Overt narcissists are pretty easy to recognize and label, even the first time we meet them. They’re pushy, loud and over the top.
But sneaky narcissists try to lull us to sleep so we’ll drop our defenses and let them take over our lives.
However, we can learn the early warning signs, even the first time we meet them. Sneaky narcissists exhibit typical patterns when we meet them.
Notice, we can recognize their behavior and we can also honor our feelings even though we may not have evidence that would stand up in court. Some early warning signs of sneaky narcissists are:
- They appear quiet and pleasant but they always become the center of attention and conversation. Their experiences, their feelings, their observations are the ones that count most. If the spotlight shifts from them, they maneuver it back rapidly.
- They’re demanding and talk down to people who have to serve them. They’re subtly negative about everyone who doesn’t worship them. They’re experts at planting seeds of doubt or sharing confidences that play with your emotions. Recognize sneaky narcissists by how often you’re your feelings about people change after they’ve been whispering in your ear. They often had to retaliate against former friends or partners who were dumb, wrong and deserved it.
- They criticize, bully and abuse you with a smile until you distrust your own opinion. They often change or deny what happened until you start questioning yourself. You start to think you’re dumb and crazy. Your self-esteem and self-confidence plummet. You feel dependent. See the movie, “Gaslight.”
- Their opinions and rules are right; they know best about everything, including you. They might not yell, but they’re clear: they see accurately, they know the truth, their reasoning is right. Their rule is that if they find one exception to your statement, it’s all false and you have to give in to them. They want to convince you there will be a disaster if you don’t do what they want.
- They find perfectly logical reasons why they should control every decision, especially when it concerns money, jobs, friends and family. They often start by pleasing you and then slowly making adjustments to your life, one seemingly small thing after another.
- They debate cleverly so you’ll let them win. Their feelings are much more important than yours and come first. They often use their hurt feelings so you’ll give them what they want. Always, they take over more and more of your thoughts, actions and space. They take over your life. If you don’t give them what they absolutely must have (everything they want), they’ll be devastated.
- They’re relentless. They may back off for a while but they’ll always return to reinforce their points and to find examples that disagree with yours. Everything is a matter of life and death to them, although the most sneaky ones go slowly at first to take control of your life step-by-step. You feel yourself not wanting to bring up things or to disagree because it’ll be too much trouble over something that’s not so important to you.
Many begin by flattering you in order to gain control.
They can’t live without you. They’re charming and sweep you off your feet. They want to move in right away and do everything together. Or they want you to sell your place, quit your job and move in with them. Then you’re helpless, arranging everything around their desires and schedules.
Notice how that undying love is slowly replaced by distain and control once they have you. Recognize what they do when you deny them something, especially unconditional submission, adoration or money.
Always trust your inner radar. Even if you don’t have external evidence, move on before it’s too late.
We might be fooled by the cleverest of narcissists or sociopaths until we marry them, but once we realize what’s going on, we can and must get out before we lose ourselves in their control.
Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation. The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:
- Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
- Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.
Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.