We have all heard of the stereotypical narcissist thanks to Hollywood – the cold, calculated and toxic individual that is often portrayed as a villain or cold-blooded killer. In real life, narcissists are masters of manipulation hiding in plain sight and finding their way into our lives.

In fact, studies show that the as many of 30% of young Americans today would qualify as narcissists under today’s psychological standards. Narcissists are best known for their unique view of the world around them, believing that they are smarter, more talented and better people overall. They place themselves on a pedestal, refusing to accept that they, too, are imperfect.

From their pedestal, they believe that the world owes them everything, and they refuse to settle for less. To ensure that they get everything that they believe that they deserve, they will actively manipulate and toy with their victims, convincing them to do their bidding. If things don’t go their way, they will become angry and demanding, lashing out at everyone and anyone. As frightening as that picture, however, the most devious side of a narcissist by far is their manipulation tactics!

They are so good at playing with our mind, that you may even love a narcissist right now and have no idea. They may have even convinced you that their very methods of control, deception, and manipulation are actually well-meaning signs of love and affection. Don’t believe me?

Here are 7 signs that you are dating a narcissist that are often mistaken as true love:

#1 – They turn insults and public degradation into ‘cute little jokes’, telling you that they are just teasing you because they like you.

This is a problem that dates back to children on the schoolyard. We tell little girls that the reason boys are pulling their hair and picking on them is that they have a crush, creating the illusion that abuse is merely a sign of affection. With this drilled into our heads, we are easily convinced of the same mentality as an adult. He may be completely humiliating you in public, and everyone else can see it, but he’ll have you convinced that he’s just teasing you because he loves you – it’s all in good fun, right? Wrong!

#2 – Every aspect of who they are fits your vision of your ideal mate including their interests, hobbies, and personality.

If they have convinced you that they are the personification of the perfect partner on paper, this is a huge red flag. Don’t fall for their lies and manipulation. Narcissists are like chameleons, able to become whoever they have to be in each situation. For example, if they see that you are a vegan environmentalist, they will convince you that they share the same convictions, making them appear like that perfect person you were just waiting to meet. Rest assured, they are chowing down on a burger when you aren’t around, they just want you to believe their disguise long enough to trap their latest victim – you.

#3 – They take you on a whirlwind journey of love and romance, whisking you off your feet so quickly that you don’t have time to question whether the relationship is real.

When a narcissist is first working to pull you into their web, they know that they need to act fast in order to avoid you catching onto their game. They will whisk you off your feet with more love and affection then you have ever experienced before, creating the image of the perfect romance. Skipping the early stages of dating, this will propel you quickly into experiencing what you believe is a true physical and emotional intimacy, a connection beyond all others. The truth is that this is nothing but a game to them, faking the whole experience.

#4 – Instantly struck by the intense chemistry that you share, he will convince you that this means you are destined soulmates.

In order to help convince you that the love and romance that has come on so quickly is, in fact, real, they want you to believe that you are destined to be soulmates. After all, you can’t deny that your feelings are real if you are meant to be together, right? They will do this by creating the illusion of chemistry through their behaviors, toying with your thoughts and feelings just enough to convince you that you were destined to find one another. Believe it or not, too much chemistry is actually a red flag!

#5 – Their social circle is small because they are truly genuine individuals, selective about who is worthy of their love.

It sounds like the motto of a loving, honest and confident individual, aware of what they are worth and who is worthy of their time. After all, if they are as morally sound as they portray themselves, they shouldn’t waste their time with toxic energy, right? The truth is that they didn’t choose to keep their circle small. Manipulating and using every person that has become part of their lives, they drive everyone away leaving themselves alone.

#6 – They will act overly sweet and loving so as to convince you that the few times their true personality came out is merely the exception to another otherwise kind and caring persona.

While a narcissist is a skilled manipulator, even they will drop the ball from time to time allowing their true personality to bubble to the surface. Worried that you will begin to see through their act, they realize that they have to convince you that this negative behavior isn’t ‘normal’. They will carry out incredibly kind and caring gestures, showing you just how great a person that they are time and time again. Believing that this is their true personality, you will find yourself making excuses for their poor behavior rather than seeing it for the red flag that it actually is.

#7 – He convinces you that he wants to take care of you and provide for you, but its actually a control tactic.

Conversations about your future may convince you he truly cares. Discussing your potential careers and where you are going in life, he goes on and on about how he wants to care for you and give you everything in life. Painting it like your opportunity to pursue your hobbies and passions in life rather than being tied to your career, the truth is that he wants you to be financially dependent as this will give him a greater level of control over your life.

Image via A Conscious Rethink

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