Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Red Flaggers

In 2006, WoN forum members participated in a group project. The following article is the result of our collaboration. It might bring a smile to your face because we are, if anything, a humorous group of traumatized people. Underneath the light-hearted descriptions of Red Flaggers is an unfunny truth about narcissists. They lack heart. They lack soul. And most of all, they take themselves FAR too seriously.

The Web of Narcissism's

Red Flag Red Flag Red Flag

"I think the biggest red flag regard for what you REALLY say or think. He gave lip service to asking my opinion, making sure he protected his "Mr. Sensitive" image; but if push came to shove, he just did whatever HE wanted. I thought I had connected to a man who made decisions and could move on them. Well, yeah. But only if the outcome benefitted HIM in some way. If it involved me or our children - tough shiite. He could tell you to go to helll in such a way you actually enjoyed the trip." ~Honeybear

"The number one red flag is the N making a selfish decision that doesn't take into consideration the needs or desires of other people. The second time they do it, you should get ready to separate. The third time they do it, you should give it up. If I had done that in 1953, I would have cried my heart out and become an old maid, but I probably would have done more music earlier in my life and developed as a person with goals that were very worthwhile. "~Cornfield

"The red flag I missed besides listening and believing his woes about being a victim, was him making plans and not asking how I felt about those plans. At the time I thought, wow, it's great to have someone able to make a decision. I later discovered that the control freak hiding underneath didn't give a damn about my feelings on anything." ~NeverAgain

"A Red Flag??? He had to always walk one or two steps ahead of me. No matter how fast I walked, he was ahead. I once asked him if he thought that we were on an African Safari where one individual had to walk ahead!" ~GrowingIntoMe

One Red Flag was that "as long as I pretended the inspiration was truly original and truly his...I was free to get the kids what they needed. It also worked for getting things for myself or the family as a whole. But heaven forbid I should just go and get something because it was my idea! That usually brought a tirade about "spending him into the ground" or a lecture about how stupid the purchase was---something." ~SadieWu

Beware the adult who does not value children as BE-ings.
The adult who does not mature in the parenting ROLE,
nor see themselves as co-creators with his or her partner

A WoN member wrote to her husbaNd: "You said if no one wanted to do anything, you’d put a door with a lock on the pantry...Parents are supposed to make sure there’s food in the house...You said you always did the majority of work; the boys sat around for hours watching TV...the vast majority of our efforts were trying to please you and make sure things got done. You only remember the times that were not what you considered teamwork."

AlmostHealing wrote: "He be the model father, but has very little ability to stay within those boundaries when "pressed" to the wall by just the smallest things in life."



The CrazyMakers 

When Actions do not follow Words

Always watch where Flaggers feet go 'cuz if you believe their 'talk' defines who they are, you'll be questioning your own sanity in no time.

"They can talk the good talk---wow can they ever! But they cannot walk the good walk."

Red Flag Red Flag Red Flag

The Invalidators

do not validate our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions

"He never remembered conversations we had and swore, I never said that." ~PracticalJude

"You're too sensitive! I don't like your tone!"~Talia


Knights in Shining Armor
tire of rescuing damsels in distress 
and soon see themselves as her victim 

Poof! She magically transforms into a persecutor through no fault of her own. He'll be back on his white steed in no time, chanting tales of woe because he far:

The Most Pitiable Victim
in the world

cry baby
(who cannot survive without your help)

He'll occupy your time, your thoughts and every single talent until you no longer have time to help yourself. The good news is YOU are special! The bad news is: You're Not. "Beware of momma's boys." ~Lapin

Casanova kissing his fair maiden

The SoulMate

"He said in the beginning: I want to know every detail about you. He mirrored me, fostering a sense of connectedness: Oh we're so much alike"~Tia

Narcissists walking on people's heads

The Spiritual Guru

enlightened with 'boomer-itis':

It's all about me-me-me and how I feel-feel-feel about you-you-you and my best bud God-God-God. Never put the Guru between you and your Higher Power (no matter how many halos-auras-holy colors are beaming from the top of their heads!) The spiritual guru elevates himself by walking on other people's crowns.

"He uses scripture on a regular basis to justify his own lies, bad behaviour...& believes he will be spared to save the rest of the world from certain doom."~AlmostHealed


The Self-professed Good Guy

If someone tells you he's a good guy, he's probably not

He might 'let' you to make decisions (How NOBLE!), but this Red Flagger avoids responsibility while fostering a pretense of shared power. 

