How can you avoid letting a narcissist (or other toxic person) get close to you? What are some things you can watch for when you meet someone new? And what if you’re already dealing with someone who makes you wonder? You start by learning the red flags and watching for them.
First: Trust Your Gut
Before we get to the list of some of the red flags to look for, one thing to learn about yourself is how to trust your gut. Your gut, your instinct, intuition, ability to discern will often guide you away from toxic situations if you learn to listen to it, even when what you may want is presenting itself to you. For example, the charm of a narcissist, in the beginning, may show you all the things you feel you want like attention, focus, even what feels like connection but under it all you may have a sense something is really not right. You may feel anxiety or drained around this person. When you are not with the person you may feel uneasy about them or like their energy is “stuck” to you and it just feels wrong, depleting, or as some describe it “icky”. Learning to listen to your gut over being swept away by any person can help you not only to see the red flags but to listen to their warning and take action to stay away from the potentially toxic person.
50 Red Flags That Mean You’re Dealing with a Narcissist
There are many lists of red flags to watch out for. This list includes a few less talked about things that may be useful to help keep you from toxic relationships. Red flags are only a part of the picture and many of them can exist without a person being entirely toxic in a relationship. It is the combination of many red flags as well as your gut feeling that can help you determine if a relationship is healthy and right for your life. What can be learned from watching for red flags might be areas in your life to learn to have less tolerance for so that you are not engaging in relationships that do not create a happy, healthy life. After narcissistic abuse, learning to trust yourself and your own judgment of others is ultimately what keeps you safe, red flags are one piece of that awareness.
- You just feel “off” or on edge around someone.
- Seduction and charm. A narcissist will often have an allure that also feels empty and without true vulnerability on their part.
- Idealization. The creation of a role you are to play being set up by the narcissist that idealizes you or themselves instead of seeing you as a whole and authentic person.
- The feeling of this person is familiar as if you know how to “understand” it. If you are a survivor of narcissistic abuse and especially if you grew up with toxic parents there may be a familiarity you feel that gets you to overlook the uneasy feelings your gut may be trying to warn you of.
- Self-centered talk. The narcissist may listen to you in order to gain information but the conversation feels like it revolves around them. They may even make it seem like they are relating to you so they can mirror and groom you.
- You may feel anxious around them like you are seeking approval or walking on eggshells. Try setting a boundary not only to see how they respond, but to test how you feel as well.
- Boundaries are pushed and disregarded.
- You may feel manipulated
- Love bombing and over the top attention is a big red flag.
- What empathy you may see seems lacking or not genuine.
- The situation seems too good to be true. You are unable to see the flaws in a person or they are only allowing you to see their “good” side.
- They want to know everything about you.
- They are not long out of a relationship and/or no time between relationships. Someone that moves on very fast, if they are even really single, generally is not a safe choice for a potential partner.
- Makes friends easily but has no real long term friends. The friends they do have are activity-based only and their personality changes around each different group of friends
- They show you off, you may feel like a trophy.
- Sexually forceful
- Job stability issues
- Makes excuses, everyone else is to blame.
- All of their exes are crazy.
- They claim to be the ones who have to hold everything together.
- Far fetched stories of glory.
- You can’t imagine the “bad” side or their shortcomings.
- May appear helpless or to need you.
- Things feel out of balance such as you like them more than they do you.
- Overtly meeting all of your vulnerability “needs” rapidly and early on in a relationship.
- Future Faking
- They do things to secure a position in your life. They may buy you things, fix things or otherwise set up a sort of dependency on them.
- When the truth is revealed early on, the little warning words of truth are quickly glossed over or made to look like a joke.
- You find yourself doing more for them than seems or feels right to you.
- They make you feel uniquely special to the point of idealization.
- They set up situations or use words which make you feel insecure.
- Lies are explained away.
- Pet names when you first meet them.
- You overlook a lot because you see their “potential” and feel like you could help them meet that potential.
- They want every second of your time.
- Constant texting.
- They make you feel bad about being with others.
- They take everything personally.
- They are jealous of your kids or family.
- They lack accountability.
- They are judgemental and punitive.
- They treat others like possessions
- The relationship feels like a roller coaster.
- They have sex addictions. Be cautious of fetishes and how they are with control.
- They ruin special occasions.
- You are kept in limbo over events, time and other things that require commitment.
- You are isolated from friends and family.
- They need extreme amounts of praise.
- Your accomplishments and achievements are undermined.
Get personal support in your narcissistic abuse recovery.
- If you are looking for an affordable way to get ongoing personalized support, as well as peer support and validation in a small group setting, join our private coaching group.
- Get one-on-one coaching with Lise Colucci.
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Lise Colucci is an intuitive healer and certified life coach, as well as a certified narcissistic abuse recovery coach. She is a long-time admin and mentor for the SPAN Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Group, actively helping survivors of narcissistic abuse in the expansive community to learn and heal.