The instant connection
Narcissists need to connect quickly, so they are likely to try to sweep you off your feet. They come on strong and instantly act like you’ve been best friends and confidants for years. They make assumptions about you that seem like mind reading. You may feel both completely at ease with them, and also a strange uneasiness of being overwhelmed.
Façade of charm
They act cute, caring, totally absorbed in you, and seem thoughtful and solicitous which is very appealing. While underneath they truly desire total attention from you. Notice how much they talk about themselves and what a clever sales job they’re giving you. How much do they ask about you? How much are they really listening?
Narcissists encourage you to think that they adore you, and talk about how you’re a perfect match. They describe to you the most fabulous fantasy of what your life will be like with them. Yet, underneath is an implication that your life is less than, or not as good as they could make it.
Seal the deal
It’s not unusual for a narcissist to propose or suggest moving in together within a few days or a couple of weeks of meeting you. Narcissists are presenting you with their public image, and it takes a lot of energy to hide their anxiety, sense of emptiness, fear of rejection, and deeply negative self-image. It’s a lot of work to control the scenario to their benefit, so they need a quick commitment. You’ll feel a sense that things are moving too fast, but you’re also getting a lot of pressure to pledge yourself to the relationship.
The hidden self
As soon as you fully commit to the relationship, and the NP feels secure that you won’t leave, they relax and let their “hidden self” come to the surface. Suddenly it feels like the relationship totally changes. The narcissist starts criticizing you, making decisions for you, seems bored with you, and is impatient when you want attention or help. He/she may seem like a totally different person.
When you complain, the narcissist says, “Nothing’s changed. This is who I’ve always been.” And, they’re right of course. They’ve just kept you in the dark. Then the blame begins. They accuse you of changing. “You used to be happy and think I was wonderful, and now you never think of my needs.” They call you selfish, negative, and nothing you do is good enough. The more you try to prove that you really are loving, good, and kind, the more you get mired into the push/pull dance of the narcissist.
You’re in the web now
The narcissist has carefully chosen you because you’re highly empathetic, loyal, flexible, and accepting. You were in some way vulnerable to the fantasy that the narcissist created. Now, you find yourself in an entirely different relationship than you expected, and one you will find it very hard to leave. The narcissist keeps dangling the memory of your early good times together and promising more, while complaining you’re selfish for wanting love, acceptance, and understanding. You keep trying to please in order to change the relationship back to what you thought it was—and could be. Narcissist imply that if you leave, you’re missing out on all the good possibilities because you’re just not good enough.
Narcissists and caretakers are a perfect “fit” in the most negative way. The only way out is to quit being a caretaker.