ARE YOU DAT­ING A NARCISSIST?

Athleisure - - Frontpage - Con­nect with Dr Sanam Hafeez PsyD via twit­ter @com­pre­hendMind or www.com­pre­hendthe­mind.com

With more and more peo­ple turn­ing to dat­ing apps and web­sites to meet peo­ple, we see a re­lat­able pat­tern. You see some­one’s photo. You’re at­tracted. You read their pro­file or brief de­scrip­tion of who they claim to be. You reach out. You ex­change emails. You text. Maybe you’ll speak briefly and then, you meet. You’re hit­ting it off. Things seem great. How­ever, it seems al­most too good to be true. Is it?

Ac­cord­ing to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC based li­censed clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, teach­ing fac­ulty mem­ber at the pres­ti­gious Columbia Uni­ver­sity Teacher’s Col­lege and the founder and Clin­i­cal Di­rec­tor of Com­pre­hen­sive Con­sul­ta­tion Psy­cho­log­i­cal Ser­vices, nar­cis­sists are ev­ery­where and in vary­ing de­grees. She ex­plains that the cur­rent “swipe right” dat­ing cul­ture only feeds their agenda, it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand who they are and how to spot them.

WHAT IS NARCISSISM?

Many men­tal health spe­cial­ists agree that narcissism is ba­si­cally an in­di­vid­ual who has an ex­ces­sive in­ter­est or ad­mi­ra­tion of a false self they cre­ated to cope with early hurts as chil­dren. “Nar­cis­sists are dis­con­nected from their true selves and are con­stantly work­ing to ap­pear bet­ter than others. They have an ide­al­ized self-im­age and are in love with that im­age which hides their true wounded self,” says Hafeez.

Dr. Hafeez shares some “red flag” char­ac­ter­is­tics of nar­cis­sists along with tips and in­sights that can spare many peo­ple the heartache and men­tal an­guish that comes with dat­ing a narcissist.

1. Nar­cis­sists are off the charts charm­ing.

They are in­cred­i­bly up­beat and bom­bard you with com­pli­ments. Im­me­di­ately you are cap­ti­vated by them and their fo­cus on you. They have quick wit, can read peo­ple and know what to say to make them feel good. “Nar­cis­sists are great at build­ing rap­port quickly; how­ever, they are do­ing so to serve them­selves first and fore­most. In other words, they feed off the at­ten­tion, ad­mi­ra­tion and val­i­da­tion of others so they charm with an agenda,” cau­tions Dr. Hafeez.

2. In their mind, it's re­ally all about them.

The in­ter­est­ing thing about the narcissist is that they make it seem as if they are in­ter­ested in you how­ever they will al­ways turn the con­ver­sa­tion and back to them. “Th­ese are not team play­ers. They look to their part­ner to be the source of their hap­pi­ness and much of that hap­pi­ness comes from get­ting ap­proval or even sym­pa­thy,” ex­plains Dr. Hafeez. “Early on in their child­hoods the narcissist didn’t get the nur­tur­ing they needed to feel se­cure. They were ne­glected or made to feel as if they were bad, so they spend their time and en­ergy show­ing how great they are,” she adds.

3. Rules don’t ap­ply to the en­ti­tled narcissist.

They’re most likely to have a hand­i­cap tag hang­ing from the rearview mir­ror of their Porsche. When asked about the hand­i­capped tag they'll launch into a de­scrip­tive, de­tailed 20-minute story about how they in­jured their knee, en­ti­tling them to the hand­i­capped tag. They want to gain your sym­pa­thy. Other rule break­ing be­hav­iors, dis­obey­ing traf­fic laws, park­ing il­le­gally in front of places leav­ing you wait­ing as they quickly "run in," cut­ting lines, and even steal­ing. “They truly be­lieve the world re­volves around them and ex­pect others to cater to their needs. This is due to needs be­ing un­met ear­lier in life,” says Dr. Hafeez.

4. They dis­re­spect bound­aries.

Be mind­ful of your bound­aries! Nar­cis­sists will do things like in­vade your

phys­i­cal space, bor­row or take be­long­ings or even money without re­turn­ing or re­pay­ment. They break prom­ises without re­morse and may even blame the vic­tim. “Pro­tect­ing your bound­aries is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant when deal­ing with a narcissist. When over step­ping is per­mit­ted, it leads to code­pen­dence and a lost sense of self,” warns Dr. Hafeez.

5. They look great on the sur­face.

Their de­sire to im­press others may lead them to a lot of time and money on their phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance. They are all about sta­tus and achieve­ment. They’ll brag about their ed­u­ca­tion, their pos­ses­sions, who they know, their ac­com­plish­ments and typ­i­cally, it’s ex­ag­ger­ated. “This again stems from the de­sire of ap­proval. They care what others think of them so much that they use peo­ple and situations to fuel the false self they cre­ated,” ex­plains Dr. Hafeez.

6. They’ll dis­ap­pear like a ghost and you’ll feel dis­carded.

Nar­cis­sists will put you on a pedestal as they com­ple­ment and charm you. You will feel in­cred­i­bly spe­cial, caught up on their in­tent gaze upon you. How­ever, once they see you’re just as in­ter­ested in your own well-be­ing, that you’re pro­tec­tive of your bound­aries, that you have other in­ter­ests and put them in their place; they swiftly move on. When they see you won’t al­low ma­nip­u­la­tion, they dis­ap­pear and will be in­cred­i­bly cold. They may even give the silent treat­ment and blame you.

7. Their past re­la­tion­ships are all drama.

They will make it seem like their exes were all crazy, will share hor­ror sto­ries and make you feel as if you are the best thing they found. They paint them­selves as the vic­tim and may add that their ex still wants them. “Pay very close at­ten­tion to how the per­son speaks about their past re­la­tion­ships,” ad­vises Dr. Haf­feez. “Nar­cis­sists typ­i­cally won’t keep an­swers brief, pos­i­tive and for­ward mov­ing when it comes to past re­la­tion­ships,” she adds.

About the Doc­tor:

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based li­censed clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, teach­ing fac­ulty mem­ber at the pres­ti­gious Columbia Uni­ver­sity Teacher’s Col­lege and the founder and Clin­i­cal Di­rec­tor of Com­pre­hen­sive Con­sul­ta­tion Psy­cho­log­i­cal Ser­vices, P.C. a neu­ropsy­cho­log­i­cal, de­vel­op­men­tal and ed­u­ca­tional cen­ter in Man­hat­tan and Queens.

Dr. Hafeez mas­ter­fully ap­plies her years of ex­pe­ri­ence con­nect­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions to ad­dress some of to­day’s com­mon is­sues such as body im­age, so­cial me­dia ad­dic­tion, re­la­tion­ships, work­place stress, par­ent­ing and psy­chopathol­ogy (bipo­lar, schizophre­nia, de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, etc…). In ad­di­tion, Dr. Hafeez works with in­di­vid­u­als who suf­fer from post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der (PTSD), learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, at­ten­tion and mem­ory prob­lems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez of­ten shares her cred­i­ble ex­per­tise to var­i­ous news out­lets in New York City and fre­quently ap­pears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

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