The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about this guy I’d recently broke it off with because I thought he was a potential Narcissist. She raised an eyebrow at me, as if to wonder if I thought everyone was a Narcissist. I get that a lot. And frankly, I wonder that myself from time-to-time. I have to admit that after both of my experiences in the past six years I’ve been left feeling really paranoid about people and their intentions. But now, enough time has gone by, and I’ve done extensive research on the topic, I’m confident in my judgment about who is and isn’t a Narcissist.
Narcissists really are everywhere.
So, do I think everyone is a Narcissist? Absolutely not. However, I do think that there are a lot of Narcissists out there (estimates are close to 3-6% of the population is one, and that roughly 5% of the population is Antisocial–and those numbers are thought to be low. Combined, those numbers break down to roughly one in ten people!), but people that aren’t familiar with that term just call them different names such as crazy, bitch, jerk, selfish, psycho, arrogant, etc. Once you know the signs of a Narcissist, you really do start to spot them everywhere. And yes, this can make you really paranoid at first. You might start thinking that you are attracting them–but I think the reality is that you are just seeing them for what they really are, whereas other people don’t. This doesn’t make you crazy or paranoid, it makes you educated.
Don’t get hung up on labels.
If you find yourself not liking to refer to people as a Narcissist, or a Sociopath/Antisocial Personality Disordered Person, then don’t use these terms. The label doesn’t matter, the behaviors do. So if you are more comfortable labeling a person’s behavior (he acts like a Narcissist, or he’s acting like a selfish jerk and has no empathy and remorse), instead of the person, then fine, use those terms. After all, I’m not going to wait around for them to see a therapist and get a formal diagnosis. If I see enough of the red flags of a Narcissist, then I’m out of there.
(*This is important: I used to only watch out for the “negative” red flags–this is what I think most people do. They look to see if a guy is a jerk, or rude to the waitress, or controlling, but they don’t look to see if he’s overly charming, rushing intimacy or love bombing. These red flags are just as dangerous–and they are all the ones that I overlooked twice–but never again.)
And, if you are like me too, knowing everything we know about Narcissists can feel really lonely in a way. It can seem like most people never experience their destructive power–it’s just us, and worse, often times they have no idea of what we’ve been through. I often look around at other people’s relationships, and part of me wishes I didn’t know everything that I now do–it must be so nice to be so blissfully unaware. But that’s a fleeting thought. The reality is that I wouldn’t trade the knowledge I have, as Narcissists and their destruction is all too real.
Once you see enough red flags, get rid of them!
The best part of being able to spot the warning signs, is that you’ll be able to steer clear of most Narcissists and the ones that do sneak under your radar, you’ll be able to get out of your life in a very short amount of time. So don’t panic if you find yourself dating more than one. After all, most Narcissists (especially the covert ones) are very charming–and most people are attracted to charming people! Just focus on getting them out of your life and moving on. Don’t get bummed out that you got tied up with another one–think of it as a victory that you were able to get rid of them so quickly! Yay you!
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you (or I) call them. Bad behavior is bad behavior, and the important thing is for you to develop solid boundaries and high enough standards that you cut these people out of your life once you spot them.
Hang in there and realize if you are seeing Narcissists everywhere, you aren’t crazy, you aren’t alone–you are just educated! Yay you!
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Frustrations? Ideas for a blog post or video? Just want to say hi? Let me know: dana@NarcissistSupport.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/NarcissistSupport
My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.
Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.
It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.