If you do these things, you could be a narcissist


A psychologist has revealed the seven chilling signs that you or someone you love could actually be a narcissist – and it could all come down to the way they text.

With a background in helping abuse victims, Dr Kerry McAvoy has revealed the seven major red flags that you might be missing that could hint someone has narcissist traits.

These include the act of “love bombing” – a type of emotional manipulation that attempts to influence another person with over-the-top displays of attention and affection.

Seven signs someone is narcissist

Signs could include things like sending incomplete, anxiety-inducing messages and expecting a response to their texts right away, while they may take a long time to respond to yours.

Sending sexually explicit texts too soon could also be a warning sign, while a person being overly attached to their phone could be another red flag.

McAvoy, who has been a psychologist for more than 20 years, said that by having the knowledge to understand these signs, it could be helpful in learning more about a potential partner.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a clinically diagnosed mental health issue that goes beyond a person simply being self-absorbed, vain or conceited.

Many also assume that the words ‘selfish’ and ‘narcissistic’ are interchangeable, however the two are distinctly different – albeit somewhat related.

Partners of people with narcissistic traits are often at higher risk of developing mental health problems as a result of their emotionally abusive relationship.

So, what are the signs that we can look out for? McAvoy details seven distinct red flags that relate to the way someone texts that could be a cause for concern.

1. They expect you to respond immediately

A narcissist may expect you to drop everything and respond to their text message straight away, giving no thought to what you’re doing, what time it is or where you are.

“If you don’t, they want to know if you’re too busy for them,” McAvoy said in her TikTok video.

Many narcissists attach a sense of an inflated self-importance to themselves, demanding special treatment from others.

They hate being annoyed and if they do not receive a quick reply to their text, they strive to stay in control by making you feel ashamed or regretful.

An example of this kind of text could be: “I need to talk to you”, “Respond to me now,” and “What are you doing that you can’t respond to me?”

2. They will send mass sentimental texts

A narcissist will often “find some sentimental message and then they cut and paste it to a whole bunch of people”.

McAvoy said this could include old lovers, friends and prospective new partners, to “spread their love and attention far and wide” so they can get the same kind of response in return.

Narcissists need constant love, admiration and attention to feel important, which is why they will send sentimental texts to people they know will return the gesture.

3. They are overly attached to their phone

People with this disorder tend to be obsessed with their phones, carrying it around “like they were born with the thing”, McAvoy explained.

This is because of their constant need to feel important by having immediate access to people’s texts, likes and comments on social media.

A 2023 study revealed that people who have narcissistic tendencies or characteristics are more likely to be attached to their devices, specifically using them to scroll through social media.

4. They take ages to reply to your texts

Despite needing you to respond to their messages quickly, they will not repay the favour.

When you are texting with a narcissist, your texts might not be “treated with the same level of priority” as theirs.

“It may be minutes, hours or days before they bother to respond,” McAvoy said.

The reason behind this is that they might feel the need to maintain control and dominance over a relationship by making their friend or partner wait for a response. In turn, they can avoid feeling vulnerable to someone else.

5. They send explicit text or photos early on

Sending explicit messages of photos very early on in a relationship will give a narcissist the thrill of acting out sexually, while also helping them avoid possible sexual rejection in the future.

“They think it’s okay to send explicit text messages and photos, even before you know each other or the relationship has proceeded that far,’ the doctor explained.

A 2019 study which focused on why men send naked photographs found that the top two reasons are associated with narcissistic behaviour: self-gratification and seeking attention.

“However ineffective and inappropriate, this ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours’ compulsion is rooted in self-gratification,” said Dr Cory Pedersen the study’s lead author and professor in Psychology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

6. They will send incomplete, anxiety-inducing text messages

McAvoy warned that narcissists might “send short messages without any follow-up, leaving you anxious, off balance or feeling confused about the status of the relationship.”

They could send a text saying ‘Yesterday was fun. Even though I have a headache now. Thanks,” leaving you questioning what you did to cause a headache or upset them.

Other examples include asking you to meet up for the weekend and after you say “yes” they stop responding.

7. They consistently send the same photo, song or video

Sentimental messages can come in many forms, whether it is a photo from a trip you took together, a video of you laughing together or the song you danced to at a wedding.

Narcissists want to ensure that they stay on your mind and keep you coming back. They also have a need for constant validation that you will not leave them.

It is “a way to remind you how special you are and to keep you on an emotional hook,” said Dr McAvoy.



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