how narcissists test their victims

How Narcissists Determine if You’re Good Supply

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Have you ever met someone and felt an immediate connection to them but, later, you discovered they were highly manipulative?

How many times have you shared your deep thoughts and fears with someone, only to learn they had collected this information to control you?

In most cases, this is exactly how things play out with narcissistic individuals.

As a trusting, caring, and compassionate individual, you like to think that other people are the same way.  

But, that’s not always the case.  Sometimes, the person across from you is analyzing you to see if you’d make a good source of supply for their selfish agendas.

In this video, I cover five ways narcissists determine if you’re going to be good supply.

While you believe you’re being agreeable, flexible, and easy to get along with, the narcissist is actually testing you to see if you are good relationship material for them.

How Narcissists Test Their Victims

 

Video Transcript:

1 – They suggest right away that you should change the way you look or something about your personality

Maybe you just met someone and you’re in a new relationship.  You think things are going along pretty well, but what you want to be on the lookout for is when they want you to change something about your personality, the way you look, or the way you dress.

If you have just met someone and they are asking you to change your hairstyle, change your hair color, change your wardrobe, or are telling you that you need to change something about your personality; maybe you’re too nice, maybe you are too guarded…these are red flags.

This is one of the first signs that you’re dealing with a narcissistic individual because, let’s face it, when you are first dating someone, this is not the time for them to lay out all the things they think you should change about yourself.

Don’t fall into a false sense of security, believing this relationship has long term potential, and go out and buy slinky dresses and high heel sandals.

Or if you’re a guy, maybe they’re telling you to wear a muscle shirt and that’s just not what you normally do, then this is a sign (if you’re even considering it), that you’re dealing with a narcissistic individual or at least a manipulator.

2 – They say they’re going to call you at a certain day and time, and never do

Then, a couple of days later they do finally call, acting as if everything’s completely normal.  Meanwhile, you’ve been holding your phone with a white-knuckle grip waiting for them to call and they’re finally calling you as if they’ve been out having the time of their life, living joyfully and they’re calling you and you’re feeling really high strung and anxious about the situation.

This is their opportunity to see exactly how their not calling has affected you.  This is not a coincidence.

They might say they were out of town or forgot to call. They were busy doing ABC. This is not an accident. It’s something that they planned ahead of time to see what your reaction would be.

If it happens one time, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.  If you are dealing with an individual who is sincerely sorry, maybe they really did have something come up and they weren’t able to call, they weren’t able to get in touch with you, and they’re going to be very apologetic about it.

They’re not going to act like you’ve gone off the rails because you’re so upset.

If you are dealing with someone who does this a lot, it’s your sign that you just need to cut that anchor and sail away.

3 – Be highly alert if they assure you that they can be trusted when you’ve just met

It’s suspect if you are interacting with someone you have just met and they’re saying you can trust them and they’re not going to hurt you.

We don’t want to be someone who has our guard up 24/7 because there are a lot of good people out there, but someone who really is trustworthy is not going to have to talk about it. They’re not going to say things like, Oh, you can trust me. They are not even going to be talking about sensitive things to begin with if you have just met.

Healthy people understand that there is a natural progression to relationships, so you don’t want to come across as being too trusting in the very beginning, especially if you are healing from my previous relationship with a manipulator or narcissistic individual.

When you are getting back out there and interacting with people again, the last thing you want to do is just give your trust away to anyone.  You don’t want to rush into things too quickly.

You certainly don’t want to create an instant relationship with someone that you barely know, whom you’ve gone out with once or twice. This is a red flag. You should not be doing it.

But, narcissists do say certain things to find out if you are a trusting individual.  And if you trust them too soon, you’ll regret it.  Maybe their ex is calling them while you guys are out to dinner or something along those lines and they tell you, Oh, this is my ex calling. A lot of narcissistic individuals keep their exes strung along.

These are the people you see out there on the forums who are saying, “Oh my God, I can’t believe it.  We just got divorced two weeks ago and they’ve already gone out and found new supply!” They’re talking about you, probably.

If you are seeing a few different red flags and then suddenly their ex is calling them on their phone, that’s your sign to leave. It’s not your cue to be more understanding or to be more flexible or to do more investigative work.

