Category Archives: ABUSE

Recovering from Dating/Domestic Violence

Being the victim of violence in an intimate relationship can be very traumatic. You have chosen to love and trust your partner and s/he has betrayed you with violence. At the same time, there are often positive aspects of the relationship that may lead you to still cling to that relationship, believing your abuser loves you and will eventually change. These two sides of a violent relationship may make it very difficult to know if you really love your partner or not, or if you want to stay in the relationship or not. In fact, most survivors of relationship violence report that they do not want the relationship to end, they just want the abuse to stop. You may experience mixed feelings and feel a sense of responsibility. You may have told yourself that if only you could make things better, the violence would stop. It is very hard to accept that you have no control over your partner’s behavior, but it is ultimately more healing to recognize that no matter how confused about the situation you are, the fact remains the violence is not your fault

Recovering from a violent relationship is a process that takes time. You may experience depression, fear, self-blame, feelings of responsibility, difficulty concentrating, and helplessness, as well as the physical injuries associated with violence. Since abusive relationships are about power and control, survivors often have difficulty taking control of their lives back, particularly if the abuser has managed to isolate them socially or economically. There are, however, a number of services and organizations designed to help victims survive the abuse and move on with their lives.

Abuse in Dating Relationships

What You Should Know:
Definition of abuse in relationships: the intentional and systematic use of tactics to establish and maintain power and controlover the thoughts, beliefs, and conduct of a woman.

Abuse in permanent relationships often starts in dating years. It can lead to serious injury, suicide and murder and is always emotionally destructive to both men and women.

Physical abuse and threats of violence are crimes. It is against the law to assault your girlfriend or partner, just as it is a crime to assault a stranger. Abusers can be jailed or fined if convicted. Police are required to lay charges when there is probable cause to believe an assault has occurred.

All forms of abuse are expressions of power. They are meant to control the woman both immediately and in the future through the use of fear and intimidation. Society tolerates woman abuse through its acceptance of sexism in relationships. Men are permitted and encouraged to use force as a way to solving problems. Women are encouraged to take responsibility for the emotional needs of men and to assume blame when relationships break down.

Early Warning Signs of An Abuser
Are you going out with someone who:
  • is jealous and possessive toward you, won’t let you have friends, checks up on you, won’t accept breaking up
  • tries to control you by being very bossy,
    giving orders, making all the decisions, doesn’t take your opinion seriously
  • is scary, you worry about how he will react to things you say or do, threatens you, uses or owns weapons
  • is violent: has a history of fighting, loses temper quickly, brags about mistreating others
  • pressures you for sex, is forceful or scary around sex, thinks women or girls are sex objects, attempts to manipulate or guilt trip you by saying “if you really loved me you would…;” “no one will love you like I do,” gets too serious about the relationship too fast
  • abuses drugs or alcohol and pressures you to take them
  • blames you when mistreating you, says you provoked him, pressing his buttons, made him do it, lead him on
  • has a history of bad relationships and blames the other person for all the problems, “girls just don’t understand me;”
  • believes that men should be in control and powerful and that women should be passive and submissive
  • your family and friends have warned you about the person or told you they were worried for your safety

If You Are Abused…

You are not alone and you are not to blame. You cannot control his violence, but there are ways you can make yourself safer:

  • You can call the police if you have been assaulted.
  • Tell someone. Talk to a doctor or counsellor after each violent/abusive incident and have them keep a record for future evidence.
  • Write down the details for yourself as soon as possible after the assault. Use the list of resources in this brochure. Keep it in a safe, handy place where your partner won’t find it.
  • Develop a safety plan. Know all exits in your house you could use in an emergency. Memorize emergency numbers. Keep spare house and car keys handy. Know where you can stay in an emergency.
  • Call a shelter for abused women. Shelters can provide a safe place to stay in a crisis as well as information and counselling 24 hours a day, seven days a week in person or by phone.
  • Consider leaving the relationship as soon as possible.
  • Recognize that no one has the right to control you and that it is everyone’s human right to live without fear.

