Part One on Narcissism (Run Like Hell if you're already experiencing 6 of the mentioned Red Flags in this article; 4 more coming soon)
Note by Author: These Red Flag Series are an introduction to the novel "I can't read you" which I am currently working on. It's a true love/horror story based on my own personal experiences. Narcissism is found more among men then women and it really isn't all that negative unless it's used to gain personal benefit in an unremorseful way. Each one of us has narcissistic traits, some just have them more pronounced then others. And those who are classified as true narcissists, those are the one you have to be extra cautious of.
He Isn't my Soulmate - Never Was
He came on strong. He seemed to have the same values, interests, goals, philosophies, tastes, habits I had. He admired my intellect, ambition, honesty and sincerity. He admired the way the two of us got along together, he loved the closeness with me (he said).
He wanted to marry me quickly and even fantasized about having (another) child, and would get very emotional when I told him I wasn't ready for that step yet. He faked integrity, appeared helpful, comforting, generous in his ‘idealization’ of me.
It didn’t last – it never lasts. Eventually Jekyll turns into Hyde.
In the first few months of the relationship, everyone said we fit together perfectly, and how good we were for each other. It seemed like we were mirror images of each other, and we were. He made sure of this. It’s a trait of narcissistic sociopaths called “mirroring”.
Idealization is the first step in the narcissistic sociopath’s grooming process. Also known as 'love-bombing', it quickly broke down my guard, unlocked my heart, and modified my brain chemicals to become addicted to the pleasure centers firing away.
The excessive flattery and compliments played on my deepest vanities and insecurities—qualities I didn’t even knew I possessed.
He fed me constant praise and attention through my phone (SMS or WhatsApp), Facebook DM's and email inbox. Within a matter of weeks, the two of us had our own set of inside jokes, pet names, and cute songs.
Note by author: Looking back, I can see how insane the whole thing was?
How did he do it? He used a variety of brainwashing techniques to win me over. If I think back, I realise he emphasised these six major points (red flags) during the first months of the relationship:
Red Flag #1. We have so much in common
How many times hadn't he told me: “We see the world the same way. We have the same sense of humor. We’re both so empathetic, constantly helping out our friends and family members. We are perfect for each other.”
He repeatedly drilled these points home, often times even going so far as to say: “We’re practically the same person.” He spent a lot of time listening to me and always responding that he felt the same way, until I eventually came to believe that I had met the only person in the world who felt the same way I did.
Note by author: Don't you remember remarking how weird it seemed, meeting someone so similar to yourself? You know why? Because it is flat-out impossible (and creepy) for two people to be identical in every way.Normal people have differences. It’s what makes life interesting. But narcissistic sociopaths like him can skip this complication because they don't have an identity. He does not have a sense of self. Like a chameleon, they will transform every part of their personality to become your perfect match.
Red Flag #2. We have the same hopes and dreams
He consumed my present life, but he also took over my future, by making many long-term promises to me, like "I'll never leave, no matter what. We'll always be together. We'll grow old together and be happy until we'll die". He repeated these promised so frequent that I started to believe them and this ensured me that he was highly invested in the relationship. He took this a step further, quickly discussing major life events like marriage and moving in together.
Note by author: These are decisions that typically take years in a healthy relationship. I had my doubts early on, and thought things were moving too fast, his promises and fake dreams for our future made those doubts and fears fade.
Red Flag #3. We share the same insecurities
He never actually said this, of course, because in his mind, he has none, but he sure sniffed out my vulnerabilities. Then, he mirrored them to drive up my sympathy—a manipulative technique to make me want to heal his problems with the same care I would hope to receive myself.
Note by author: I am an empathetic person, and not really attacked to blatant butt-kissing. I have always been attracted to the innocent, sympathetic people. This increased exponentially with him, when I also recognised his insecurities as my own. I saw someone feeling inferior (like I had felt during my early adulthood being raised by a narcopath mother and an emphatic father) and I believed that I knew how to make him feel better.
He was like no one else, because he genuinely seemed to adore all of my efforts. He compared me to past exes, idealising me above everyone else. It’s as if all of my energies finally had a purpose.
I perceived him in a sympathetic light, my natural instincts kicked in, and I did everything I could to prove how much I cared and loved him. But know I realise that he sees insecurities in a very different way—a tool for manipulation and control. His childlike “baby” routine is a perfect way to mask these intentions.