Those signs put together mean you just need to cut your losses and move ahead.

4 – Someone you barely know is sharing with you about their horrible childhood and how all of their exes treated them horribly

What they’re doing is using a form of empathy to find out if you’re going to respond to their woeful tales of childhood or how they’ve been taken advantage of by other people in their life.

They might be asking a lot of questions about you and your childhood while sharing how painful their childhood was.

Maybe they were abused and if that’s the case, that’s very sad. But you want to be mindful of the fact that they might be trying to establish cognitive empathy, meaning that they are trying to figure out what your weak spots are, what pulls at your heartstrings, so that they can later use that against you.

Let’s back it up just a moment and realize that when you’re first meeting someone, it’s not the time to lay out on the table all of your hurts, all of your disappointments, and all of your traumas.  That is not healthy.

You want to establish a friendship, some sort of emotional foundation before you start sharing all of these things with someone. And they should be doing that, too.

They should not be sharing all of this stuff with you if you have just met them unless it’s in a group coaching or group therapy setting.

5 – Although you feel ecstatic about the attention and romance, you feel off because your boundaries are being violated

Violating your boundaries often starts as soon as the first meeting with a narcissistic individual.

One of the first things narcissists look for when searching for a new source of supply is weak or non-existent boundaries.

If you don’t have strong boundaries, then they understand they can enter into a relationship with you and basically have you do things for them while they give you very little, if nothing, in return.

This is especially important for all of you Empaths out there.  If you are an honest and trusting person who’s very compassionate and hardworking, that’s just fireworks for them.

If they’re testing your boundaries and you don’t have any, that makes you a bullseye for narcissistic individuals. And this is why I talk about boundary setting so much. I’ve written about it, I’ve talked about it.

If you don’t have strong boundaries in any of your relationships, but especially romantic ones, grab this free download that will help you determine what your boundaries and deal breakers are because you’re going to need those: RepelandDeflectNarcissists

A lot of us have a very hard time establishing boundaries because we don’t like conflict and we don’t want to come across as being confrontational or, or hard to get along with.

But, that’s exactly what manipulators are looking for.

It’s okay if you have softer boundaries with someone that you love and care for like a minor child or a sick family member. But when it comes to someone don’t know, that is when you have to establish very strong boundaries from the very beginning.

The reason this is so important is that if you don’t establish boundaries in the very beginning, if you get into a relationship and you don’t have strong boundaries and then, later on, you try to implement them, it’s usually too late.

By that time, the narcissist is just going to laugh in your face, gaslight you and tear you down. And what that does over time is it causes you to develop learned helplessness.

One thing to remember, always, is that if you have any sort of childhood trauma, that is exactly what the narcissist is targeting in you. So, it’s important to remember that we’re not helpless children anymore. We’re adults, and we have the right to put up boundaries in our relationships to keep ourselves emotionally safe.

Bonus Tips

Some bonus tips to be on the lookout for: 

Gaslighting. You’ve probably read all about it, but how does that really look in real life? One thing that comes to mind is that I once dated someone who I had just started dating and we met to visit with one another.  He showed up with a hickey on his neck and tried to tell me that I had given it to him.

That’s probably one of the more laughable examples I can come up with.

I knew that wasn’t true because we hadn’t even been together that way. So, that’s probably a really good example of gaslighting.

Another sign is someone who’s trying to be very controlling. Maybe someone you’ve just met.  This could be a potential romantic partner or a coworker or someone that you have just started a friendship with who is telling you how you should handle something.

Unless you’ve gone to them and asked for their advice, they should not be offering you advice or telling you how you should handle things. Especially if you’ve just met them and they don’t even know you like that. 

How to Overcome Learned Helplessness and People-pleasing

Please know that the things I’ve discussed here are things I personally experienced.  I have encountered many narcissistic individuals in my life, both in romantic partnerships and business relationships.  

This has made me an expert in the narcissistic personality and mindset.  And this knowledge is one of the foundations of my program to help people break free from narcissistic abuse and get their lives back.