If You are Abusive…

You are not alone. Many men have a problem with violence learned from childhood or supported by society. You can learn less dangerous and damaging ways to feel that you are in control. Here are some things you should consider:

  • You need to take responsibility for your own behaviour. Your girlfriend or partner does not make you hurt her.
  • Your behaviour may destroy your relationship or seriously injure someone you care about.
  • Blaming your violence on drugs, alcohol or sickness and apologizing after the violence will not solve your problem.
  • Physical violence and threats of violence are crimes. You face fines or imprisonment, if convicted.
  • Denying your abuse and resisting intervention will prevent you from getting help. Police and other professionals intervene to keep everyone safe. You can begin to change the way you act with the support of resources listed in this pamphlet.

Why Do Men Abuse Women?

Because they:

  • may have learned this behaviour in their family of origin (many abusers have witnessed their father abusing their mother)
  • try to maintain a macho image reinforced by society and the media
  • believe it is an appropriate male expression of power and control
  • want their partner to remain dependent on them
  • know there are few, if any, consequences for violent acts

Why do Women Stay In Abusive Dating Relationships?

Because they:

  • want their relationships to work and hope their boyfriends will change
  • fear their boyfriend will hurt them or seek revenge if they leave
  • feel guilt and shame
  • see no alternative
  • are not aware that help is available
  • believe their boyfriend needs them
  • do not have social or personal supports
  • believe a boyfriend who is occasionally violent is better than no boyfriend at all
  • believe the violence and abuse is normal
  • think that the violence will go away after they get married

How Can Students Help When Abuse Has Happened?


  • believe your friend
  • listen calmly and take the concern seriously
  • reassure your friend that nobody deserves to be abused
  • support your friend in looking at the risks of more abuse
  • create an atmosphere of safety and trust
  • suggest talking to a trusted adult such as a teacher, guidance counsellor or school psychologist, or call one of the agencies listed on this pamphlet
  • consult with local agencies listed on the back of this pamphlet
  • call the 24-hour Abused Women’s Helpline


  • be misled that the crisis has passed
  • sound shocked or embarrassed
  • make light of the situation
  • guarantee secrecy
  • take responsibility for support alone
  • emphasize how bad others will feel
  • make unrealistic promises

In The Area of Prevention…Everyone Can:

  • become more aware of verbal and physical abuse in their own relationships
  • help students “break the silence”
  • be aware of jokes, movies, TV programs, advertising, & videos that are demeaning to women and may promote woman abuse

How to Recognize a Manipulative or Controlling Relationship

As your relationship with a new person in your life has developed, you find your old friends falling away, while family members remark on how you don’t seem like yourself. Are you losing yourself to an odd, and ultimately destructive, relationship? Before you can regain your individuality and strength, you’ll need to determine whether the relationship is taking something away, and, if so, you must put an end to the destructive cycle. While the steps are directed towards romantic relationships, they do apply to any kind of relationship.


    Evaluate honestly: Is this relationship healthy, or is it unhealthy? Be objective as you analyze how things have changed since this relationship began.


    Are your family relationships suddenly filled with tension, every time your partner’s name comes up? Red flags should go up if everyonewho cares about you is getting worried or is being pushed away.

    • Does this person bring out your best, or worst traits? Do you feed each others’ best self, or have you seen your attitudes change to more closely mirror your partner’s, which puts off your family and friends? 

    Recognize your blindness to your partner’s faults. Infatuation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be necessary and good; however, it does make one “temporarily insane” for the first part of a relationship. Sometimes our starry-eyed affection can make us willfully close our eyes to warning signals, even though we really kind of know that our friends and family have a point when they say they don’t like this or that about the significant other. Ask yourself: Do you find yourself apologizing or defending your significant other’s behavior? If you find yourself getting defensive when someone questions your relationship, you’re probably already aware that there is a problem and haven’t yet come to terms with it. Remember that people in healthy relationships have nothing to hide or defend. In fact, when a relationship is healthy, your friends and family are normallygoing to recognize that this person makes you very happy, brings out the best in you, and they will rejoice with the two of you. 


    Notice if your plans are continually overturned in favor of hers. Instead, you’re always changing plans to do what she wants, always meeting up with herfriends.

