It’s not always easy to spot narcissists. They can be very charming and alluring at the onset, presenting a false mask to the outside world. Research indicates that narcissism is rising in the population, especially among the younger generation. With the rise of dating applications connecting us to people we wouldn’t normally have access to, it’s even more likely that at some point you will encounter someone on the narcissistic spectrum.
Yet how can you tell in the early stages of dating that you’ve met someone toxic? Although there is no foolproof way to immediately confirm whether someone is a narcissist, there are red flags of toxic people that we often mistake for intimacy.
These dating myths can cause us to believe that our dating partner is the soulmate we’ve been looking for, when in reality, they can indicate someone who lacks empathy, exploits others and feels superior to those around him or her.
Female sociopaths and narcissists are dangerous precisely because their manipulation operates underneath the radar. Although there is an ongoing debate about the definition of “sociopath” versus “narcissist,” it’s safe to say that both types exhibit the following:
- A callous lack of empathy.
- A tendency to manipulate and con others for their own gain.
- A sense of egocentrism and excessive entitlement along with blatant disregard for the rights, needs and feelings of others.
Sociopaths and narcissists on the high end of the spectrum take it one step further. Those who meet the criteria for the Dark Triad (narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism) often lack remorse for their destructive actions. They use cognitive empathy to assess their target’s vulnerabilities but they lack the affective empathy to truly care about the welfare of others. They are often sadistic in provoking and deceiving others, feeling pleasure at the sight of another’s pain. Studies show that these toxic types experience positive feelings when seeing sad faces (Wai & Tiliopoulos, 2012).
The reality of their malice becomes darker when we consider that females are socialized by our society to be covertly aggressive. As a result, they are more likely to bully others through underhanded methods such as relational aggression – abuse through sabotage of someone’s social relationships and reputation – all while mastering the guise of a sweet exterior.
Here are six signs you are dealing with a female sociopath or narcissist on the high end of the spectrum:
Looking for an easier way to read about narcissism and narcissistic abuse? Check out Thought Catalog’s new Narcissism page
, which features many of my most popular articles on this type of covert abuse. Be sure to share it with other survivors who might need this important information as well!