Leaving an abusive relationship feels scary, but please know that these feelings do go away when you take the empowering step to take your life back and join my community of caring, compassionate folks who can guide you each step of the way.  

Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around.


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26 comments
Joseph Bondi says July 25, 2020

Wow! Feel like you’re talking to me! I will never forget this pain, but you’re teaching me how not to feel it again and use what I know for a better life. Thank You ❤️

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Sallyann Sheppard says July 22, 2020

Thank you for your help.

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Jenny says May 24, 2020

Thanks. I am 74 both my daughter and my sister I am the closest to are narcassists. So very tricky. Luckily both live away from me. My daughter is in england. I live in B.C. Canada. But the demeaning comments, meaness, dismissing my feelings, treating me like a foolish old woman has really upped. I have detached from both for now, no emails or messages. I feel so so much better.
Very difficult tho as she is my only living child as my son died at age 21.
She is actually just like her father who I left when she was only 4. I caught onto him son why did it take so so long to catch onto my daughter and sister.

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Anna says April 6, 2020

oh god i feel sort of horrible right now. i definitely recognize all of these signs in the narcissists ive been with, but i recognize some of the behaviours in myself as well. im like an open book and i’ll share anything about myself with new people, and i like it when they do the same. and when they share, i also remember these things so i can help them. but not so i can get what i want, but so that i can help them with psychological issues. and boy do i give out advice, even when not asked for advice! im seriously stuck between thinking im the wrong or if this could maybe correlate with wanting to be a therapist and “changing” people for the better. like, am i a narcissist too?

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Theresa Hall says April 4, 2020

I was married from 1975 until 1999, divorced in 2006, with many break ups and 2 children. 20 years after breakup this is still on my mind even though have no contact and do realise how lucky I am to be free. I read and empathise with all the articles/situations but wish I could let go. Advice please

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Eloise Grier says April 1, 2020

Finding out about these people is a little late for me I got my life turned upside down and I went through a lot dealing with this man for three years so many secrets and lies he told me about his self and I was used in so many ways

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    debra brown says June 16, 2020

    I was in a relationship for 3yrs with a Narcissist. He used me for a place to stay, food on the table and of course the bills were paid by myself. He’s an Alcoholic and addictive to Meth, which I didn’t know how much he drank or even had a clue that he was using drugs. He would steal my medication from me, telling me that I was using too much. I finally got out with the help of a Restraining Order. I’m feeling alot better but I don’t trust the opposite sex.im getting a kitten the beginning of July.

    Reply
      Scarlett Clark says July 3, 2020

      A kitten! That is precious. Animals make wonderful friends and they won’t betray you. You are making a wise choice. ❤

      Reply
K. says March 26, 2020

Finally getting him to move out of my house – he has a heart attack – is in the hospital…. Now what? i can’t change locks with him in that condition…. Ugh

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ALEXA says March 25, 2020

HI KIM,

YOUR HELP THROUGH YOUR EXPERIENCES ARE GETTING ME THROUGH THIS RECOVERY AND EXIT FROM THIS TERRIFYING NARCISSIST.

HE AND MY NARCISSISTIC X-HUSBAND ARE INFILTRATING MY GOOGLE SEARCH ENGINE PAGE. DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE(S) WHO CAN HELP ?
I HAVE SEEN MANY CASES LIKE THIS, BUT I DO NOT KNOW THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING, OR HAVE BEEN ATTACKED, SO DO NOT KNOW WHO THEY USE OR HAVE USED TO GET THE HORRID OFFENDERS OFF FROM DIRECT ON-LINE ATTACKS. BUT THEY HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THWARTING THOSE ATTACKERS. THOUGHT YOU HAVE MOST LIKELY EXPERIENCED THIS AND KNOW OF WHO TO CONTACT. PLEASE HELP !! I HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD AND THESE ON-LINE SITE ATTACKS ARE SERIOUSLY DAMAGING MY SUCCESSFUL PROGRESS.

THANK YOU,

ALEXA

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Abena says March 25, 2020

This is soo true Kim. Especially No.2 and 4 I can’t believe I fell for this. But I’m gradually healing. Thank you for your articles.