    • Be aware of the way he/she behaves with your family and friends, especially if she/he interrupts them, contradicts them, or behaves dismissively. If you feel you need to apologize or explain her behavior to your family or friends, there’s a problem there.
    • Are you realizing it’s just become easier notto spend time with people you’ve loved for years, rather than to make apologies or excuses?
    • Have all of your past attachments to people and places been replaced by either old friends of your new love, or new friends you’ve made since you’ve been together? Severing your ties to the familiar stability of people you have always known means she has just made herself/himself the center of your universe, and now has no competition for your attention. 

    Watch out for subtle discrepancies. When talking with mutual friends, have they ever said something about your new boyfriend/girlfriend that made you stop and say, “Huh? But he said something different to me… You can’t have understood that right.” Did you then dismiss the idea that what your friends heard could have actually been true? That’s a big red flag. When you’re being controlled or manipulated, it’s usually through half-truths or omissions, not outright lies. There’s just enough weirdness to make you stop and think, but not quite enough to get you to re-evaluate the entire relationship. If this happens more than once, STOP and remind yourself that this isn’t the first time you’ve had this reaction. Start analyzing discrepancies between what your boyfriend said and what your friends say. If there are a lot of them, call her out on them. If his reaction or answers don’t satisfy, it is time to re-evaluate in a major way. And don’t delay doing the analysis – it may save you from disaster later. 


    Keep your support system. Cutting you off from your support systems helps her/him gain dominance over you – and you think it’s your decision. A controlling partner will treat your friends with disrespect – your friends will report rude remarks made behind your back, or you will actually see her treat them in a dismissive (“You don’t have the same experience I have.”) or outright rude way (“That’s just stupid. You’re wrong.”). However, when you’re alone with her, she never says a bad word about those friends, but rather is kind, loving, and even complimentary about them. It makes you believe your family or friends are simply jealous, don’t understand her, etc. You forget her nastiness to their faces because she’s nice behind their backs. When you find yourself telling your mom or sister, “But, you have to understand her like I do,” that’s a bad sign. Why should everyone else understand her and adjust their behavior – wouldn’t it be easier if she would adjust hers?It’s much easier for her to control you when you’ve decided your loved ones just don’t understand your mate, and soon, you have no one but her to turn to. 


    Recognize excessive jealousy or possessiveness as a danger signal. If your partner is protective of you, that’s sweet. If he’s bizarrely, overly protective, it’s scary. Consider whether he constantly nags about how long it takes you to make a trip to the market or to the post office. Does he interrogate you if you aren’t home exactly on time, or if you go out for any reason? Does he question you too intensely about why you were talking to another person? 


    Watch for repeat offenses, shallow apologies and “courting” afterwards. She does something that is totally unacceptable then asks your forgiveness, tells you she realizes she was wrong, and promises to change. She seems utterly sincere and convincing – but it is part of the control. It is a way to use your compassion to keep you interested – at this point she may even tearfully say she wants your help to change, particularly if you have let her know that you will not tolerate such things again. She may bring you lavish gifts and attempt to sweep you off your feet, again, re-establishing her sincerity and your belief that she truly loves you (and she may, but in a really toxic, controlling way). Watch for the bad behavior to resume as soon as she believes she has you hooked and complacent again. 


    Beware of the “backhanded compliment”. Saying, “Nobody will ever love you the way I do,” seems sweet, but he wants you to believe that nobody but he will ever love you again.It fosters utter dependence on him and his love. Over time, these ideas erode your sense of confidence. You will begin to believe you’re unworthy of better treatment, and he’s the best you can hope for. Do not believe this, you deserve so much more – and that is what you should have. 


    Stop berating yourself for being into this person. Realize that she’s amazing – on the surface – and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for being attracted to that. These people are often an odd mix of very high intellect or talent, coupled with low self-esteem (although they often seem confident to the point of arrogance – a mask for their internal lack of true confidence). Controlling, manipulative people are not able to just let things happen naturally – she mustcontrol things or, in her mind, things will “get away” from her – so she’s compelled by her inner horrors to make sure she’s the one pulling all the strings. But what makes it most awful is that she’s probably gorgeous (you thought so, right?) and smart, funny and charming. It’s no wonder you fell for her.


