If A Man Uses These 5 Phrases In Dating, He May Be A Narcissist

A researcher specializing in narcissism and psychopathy reveals the five phrases (and their variations) you should look out for if you suspect you may be dating a narcissist.

“My ex was crazy.”

When someone tells you their ex was crazy, hit pause. Your next question, even if just voiced mentally, should be, “What drove them there?” Although there are some rare exceptions, in many cases, if a dating partner tells you their ex was emotionally unstable, you have to wonder why they feel the need to disclose that at all, especially when you two are just getting to know one another. If it looks like a subtle smear campaign to discourage you from believing their ex when they inevitably try to warn you, it often is. Not only is “crazy” a pejorative and pathologizing term, it’s usually narcissistic people who create deliberate chaos in the lives of others who tend to weaponize such language against their victims after continually provoking them over the edge.

“I am not looking for any drama / Is this always going to be a problem with you?”

If the person you’re dating goes out of their way to prematurely tell you they’re not looking for any drama, it’s often because they’re the ones causing it. They just don’t want to deal with the aftermath or accountability of their behavior – to them, taking responsibility for their harmful actions is considered “drama.” Similar to this phrase, if you bring up a small issue you noticed while dating them or give them constructive feedback and their response is a challenging, “Is this always going to be a problem with you?” painting you as the culprit for engaging in basic communication, you have yourself an expert gaslighter waiting to pull a fast one on you.

“You’re lucky to have gotten that.”

If you are speaking about one of your accomplishments in passing and a dating partner tries to attribute your hard work and talents to simply “luck,” this can be a sign of malicious envy which has been linked to both narcissistic and psychopathic traits in research. Healthy relationships are founded on what is known as capitalization, the ability to celebrate each other’s wins. If they seem to center themselves when you’re sharing your passions, dreams, or career, they will go out of their way to sabotage you and hold you back later on.

“My ex is my best friend / I have a female best friend. Nobody is going to get in between us.”

Narcissistic individuals enjoy surrounding themselves with many admirers and friends of the opposite sex they’re attracted to, and a wealth of research suggests that men tend to be more romantically interested in and attracted to their female friends than women are to their male friends. Studies also indicate that narcissists like provoking jealousy on purpose to gain power and control over you. If they seem to create a protective barrier around their close and shady so-called “friendships” that veer on inappropriate, it’s a way to safeguard their emotional cheating behaviors early on from healthy skepticism and scrutiny. Rather than settling for someone who sets up a competition before even properly courting you, detach from the situation and realize you can find a dating partner who genuinely respects you and your boundaries. Otherwise, you’ll begin a new relationship with someone who will always prioritize the feelings of another woman over you, and rest assured, you will be pitted against one another throughout the relationship.

“You always take things the wrong way / You’re too sensitive / It’s just a joke / I need someone who doesn’t take themselves seriously.”

If a dating partner’s primary mode of comedy is demeaning you and telling you that you are overreacting, recognize they are using “just jokes” as a guise to get away with their bullying behaviors and derogatory jabs. If you find that your dating partner always makes brutal jokes at your expense, run. Any variation of the above phrases should be taken very seriously – as a red flag of a narcissistic person who believes in “cruel” forms of humor, chronic, bullying sarcasm (which has been linked to psychopathic traits), and a partner who is already revved up to gaslight you into accepting their emotional abuse by making you believe you are humorless or too sensitive.

Shahida is a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University. She is a published researcher and author of Power: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse and Breaking Trauma Bonds with Narcissists and Psychopaths. Her books have been translated into 16+ languages all over the world. Her work has been featured on Salon, HuffPost, Inc., Bustle, Psychology Today, Healthline, VICE, NYDaily News and more. For more inspiration and insight on manipulation and red flags, follow her on Instagram here.

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