Question (from Jill):

How can I avoid dating a narcissist?

Answer:

Dear Jill:

Online dating for singles over 50 years old is generally populated by people with more awareness and life experiences than the younger age categories. Most people over 50 have had their relationship experiences with narcissists. Problem is that not everyone really knows what a narcissist is and they are often difficult to clearly identify.

In my own psychotherapy practice I have had many patients over the years describing their first or first few dates with a narcissist. They describe that person as full of themselves, as talking the entire time about themselves, turning any attempt to talk about another topic right back into something about themselves.

This is usually the first obvious glance at narcissism and usually the most easily spotted.

The more subtle and more engaging types of narcissists are those who seem to idealize you, put you on some kind of pedestal. People love to be loved and often are blind to this kind of narcissism. An awareness of how things do fall from pedestals happens when given some small detail that the narcissist feels injured about, will cause a crashing down from that pedestal. Psychologist Linda Sapadin, Ph.D., in her article on “Living With A Narcissist” describes the various characteristics of narcissism and how to cope or deal with these if you are in a relationship with a narcissistic person. At the online dating level, I suggest you keep these suggestions nearby and your awareness peaked if you experience these characteristics in someone you are just beginning to know.

Beware however about labeling everyone a narcissist. Many of the characteristics that are mentioned are commonly found in everyone from time to time. These aspects are only troubling when they define a person’s personality.


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