These days, it may be hard to spot them. But there are lots of narcissists lurking among us. They’re the guys who are all about themselves, the ones who are self-serving and insecure, but don’t necessarily seem that way. 

Mirror, Mirror: How You Know if Your Guy is a NarcissistIf you’re out in the dating world, you may come across these men more often. With more and more people turning to dating apps and websites to meet people, we see a relatable pattern. You see someone’s photo. You’re attracted. You read their profile or brief description of who they claim to be. You reach out. You exchange emails. You text. Maybe you’ll speak briefly and then, you meet. You’re hitting it off. Things seem great. However, it seems almost too good to be true. And what if you’re already in a relationship and it occurs to you that maybe he’s just a little too into himself for anyone’s good?

According to the experts, narcissists are everywhere and in varying degrees so let’s all learn how to spot the, shall we?


What is narcissism?

Many mental health specialists agree that a narcissist is basically an individual who has an excessive interest or admiration of a false self they created to cope with early hurts as children. Narcissists are disconnected from their true selves and are constantly working to appear better than others. They have an idealized self-image and are in love with that image which hides their true wounded self.

Here are some “red flag” characteristics of narcissists along with tips and insights that can spare many people the heartache and mental anguish that comes with being in a relationship with a narcissist.

1. Narcissists are off the charts charming. 

They are incredibly upbeat and bombard you with compliments. Immediately, you are captivated by him and his focus on you. He has a quick wit, can read people and knows what to say to make them feel good. Narcissists are great at building rapport quickly; however, they are doing so to serve themselves first and foremost. In other words, they feed off the attention, admiration and validation of others—so they charm with an agenda. 

2. In their mind, it’s really all about them. 

The interesting thing about the narcissist is that he makes it seem as if he is interested in you when in fact, he will always turn the conversation back to him. These are not team players. They look to their partner to be the source of their happiness and much of that happiness comes from getting approval or even sympathy. Early on in their childhood, the narcissist didn’t get the nurturing he needed to feel secure.  He was neglected or made to feel as if he was bad so he spends his time and energy showing how great he is.

3. Rules don’t apply to the entitled narcissist.

This guy is most likely to have a handicap tag hanging from the rearview mirror of hisPorsche. When asked about it, he will launch into a descriptive, detailed 20-minute story about how he injured his knee, entitling him to it. Narcissists want to gain your sympathy. Other rule breaking behaviours include disobeying traffic laws, parking illegally in front of places leaving you waiting as they quickly run in, cutting lines, and even stealing. They truly believe the world revolves around them and expect others to cater to their needs. This is due to needs being unmet earlier in life.

4. They disrespect boundaries. 

Be mindful of your boundaries! Narcissists will do things like invade your physical space, borrow or take belongings or even money without returning or repayment. They break promises without remorse and may even blame the victim. Protecting your boundaries is incredibly important when dealing with a narcissist. When over-stepping is permitted, it leads to codependence and a lost sense of self.

5. They look great on the surface.

Their desire to impress others may lead them to a lot of time and money on their physical appearance. They are all about status and achievement. They’ll brag about their education, their possessions, who they know, their accomplishments and typically, it’s exaggerated. This again stems from the desire of approval. They care what others think of them so much that they use people and situations to fuel the false self they created. 

6. They’ll disappear like a ghost and you’ll feel discarded.

Narcissists will put you on a pedestal as they compliment and charm you. You will feel incredibly special, caught up on his intent gaze upon you. However, once they see you’re just as interested in your own well-being, that you’re protective of your boundaries, that you have other interests and put them in their place, they tend to swiftly move on. That’s because when a narcissist sees you won’t allow manipulation, he disappears and will be incredibly cold. He may even give the silent treatment and blame you. 

7. Their past relationships are all drama.

They will make it seem like their exes were all crazy, will share horror stories and make you feel as if you are the best thing they found. They paint themselves as the victim and may add that their ex still wants them. Pay very close attention to how the person speaks about their past relationships. Narcissists typically won’t keep answers brief, positive and forward moving when it comes to past relationships.

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a NYC-based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 

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