The One Word Red Flag That You Are In Love With A Narcissist



  • possible, as opposed to actual:
    the potential uses of nuclear energy.
  • capable of being or becoming:
    a potential danger to safety.


possibility; potentiality:
an investment that has little growth potential.
a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed.


I think I probably thought it on the very first date and I know damn well I thought it many many times in the 10 years I was with James. “He has so much potential if only ………..” or if my ego  was speaking; “He has so much potential all he needs is a good woman (me) to encourage him, steer him on the right course, believe in him”.

Potential is fine when someone is 16, THEN they have potential, but when they are adults and still have nothing and it is always someone else’s fault; then it becomes P.O.T.E.N.T.I.A.L which spells L.O.S.E.R. with big red flags waving on either side.


One of the drawbacks of being a successful, independent woman is the fact that we don’t need a man to support us, we tend to think we can help a person out because we know we are capable. Our ego takes over and we think we are more capable than other people to overcome obstacles, recoup losses, and we want to help other people to be successful and reach their full potential. 

If you find yourself wanting to “help him be all that he can be” join a mentoring program at your local high school, but puleeze! do not base a relationship on a man’s potential.

Money isn’t everything, I know that, I have always been one of the least materialistic people I know. I never judged a guy by what kind of car he drove, his address, or what kind of job he had. I judged a man by if he was a hard worker, honest, did he treat me well, was he respectful, law abiding, well liked, intelligent, have a sense of humor and when I met James, he had all that plus good looks and he oozed charm and sex appeal. To top it all off…………. he “needed a good woman” and he thought I was perfect, I was everything he had never gotten from a woman.  I was nothing like all his exs, I was calm and rational, I made sense, I appreciated him, I believed in him like no other woman ever had.

It is hard to admit now because I know the truth and it gives your ego a real kick in the teeth when you discover that you are not all that and a bag of chips. It doesn’t matter how confident you were going in, how beautiful you were or that any man would have been thrilled to have a chance with you; you swallowed the poison, you believed him when he told you that you were the woman he had been waiting for his whole life, and he was lying.

If you really believed you weren’t an exceptional woman and worthy of his love and attention, it would be easier to accept he was lying, but you knew he was right. You are a wonderful homemaker, loving partner, independent yet nurturing, you are a desirable woman, you are kind, giving, loving and damned attractive and that is why you believed him.

When his true colors first start to show, you are afraid there is something wrong with him, he is stressed, sick, (in my case I thought James might have a brain tumor), it can’t be you because you haven’t done anything wrong. Then as time goes on you know that you can fix it, he has just misunderstood, you will explain it in a way he understands and things will go back to the way they were, because you are always capable of fixing anything. men have always thought you were great but HE loved you like no one ever had, even when you weren’t at your best.

Women these days are burdened with a lot of pressure from society, as much as “women’s lib” has benefitted women, I think it has been a curse in many ways. Whereas they used to be expected to maintain the home and have supper on the table when the man, the breadwinner; came home from work NOW she is expected to work full-time AND have dinner on the table when her “better half” walks through the door.  Is it any wonder she feels she is falling short somehow in the relationship?

Personally, I met James when I was in my 40’s, with several relationships under my belt, I was used to having to ask for what I wanted (no one is a mind reader) and being the one to organize the house and assign duties as far as maintaining the house. I was proud of my ability to discuss issues calmly and state my needs without blaming or pointing fingers. I went into the relationship with James eager to put all my “lessons learned” into practice and have a true partnership with the man I loved. I think many young women expect a man to “just know” what she wants and needs, 3 marriages had taught me to express my needs and relationships are built on compromise and open communication. I told James I felt it was unfair for the woman to continue to work after putting in an 8-9 hour day and that the duties in the home should be shared equally. He, of course agreed, he gave lip service without the actions to back it up but I ignored it for the most part because I didn’t want to give up my dream relationship. He might as well have been reading me a fairytale from a book about a princess who meets her prince charming. It’s a great story, but you know it isn’t true. Just like the narcissist is a great character but he isn’t real. It is easy to decipher fantasy from reality when you are reading a book, much harder when the person is in flesh and blood right in front of you.

