Seeing the signs and avoiding a potential predator
As a former doormat with terrible boundaries and a fear of saying “no,” I have often found that predators and creepers like to push boundaries with me. I have been bad at saying no because I try to be polite and avoid their yucky comments instead of being bold and stopping them. I’ve been a magnet for predatory people because I was an easy target.
Recently, someone that I believe is going to prove to be bad news has been trying some typical narcissistic games/predatory moves on me. In the past, I might have fallen for some of them, but this time, my red flag detectors are working! I wanted to share my observations of warning signs because what I’m seeing is pretty typical of the way a narcissist will cozy up to a vulnerable person. Although I have come a long way, I still have a lot of weak spots that probably look fun and inviting to toxic people.
First of all, this person tried to find common ground with me based on the fact that we are both estranged from our mothers. He kept complimenting me on my strength. Well, as someone who has struggled with a narcissist mother all my life, this tactic has almost always worked on me. I’ve always been glad to hear from others in the same situation. Sometimes they are sincere, and sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes it’s a creeper trying to connect on a more personal and intimate level. At first, I responded to this person eagerly because I love to connect and discuss. But, he barely responded. When he did, he started complimenting me again. Uh oh. He brought up the toxic mother commonality, but didn’t really have anything to say about it. Does he really have a narc mom?
This isn’t a sign on its own, but it is not unusual for a predator/narcissist to play victim and try to relate to a real victim/survivor. We want to trust others who share our stories, but unfortunately, our desire to find others who can relate also opens us to more narcissists. I am aware that this person is married, and has been for a long time. So…I put up my warning boundaries and kept the conversation pretty neutral. I will discuss narcissistic parents, but we don’t need to discuss how smart, strong, or cute I am. Uggh.
Second sign: This person continued to compliment me. Compliments are nice! But when overdone, they get a bit uncomfortable. Why is this person bombing me with praise? And how come every time I divert to a conversation, it comes back to these superficial compliments? Hmmm…. I feel like this person wants something from me…but it’s not a good chat! I don’t want a married man being so friendly with me.
Although I am not pursuing a relationship with this person, it is still common for narcissists and predatory types to “love bomb” a new target with all kinds of admiration. We all like to be praised, and it’s easy to be blinded by praise from someone with not-so-good intentions.
The third sign was the clincher. He started trying to triangulate between myself and another single woman who has a lot in common with me. He started telling me she seemed very jealous of the fact that he talked to me and “liked” my comments on Facebook. Oh no. I am not interested in this person, and he’s not going to get me interested by trying to make me jealous of another woman. I am not competing for him! He persisted in telling me that the woman was very jealous and that she was starting to act crazy. This is quite bizarre, because he and I are not heading anywhere near a relationship. I’m barely talking to him and I’m trying to keep things light and neutral. There isn’t anything for anyone to be jealous of!
It is common for a narcissist to try to make a potential target jealous by pretending they are in high demand. It’s human nature to want what others want, and it makes the predator seem more special and valuable. Subconsciously, it makes us more likely to want them.
Fourth: After talking to this person off and on, he suddenly tells me his divorce will be final THIS week. Surprise! That’s weird. His Facebook status shows married to his wife. No separation, no fighting…just married. There’s a big smiley picture of her! I already know to be wary of men who claim they are going to get divorced some day. They aren’t divorced until they actually are, but predatory types will keep a woman on the hook by promising they are going to file any day now.
Actions speak louder than words. Predators tell us all kinds of stories, but we can only believe what they SHOW us.
Finally, this person told me that the “other” woman had blocked him on Facebook and that he was sorry he’d trusted her. He then told me he hoped I would still be a friend to him because he’s going through a rough time.
Do you see the red flags waving and the flashing lights going off!?
A narcissist will always say the other person is “crazy” when the other person places a boundary and tries to get away. They will also play victim and seek your comfort.
Now, if I’d seen just one of these signs, or even two, I might not want to jump to conclusions, but my conversations with this person are heading straight into uh uh, no no no territory. There are too many weird stories, there is too much triangulation and there is…a wife. Ahem. I will be keeping my distance.
Be careful out there and make sure to be alert when it comes to detecting creepers!
This is a mild story since I wasn’t even contemplating dating this guy, but if you are interested, I have an eBook about big red flags of narcissism in dating relationships. Been there. Done that!