15 Common Traits of a Narcissist

Narcissists are expert manipulators who can employ diverse tactics to retain unhealthy control over their partners. Stay vigilant for these 15 warning signs that, according to experts, may suggest you’re dealing with narcissistic behavior.

Love Bombing

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During the early stages of a relationship, narcissists may shower you with affection, compliments, and gifts. This tactic, known as love bombing, creates an intense emotional connection, making you more vulnerable to future manipulation.

Cleveland Clinic describes love bombing as a ‘form of psychological and emotional abuse’ as the person will do everything they can to manipulate you to get into a relationship with them.

Gaslighting

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Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation tactic where your partner makes you question your own reality, memories, and perceptions. This insidious behavior can leave you feeling confused, insecure, and overly dependent on your partner for validation.

Triangulation

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Triangulation involves your partner using a third party to create jealousy, competition, or insecurity within the relationship. This destabilizing tactic forces you to compete for your partner’s attention and approval, further cementing their control.

Silent Treatment

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The silent treatment is a passive-aggressive form of punishment where your partner withholds communication to make you feel anxious, guilty, or insignificant. This harmful tactic can deeply affect your emotional well-being and according to verywellmind, leave you feeling worthless and unloved.

Devaluation

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After the love bombing phase, narcissists may begin to devalue their partners by criticizing, belittling, or humiliating them. This tactic aims to chip away at your self-esteem, making you more reliant on your partner’s approval.

Projection

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In a manipulative move, your partner may project their own negative traits or behaviors onto you. This tactic deflects responsibility and can leave you feeling guilty or inadequate.

Isolation

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A narcissistic partner may try to isolate you from friends and family, either directly or indirectly. By controlling your social circle, they can maintain dominance and limit outside influences that might challenge their control.

Financial Control

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Exerting control over your finances is another manipulative tactic used by narcissistic partners. By limiting your independence, they can ensure you rely on them and find it difficult to leave the relationship if needed.

Smear Campaigns

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If your partner spreads lies or rumors about you to others, it’s a sign that they’re engaging in a smear campaign. This destructive tactic aims to discredit you, damage your reputation, and isolate you from potential support.

Moving Goalposts

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Narcissists may set unrealistic expectations or constantly change their demands, making it impossible for you to meet their standards. This tactic can leave you feeling perpetually inadequate and constantly seeking their approval.

Blame Shifting

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Another manipulative tactic used by narcissists is refusing to take responsibility for their actions and instead shifting the blame onto you. This leaves you feeling guilty and confused about your role in the situation.

Hoovering

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When your partner uses promises, flattery, or other tactics to pull you back into the relationship after a separation or argument, they are “hoovering.” This tactic aims to reestablish control and maintain the relationship on their terms.

Emotional Blackmail

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Emotional blackmail involves your partner using guilt, threats, or intimidation to manipulate your behavior. This tactic can be incredibly damaging and forces you to comply with their demands to avoid negative consequences.

Playing the Victim

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Narcissists may portray themselves as victims in conflicts, seeking sympathy and manipulating others to side with them. This tactic allows them to avoid accountability and retain control over the narrative.

Intermittent Reinforcement

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Your partner may employ intermittent reinforcement, alternating between affection and cruelty, to keep you guessing and maintain control. This unpredictable behavior can be confusing and lead to emotional dependency on your partner.

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