IN THIS ISSUE:
Top 5 Signs You're Dating a NarcissistBy: Amie Leadingham
For those of you who haven't brushed on your Greek Mythology lately the term "Narcissism" comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, the handsome young son of a River god who saw an image in the water of a spring and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely his own reflection. Unable to stop looking at the amazing beauty of his reflection, Narcissus eventually drowned.
Today, Webster’s Dictionary defines it as "a person who is overly concerned with his or her own desires, needs, or interests". I found that the best practical display of Narcissism at work comes from a joke by Bette Midler's character in the movie Beaches, "But enough about me, let's talk about you... what do YOU think of me?"
It's important to understand that there are levels of narcissism. The most serious is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which is a personality disorder that should be treated if possible (around 1% of the population has it). Then there are also lower, more nuanced levels of narcissistic behavior that exist in people in our everyday lives.
The problem is studies are showing that this group showing a lower level of narcissism is growing. A study in 2009 by Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, conducted on university students across the US, showed 30% were narcissistic in psychological tests, compared with just 15% in 1982. And the majority of this behavior is in men.
So when it comes to dating, I wanted to point out a few of the things I think you should look out for in order to avoid entering relationships with this growing pool of narcissistic men out there. Here is my Amie’s Top 5 list showing you the top signs you're dating a narcissist.
1) He Doesn’t Treat You Like a Priority
To me this is one a category that so many of my clients fail to find in their relationships. In the Conscious Dating Program, I teach clients that there are things you must have in a relationship or the relationship will not work. There are called Non-Negotiable (aka deal- breakers). After doing the work, so many of them feel that "he treats me as a priority" is exactly that, a Non-negotiable.
And if it is your Non-negotiable, you notice you aren't treated in such way, unless you want to experience a poor quality relationship, you have no choice but to remove yourself from the situation. Because being treated like a priority is a Non-Negotiable for you. It's just that simple. It's true that when someone doesn't treat you as a priority, it doesn't automatically mean it comes from a place of narcissism, but at the same time shouldn't it at least prompt you to ask, "If it's not narcissism, then what is it?"
2) He Lacks of Boundaries
For almost all relationships to work, there must be certain agreed upon boundaries between partners and the people in their lives. When you're dating a narcissist, those rules don't really apply. Maybe he takes over or interrupts conversations with family or friends with little or no thought of them. He is the center of almost any universe, he lives in a world that often is accompanied by an "I can do what I want" or "It's my way or the highway" attitude.
I prefer to look at this boundary issue as a simple lack of respect, but whatever it is when a man crosses over those boundaries at home or out in the world it can be tiring for you to keep apologizing to others for him... or worse apologizing to yourself.
Our everyday lives are full of boundaries some we like, some we don’t, but they are there for a simple reason out of respect for other people. So know your boundaries and pay attention to those around you because you bring someone into your life who is constantly breaking down boundary walls, do you really want to spend the rest of your days rebuilding it?
3) There’s No Give, Just Take
In my relationship with my husband we make a conscious effort to have a balance in the things we do for each other. For example, mostly I cook meals, but in turn he cleans and does all the laundry (yes ladies, I know I'm lucky). This give and take approach is a cornerstone of our relationship.
If you are with someone who doesn't give, instead takes at every turn, this is a clear selfish behavior, if not narcissistic. Yet, for some reason so many women out there get into relationships with men where there is little or no give- take balance. Instead, they are always being asked to give... give... give... without taking much back.
In my Conscious Dating Program I teach clients about a part of the mind that actually sit back and picks a mate. I call it "Your picker". When you choose a man that is all take and no give, I like to say your picker is broken and it needs to be fixed. Avoiding these take only partners early in the dating process is something "your picker" must identify because if it doesn't, and you end up in a relationship, then he will give you the one thing... heartache!
4) There’s a Sense of Entitlement
Have you ever been with someone who has a "What's in it for me attitude?" That is a sense of entitlement working it's magic. It's rarely how or what can he do for you, but even when he does, it comes with a hidden agenda behind it. For those that are entitled, every move needs to lead back to one place... them.
When it comes to the superficial things in life, the "Ends" (i.e. Being rich, famous etc.) supersedes the "Means" (hard work, fair play etc.). On the relationship side the partner must adhere to the needs and wants of the entitled to help him get what he desires.
Sometimes his "by any means necessary attitude" comes into play, so manipulation or control techniques are used. To try to steer clear of these entitles souls, pay attention to how a man views the world as a whole and what goals he sets (Are his goals unrealistic? Completely self-serving?) Then just as importantly, note how he goes about achieving these goals (Does he hurt others? Care about consequences?). And always remember that you are entitled to something too... to be treated well by someone who loves you!
5) He Never Says I'm Sorry Or Never Takes Ownership
When it comes to narcissistic behavior, there is no better indicator for me than this one. I have always felt that the ability for a man to properly say, "I am sorry" when the occasion calls for it is a quality so few of them have in our society. As children most parents teach their sons to say it when they do something wrong, but when it comes to relationships in general, it seems many men feel saying "sorry" might be a sign of weakness.