Ask yourself whether the relationship is worth saving. All of the above are warning signs that you are involved with a controlling person who’s likely to be manipulating you. Try to be objective, though. If talking, working it through, or going to counseling fails to get your partner to stop these behaviors for longer than it takes to convince you of his sincerity (in other words, behaviors resume again after a short time), there may be no choice but to part ways, even if you still love him. 


  • Do recognize that almost everyone is capable of some manipulative or controlling behaviors from time to time – we all want to get our way or to win the argument. But when you begin to recognize more than a few of the above warning signs, it’s time to take a closer look at your relationship and decide whether it’s truly an equal partnership.
  • Don’t blow off the opinions of your friends and family; they do have your best interests in mind. One person can be ignored – many cannot. Do they tell you you’re acting strange lately? Do they comment on how different you seem – and not in a good way? Has anyone you love and respect expressed actual dislike for your partner? Ask yourself, “Is my mom (for example) right about every other thing, but wrong about this ONE thing – the new girlfriend?” And if more than oneclose family member or friend is expressing dislike of the new gal, give more weight to the negative opinions.
  • Key to this entire discussion is the recognition that the establishment of control is subtle,and often occurs over time. The entire purpose of the article is to help you examine your relationship for the warning signs. Because these signs can be subtle, it can be helpful to see a collection of warning signs; one sign may not be a problem. Four or five – talk to friends and relatives. If they affirm the signs are there, it may be time to re-evaluate this relationship – and try to do it outside of the control of this person.
  • Make sure your relationship is a two-way street, and that your partner is giving as well as receiving. If you have something big coming up — an exam, for instance — so that if you get together, you will still need to study. She agrees initially to just come over and hang out while you study, but when she gets there, says something dismissive, like, “You shouldn’t be studying when we’re together, you should spend time with me. That exam isn’t such a big deal and it’s rude of you not to spend time with me.” That should be a flag. A healthy relationship means there is give and take. A controlling or manipulative relationship forces you to constantly choose between other important events and people in your life and your partner. Giving back in a relationship does not only mean showering you with affection and gifts. It means working together in co-operation on non-romantic subjects.
  • Controlling persons often check out of the relationship before you do; he may become detached and apathetic toward you. But unless he is the one to end this relationship, even though it is obvious he is interested in someone else, or at least looking with interest at others, he will freak out if you are the one to leave, and spend hours berating you for your thoughtless abandonment. Just so you know.
  • Don’t be mean about it. You don’t have to be like her to get away. Just say it’s not a match and you don’t intend to continue the relationship. Period. Don’t try pointing out all of the above warning signs. This type of person won’t recognize herself. It’s like trying to teach a pig to sing– it wastes your time and makes the pig bitter.
  • Confess to your friends and family – apologize to themfor marginalizing them and disregarding their bad opinion of this person. Tell them you wish you had listened to them. Get all the anger and hurt out of your system – they will be only too happy to share. They will rejoice when you tell them it’s over.
  • Resist the temptation to be bitter about the experience. You’ve just survived a very tough situation and lived to tell the tale.


  • Severely controlling and manipulative people are often produced by external factors such as abusive parents or clinical mental disorders. You cannot hope to change or rescue such a person, as much as you may care for her; the best help you can give her is to (A) refuse to be her victim, and (B) direct her to professional help.
  • The likelihood of stalking and violent behaviors developing in this type of person is higher than in others, both for you and any supporters you might have. If you feel you’re being stalked, notify the authorities and take steps to make yourself safe (travel with others, stay with friends or family, avoid places you frequented together, get a restraining order).
  • If he shows up at your door after you’ve broken it off, don’t open it if you’re home alone. Make sure someone else is with you if you do decide to talk to him (not recommended), but even though you want to be compassionate, the best and easiest approach is to simply cut off contact.
  • Compassion is not easily understood or accepted by these folks, and it just hurts you both more in the end, as it is likely to be used as a weapon against you. Cutting them off may seem cruel, but it ends the confrontations and forces them to move on or get help.
  • Watch for stalking or menacing behaviors or threats, including threats to harm you or your supporters, or to commit suicide. Don’t rely on your own judgment to determine whether threats are serious. Report them to the police immediately. This person is probably just difficult and not dangerous, but don’t take any chances. If necessary, get a restraining order and call the cops each and every timeit is violated.
  • While it is preferable that marriages involving kids be worked out, in many cases, a controlling manipulator is not amenable to marriage or family counseling. If your partner is not willing to commit to counseling, then separation may be the only answer. Without family counseling, the manipulative, controlling partner will damage the children, and you will spawn more of the same type of person.
  • Couples counseling or marriage counseling may not be a safe place for you to talk about any abuse you are enduring, with the abuser sitting right next to you during a session. You need individual supportive counseling that is often available for free at your local domestic violence agency. They can connect you to an agency close by.
  • Don’t be cowed by people or ideas that you should “stay for the sake of the children.” Some people are so controlling, manipulative and narcissistic that the best interest of the children is served by leaving the relationship, and taking the children with you. Unfortunately, controlling, manipulative persons can become very destructive, and even dangerous, and you should never stay in a relationship that is either, especially if you have kids. It’s your first duty to protect them, not continually allow them to be abused by a person like this.

