With more and more women turning to dating apps and websites for introductions, the images of the men they are being presented rarely match the individual they meet. What begins as an “immediate connection” soon develops into something too good to be true. According to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services and teaching faculty member at Columbia University Teacher’s College, narcissists are found everywhere and in varying degrees. According to Dr. Hafeez, the current “swipe right” dating culture only feeds their agendas; therefore, it is important to not only understand who they are, but know how to identify them.
What is narcissism? Many mental health specialists agree that a narcissist is an individual who has an excessive interest or admiration of himself; this “false self” is often one created to cope with pain from early childhood. “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 Dr. Hafeez.
1. Narcissists are devastatingly charming. They are incredibly upbeat and bombard you with compliments. Immediately you are disarmed and captivated. With a quick wit, they are able to read people and know how to appeal to theem. “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. While a narcissist appears to be interested in someone else, he will always return the conversation to himself. “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.