I’m so excited that the “Red Flags of a Narcissist” series has finally started!
(Well, if the truth be told, it’s more like I finally figured out YouTube, and how to somewhat organize all this information. So yay for that!)
Just so you know what to expect, the plan is for me to post both a blog post and a YouTube video about a different red flag of a Narcissist every week. You will be able to keep track of the latest red flags and other happenings by going directly to the organized list here.
But before you go any further it’s important for you to know one thing:
***We all have some of these red flags. ***
So don’t panic if you see yourself, or your loved ones in many of these red flags.
Most of these red flags in and of themselves aren’t a problem when normal people have them, as none of us are perfect.
But with a highly manipulative person, these red flags are more like a evidence trail.
The point of this red flag series is to show you what these different behaviors look like, so if you do start to see them, you slow things down enough to examine this behavior and determine if it falls within the range of normal or problematic behavior.
The best way to do this is when (not if) you see red flags, you slow down and take time to gather more information. Keep in mind that both normal people and highly manipulative people will both have reasons as to why they have these certain behaviors. The difference is that normal people will be telling you the truth about their red flags, whereas highly manipulative people won’t.
You can’t trust anything a highly manipulative person says…and odds are it will take you awhile to determine if they are in fact highly manipulative. My goal for you is to make this determination sooner rather than later.
This is why it’s always a good idea to do some “fact checking” about people. This doesn’t mean that you hire a private investigator, or become paranoid. It simply means that you need to develop a healthy level of skepticism when it comes to people. The best way to see if a person is everything they claim to be is to see them in a wide variety of situations. See them with their friends, co-workers, and family members. Go out and do a variety of things. See if their stories and actions line up with who they are claiming to be.
Highly manipulative people lie, but their actions don’t.
The goal here is to find out as much as possible about their previous actions in the past–and ideally find out from the source. Because they often do a great job of launching smear campaigns against other people, they always seem like either a victim or a hero in their own life or life situations, and they might have a lot of people charmed. This is why it’s important to go slow–especially during that first month of knowing them. From the 100’s of victims I’ve spoken to, I’ve never heard, not once, that they didn’t see red flags, and know in their gut that something was off. Listen to your gut instinct. It’s there for a reason.
Are You Sure You Know the Red Flags of a Narcissist?
I know I thought I did. But as it turns out, I didn’t.
In a span of five years, I had two serious relationships with two covert Narcissists. They were both seemingly wonderful men: they were kind, funny, friendly, and incredibly good to me. Total Prince Charmings…until they weren’t.
They weren’t jealous, controlling, or possessive, however, both relationships went from “fairy tale” to “Lifetime TV Movie” at lightning-fast speed. And the kicker is that I could have said with absolute certainty that these men didn’t have any of the red flags of a dangerous or destructive person, because at that time I was actually teaching classes on red flags of abusive men at a domestic violence shelter! So how could I have missed the red flags?
After all, I knew the red flags…or did I?
After the hurt and heartache faded from Covert Narcissist #1 (Jack), I was left wanting to know the red flags that I missed. I needed to make sense of what had happened, as all I knew at that time was what I had experienced was way outside the realm of normal behavior, or a “bad breakup.”
I turned to google for answers. It was there that I stumbled across words like “Narcissist” and “Sociopath.” After learning more about those terms, I was confused (and kinda obsessed) with trying to figure out if Jack was a Narcissist or a Sociopath–because if I couldn’t put a name to what he was, then I could I accurately describe what I experienced with him to myself or to others? Over time, I came to realize that there was a lot of confusion around Narcissism and Sociopathy–not just from victims but from professionals as well. I ended up making peace with the fact that Jack was some sort of hybrid between the two.
Even though I learned a lot about both personality disorders, I was approaching my research more from a place of trying to make sense of what happened, and not from a place of memorizing what I was reading, as I didn’t think I’d ever get tangled up with anyone like Jack again. I thought my relationship was a fluke, and that the odds of that happening to me again were up there with the odds of me getting struck by lightning.
I was wrong.
I dated Covert Narcissist #2 (Steve) about two years later. Again, he came across like Prince Charming. Everyone loved him, and thought he was this amazing catch–however, all the night terrors and panic attacks I had after my relationship with Jack ended started up again. I couldn’t get over how similar they both were–but in a seemingly good way. I figured that I was being triggered because I was scared of being hurt again. And given my past with Jack, I had a ton of anxiety about trusting my judgment, and turned to others to validate my decision to date Steve (another mistake that won’t ever happen again).
Steve really seemed like the world’s great guy. Everyone loved him But it wasn’t until his mask slipped and revealed (enough of) his lies, his lack of remorse, blinding degree of selfishness, and jaw-dropping lack of empathy that I realized I was tangled up with yet another Narcissist!
I became serious about really trying to figure out what red flags I wasn’t seeing. I read a ton of books on Narcissism, became a psychiatric nurse, and began talking to as many other victims (and therapists) as I could hoping to get the clarity that I so desperately needed.
From all my reading and time with therapists, I knew the clinical definition of a Narcissist, but I wanted to get a fuller and more accurate picture of Narcissistic behavior in motion. I joined a bunch of support groups, and began talking to hundreds of others in an attempt to find the commonalities in our experiences–and let me tell you there were a ton! It was really eerie actually, as the more people I talked to, the more I realized that we were all just telling different versions of the same story.
Those notes on the commonalities have become this list of red flags.
This list of red flags is ever-growing and changing, and my goal is to help educate and validate all those out there who haven’t yet discovered the terms Narcissism or Socio/Psychopathy. So please contact me and let me know if you think I should add or change things.
One last thing…
This “Red Flag of a Narcissist” series is not designed to diagnose anyone with a personality disorder. It is designed to present a broad brush look at behaviors that most (if not all) manipulative people tend to have (not just Narcissists). Not all of these red flags are a signal to run for the hills, and a person doesn’t need to have ALL of these flags present to be dangerous or destructive.
These red flags also occur on a spectrum, meaning that they will be more obvious and troublesome in some people, and not so much in others.
At the same time, keep in mind that EVERYONE has some of these red flags—however, manipulative people tend to have them to a more troubling degree than normal, non-manipulative people. Keep in mind that Narcissists and Antisocial Personality Disordered people’s red flag behavior is more driven by their lack empathy and remorse, desire to manipulate and exploit other people for their personal gain, which is often not the case with those without these disorders. So don’t panic if you see some of your behavior in these red flags, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a Narcissist, or have a personality disorder. 🙂
(Here is a link to all of the “Red Flags of a Narcissist” series articles and videos in a list. I will be putting this link at the bottom of all the articles and videos so you can refer back to them in an easier-to-find way.)
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.