Most of us know narcissism as a person who is obsessed with themselves, in the most common terms. Essentially, a narcissist is someone who projects an image that they believe is an ideal one, but one that is certainly false, and often created to hide deep wounds and insecurities within themselves. They may never want to admit they feel like an ugly duckling, so they try to deal with this anxiety by acting as though they are perfect, and want everyone around them to believe the same thing. Though we know the meaning of a narcissist, we may not be very adept at spotting them early on because narcissists can be very manipulative. They may never show their true ugly side until it’s too late, and may guilt you into staying with them. They can in subtle ways to manipulate and control you, so by the time you realize that something is wrong, you may feel like you’re the one at fault. No one can help a narcissist other than a mental health professional, and help is only effective if a narcissist believes they need the help. Below are some early warning signs of a narcissist, and can help you spot one before you end up in their web of deceit and manipulation:
1. Conversation Hoarder
A narcissistic person always finds a way to turn the conversation and make it all about themselves. They make it really difficult to voice your views and opinions, and can even silence you by making you feel bad about wanting to talk abut yourself. Even if you do end up getting a word in, you tend to be ignored, corrected or dismissed. If you’re in a group and talking, a narcissist may even interrupt you and bring the conversation back to themselves.
2. Insecurity Projection
A narcissist does not want to feel insecure, no matter what the situation is, and they tend to strike before letting anything happen. They avoid insecurity by making other people feel insecure, either subtly or overtly. For example, a person may keep telling you that they do not understand what you are saying, even though you feel like you have made your point perfectly clear. This might make you doubt yourself, and in turn, make the narcissist feel above you. They want to feel like they have no insecurities by making you feel your own.
3. Moving Away From Emotions
A narcissistic person does not want to be emotionally influenced by anyone, because this means that they are no longer autonomous. They want to make sure they maintain their facade, because this is the only way they feel they can control others. When the topic of emotions comes up, they will completely step away from it or change the subject quickly, especially when their emotions are asked about or questioned.
4. Idolizing Someone
A narcissist bases their perfect self image on someone they idolize, and they usually have someone they put on a pedestal. They believe that this person is perfect, and are unaware of any failings or shortcomings of this person. The belief is essentially that if they come close or are around a person they imagine to be perfect, that perfection can also be attained by them. This might result in extreme flattery and special treatment that might seem like it’s too much, and most often will end badly because a narcissist will find out one way or another about a person’s shortcomings.
5. Need To Control
A narcissist’s need to control is a signature behavior, and is usually incorporated in everything they do. They will orchestrate and manipulate to any and every extent to make sure that they are the ones in control, and so that they never have to be dependent on someone else’s ideas or opinions. Most often, they control you very subtly rather than in an outright manner, such as always being late for something you have arranged, a disapproving head shake about a certain choice, or trying to change plans at the last minute so they can feel like they are in control. This results in you feeling like you’re doing something wrong, and can also make you nervous or scared to approach certain topics in case you are dismissed or berated. Most often, all of us try to justify these red flags, but as the relationship goes this, this can turn really ugly.