you in hopes of eliciting information from you?
If he is complimenting you about things that really aren’t that praise worthy. Again you have to be very aware of your inner voice here and not let your ego get the better of you. If you find yourself thinking “it’s not that special” he is blowing smoke up your butt. I remember when JC and I started dating everything I did thrilled him; he offered me a bite of his dinner and I ate it from his fork and he was so impressed. I had thought, “what’s the big deal?” but shrugged it off. Or if I cooked a meal, yeah it was good but the praise was over the top, I found myself saying, “it was ok but it wasn’t THAT good”. If his enthusiasm is equal to you rescuing a baby from a burning building when all you did was cook a roast I would hold back on getting too involved.
Does he start calling you a pet name early in the relationship. JC called me “Baby” on our second date, it set off alarm bells I should have listened to, but if you don’t know what you are dealing with you let it slide.
Does he call just a little too much? yes it is nice to get a call from a guy after you had a wonderful time together, even a call every day but if he is calling numerous times a day to tell you what he ate for lunch or just to say hi, look out.
Does he want to see you all the time? and expect you to change plans if he asks you out? I would tell JC I was going to stay home all week with my son and it never failed he would call and ask me out mid-week. I would say no but he would keep on me until I gave in. Like one time he called and a friend of his from out-of-town was there and he really wanted the guy to meet me and would I please just come for dinner with them, they would meet me 1/2 way. I ended up going home with him because I had too much to drink, and then he had to drive me to my car the next day and it turned into a 2 day event.
If the guy is new to town proceed with caution, narcissists are known to relocate to reinvent themselves especially if they made a real mess of the previous relationship and don’t want the new victim to hear about restraining orders and the like or don’t want the new woman to meet the ex or her friends.
If they just lost a job, just got a job or are between jobs, proceed with caution. Narcissist rarely keep a job for long, either they get bored with a job and quit or they get fired for stealing or slacking off, missing work, etc. When I met JC he was being paid by ICBC to re-educate into another profession because of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident but he never did do the job he went to school for and went back to the same trades he had always done. His resume read like that of a 60 yr old man who had worked his whole life not that of a 40 yr old man. He got jobs easily and would be praised for his high quality of work but within a month he was be under scrutiny and suspicion. For one thing he put in phenomenal overtime, always claiming it was necessary to clean up the mess the previous guy had left. According to him he was always saving the companies ass, he would tell me that the company could not believe their good fortune to have hired him, which may have been true in the beginning but at some point, if he is as good as he says he is; the over time should come to an end right? I mean he should have fixed all the problems and now things should be running smoothly but it never turned out that way. Narcissists are not invested in anything, they put as little effort in as possible and will cut corners where ever possible because they don’t take real pride in their work. If they can get credit for someone else’s efforts all the better. They will expound on how many hours they are putting in at work and how they are packing everyone else but they are the only people who can be lazy and a workaholic at the same time. JC was a time waster, I would pop by his work to surprise him and they would tell me he went to get a part an hour ago and should have been back in 15 minutes and he left his phone at the shop. I would drive around the corner and he would be parked and on the internet on his phone. I know eventually he was fired for stealing just like with every other job he had. I don’t know what he stole exactly I just read a letter he wrote to his boss before he got let go saying that he would hand in his key and they could check his vehicle before he left every day and a post on his blog that said “Ever since the trailer surfaced things have been getting worse at work.”
If he is always the victim, has been taken advantage of by people in his past, he is using the empathy card and hoping you are the type of person who will see his “potential” and want to help him over come all the assholes in his past that screwed him over. If his past is full of “if only’s” look out. If he has absolutely nothing to his name and in his 40’s don’t take his word for it that the ex took him for everything he owned. I know, I know, the same could be said about me, I had my business and was doing well and largely blame JC for the fact that my business failed BUT I also have proof and would show it to any body who asked. I think, that if a person is honest they should have no problem proving they are who they say they are. I know I don’t have a problem with it, do you? then they shouldn’t either and if they do, then I would assume they have something to hide.
If he falls in love quickly. We may fall in lust or in the narcissist’s case “I must have” but it is not love. He has set his sights on you and he want to hook you before you figure out he is just a sham. He knows he is running on borrowed time, that sooner or later he is going to slip up so make him keep up the act for a while and let him hang himself. He will sooner or later.