Steps to Recognizing an Abusive Man

  • Watch out for very possessive and controlling guys. They are more likely to become abusive.
  • Monitor his jealousy and insecurity levels. Does he overreact when you spend time with others? Does he dislike your friends for no apparent reason? Does he accuse you of cheating?
  • Be aware of violence or threats of violence. This is never acceptable behavior. Has he ever shoved or hit you? These are the most obvious signs of an abuser. Has he ever thrown things at you? Has he threatened to do any of these things? Is he physically threatening with other people? Does he punch walls, doors, or other inanimate objects? Try to find out about his fighting history. If he has been in lots of fights with other guys, you know that he’s violent. These are the most obvious signs of an abuser.
  • Don’t get taken in by the way he cries and rationalizes his behavior. He will use your sympathy to get to you. He may even try to manipulate you by making it seem like it’s your fault.
  • Notice if he tries to remove you from public places in order to abuse you.
  • See if he belittles you all the time. Does he ever call you names? Hurtful names that you have repeatedly begged him not to call you? If there are children in the relationship, does he belittle you to them?
  • Watch how he talks to or about your parents or your friends. Is he rude or unkind? Or is he a completely different person when others are around, so much that it seems that he’s two different people?
  • Be aware of him trying to make you feel guilty. Such as “It was your fault that happened, and I did nothing, I just tried to keep you from hurting me.”
  • Look for patterns. People who are abusive in relationships are often abusive in other situations. Abusing other family members, such as parents, hurting pets, road-rage, or even personal abuse in the form of drugs or alcohol are all things to be aware of.

How to Spot an Abuser on Your First Date

How to Spot an Abuser on Your First Date

by Sam Vaknin

Is there anything you can do to avoid abusers and narcissists to start with? Are there any warning signs, any identifying marks, rules of thumbs to shield you from the harrowing and traumatic experience of an abusive relationship?

Imagine a first or second date. You can already tell if he is a would-be abuser. Here’s how:

Perhaps the first telltale sign is the abuser’s alloplastic defenses  his tendency to blame every mistake of his, every failure, or mishap on others, or on the world at large. Be tuned: does he assume personal responsibility? Does he admit his faults and miscalculations? Or does he keep blaming you, the cab driver, the waiter, the weather, the government, or fortune for his predicament?

Is he hypersensitive, picks up fights, feels constantly slighted, injured, and insulted? Does he rant incessantly? Does he treat animals and children impatiently or cruelly and does he express negative and aggressive emotions towards the weak, the poor, the needy, the sentimental, and the disabled?

Does he confess to having a history of battering or violent offenses or behavior? Is his language vile and infused with expletives, threats, and hostility?

Next thing: is he too eager? Does he push you to marry him having dated you only twice? Is he planning on having children on your first date? Does he immediately cast you in the role of the love of his life? Is he pressing you for exclusivity, instant intimacy, almost rapes you and acts jealous when you as much as cast a glance at another male? Does he inform you that, once you get hitched, you should abandon your studies or resign your job (forgo your personal autonomy)?

Does he respect your boundaries and privacy? Does he ignore your wishes (for instance, by choosing from the menu or selecting a movie without as much as consulting you)? Does he disrespect your boundaries and treats you as an object or an instrument of gratification (materializes on your doorstep unexpectedly or calls you often prior to your date)? Does he go through your personal belongings while waiting for you to get ready?