For some saying "I am sorry" is paramount to losing, and losing is harder for some than others. Conflict/Resolution is a key component of any good relationship because even the best of them hit rocky patches leading to real conflict. The real test of a relationship is how this conflict gets resolved.
So if you are with a guy who never admits he’s wrong, then guess what, he is never going to say "I am sorry". So when you meet a man immediately start a Rolodex of the mind for when and how often he says those three little words, because if you don't, then in the end, you will be the one who is truly sorry.
Copyright © 2016 by Amie Leadingham and The Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Relationship Coach Amie Leadingham, found light after many years of struggling in failed relationships. Dating all the wrong people, she finally identified why her relationship choices kept leading her back to heartbreak.After deep self-reflection, she realized she was the common denominator in all her relationships. If her love life were to change, it would have to start with her choices first. Amie set out on a self-discovery journey that eventually led her to meeting the love of her life, now husband.
I'm terrible at first dates. How can I conquer my nervousness?
I've been back in the "dating pool" for 6 months and can't get past the first date. I'm always so nervous I end up making a terrible first impression. I just don't know how to relax and be myself when I know that my entire relationship future depends on how I behave and if he likes me. The pressure has gotten so bad I'm thinking of giving up dating completely.
Rita responds ...
Thank you for taking the time to ask a difficult question.
My first thought is, Why do you feel your entire relationship future depends on this first date and if some perfect stranger likes you or not. Sounds like below the nervousness are a couple of things: 1. You are projecting way into the future based on a first date. 2. You are obsessed with this perfect stranger liking you. I'd like to ask you, do you like yourself? What if you were the chooser and you were the one that chose not to like him?
I'd recommend starting with yourself and building a strong personal foundation so that you know and like who you are. Getting to know yourself will build your self-confidence and self-esteem. I'd also add some breathing exercises to help relax your mind, body and the nervousness you are experiencing. You want to be a conscious dater and be the chooser - every time. You are worth it! Good luck.
Rita Hudgens | www.Transformuniversity.net
Barbara responds ...
A good way to conquer your nervousness would be to get comfortable in your own skin. If you're yourself and the other person is as well, then let the date go where it's going without any demands and/or additional expectations. It's more important that you like you than whether someone else does or not. You have a lifetime with yourself, and any relationship you’re in will depend on that relationship first and foremost.
Relax and have a good time without the pressure of what's next. Be present and enjoy the moment. Take some time and work with your nervous energy and discover what that's all about and address it. Get to really know, like, and trust yourself. When you're feeling nervous remind yourself to stop and breathe. Tell yourself there's no need to be nervous. He's just another human being, right?! If there's going to be another date, let it be because you want it to be and not because you're nervous about not having made a good first impression. Place yourself in the power seat here; don't give it away to the other person. Again, this begins with you knowing, liking, and trusting you. That's a powerful place to be!
Barbara Ann Williams | barbaraannwilliams.com
Ellen responds ...
I get it! I remember feeling your pain when I was dating.
It sounds like you put a lot of pressure on yourself – you say your entire relationship future depends on how you behave...
I worry you are in victim mode. Can you break out of that toxic state of mind and be the author of your own life story? See my article on getting out of victim mode and taking control of your life
I am a huge believer in being positive. Can you write out your strengths, what you have going for you and what YOU would bring to a relationship? No one is going to love you if you don't value and love yourself!
Could you read the list as a mantra before you go on a date? Meditating to Oprah and Deepak (some amazing 21 day free videos) can also help you stay positive and relax. Or put www.calm.com on your smartphone and get calm and centered before your date.
Lastly, identify your values, vision, life purpose & relationship requirements, needs and wants for a partner. Develop yourself into the kind of person you are seeking in a soulmate.
Ellen Kamaras | www.ellenkamaras-lifecoach.com
Wendy responds ...
It is totally normal to feel nervous when you meet someone new. Your challenge on every first date is to remember that your entire relationship future does NOT depend on how you behave and if he likes you. Would you feel similar pressure if you were having coffee or lunch with a friend, family member or colleague? No.
I encourage you to approach each first date as an opportunity for you to enjoy yourself and to choose if you want to see this person again. That's it. There's nothing else you need to do. You get to decide if you are having fun and if this person interests you enough to go on a second date. That is all you need to do.
Don't focus on how you look, sound or act. Put your attention on your date and ask whatever questions you want that will help you decide if a second date is a good idea. Be discerning and only agree to a second date if it seems that this person wants the same kind of relationship you do, and could be a great match for you in all the ways that matter to you.
It can be difficult to navigate dating challenges alone and I encourage you to seek support from a relationship coach who can help you feel calm, confident and clear so you can enjoy dating without any pressure!
Wendy Lyon | www.DrWendyLyon.com
Christine responds ...
I would ask: Tell me more about how you feel when you are dating someone? How do you perceive yourself so you are so stressed at meeting someone?
Do you believe you have to be a certain way to be loved?
Than I would ask: How about looking at this man to see if he pleases you? How do you feel at looking at things from that perspective?
Christine Nelson | www.christinenelson.ca
The opinions stated are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the staff, members, or leadership of Relationship Coaching Institute.
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