How to NOT be a sitting duck for Narcissists and other Manipulators

Dating is a phase of discovery – whether or not you are recovering from a toxic relationship.

But for those who are trying to break patterns of choosing the wrong partners, shedding “people pleasing” tendencies and putting oneself into HIGH-VALUE status should be the number one priority, even if doing so results in being single for a while.

In the early days of dating, you may feel inclined to show a new date that you are good relationship material by proving how understanding and forgiving you can be.  As a result, you overlook “mistakes” and faux pas in order to make sure the person likes and approves of you.

He was only a few minutes late.  Happens to everyone, right?

Even though you didn’t hear from him for almost a week, he had reasonable excuses as to why he didn’t call.  After all, you don’t want to come off as a nag or intolerant.  Men hate that stuff, correct?

Or, if you’re a male, you might look the other way while your date answers multiple text messages during your candlelit dinner. Perhaps she goes to the ladies room and stays gone a little longer than what you consider reasonable.

If you want to hang onto that attractive new catch, might as well accept that she’s a little high-maintenance, right?

The problem with the above mindsets is that you are making this person, whom you barely know, more important that you’re making yourself – i.e., putting yourself into LOW-VALUE category while making them HIGH VALUE.

His schedule, work and family obligations, dinner time, etc. begin to be more important than yours.

You cancel on friends and family when she texts you out of the blue to go to dinner – with no prior mention of going out.

In other words, you are more concerned with whether this person will like you than whether their behaviors are acceptable or if the two of you are even compatible – which makes you a sitting duck for narcissists and other manipulators!

How to be High Value and screen out the users and abusers

So how do you avoid people-pleasing behaviors without appearing like a selfish, non-compromising snob?

First, keep in mind that any self-respecting individual is going to want to impress you, too.  They won’t show up late, text other people during dates (unless it’s the babysitter), excuse themselves multiple times to go to the bathroom, or flirt with the waitress or bartender.

High caliber individuals just don’t do those things.

Below are ten examples of behaviors to walk away from so you can keep yourself in HIGH-VALUE status and avoid being a sitting duck:

1 – He’s thirty minutes late to a date – in which case he should have a reasonable excuse, such as a speeding ticket or some other credible evidence as to why he was late.

2 – She constantly texts on her phone during dinner – which should be attributed to something serious such as one of her family members being in the hospital or her child running a low-grade fever before you picked her up.

3 – They repeatedly reschedule dates, cancel, bail at the last minute, or don’t show up at all.

4 – They talk about sex or hint around at casual encounters on the first date. (Unless you’re into that kind of thing, which you probably aren’t – and likely explains why you’re here, reading this article).

5 – Instead of wanting to learn more about you, they are intent on recounting elaborate stories of how they dated a Victoria’s Secret model or how their last boyfriend was a semi-millionaire.

6 – Not responding to your calls for days. (Hint:  if you just started dating someone, you really shouldn’t be calling them repeatedly.  Reach out once if you can’t stop yourself, but after that, the ball is in their field).

7 – They make it clear they want to keep things “casual”.

This is what emotionally unavailable people want in their relationships so they can come and go as they please and keep you hanging on a string, while you feel progressively awful about yourself wondering why they won’t commit (which perpetuates and enhances any feelings of low self-esteem you might have).

8 – They put pressure on you to move quickly, meet their parents or children, get engaged, get married, or move in together – after only a few dates.

It’s enticing to believe someone can love you after only a few dates, but the more important thing is to determine if they’re a good match for you instead of jumping into a relationship to fill a void.

9 – They make it clear they’re dating other people and don’t want anything serious. Alternately, they may say they’re not dating other people, but you discover they told a lie.  Both of which point to an inability to commit.

10 – They’re still enmeshed with an Ex with whom they share custody of their child– perhaps still living in the same house or apartment building.

This is almost always the result of a “friends with benefits” situation that was forced upon a passive partner by their manipulative Ex, the latter of whom you are now dating.

Giving yourself HIGH-VALUE status isn’t being mean or pretentious

Jim Rohn made an insightful remark when he stated, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much”.

If someone is acting in disrespectful ways towards you and the relationship, it’s not up to you to make excuses for them, allow them to continue trampling your boundaries, or repeatedly give them the benefit of the doubt.  Doing those things encourages the other person to get comfortable with mistreating you, and teaches them to continue those behaviors.

It also sets you up for huge disappointment.

If someone you’ve just started dating – or have been dating a while – engages in these disrespectful deeds, you can sever the relationship in a way that maintains your dignity.  There’s no need to insist upon letting them know how hurtful or ill-mannered they’ve been towards you (besides, they’ve heard these and similar things from past partners).  Simply thank them for the “good times”, let them know you’re not compatible as a couple, and wish them well.

That’s it.  You don’t need to explain or justify your decision…just thank them and walk away.

Don’t rely on manipulators to step up to the plate for you.  Step up for yourself because you’re worth the effort and putting yourself in HIGH-VALUE status paves the way for finding the high caliber partner you dream of.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Saeed and Sympaticos.Love, LLC  All Rights Reserved

(Originally published on

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