Does he control the situation and you compulsively? Does he insist to ride in his car, holds on to the car keys, the money, the theater tickets, and even your bag? Does he disapprove if you are away for too long (for instance when you go to the powder room)? Does he interrogate you when you return (“have you seen anyone interesting”) – or make lewd “jokes” and remarks? Does he hint that, in future, you would need his permission to do things – even as innocuous as meeting a friend or visiting with your family?

Does he act in a patronizing and condescending manner and criticizes you often? Does he emphasize your minutest faults (devalues you) even as he exaggerates your talents, traits, and skills (idealizes you)? Is he wildly unrealistic in his expectations from you, from himself, from the budding relationship, and from life in general?

Does he tell you constantly that you “make him feel” good? Don’t be impressed. Next thing, he may tell you that you “make” him feel bad, or that you make him feel violent, or that you “provoke” him. “Look what you made me do!” is an abuser’s ubiquitous catchphrase.

Does he find sadistic sex exciting? Does he have fantasies of rape or pedophilia? Is he too forceful with you in and out of the sexual intercourse? Does he like hurting you physically or finds it amusing? Does he abuse you verbally – does he curse you, demeans you, calls you ugly or inappropriately diminutive names, or persistently criticizes you? Does he then switch to being saccharine and “loving”, apologizes profusely and buys you gifts?

If you have answered “yes” to any of the above – stay away! He is an abuser.

Then there is the abuser’s body language. It comprises an unequivocal series of subtle – but discernible – warning signs. Pay attention to the way your date comports himself – and save yourself a lot of trouble!

Many of my correspondents complain of the incredible deceptive powers of the narcissist. They find themselves involved with narcissists (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover their true character. Shocked by the later revelation, they mourn their inability to separate from the narcissist and their gullibility.

Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture. Even an experienced mental health diagnostician with unmitigated access to the record and to the person examined would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from an impairment, i.e., a mental health disorder  or merely possesses narcissistic traits, a narcissistic personality structure (“character”), or a narcissistic “overlay” superimposed on another mental health problem.

Moreover, it is important to distinguish between the traits and behaviour patterns that are independent of the patient’s cultural-social context (i.e., which are inherent, or idiosyncratic) – and reactive patterns, or conformity to cultural and social morals and norms. Reactions to severe Life crises are often characterised by transient pathological narcissism, for instance (Ronningstam and Gunderson, 1996). But such reactions do not a narcissist make.

When a person lives in a society and culture that has often been described as narcissistic by scholars (e.g., Theodore Millon) and social thinkers (e.g., Christopher Lasch) – how much of his behaviour can be attributed to his milieu – and which of his traits are really his?

Additionally, there is a qualitative difference between having a narcissistic style, or a narcissistic personality – and being diagnosed with the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The latter is rigorously defined in the DSM IV-TR and adheres to strict criteria and differential diagnoses (for more, see here:

Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy (“healthy narcissism”). It is considered pathological in the clinical sense only when it becomes a rigid personality structure replete with a series of primitive defence mechanisms (such as splitting, projection, projective identification, or intellectualization) – and when it leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of life.

Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct. People often find themselves involved with a narcissist (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover his true nature.

When the narcissist reveals his true colours, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry that they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.

But the narcissist does emit subtle, almost subliminal, signals (“presenting symptoms”) even in a first or casual encounter. These are:

Haughty” body language – The narcissist adopts a physical posture, which implies and exudes an air of superiority, seniority, hidden powers, mysteriousness, amused indifference, etc. Though the narcissist usually maintains sustained and piercing eye contact, he often refrains from physical proximity (he is “territorial”).

The narcissist takes part in social interactions – even mere banter – condescendingly, from a position of supremacy and faux “magnanimity and largesse”. But he rarely mingles socially and prefers to remain the “observer”, or the “lone wolf”.

Entitlement markers – The narcissist immediately asks for “special treatment” of some kind. Not to wait his turn, to have a longer or a shorter therapeutic session, to talk directly to authority figures (and not to their assistants or secretaries), to be granted special payment terms, to enjoy custom tailored arrangements.