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Steven Pomfrett says March 25, 2020

I was with my ex for 20yrs. In the beginning there were a few issues being told by her that her parents went through a bad break up with lots of sensitive things being said and done. I chose to look past this and thought that her being with a man like myself. Caring. sensative. Understanding. That overtime would heal her and see a brighter future in life. Boy was I wrong. I finally left in October 19. After 20 brocken yrs in December 19 she told me that she has been talking to someone. I was devistated there were things I put together over the few months before I left which add up to something more than talking. She never spoke to me when things were hard and to move that quickly after a lifetime together I guess I meant little or nothing to her. I a whole I can’t write my 20yrs down as it would take forever but in the end I know that I was definitely dealing with a narcissistic. I have been following Kim’s program since and it has helped me to understand everything. So please if you are seeing and red flags don’t hesitate just walk and look after yourself believe me it ain’t worth staying. Thanks Kim your a star regards. Man on a journey Steven

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Samantha Houston says March 24, 2020

I see now bc mine thought I was liberal when in fact I was and am not nor was I or am I conservative. She would make me wait hours before showing up. So I then I Stopped showing up early. I would go and do things so I would not be waiting pointlessly. Then she began getting annoyed. I was called crazy so many times in arguments. If I didn’t agree or if it hurt me it was twisted that I wanted to control her. Which is very far from the truth. I wanted quality time and I began saying things I didn’t even know was something. I would say back burner or second choice or option. She would also call me passive aggressive though I was very direct and kind about my needs. She began right away telling me how bad all of her relationships were except one but I am sure she treated him the same way. Someone was with her until she completed what she needed to complete. I do empathize with others easily and the problems people have and tell me about make me feel for them and want to change positions with them. It does not seem that she can maintain close relationships or friendships.

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Diane says March 23, 2020

Have you addressed how best to deal with adult children who are narcissistic?

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Stephanie says February 4, 2020

It’s hard to admit my current boyfriend is like this when we first got together he mentioned my shoes were horrible and that I should dress better because he dresses in fashionable clothes.

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Olivia says February 4, 2020

No. 4! OMG the times I’ve fallen for that! So often, especially online. A person unloads their whole life story on me after we just met. I used to bend over backwards to help them and comfort them but what a waste of time! They just produced more drama. I don’t do that anymore. Thanks for the other advice too.

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    ALEXA says March 25, 2020

    MOSTLY, I’VE SHUT DOWN THE NARCISSISTIC DRAMAS AND

    ATTACKS.

    THANKS TO KIM, I’M GETTING COMPREHENSIVE AND ACCURATE HELP, AND

    MAKING THE TIME TO ROOT THESE LESSONS INTO MY SUBCONSCIOUS.

    NOW WITH SOME ON-LINE ATTACKS TO DEAL WITH AM LOOKING FOR SOME

    TECH. EXPERT(S) TO ERASE THE ATTACKS.

    BEST REGARDS FOR BOLD AND SUCCESSFUL DISTANCING,

    ALEXA

    Reply
Phosphorus says December 30, 2019

Hi Kim,
I agree almost wholeheartedly with what you wrote here. However, as someone who has been through significant abuse and came out as a caregiver and giver I don’t think when people are mentioning their traumas and what has happened to them in life always immediately is it a sign there trying to garner empathy or sympathy. Obviously people are in pain in this world more often than not.
I also run a practice dealing with people’s multiple health issues and over time their character, despite the trauma’s they have been through, do appear.
I think the difficulty is the amount of genuine pain many people do go through, but I always look for the addictions to materialism, and substances that are present.
It is extremely difficult to pick off how many covert manipulators are out there. However, an immediate sob story in a dating situation could be a problem. Then again maybe not. Many people like myself suffer constantly with abusive relationships in multiple forms which cause severe C-PTSD. Even narcissists can suffer from PTSD but until you see consistency of kindness despite trauma than I know I’m dealing with a narcissist.
I have left my entire family and almost all of my friends and all of my past love relationships due to the number one factor either early on or later that they are abusive.
I do consider myself an ’empath’ with high self respect, but honestly I observe that well over 90% of society behaves narcissistically. So I’m not attracting them. There’s just too many of them out there now.

