Social media and dating sites are breeding grounds for narcissists. It’s the perfect place to find targets quickly with just a quick swipe and wearing a mask is the norm on these platforms.
Narcissists are wired for manipulation. They are not interested in healthy relationships where both partners are equal. They are focused on an agenda and use these 6 mind games to fish for targets, hook them and then reel them into a toxic relationship.
Good people spend months, years and even lifetimes in these nightmare relationships before they start seeing it for what it really is. But, by this time, there has been a lot of destruction and now the relationship might be more complicated to leave because of assets like a mortgage, children, marriage, health and financial issues. So, it just complicates everything.
It’s helpful to understand how narcissists operate early in the relationship to prevent getting sucked into one of these relationships.
Let Down Your Guard
Narcissists need you to let down your guard so you will open up and give them the information they need. They use tactics that have been working for them. This could be as simple as a big smile. During an interview, a sociopath said it only takes them a few minutes to start pulling information from their targets and they purposely smile and act happy because people let their guard down when you do. Another tactic would be to share some sensitive information about their life right away in hopes you will do the same, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true though. Once you trust them enough you will start to share more and they take mental notes about every detail.
Next, they will start gathering data. Narcissists have been studying and manipulating people for a long time, so they know exactly what to do to get what they want from you. They also know what information is most important to identify you as a target of supply, and they do it very quickly, they don’t waste time. That is a skill they’ve acquired over their lifetime.
From the minute they see you, they are collecting data. They want to know everything about you because it helps them put together a game plan and develop the character they will play to pull you into their life. Later the information will be used to abuse and control you.
So, they are going to be extremely interested in your life, which is going to make you believe they are interested in you and you have an amazing connection. They are interested, it’s just not the way you want them to be.
Narcissists in the beginning are going to do a lot of listening, a lot of supporting, and asking a lot of questions. They want to know your weaknesses, strengths, past relationships, family life, vulnerabilities, insecurities, what you love, hate, and what hurts you. They want to know it all.
They are also going to test your boundaries early on. They want to see how much you are willing to bend and if you bend enough, it’s an indication they will be able to destroy your boundaries with time. This could be as simple as you telling them you go to bed at 9 every night and to call you anytime before that, so they will call at 9:01 just to see if you will answer and how long you are willing to stay on the phone. They could show up at your doorstep, unannounced and say they couldn’t stop thinking about you. They will also test boundaries around sex. This could be late night “let me come see you” or getting you to give them more of you as quickly as possible.
Love bombing really puts you under the narcissists spell. They are using all of the information you gave them to mirror your deepest desire in a partner. This will make you feel like you have met your soulmate. Fireworks are going off and it feels amazing.
You too will have so much in common that it’s unreal… and that’s because it’s not real, it’s by design and you will certainly see that later in the relationship.
They’ve learned your love language. If it’s romance, they are going to be romantic. If it’s a man/ woman with money that can support and take care of you, they will be that. If it’s a family man/woman who wants a big family, they will be that. If you need a knight and shining armor, you guessed it, they will be the best knight and shining armor. They are going to build a character around your desires.
And the sex can be incredible at first. Either because they are a great lover or because of your intense feelings for them, or both. Narcissists can also be relentless, which can feel very uncomfortable. Even if you have no interest in them at first, you may shortly find yourself desiring them deeply.
Narcissists want you to see a future with them, so they will paint that picture early on. Whatever it is they think you desire. Marriage, house with a white picket fence, kids, etc. They may mention a lot of future experiences to really hook you into the fantasy.
Moving Too Fast
This is the hallmark of a relationship with a narcissist. The relationship is going to move very fast. Especially if they view you as a primary source of supply, they are going to want to lock it down asap. So, sex, moving in, engagments, meeting family, marriage, preganancy… all of these things can happen in a matter of months.
You won’t have time to think or really take everything in. Even if you see red flags, you may dismiss them because you don’t want to lose this person and the red flags seem small compared to the good feelings you are having, so you allow too much, too soon.
I’ll get into some helpful tips on how to avoid narcissists when dating, but first, have you ever experienced a relationship with someone you believe is a narcissist or has high traits and were these mind games played? Let me know in the comments…
So, let’s discuss some helpful tips so you don’t get sucked into these relationships, but first, have you,
Preventing Getting In Relationship With Narcissist
Some of these behaviors might not seem too alarming separately, but the goal for a narcissist trying to pull in a new intimate target is to appear like a soul mate or exactly who you need in your life at that time. So, these relationships of very intense and move very quickly.
So, what can you do?
The best thing you can do is take the relationship slow and steady. If they are truly the right man or woman for you and you for them, the relationship will not dissolve because you want to slow it down.
If a man or woman has found someone they feel is a soul mate, they are not just going to drop you like that, however, someone who just wants sex, or wants to manipulate you into a relationship, or is immature and underdeveloped emotionally sure, would drop you if there are not signs you are going to give them what they want in the time they expect you to. In that case, you can dodge a bullet.
Before getting serious and making lifelong commitments to someone, you want to know how they handle stress, rejections (including your rejections or boundaries), money, and things of that sort. And you want to be sure what they say matches what they do, time will reveal that. If words and actions don’t match, that’s a problem and you should take it seriously.
Also, hold off on sex. Sex can make things more confusing for you, and I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say they stayed in a relationship that was toxic or hurting them because the sex was so amazing and it hurt so much to think of their partner having the same sex with someone else. I hate to break it to you, but narcissists are notorious for cheating.
Don’t invite them into your home, go to their home or involve children and family too soon.
Don’t trust people with your life story that you have not developed trust with. Don’t share too much too soon and make sure the other person is equally sharing information.
Non-negotiable boundaries should not be pushed and if they are, they should be addressed. If the person continues doing it, that’s a red flag. Of course, we need flexibility in relationships but not before we developed true trust. So, it’s important to know your values and boundaries that protect you and don’t let them be pushed.
Also, make sure you are dating because you are ready, not because you are lonely. When we are lonely, we are choosing people that are available instead of waiting for someone with who we can create healthy, deeply connected, and long-term relationships. If you date people out of loneliness, you can delay your healing and block the partner you really want and deserve. So, date yourself for a while as you heal. Literally. Fall in love.
And one of the most amazing tools you have is your intuition. The more you have healed, the more you listen to it because you are not being guided by trauma that feels like intuition. So, that’s another reason why your healing is so important.
People say, the heart wants what the heart wants… but, it’s much easier to let go of someone before you create an emotional attachment. So, be conscious of who you are developing emotional attachments with. We can attach to people that support an unhealed wound and it will feel a lot like love, but in my experience and working with others, once we do the proper inner work, we find out we really didn’t like that person at all and our relationship with them was really placing a light in a dark place, a wound that needed healing.
You have to know your value and accept nothing less because a narcissist will know your value but never pay full price for it, so they are going to negotiate one hell of a discount, and you won’t even realize it until you’re caught in their web.