As sinister as it may sound, don’t trust diplomas or photos either. We hear of people who practice medicine for years and then it’s discovered they never went to med school or a lawyer who never went to law school or flunked out and faked his credentials. Now with the internet it is easier for someone to download and create any type of diploma from any school they want but it is also easier to verify said credentials by checking school records and such. When I first met JC he had diplomas for welding and heavy-duty mechanic, it was years later while searching for something totally unrelated I came across a bunch of diplomas that had obviously been downloaded from different schools, some he had filled out, some were blank. Anyone can make up a diploma, so don’t take it as proof they are who they say they are. Same goes for photo’s, JC said he went to Australia by himself one New Years Eve, (it was one of those early in the relationship conversations) he had pictures of Australia so I didn’t have reason to doubt him but something didn’t sit right, he was rather vague about the trip and what he did plus he wasn’t in any of the pictures. I thought maybe he had gone with a woman and didn’t want to talk about it with his new woman (me) but now I have reason to believe he didn’t go at all and just downloaded the photos off of the net. He also told me he had owned a trucking company and showed me pictures of all his trucks parked in a row. At the time he showed me the pictures I knew nothing about trucking but the last couple of years I learned a lot more, for instance a guy signs on with a company and puts the company’s name on the door of his truck, the company doesn’t own his truck, or you can get hired as a company driver and you don’t own any trucks. He showed me pictures of all the vehicles he had owned (lots!) not that I cared until later when his sister and I were talking about the race car her and her ex husband used to own and race.
Early in the relationship JC and I went to visit his sister and brother in law and we took their race car out on some back roads to raced it; at that time JC had told me that they bought it from him, He said he had totally rebuilt it and sold it for a fraction of what it was worth. He said he hated to part with it but it was some consolation that it stayed in the family and to see them enjoy it so much. Years later I told her what he had said and she looked at me like I was crazy, she told me they hadn’t bought it off of JC and told me exactly how they had gotten the car and that they did all the work to it themselves.
While JC and I were together he bought a motorcycle from a fellow who had built it from scratch, made the frame and everything, but he was having trouble with the throttle, he couldn’t regulate the speed properly or some sort of thing. JC was able to fix it quite easily and even rode it over to show the guy, I was with him when he did it. But a few years later, on his FB he is telling everyone he built the bike himself. I brought him up on it when we were alone and he denied the bike was built when he bought it. He insisted he built the bike. I just let it go because I knew where arguing with him got me, no where. When I was snooping to see what he was doing on the internet all night I found a site where guys talk about their vehicles, the work they are doing on their vehicle, exchange ideas etc. JC started a chat asking guys to list all the vehicles they have owned in their life. Most guys listed half a dozen or so, JC listed 107. Narcissists tend to exaggerate their accomplishments or experiences. There is probably a crumb of truth to what he is telling you and that makes it sound plausible but think about what he is telling you and if it seems over the top it is probably a lie.
Is he a thrill seeker? If he is an adrenalin junky there is a good chance he is a psychopath or narcissist. They have few emotions and so need the adrenalin rush of living on the edge to feel alive. Does he drive fast and hard? take seemingly stupid chances when he should know better, operate on the edge of legalities, then he is probably a narcissist. JC was always on the edge of the law if not breaking the law but always managed to make himself look innocent by playing stupid; he didn’t know he was dealing with criminals and got sucked in or it was petty crime that he didn’t get charged with, just fired.
Accident prone, JC talked about having broken every bone in his body at least once and I heard from family that indeed he had many accidents and had been accident prone his whole life, even as a young child. From what I observed, JC didn’t feel pain like regular people. His mother had said to me early in the relationship, “You may think I am crazy but I swear JC injures himself on purpose for attention or to divert attention from what he has done wrong to get people’s sympathy. To be honest I had thought to myself; “Yeah lady that does sound crazy.” but it stuck in my head and a few years later when JC injured himself every time we had a big fight or split up I remembered what she had said and it made sense. I know people don’t believe me when I tell some of the stories about him injuring himself I doubted myself at the time and that is why I stayed, I thought I must be wrong, who would do that to himself? a psychopath would, that’s who. And as soon as I brought it to his attention he stopped having accidents.
Does he have any long-term friends or does he take on all your friends? Sure he makes friends easily, they usually do but if they have no long-term friends you have to wonder why. JC eventually pissed off every friend he made. He would meet a new friend and be obsessed with him. I used to think it was strange, almost like he had a crush on them, like with women. He would call the guy all the time, suddenly everything the guy was interested in so was JC, his new friend became the expert on every thing, he would be quoting the guy constantly. If the guy mentioned he needed something JC would be over there in a couple of days to give it to him. Later he would bill the guy for it just like he billed me or steal something because he thought it was owed him and that is when the friendship would end. I didn’t understand it for a long time, well not until after we were split and I read up on narcissists and psychopaths and how they don’t have their own personality and take on the traits of whoever they are with, then it made sense that he would act that way with his guy friends also. Kind of scary and creepy.
