The 5 red flags that tell you you're dating a narcissist.

Feel like you might be dating a narcissist but you're not quite sure? We've got you covered.

Mia Madafferi is a lawyer and the founder of Grey Rock Consulting. She works with clients trying to navigate communications with controlling, narcissistic, or high-conflict personalities. 

Throughout her experience in this line of work, she has seen first-hand the impact narcissism can have, as well as the signs for people to look out for.

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Of course, narcissism has become a bit of a 'buzzword' lately, and not every rude person we meet is a narcissist. Only approximately five per cent of the world's population have a narcissistic personality disorder.

But as Madafferi notes, knowledge is power. 

"Shining a spotlight on the traits of narcissism is really important," she tells Mamamia

"No two narcissists are the same, their behaviour is on a spectrum. None of these red flags on their own make someone a narcissist. But when in conjunction, and done consistently - that's where the danger lies."


Here are five red flags of a narcissist.

1. Love bombing. 

In a relationship, one of the first red flags you might spot if dating a narcissist is love bombing.

What is it exactly? Love bombing is when at the beginning of a romantic relationship you shower a person in compliments, affection, gifts, and outward communication in order to obtain power and control over another person's life.

"It happens in the early stages of dating. It can feel complimentary, but the sheer overload of the love bombing is what to watch out for," Madafferi says.

2. 'One upping'.

Deep down, narcissists are super self-centred. One of their biggest traits is just how much they talk about themselves. It's a way of bringing the attention - and subsequent admiration - back to them. 

"If you really, really, really listen to them, you'll notice there are almost never questions or conversations about you. When you're on dates with them, they will talk about themselves quite a lot. They might ask you questions, but they won't let you go really deep into your answer. 

"Instead, they'll take a fraction of what you've said and find a way to bring it back to themselves. They also tend to exclusively talk about their achievements and successes in a grandiose manner."

So if you happen to have beaten a world record in something - they'll tell you they've done the same, twice.


3. Ignoring boundaries.

Boundaries are like kryptonite to a narcissist, Madafferi tells Mamamia

"They need constant external validation. Part of this is having access to you constantly as a way to feed their ego when needed. If you happen to put a boundary in place, they often respond very poorly. 

"For example - say in the early stages of dating, you can't meet on a Friday night. Most people would perhaps feel disappointed, but say, 'Okay let's do another day instead'. But narcissists tend to demand that it go their way instead. They might say 'I just can't be without you for that long' or 'Can't you just make Friday work?'"

This strategy might present as flattering in the moment, but in reality, it can be quite manipulative and guilt-tripping. 

4. Blame-shifting.

Blame-shifting, quite similar to gaslighting, is where one person in the relationship will avoid accountability for something they said or did, and instead deflect the fault onto their partner. 

"When two people are in a relationship there's going to be disagreements. In a healthy partnership, the pair will talk it through and resolve it like adults. Those with narcissistic traits rarely do this," says Madafferi. 

"Everyone has had that situation where they've raised an issue and the other person just turns it onto you every single time. The lack of taking accountability on a constant basis - that's a big red flag."


5. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right.

"Every single person I have worked with who has dealt with a narcissist has always said, 'Looking back, something felt off. Something didn't feel quite right'. It shouldn't be on you in the first place. But trusting your intuition can be really helpful," says Madafferi.

Of course this is easier said than done, considering narcissists often hide their true self. But if there's a niggling feeling in the back of your mind - don't ignore it. Instead, trust your gut. 

"Being alert to these signs is really important. Seeing firsthand the impact these sorts of manipulative personalities can have on other people long-term - the sooner you realise you might be in a relationship with a narcissist, the better."

Mia Madafferi has created a free info-packed guide, 'The Ultimate Checklist to Communicate with a Narcissist Like a Pro'. You can follow Mia on Instagram and access her checklist through the link in bio here

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. 

Feature Image: Getty.

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