HOW TO SPOT A NARCISSIST
(P1) Many of us hear the word “NARCISSIST” and automatically think about a SELF-ABSORBED person who constantly talks about himself—and yes, that’s a very IRRITATING (but small) part of it. A narcissist, by definition, is, “someone with a GRANDIOSE sense of self and little or no ability to EMPATHIZE with others,” says Joseph Burgo, Ph.D, author of The Narcissist You Know. This makes them hard to date. “They make INSENSITIVE relationship partners,” says Burgo. Nobody wants that, so here’s how to spot narcissists out there in the dating world.
(P2) Level One: How to Spot a Narcissist
(P3) Lack of interest and self-absorption are two big narcissistic characteristics, but rarely does anyone—narcissist or not—show those TRAITS on a first date (and if they do, run, girl. Run!). “While they may appear CHARMING when you first meet them, and may even appear very interested in you, they do so only to ELICIT your admiration and to build themselves up in your eyes,” Burgo says. It can be very difficult to know if he’s simply charming because he’s into you (normal), or he’s charming because he’s into you being into him (narcissist).
(P4) Important things to look for: “Narcissists view the world almost exclusively in terms of winners and losers,” Burgo says. Look out for him expressing this in conversation. “If he talks about third parties in a CONTEMPTUOUS or DISMISSIVE way, that should GIVE YOU PAUSE,” Burgo says. “If he brags about his accomplishments, or talks too much about how much money he makes, [that’s another sign].”
(P5) On a first date, you should get a sense of someone’s personality—and nobody’s perfect. So remember the golden rule: “If he seems too good to be true, he probably is,” says Burgo.
(P6) Level Two: How to Date a Narcissist (If You Dare)
(P7) So, you like him—but after a few weeks or months of dating, you’re starting to see those small RED FLAGS. All isn’t lost. The first thing you need to do is, “Remain humble and cautious; don’t let FLATTERY and the good feeling he tries to inspire in you blind you to his true nature,” Burgo explains.
(P8) Next, TAKE NOTE of how he acts and be honest with yourself about who he is. “Narcissists are often IMPULSIVE—they drink too much, spend too much, make RASH choices with little FORETHOUGHT,” says Burgo.
(P9) Finally, don’t “yes” him to death. CALL HIM OUT when he’s wrong, and pay close attention to what happens when you two disagree. “Narcissists have a very THIN SKIN and when their winner self-image is challenged, they typically respond with INDIGNATION, blame, and contempt,” says Burgo. “They will blame someone else for their mistakes…in order to INVALIDATE [that person].”
(P10) Level Three: How to Break Up With a Narcissist
(P11) If his behavior CROSSES A LINE, it’s time to CALL IT QUITS. “If you criticize a narcissist, he will turn on you IN A HEARTBEAT and SAVAGE your SELF-ESTEEM,” says Burgo. If he’s been making you feel bad about yourself, not respecting you, and not making you feel important, it’s probably because a narcissist only cares about one thing: himself.
(P12) When you see this, “Get away as quickly as possible,” advises Burgo. Otherwise, the longer you stay, the more you’re likely to make excuses or FALL VICTIM TO his flattery. Burgo has a little TOUGH LOVE to share: “Don’t deceive yourself that you can make him change. If you’re looking back on the early days of your romantic relationship and wondering how to recover that BLISS, forget about it,” says Burgo.
(P13) “Ask yourself why you want to remain in this relationship. Are you trying to recover the IDEALIZED early days when it all felt so perfect?”
(P14) It might be hard to answer these questions, but it’s important. “When a person remains in a relationship long after it has become obvious it’s time to end it, he or she usually has some unhealthy and unconscious reasons for staying,” says Burgo. Look at this (and any breakup, really) as a healing opportunity. If this person doesn’t treat you the way you deserve, stand up for yourself and free yourself up for someone who will.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Have you ever been in a relationship with a narcissist?
- The article is written for women and is about male narcissists. Are there female narcissists? What are they like?
- Do you think that there are more narcissists today than there used to be?
- Are “SELFIES” narcissistic, or are they just fun?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Give pause
- Red flag
- Take note
- Call someone out
- Thin skin
- Cross a line
- Call it quits
- In a heartbeat
- Fall victim to
- Tough love