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It took me almost 44 years to get involved with this kind of crazy unawares. So don’t think it can’t happen to you. Don’t explain things away or second guess your instincts. Just kick them to the curb or go.
1. A lack of basic consideration and respect of property.
One honking big red flag that has successfully protected me from narcissists most of the time is not pushing their chair back under the table when they get up. People forget from time to time, but if I see a person do this as a habit, I get far away from them.
Other bad signs that this is someone who has no boundaries or respect for others involve leaving their debris around for others to have to deal with. If they blow their nose, do they just leave the snot rag or napkin for someone else? Be especially watchful of people who will do something like bring their plate to the sink but not clean the table where they left a mess. Someone who really cleans after themselves and is concerned about who will sit somewhere after them or who might have to clean up, covers all the bases, not just one thing.
2. Indecisiveness in what the relationship is.
It’s not real indecisiveness, but it looks like it. Narcissists and other types of Cluster B toxic people hate clear boundaries. So what you mean when you use a term or label is not how they would define it. When you say “partner” they mean “property”. Even when you say, “casual partner” they mean “property”. Well, at least as it concerns you. They are free to do whatever they want, but you are not. You are supposed to be at their beck and call, and put up with being pulled and pushed away by their whims.
If you find yourself in this situation, the next time they give you an out by pushing you away, take the escape and don’t return.
3. You can never be good enough or do anything right enough.
If you feel this way in a relationship, this is an almost sure sign you are with a narcissist. It’s at least 99% in my observation. It’s like they look for things to be wrong with you, especially if you’ve shown concern with their behavior in some way. They criticize you to distract from things they are doing wrong or to justify their mistreatment of you.
4. They will use things you told them about yourself against you.
Some people think this means they’ll extort you, and some might, but that’s not always the way they use it against you. Let’s say that you revealed to them that you’re high functioning autistic or have Asperger’s. Somewhere along the way, your deductive skills are telling you that something isn’t quite right. You think they may be cheating on you or doing things behind your back, or have some agenda they are steering you towards. If you express this, they will claim that because of your way of thinking, you are just seeing patterns where there are none, and making connections that don’t exist.
Let’s say you told them that you were abused as a child. If you confront them about their being overly critical or saying something bad to you, or doing some sort of emotional abuse, they will say that you don’t really know what you’re talking about because you’re traumatized.
They’ll frame it as if they are trying to help you, but what they’re really doing is setting you up or silencing you. It is beneficial for loved ones to check each other in the journey to healing, but they’re not doing it to help you to heal. It’s all to make you more convenient and compliant. You can tell the difference by the endgame or objective. If it’s actually reassuring and calming you, and inviting further trust, then it might be okay. If it’s shutting you up and making you more confused, it’s their mindgame.
5. Bad mythology.
Despite all the manipulation and con artistry they used to pump you for information, their perception of you is so bizarrely inaccurate that it gives you pause. Cluster B people are usually broken in some way that causes disassociation, and narcissists build an entirely false self to hide behind or to replace themselves. For this reason, having no way of parsing their own motivation, they’re going to wildly misinterpret yours too.
Your kindness will be viewed as weakness. Your strength of course must be a facade because (in their mind) nobody could really be strong and heal. They are manipulating and taking advantage of you, but the way they are doing to isn’t what they think is happening. In their mind it’s not that you love them and this is why you’re vulnerable. It’s that you’re less than them in some way that they are better than you.
It’s not that you demand the level of respect you give, it’s that you are desperate for validation. Eventually, these ways that they judge you that have nothing to do with reality, will be excuses to discard you.
…then as soon as you’re recovering and doing much better without them, the love bombing will start again because your kindness and strength will be why they couldn’t get over you…until it bores them or doesn’t enable them to exploit you or those in your circle again, then you’re the pathetic worm again.
This, by the way, is why it is crucial to get out of the victim mentality when a narcissist or some similar toxin has temporarily polluted your sphere. Healing is a journey that takes awhile, but taking that step of taking responsibility for your own healing, is important. To really get past it, you have to be able to not give a fuck what that asshole or similar assholes think. Their mythology about you is like a small scale cult that they will keep trying to recruit you back into. You have to deprogram.