When it comes to narcissism, there’s a lot of talk about red flags: behaviors that are associated with narcissistic abuse, such as lying, gaslighting, lack of empathy, grandiosity, and refusal to admit wrongdoing.
But there’s one red flag that’s underrated because it’s so subjective: your own intuition.
When you first meet a narcissist, they may seem like the nicest person you ever met. You might not see any of the usual “red flags” immediately. Before you know it, you’re involved with a person who only has ill will and will make you feel like you’re going insane. When you finally realize what you are dealing with, they may have already wreaked havoc in your life–stolen your time, your patience, your trust, your money, your self-esteem, your job, your spouse, your sanity, your identity, even your soul.
Pay attention to the way you feel around someone you just met. If you feel inexplicably on guard, intimidated, wary, or feel like you’re walking on eggshells, if the person comes off as insincere or smarmy, or you just get the heebie jeebies around the person, don’t dismiss these feelings as only your imagination. Your unconscious mind is picking up signals you may not be consciously aware of and is warning you. Listen to your feelings and if possible, get away from this person. Or at least watch them carefully.
It’s easy to dismiss intuition as irrational and a product of an overactive imagination. You’re a nice person and want to give your new acquaintance the benefit of the doubt. If you’ve been a victim of narcissistic abuse in the past, you may have learned not to trust your own feelings. But these early feelings can serve as warning signals before you see any actual red flags. Don’t question them. They are trying to tell you something.