Google his name, you might be surprised to see what comes up; I know I was with JC. Ask for his email address so you can email him a joke or something and then Google his email address, if he meet him on a dating site Google his User name. Most people use the same User Name every where they go because it is easier to remember and you might be surprised to find out he not only is looking for love in Plenty of Fish but also looking for raunchy sex in XXX sex sites. Use variations of his name, like first name and last initial. Just because nothing comes up doesn’t mean he isn’t in these sites but you could find out a lot about the guy early enough to bail before you get too invested in the relationship. In BC you can go to the court registry on-line and search a person’s name to find any charges against him in provincial court. Googling his name will show any site forums he has commented on, any pictures he has posted on You Tube, Picasa web, and any blogs he may have. It may seem kinda sneaky and like you are invading his privacy but anything on the web is public domain. I hate Facebook but it is a great source of information and you can tell a lot about a person from their Facebook. JC always hid everything, very few things showed up on his wall, in fact he had two facebook accounts. One he had for friends from his old hometown and his family and the other one was where he had thousands of women and listed himself as single.
Ask about his childhood and teen years, most narcissists became sexually active at an incredibly early age, JC was something like 11 or 12 and he was screwing the married woman next door. Don’t even say anything! I know, what was the woman’s problem? why didn’t his parents stop it. All sorts of questions come to mind. He saw nothing wrong with it until I told him that it was child abuse, he didn’t see it as such because he was having the time of his life. and later when he got involved with a 16-year-old girl and he was 29 he saw nothing wrong with that either.You see, they usually give themselves away somehow if you are aware enough. At the time I found out this information I didn’t want to judge him or make him feel bad, I didn’t know about all the other stuff or that he was going to become abusive.
Now looking back and knowing what I know, he gave me many clues to his true nature but I chose to ignore them because I wanted him to be the man he projected himself to be, I wanted my fairy tale romance. They give themselves away all the time if you listen carefully. Quite early in our relationship he had gotten me a little gift and I had thanked him a couple of times (after all he had told me women never appreciated him) and he said, “Wow, that’s not what I am used to, usually women call me a cheap son of a bitch,” I thought at the time, what a strange thing for someone to say, but a couple of years later it was exactly what I would have called him. Another time he told me that women usually say he is moody, I found that hard to believe because he was the most even-tempered man I had ever met. I read some where a long time ago, “If a man tells you are too good for him” believe him.
Beware of drama! women tend to like drama, its like living in a real life soap opera and the narcissist makes you the star. If his ex is calling crying for him to come back it is not because he is such a good catch, don’t think you won the prize. JC set it all up so perfectly when he hooked his new victim and I knew I was playing right into his plan but was unable to stop myself. He had been dating several women, 10 to be exact and had decided on the one who best suited his needs but had to make sure to set the hook good and deep. He and I went for dinner and he held my hand, walked me to my truck and gave me a wonderful sweet kiss goodbye and held me for a long time and promised to do some work on my truck in the next day or two. The next day I get a call from the police saying his car is parked at such and such an address and the keys are in it and what did I want them to do. I thought it was very strange they would call mid-day about a car that was legally parked and, as the cop was sure to point out, they had seen there many times before. I now think JC set it up for someone to call me and it wasn’t the cops at all. He knew I would go up there and make a scene which is what I did. He tells me to meet him some where and I waited for a couple of hours and then went home. He told me he had waited until the woman he was seeing got home from work so he could tell her it was over, after all it was the least he could do. Another knife in my side because he never gave me the same courtesy. Then the next day he tells his sister he is at his new girlfriend’s place. What he did was set me up to be emotionally out of control, he had dumped the other woman saying he couldn’t keep seeing her because I had caught him at her place and then he broke down in Marissa’s driveway and sat back and waited for the other woman and I to seal the deal for him. When my texts and calls started coming in he played it to the hilt, all these women wanted him and were heart-broken because he had chosen Marissa and she soaked it up like a dry sponge. She even gave him her car to drive and packed his stuff up and moved him into her place and cleaned his old place. It is amazing how they can manipulate people into doing their dirty work.
The big thing to be aware of is your gut, if something doesn’t feel right in your gut something is not right believe it. And once the truth starts to seep through the cracks don’t lie to yourself. The narcissist is a pathological liar but the biggest lies we told to ourselves.
If you can think of any other warning signs please add them in the comments.