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    Kim Saeed says December 30, 2019

    Hi Phosphorous,

    Thanks for reading my article and for your input. I agree, not everyone is looking for sympathy and that wasn’t even on my mind when I wrote #4. As you mention that you are an empath (as I am), I think part of implementing healthy boundaries in new relationships is not to disclose too much personal information too soon given that, as you say, there are so many manipulators out there.

    I generally suggest to people to save their childhood/abuse stories for people they trust, whoever those people may be. It’s basically avoiding sharing “too much, too soon” which can get us into a bit of trouble.

    When I wrote #4, it was from a place of experience and also case studies of folks who ended up being narcissistically abused. Unless we are sharing with a counselor or a trusted friend, such sensitive information should be treated very delicately, not to be shared with strangers. Only people we have grown to trust. I hope that makes sense.

    Kim XoXo

    Reply
5 Tips to Avoid Users When Dating After Narcissistic Abuse - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says September 1, 2019

[…] Here’s the truth of the matter.  A large percentage of folks on dating sites, and even in real life, are simply looking for hookups or narcissistic supply. […]

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Keith says March 24, 2019

Wow. I am currently going through my 4th devastating relationship ending. I am currently in no contact with my 2nd NPD/BPD ex girlfriend as I have realized I am the one who keeps falling for her hoovering and manipulative sexual advances to win me back. We were dating for 2 years, but I knew after 2 months something about her wasn’t quite right, but I kept hoping and believing in her, so I kept taking her back. The breakup and reunite routine happened 6 times over two years. I am now aware that I am the problem – as I need to work on my ability to enforce my boundaries. It is devastating, as I thought all of my previous relationship trauma happened so as to lead me to her. We met on a dating site. I was on there to replace my last 3 year relationship – who also was BPD and/or NPD. It took me 3 years to get out of that relationship, and I figured the only way was to find a new relationship. After 3 years, I knew the signs, and the red flags to look for. I realized that those red flags don’t show up until 6-12 months into the relationship. Before that, you only get a glimpse of pink. I knew the only way to move on was to find someone new. Well, I met the love of my life on a dating date (so I thought). Unfortunately, those same red flags started showing up – but I rationalized it away, or believed the lies and let it continue. I just need more time to observe, I would tell myself, and penciled in another journal entry. There were so many red flags I could make a blanket. Anyway, 5 years and 12 breakup makeup sessions later, I think I am finally able to see that I am the problem. I am now working on patching the holes left in me from my narcissist abusive mother, that left me being a co-dependent and/or an empath – always trying harder and harder to please, and giving credit where none is due. Yet, here I am feeling guilty for going no-contact.

Been married twice – first wife ran off with another guy and I never saw her again. Second wife ran off with another woman. Two devastating BPD/NPD relationships with women after that. I think I deserve a break.

Thank you, Kim. Your site and information the one that seems to resonate with me the most.

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    Kim Saeed says March 25, 2019

    Thank you for sharing your story, Keith, and for your kind praise regarding my site. I truly wish you all the best during your journey of healing 🙂

    Kim

    Reply
    ashu says June 1, 2019

    Keith, it is important to love ourselves . But let me tell you, you are immensely strong to share your story and own it. I am sure the healing has begun.

    Take care

    Reply
Cathrine says March 19, 2019

Good video

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Katja says March 13, 2019

Dear Kim,
thank you very much again for this important information. During my process of breaking contact with several induviduals in my life and learning much about the problem I deeply suspect, that I don´t know what is “normal” or healthy in relationships at all. Even if it may sound very silly, but I would wish to obtain more information about what is “normal” or healthy in relationships, may be in a way of comparing different aspects of relationships. I would be very grateful for this. All the best for you and warm regards!

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JACQUELINE BAXTER says March 10, 2019

Sad to say i was a perfect target. Thank you so much for all the enlightening ive learned from you. I will never be a victim again. Ive gone no contact with my narcissist son who either inherited or learned it from his father. Sad to say that about somebody i wanted so bad. I will always love my son but the longer i stay away from him the stronger i get. No more headgames

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