I remember early in the relationship, long before infidelity or abuse became evident; going to James in tears and telling him that I just could not continue to do it all. I was commuting to work an hour each way, up at 5, on the road by 6, and not home until after 6 most nights because I would stop for groceries. I would walk through the door at 7-8 and start supper (after cleaning up the mess he had made in the kitchen while I was at work), I was exhausted. He got this empathetic look on his face, pulled me close said, “Don’t be so hard on yourself, I love you just the way you are. Promise me you’ll never change.”

I didn’t change, I never pretended to be something I wasn’t, I did set boundaries, I did voice my unhappiness over things he did or didn’t do, and I always saw his potential.

He didn’t change either, just his story changed; he stopped reading me the fairytale but really, his actions never changed; he never had any intention of living up to his potential, he never has and he never will. His potential is what you see is what you get; like he said, he is successful now. (because he found a wealthy widow to feed off of) THAT is James’s potential.


13 thoughts on “The One Word Red Flag That You Are In Love With A Narcissist

  1. Only Me

    Interesting post. Yes, I have brought similar hopes, dreams and beliefs into relationships with men who needed a little bit of help from me to reach their potential. What a trap that was. Sometimes, too the fairy tales we’re fed as we’re growing up also set us up to fall for their BS.

    My parents favorite mantra they’d tel me was “Get married and be taken care of the rest of your life!”. That might be true for some, but not me. Now, almost 67, I wish I’d been more materialistic. I live a stable, modest life. I am surrounded by family and loved ones. I drive a 13 year old car, live in a 70 year old house. I am of modest means. Enough to get by on, but no luxuries, or extras. My bills are paid, plenty of food in the house…but very little money in my accounts to do much of anything with!

    Now I wonder, Why didn’t I set my cap for a man who didn’t need saving? Why not look for a man with some means to provide a nice lifestyle for me? Oh, I’ll get by, I always do. Everything I have works fine, even if its not the newest or the best. I have most everything anyone could realistically need or want. My needs are small, and I can, and do take care of myself!

    Everything I have is mine, by my own efforts and hard work. Instead of taking up with flawed, abusive, neglectful men, why couldn’t I have been smarter? Had I been more materialistic, maybe looked for a better man more successful, or worked for better paying jobs for myself… I just might have a better lifestyle today! It could’ve happened!

    Not looking for any pity or sympathy! But sometimes, you just wonder….what if????

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lee

      To only me,
      It does not matter how much you have and what you have gained for yourself when it comes to love some of us do not have high expectations. This man came in to take what he wanted even if it was to extract from the bare necessities to keep his needs going. When they come into your life out of boredom or whatever it is to extract and make themselves as comfortable as they can through your resources. You are probably a wonderful person who through meeting your man is left with the doubts of your mistake in loving him. He had potential…Yours.
      I did the same thing and was left with nothing. However, I am still a better person for living and learning from my mistakes

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Only Me, I didn’t mean to say that a man has to be wealthy to be worth dating. I have never cared how much money a guy had or what he did for a living, I dated lawyers, farmers, tile setter, a couple of mechanics, a man who was from a wealthy family waiting to inherit the family jewels, a pilot. I didn’t ate them for what they could give me I dated them for who they were as people. But I never once thought to myself, gee, “he has potential” if the right woman loved him and encouraged him. The men I dated all had jobs and lived up to their responsibilities, I never once felt they expected or needed me to provide them with the break they needed in order to be successful. success is not determined by what a person owns or does for a living. With James, he had the sob stories, he was the victim who just needed someone who believed in him, saw his potential!! and that was me!!


