On the first Monday of every month, Agape Match hosts Lunch Break with Maria, a live monthly webinar dedicated to dating, love and relationships. To attend the next Lunch Break webinar, visit AgapeMatch.com/events for future listings.
In February’s episode of Lunch Break with Maria, Agape Match’s CEO, Maria Avgitidis, interviewed Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a licensed clinical psychologist and an expert on different personality disorders. Dr. Ramani, as she is popularly known, has her own private practice in California and is a Professor of Psychology at California State University. She is the author of the modern relationship survival manual Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist.
To view Maria’s interview with Dr. Ramani and learn more about the different types of personality disorders and how to avoid dating them, see below:
The topic of narcissism peaked our interest as it relates to romantic relationships as over the years, we have met countless people struggling to put back the pieces of their lives from their previous relationship(s) with narcissistic partners. They have been burdened by the emotional baggage from these unhealthy and exhausting relationships which have subsequently affected how they pursue romantic partners. What manifests is heightened sense of anxiety, an inability to open up, and various forms of self sabotaging beliefs.
Think about a casual conversation you’ve had where you said, “Oh my god! What a psycho!” or “She’s a sociopath.” In our talk with Dr. Ramani, we first focus on the importance of differentiating the personality disorders of psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists. It’s so easy to use these term interchangeably but the traits are quite different and their effects on others are enormous.
Of course not all narcissists are the same and within the realm of narcissism exist various subtypes:
A malignant narcissist is the most extreme in the classification. They are exploitive, very cold and mean, don’t take into account who they are hurting, take advantage of people and situations, and are very much about self service how it benefits them.
A grandiose narcissist is a classic or textbook narcissist, who we tend to think of when we think of narcissist. Very much about appearances, attention seeking (Look at me, I’m so great, tell me how amazing I am), I am better than you attitude, know better than everyone, controlling, and oxygen sucking.
A covert/vulnerable narcissist will lead you to believe early on that they are depressed because they have a very “woe is me” attitude and victim mentality. They tend to be very resentful, sour, willing to put you down your success.
A communal narcissist will give the perception that they are generous, chertiable, and, amazing. For example, they will donate to causes but instead of being helpful, their motivation likes in their need for acknowledgment and recognition. Partners and children live in a state of confusion because while others think the communal narcissist is great, to their family, they tend to be invalidating, cold and mean.
A benign narcissist is not cruel. They are more or less harmless but they are superficial and more concerned about social media and experience FOMO more often than others. While they can be endearing and fun to be around, they are not capable of being there for you on an emotional level.
In Dr. Ramani’s book she goes into detail about the many warning signs and red flags of a narcissistic partner. Circumstances can hinder the outcomes of surviving a relationship with a narcissist, especially if you have common finances, children are involved and even cultural expectations.
A big question becomes how do I avoid a relationship with a narcissist or how quickly can I spot the signs? The answer? PAY ATTENTION! A lot of the time, the “pink flags” are there and it’s important to notice the early signs:
- Look at their social media- is it a balance of themselves and other healthy relationships, interactions, activities?
- How balanced is the conversation? Is it all about them, do they go on and on in prolonged talks about themselves and when you start speaking they sort of tune out, look away or look uninterested?
- How much are they sharing about themselves? This is tricky because we often tend to boast about ourselves when we are meeting new people or early on in relationships, but pay attention to how they are sharing information. Is it about what will happen in the future and things they want to accomplish but never really about what happening in the now?
- How do they treat other people? Look at how they interact for example with wait staff- are they too familiar and display poor boundaries or on the the flip side they are super arrogant and mean.
You can learn more about personality disorders and dating by visiting Doctor Ramani at www.doctor-ramani.com or following her on Instagram @DoctorRamani. You can also buy her book: Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist.