Spot a Narcissist or a Psychopath on Your First Date

Uploaded 8/2/2010, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

Is there anything you can do to avoid abusers and narcissists to start with? Are there any warning signs, any identifying marks, any rules of thumb to shield you from the harrowing and traumatic experience of an abusive relationship?

Imagine you are on a first or second date. Can you already tell if he or she is a would-be abuser?

Well, the answer is yes.

And here's how.

Perhaps the first telltale sign is the abuser's alloplastic defenses.

In other words, his tendency to blame every mistake of his, every failure, every mishap on others or on the world at large.

Be tuned. Does he assume personal responsibility? Does he admit his faults and miscalculations?

Or does he keep blaming you, the cab driver, the waiter, the weather, the government, the cosmos, or fortune for his predicament?

Is he hypersensitive? Does he pick up fights? Does he feel constantly slighted, injured, and insulted? Does he rant incessantly? Does he treat animals and children impatiently or cruelly? Does he express negative and aggressive emotions towards the weak, the poor, the needy, the sentimental, the sick, and the disabled? Does he confess to having a history of battering or violent offenses or behavior? Is his language vile and infused with expletives, threats, and hostility?

Next thing. Is he too eager? Does he push you to marry him, having dated you only twice?

Is he planning on having children on your first date? Does he immediately cast you in the role of the love of his life? Is he pressing you for exclusivity, instant intimacy, almost rapes you and acts jealous when you as much as cast a glance at another man? Does he inform you that once you get hitched, you should abandon your studies or resign your job or forgo your personal autonomy? Does he respect your boundaries, your privacy? Does he ignore your wishes, for instance by choosing from the menu or selecting a movie without as much as consulting you? Does he disrespect your boundaries and treat you as an object or an instrument of gratification, for instance does he materialize on your doorstep unexpectedly or cause you often prior to your date? Does he go through your personal belongings while waiting for you to get ready? Does he text or phone you multiply and incessantly and insist on knowing where you are or where you have been all these times?

Does he control the situation? Does he control you, compulsively? Does he insist to ride in his car? Does he hold on to the car keys, the money, the theta tickets and even your back? Does he disapprove if you are a waver to love, for instance when you go to how do you know? Does he interrogate you when you return? Have you seen anyone interesting? Does he make lewd jokes and remarks, sometimes at your expense? Does he hint that in future you would need his permission to do things, even as innocuous as meeting a friend or visiting with your family? Does he insist on a dress code that you are supposed to follow?

Does he act in a patronizing and condescending manner? Does he criticize you often? Does he emphasize your minutest faults?

In other words, does he devalue you?

On the other hand does he idealize you? Does he exaggerate your talents, your trades, your skills? Does he call your names? Does he harass or ridicule you? Is he wildly unrealistic in his expectations from you, from himself, from the budding relationship and from life in general?

All these are very bad signs. Does he tell you constantly that you make him feel good? Don't be impressed.

Next thing he may tell you that you make him feel bad or that you make him feel violent or that you provoke him.

A very common sentence of abusers is, look what you made me do. That is ubiquitous catchphrase.

Does your date find sadistic sex exciting? Does he have fantasies of rape or pedophilia? Is he too forceful with you in and out of the sexual intercourse? Does he like hurting you physically or finds it amusing? Does he abuse you verbally? Does he curse you? He means you because you ugly or inappropriately diminutive names. Does he persistently criticize you? Does he beat or slap you or otherwise mistreats you physically?

Does he then, having committed this abuse, suddenly switch to being saccharine and loving, apologizing profusely? Does he buy you gifts as a way of compensating?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, stay away. He is an abuser.

And then there is of course the abuser's body language. It comprises an unequivocal series of subtle but discernible, observable warning signs.

Pay attention to the way your date comports himself and save yourself a world of trouble.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Body Language of Narcissistic and Psychopathic Abuser

Abusers emit subtle signals in their body language that can be observed and discerned. They adopt a posture of superiority and entitlement, and they idealize or devalue their interlocutors. Abusers are shallow and prefer show-off to substance, and they are serious about themselves. They lack empathy, are sadistic, and have inappropriate affect. They are adept at casting a veil of secrecy over their dysfunction and misbehavior, and they succeed in deceiving the entire world.