  2. Anon

    OMG, so funny how he said he loved you the way you were after you said you couldn’t keep doing all the work. Of course he loved it! My first thought was how he didn’t say, “You’re right! I’m a selfish a$$! Let me HELP out!!” But these narcs have a way of using words for two reasons: 1.) to say absolutely NOTHING in the wordiest of ways, where we project onto them that they were actually trying to solve a problem with us, only for us to walk away going, “Wait? Did anything change? Was anything accomplished? NO!!! Damn, he did it again!”…and 2.) to verbally assault, maim, blame, and bully. Words and a narc are a terrible, dangerous thing…the tongue is a two-edged sword, and for a narc both sides are sharp and evil but just in different ways.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Anon, so many times we had those conversations. I would plan my words so carefully, trying to get my point across in a nonconfrontational way and yet it would end up being a fight with me defending myself to his accusations and never addressing the issue I had laboured over wording just right. He would end up way angrier than I had ever been and certainly never concerned himself with how he worded things.
      Even when I was upset about him being with other women he would say “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” I would be thinking “I am not being hard on me, YOU are being hard on me” I would get so frustrated I would just give up.
      mind games. I couldn’t do it if I tried and lived with one for 10 years. They have a special talent for twisting words that a normal person can’t even learn if they wanted to.


  3. kim

    carrie they can use this line for their advantage he used to say if i wore what he wanted painted my nails etc he could see the potential in me or the other line was you dont realise how much potential you have to be my dream woman so it worked the other way with me interesting post carrie thankyou xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Kim, I got that too. Near the end when I was crying about him having personal ads and other women and he said that at one point I was right up there at the top of the list, almost. I asked what he was talking about and he said that during the time I was greeting him in a garter and stockings when he came home from a run I was beating out the other women, but then I stopped.
      I stopped because I suspected he had other women and he always denied it and he had just admitted it. I felt sick to think I had unwittingly been in some sick competition with half a dozen women. No wonder he was taking Viagra, he couldn’t keep up with all the women he was servicing between BC and Sask. yuck!!! makes my skin crawl. The nerve of him. Cocky SOB


      1. kim

        carrie thankyou i am going through him keep trying to contact me still twisting and blaming me i must admit when i start to miss him wshen i hear from him i quickly realise what a prat he is the lady he is renting from is saying that she cant stand him i know how she feels he expects me to boost his ego because things arent going well for him same story work a problem always someone elses fault in one breath says he wants to find a woman in the future but wants me to motiate him in his work like i used to plus he keeps going on about why dont i ring him and we watch a film oh carrie so much more but you know how they work he leaves me messages but i dont respond i phone my mum instead that stops me the light will never come on in their head but amongst my pain and anxiety etc its definately come on in mine i end up like you said defending myself not happening anymore just cant thankyou for reminding me i am not alone in all this they are insensitive and discusting my moods are all over at the moment hope you are ok xxx


  4. brookn hart

    hahahaha. Perfect. He worked me 20 hours a day and payed me substandard wages. I made 1000 a month and worked 31 days a month for 2 years. He use to do the dishes every night after I had done everything else. I told him one night how much I appreciated it. I still had his kids to bathe, put to bed, make lunches, lay out clothes, put kids back in bed,, check homework, pack bookbags and iron his scrubs. Guess what? He never did the dishes again. There still is not enough money to ever have anything to do with his life. He just bought my daughter a 60 thousand dollar Mustang. I am still no contact and loving it. I pray each day the nanny keeps my 3 little ones safe. The 20 yr old daughter knows what she is doing. Me, I get by.Getting by isnt so bad. I get to eat my food while it is hot and I can sleep when I want. No one dumps my shampoo out in the shower. Carrie, I hope you are having a sunny day. Hope your plans are going well.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. sara

    Thank you Carrie. I will always remember that word “potential” when or if I am ready for another relationship. What you see is what you get. Yech to potential. I too worked harder while he “relaxed” and wanted a pat on the back for taking the garbage out once a week. Interestingly enough, he was in it for the “potential” as well – my pay cheque, family perks, my work ethic. His future of relaxation and reward for marrying a chump. Now he’s onto the next victim when I became exhausted and said enough. The thing that hurts the most is now knowing why he married me and how much of my life I spent in this fog. Onward and upward. Time to heal and figure out why I chose the way I did. Thank you Carrie and god bless you.



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