The narcissist is the one who – vocally and demonstratively  demands the undivided attention of the head waiter in a restaurant, or monopolizes the hostess, or latches on to celebrities in a party. The narcissist reacts with rage and indignantly when denied his wishes and if treated equally with others whom he deems inferior.

Idealisation or devaluation – The narcissist instantly idealises or devalues his interlocutor. This depends on how the narcissist appraises the potential one has as a Narcissistic Supply Source. The narcissist flatters, adores, admires and applauds the “target” in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner – or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her.

Narcissists are polite only in the presence of a potential Supply Source. But they are unable to sustain even perfunctory civility and fast deteriorate to barbs and thinly-veiled hostility, to verbal or other violent displays of abuse, rage attacks, or cold detachment.

The “membership” posture – The narcissist always tries to “belong”. Yet, at the very same time, he maintains his stance as an outsider. The narcissist seeks to be admired for his ability to integrate and ingratiate himself without investing the efforts commensurate with such an undertaking.

For instance: if the narcissist talks to a psychologist, the narcissist first states emphatically that he never studied psychology. He then proceeds to make seemingly effortless use of obscure professional terms, thus demonstrating that he mastered the discipline all the same – which Proves that he is exceptionally intelligent or introspective.

In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. A narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field – yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist’s self-proclaimed omniscience.

Bragging and false autobiography – The narcissist brags incessantly. His speech is peppered with “I”, “my”, “myself”, and “mine”. He describes himself as intelligent, or rich, or modest, or intuitive, or creative  but always excessively, implausibly, and extraordinarily so.

The narcissist’s biography sounds unusually rich and complex. His achievements – incommensurate with his age, education, or renown. Yet, his actual condition is evidently and demonstrably incompatible with his claims. Very often, the narcissist lies or fantasies are easily discernible. He always name-drops and appropriates other people’s experiences and accomplishments.

Emotion-free language – The narcissist likes to talk about himself and only about himself. He is not interested in others or what they have to say, unless it is a potential Source of Supply and in order to obtain said supply. He acts bored, disdainful, even angry, if he feels an intrusion on and abuse of his precious time.

In general, the narcissist is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits – unless and until he is the topic of discussion. One can dissect all aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist, providing the discourse is not “emotionally tinted”. If asked to relate directly to his emotions, the narcissist intellectualises, rationalises, speaks about himself in the third person and in a detached “scientific” tone or composes a narrative with a fictitious character in it, suspiciously autobiographical.

Seriousness and sense of intrusion and coercion – The narcissist is dead serious about himself. He may possess a fabulous sense of humour, scathing and cynical, but rarely is he self-deprecating. The narcissist regards himself as being on a constant mission, whose importance is cosmic and whose consequences are global. If a scientist – he is always in the throes of revolutionising science. If a journalist – he is in the middle of the greatest story ever.

This self-misperception is not amenable to light-headedness or self-effacement. The narcissist is easily hurt and insulted (narcissistic injury). Even the most innocuous remarks or acts are interpreted by him as belittling, intruding, or coercive. His time is more valuable than others’ –  therefore, it cannot be wasted on unimportant matters such as social intercourse.

Any suggested help, advice, or concerned inquiry are immediately cast by the narcissist as intentional humiliation, implying that the narcissist is in need of help and counsel and, thus, imperfect. Any attempt to set an agenda is, to the narcissist, an intimidating act of enslavement. In this sense, the narcissist is both schizoid and paranoid and often entertains ideas of reference.

These – the lack of empathy, the aloofness, the disdain, the sense of entitlement, the restricted application of humour, the unequal treatment and the paranoia – render the narcissist a social misfit. The narcissist is able to provoke in his milieu, in his casual acquaintances, even in his psychotherapist, the strongest, most avid and furious hatred and revulsion. To his shock, indignation and consternation, he invariably induces in others’ unbridled aggression.

He is perceived to be asocial at best and, often, antisocial. This, perhaps, is the strongest presenting symptom. One feels ill at ease in the presence of a narcissist for no apparent reason. No matter how charming, intelligent, thought provoking, outgoing, easy going and social the narcissist is  he fails to secure the sympathy of his fellow humans, a sympathy he is never ready, willing, or able to grant them in the first place.