Masochistic Personality Disorder (Masochism)

Masochists have been taught to hate themselves and consider themselves unworthy of love, leading to self-destructive behaviors. They avoid pleasurable experiences and seek suffering, pain, and hurt in relationships. They reject help and render attempts to assist futile. Masochists tend to choose people and circumstances that lead to failure and avoid those that result in success or gratification. They adopt unrealistic goals and generate underachievements, leading to rage, depression, and guilt.

Narcissist's Reactions to Abandonment, Separation, and Divorce

Narcissistic abusers often resort to self-delusion when faced with the dissolution of a meaningful relationship. They may adopt a masochistic avoidance solution, punishing themselves for their failure, or construct a delusional narrative in which they are the hero. Some may become antisocial psychopaths, while others develop persecutory delusions and withdraw completely from social contact, becoming schizoids. Finally, some abusers resort to an aggressive stance, becoming verbally, psychologically, and sometimes physically abusive towards loved ones.

Bullying as Art, Abuse as Craftsmanship

Abuse is about control and is often a primitive and immature reaction to life's circumstances. The abuser's primary colors include unpredictability, disproportionality of reaction, dehumanization, objectification, and abuse by proxy. The abuser engineers situations in which he is solely needed and generates his own indispensability in the victim's life. The abuser fosters an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, instability, unpredictability, and irritation, which erodes the victim's sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

Coping Styles: Narcissist Abuses "Loved" Ones Despite Abandonment Anxiety

Narcissists abuse their loved ones to decrease their abandonment anxiety, restore their sense of grandiosity, and test their partner's loyalty. Abuse also serves as a form of behavior modification, as it signals to the partner that they need to modify their behavior to avoid abuse. Coping styles for dealing with abuse include submissiveness, conflicting, mirroring, collusion, and displacement, but some of these styles can be harmful and should be avoided.

Stalker Psychology

Stalking is a form of abuse that continues long after a relationship has ended, with the majority of abusers getting the message. However, a minority of abusers, the more vindictive and obsessed ones, continue to stalk their ex-partners for years to come. These stalkers are typically lonely, violent, and intermittently unemployed, but they are rarely full-fledged criminals. Contrary to myths perpetrated by the mass media, studies show that most stalkers are men, have high IQs, advanced degrees, and are middle-aged.

Narcissist's Sadism, Masochism, and Self-Destructiveness (ENGLISH responses)

Narcissists are not masochistic because they do not love themselves, and masochism is a form of self-love. Narcissists are self-destructive, and their sadism and masochism are instrumental and functional, used to control people and obtain results. Self-destructiveness is a way for the narcissist to prove to themselves that they are alive when they cannot obtain narcissistic supply. BDSM can be a safe environment for the narcissist to transfer control and rest, knowing that nothing bad will happen.

Deja-vu: Fight Back Gaslighting, Messing with YOUR Mind

Gaslighting is a manipulative form of communication where a power differential exists, often involving invalidation of emotions, twisting reality, and coercion. It can lead to lower self-worth, feelings of insecurity, depression, and anxiety. To combat gaslighting, it is important to recognize the situation, document events and feelings, assert oneself, seek support from others, and consult a professional if necessary. Gaslighting is a dangerous form of emotional abuse that can have long-lasting effects on mental health.

Abusive Ex Leverages Children Against You

Abusive ex-partners often use their children to manipulate and control their former partners. They may co-opt their children into aiding and abetting their abusive conduct, using them as bargaining chips or leverage. The abuser may emotionally blackmail the children, threatening to withhold love and affection if they do not comply with their demands. The abuser may also pervert the system, using therapies, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers, and even judges to pathologize the victim and separate them from their sources of emotional sustenance.

Narcissist's BDSM Supply Partner (ENGLISH responses)

Narcissists choose partners who are reliable and predictable sources of supply, and these partners are typically defeminized and desexualized. Women who practice BDSM are not necessarily borderline, but those who are borderline may be more open to unusual sexual practices due to their self-destructiveness and emotional dysregulation. Narcissists engage in self-harm practices, such as BDSM, when they don't have access to their internal environment and feel that they don't exist. Shame is a crucial part of narcissism, and any dependence on a third party can provoke shame and self-directed rage. These practices have beneficial psychodynamic effects but have zero long-term effects on underlying narcissism.

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