“Toxic people attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles, and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters,” says John Mark Green.
They tag onto you like leeches, digging their claws and teeth in, without you even realizing they've done so until it's too late. They worm their way into your life until one day, you're left wondering how it even happened.
Toxic people, or narcissists, are defined as someone "who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish." They hide this well, though.
First, they seem charming and charismatic, probably even confident in certain areas, but it doesn't take long before the real person behind the mask comes out. In the end, they make you feel worthless and indebted to them.
The following are 14 ways to spot a narcissist:
1. Likeable and charming when you first meet.
As mentioned before, your narcissist will at first seem normal. They'll probably shower you with attention and make you feel special. At this point, they may seem like the most harmless person you'll ever meet.
2. They name-drop often.
They like to feel important (who doesn't, right?), but do everything they can to ensure other people know their social status. They want to be on the same level as the people they name drop.
Although it's normal to want to be successful, it's not healthy to want success in order to intimidate or be better than others.
3. They're materialistic.
It's OK to like nice things, but narcissists take it to another level. These nice things show off how much money they have, and the social status they're trying to achieve/display.
They may even make you feel less for not being able to afford the same luxuries.
4. The conversation always goes back to them.
Whether you've just had the best moment of your life or the worst, they will somehow manage to tie it back to them. Their favorite subject is themselves, and the more you get to know them, the more obvious it becomes.
You may notice that you spend hours listening to their achievements and problems, but only get to talk about yours for only a short while. Listening is not one of their virtues.
5. Most of their friends have left them.
They often talk about all the people who have wronged them, couldn't handle them or were backstabbers. It's perfectly normal to have a few of these, but when almost every person they used to be friends with has something wrong with them?
That's a red flag.
6. They respect only those who agree with them.
Anybody who doesn't agree with them is probably an idiot or ignorant. They're right even when they're wrong. They'll love you until you think differently, no matter how tolerant they claim to be.
7. They have an excuse for everything.
No matter how many times they've wronged you, or how badly they hurt you, they literally have an excuse for everything. Sometimes, they're excuse could be, "Well that's just the way I am, and if you were my friend, you would understand that."
If they keep feeding you lines and refuse to change, even when they know their faults are toxic, then you need to drop them.
8. They have no regard for how they come across.
People can be insensitive – it's a part of life. A narcissist, however, never fails to leave people with their mouths hanging open. Whether they're comparing tragedies or putting people down, they aren't afraid to be say whatever rude and imposing comment comes to mind.
9. They're either a hero or a victim.
In whatever story your narcissist tells, they're either the victim of a tragedy, or the hero of an epic. By the end of their stories, you're meant to either feel sorry for them or think they're the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Don't fall for this, especially if every story follows this manipulative template.
10. They constantly need validation.
At first, a compliment here and there will be enough to satisfy them, but eventually, not even your words will be enough. They need to know that other people think as highly about them as they do.
Not only is this annoying, but it's time-consuming when you have to spend so much energy looking out for their feelings – particularly when they expend only a fraction of their own energy doing the same for you.
11. People roll their eyes when they hear their name.
If this isn't a sign that you need to let them go, I don't know what is. With this said, even the most glaring of signs can be hard to see if you aren't looking.
12. They're emotionally manipulative.
They break down your walls so they can build you back up how they want. If you allow it, they have the power to make you feel worthless and stupid.
They give you things and help you so they can hold their generosity over your head. These acts of kindness are usually turned against you later to make you feel guilty for standing up for yourself.
13. They probably don't know they're a narcissist.
They don't always realize they're so self-centered and narcissistic, which makes cutting things off even harder. They may ask if something they do is wrong, but their response to any criticism is unlikely to be well-received, no matter how much they ask for honesty.
14. They badmouth you when you finally let them go.
Suddenly, you mean nothing to them. Remember all those terrible friends they used to have? Well, now you're one of them. As much as this hurts, know that you're finally free.
What are some traits you associate with Narcissistic Personality Disorder?