Red Flag #4. You are so beautiful
He was always obsessed with the way I looked. I never met another human being who commented so frequently on my clothes when we would go out, my hair when it was styled straight (which he liked more then my natural curly hair), my skin and athletic figure, my pictures, or whatever other superficial quality he would choose to focus on. At first, these felt like compliments. He couldn’t believe how beautiful I am —he told me often he didn’t even feel worthy of being my partner. He would say I could get any man I wanted and how lucky he felt having found me on Facebook (not realising that was his tactic, he finds his women either through social media or dating sites) – and, just as planned, I reassured him he was the only one for me.
Going along with the above point about insecurities, I began to return all of this flattery. I wanted to make sure how adequate he was—that he would understand how attractive I thought he was. And that’s what he was aiming for. By showering me with compliments, he knew he could expect the adoration to rebound shortly. Suddenly, he became very comfortable sharing photos of himself. He would send me nude photos/videos of himself and kept insisting I would send him some of mine (which I didn't because I too shy to do this).
Our relationship became an unending exchange of praise and approval.
I began to place my self-esteem into his words, because he was so reliably positive. I actually felt myself glowing. I would spend more and more time improving my appearance to keep him impressed.
Red Flag #5. I’ve never felt this way in my life
This is where the comparisons begin. He held me in high regard, far above all of his other relationships. He explained—in detail—every one of the reasons why I was better than his other exes. He couldn't remember the last time he was ever this happy.
I constantly heard sweeping declarations like, “I can’t believe how lucky I am.” Statements like these played on my innate desire to make others happy. He convinced me that I was providing him with a special sort of joy, something that he could not find in anyone else. This became a point of pride for me—believing that I was the one he wanted, despite all of his other admirers.
He referred to me as “perfect” and “awesome”, which, over time, became an overwhelming source of cognitive dissonance when the words inevitably changed to “crazy” and “jealous”.
Note by author: As I worked through these memories (during my post traumatic stress disorder period after the break up), I realised that his compliments were always shallow and calculated. He had done it with everyone. But for each target, the idealize phase had been somewhat different.
However, one thing remains true throughout our relationship: "He really had “never felt this way” in his life because he never actually had been given the opportunity to accomplish to live his dream (which is living on a tropical island) and he never had felt the love and happiness that he so frequently proclaimed".
I know now that he oscillates between a continuous contempt, envy, and boredom and will do anything to make his own distorted dreams come through. Nothing more.
Red Flag #6. We are soul mates
Narcissistic sociopaths love the idea of soul mates. It implies something different than love. It says that there are higher powers at work. That you are meant to be together. It means that they consume your entire being—mind and body alike. It creates a psychic bond that lasts long after the relationship has ended.
Perhaps there is a small part in all of us that longs for a soul mate. The perfect person to complete our lives. Someone with whom we can share everything—a lover and a best friend.
And there is nothing wrong with that. I cannot stress this point enough.
He manipulated my dreams and fantasies about creating a nice warm home for our children (he has a son and I have a daughter), where they would feel secure and welcome always, sharing a sense of family, but that does not make them my weaknesses. I still have a strong desire for providing a safe heaven and all my friends and clients know that they're always welcome in my nest, my paradise.
After being discarded by a narcissistic sociopath, many survivors denounce everything about their past life, raising a permanent guard to protect themselves from more abuse.
Please don’t do this.
If you believe in soul mates, you will find a real one. You will find a man or woman who is full of gentle compassion & kindness.
You will never question your heart because of him or her.
Your love will blossom on its own, without all of the manufactured intensity.
He was not my soul mate, nor will he never be. I was fooled to believe so.
To be my soul mate, you would—of course—need to have a soul.
Published by Badass Yoga Rebel, a happy survivor of narcissistic abuse.
About the Author
Badass Yoga Rebel, otherwise known as Corinne Voermans, founder of Happy Buddha Aruba writes about all sorts of topics but primarily about how to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and others based upon her own life experiences and challenges. With the help of many co-authors its her mission to help and support others going through rough times. May there be light at the end of the stairway to heaven. Realise that before we get there you're going to sweat. The steps can be filled with obstacles. You could fall a couple times by taking a misstep but in the end its about the climb and reaching the top. Don't be scared, you're not alone, others will help you move on so be fearless through the struggles of life for it's the only way of becoming your true authentic self. Namaste