"A repetitive brainwashing technique of telling me what a good guy he was and then slipping proof (every once in a blue moon) to validate his goodness."~WoN member

Red Flag 

The Invisible Mate

The addict, the workaholic, the absentee partNer is never there for one reason only: NO Commitment to anything or anyone other than themselves.

 "...he focuses on computer games and video games like it's a drug to "escape" and leaves you out to find your own pursuits, then accuses you of being aloof, distant, and emotionally unavailable." ~WoN member

"Beware of those keeping you on the string, not caring about your time table. A boyfriend kept me going 10+ yrs." Rox

Rebel and his dog on a motorcycle

The Rebel

is the Flagger who does not subordinate self to rules, restrictions or commitments
Moral responsibility to protect the freedom of others? Ha! It's all about them, baby! He's no more concerned about a stranger's freedom than he is about YOURS.

Red Flag 

The Liar

shifts facts to suit the audience, manipulating reality to meet an agenda: THEIRS

"If N doesn't remember, it didn't happen!

"he tells the same story over and over and everytime he tells it, it changes." ~NewTurtle

"HOW about those little lies he says in front of you and are NOT NECESSARY in any way!"~I_Was_Blind

"he makes his own rules and complains of others rules" ~Eyes_up

Hippie displaying Peace Sign

The Covert Misognynist
does not respect his mother, his wife, his sister, or his daughter

Women are idealized and Devalued after the slightest of mistakes. Anyone suggesting YOU are different from other women, is telling you about his superior attitude and value system. This Red Flagger sees women as Harpies from Hell or Angels from Heaven. In other words: objects of his imagination. "He talked about me in third person in front of others." ~Serenity

Red Flag 

The Jealous partNer

accuses his partNer of infidelity. That's no compliment, even if the Flagger is paying such close attention. This behavior is about ownership, control and quite possibly: a warning about what he is doing.

Red Flag Red Flag Red Flag

BE WARY of the seductive power of:

The Royal 'We'
Don't be fooled by the illusion of a mutually-reciprocal relationship simply because you are willing to Give and he is willing the Ask. It's a test. You'll learn about Givers and Takers when it's time to accept responsibility for problems. "..he asks for favors right away/unaware of social norm/lacks boundaries..." ~Lia

The Lure of Intensity
Never confuse intimacy with intensity

The Security of Enmeshment/Fusion
The lure of unconscious repetitions and learned patterns of behavior

The Revelation of Personal Intimacies
The inbility to keep a confidence or divulging too much information too soon prevents true intimacy and makes YOU: an easy target for blackmail. 

Be AWARE of:

Entitlement, Arrogance & Attitude
What's theirs is theirs and what's yours is theirs, too

"He said "I am the master of my home." But he also had a Superior attitude in restaurants." ~Serenity

"In conversations I noticed he had stolen text from others. Came up with certain theories that were nothing special but he let it sound as if it was a brilliant finding." ~WoN member

"The narcissist I knew believed all counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists are complete idiots who know nothing." ~WoN member

Brutal honesty
No internal brakes (empathy) to stop hurting others as needed to protect their Image. "Brutal honesty? Absolutely! She would say the most hurtful things without an inch of pain."

Anger as Power-Over others
is evidenced by intermittent rage or Flashes of anger inappropriate to the situation. Anger used to Power Over Others is: a loss of self-control; a lack of respect for the object of their anger;entitlement to bully others; a sense of superiority to those being bullied into submission. This is not Power. This is personal weakness.

Long-term resentments and eye-for-an-eye justice
An inability to forgive includes forgiving you, too. Relationships are built on two people's ability to forgive not only one another, but also themselves. "(She) Smears or defames someone she's angry with and the drive for revenge will never cease!"

Excessive praise and flattery of others
is delivered profusely until a recipient is uncomfortable enough to ask the Flagger to stop.

Inexhaustible need for praise and flattery by others
Grab your Nikes and pom-poms. You'll be doing lots & lots of this: Cheerleading

Red Flag Red Flag Red Flag

"Now that I look back on it all I realize I can find my answer in the mirror. I can not even count how many times I found myself looking in the mirror to see my face dragged down, eyes slightly vacant and distant and finding a face that I didn't know. That would be the final flag. If it's gone too far or even if it's at the bare beginnings, I will know when I look at myself and see unhappiness."~Eyes_up

Mind-Body-Spirit CONNECTION

Be mindful of your imagination
Be conscious of your irrational thinking
Be receptive to past and present emotions
Be sensitive to your spiritual boundaries
Be Safe. Be You. Be WoNderful.


© 2006

Animated gifs courtesy of  


  1. Hi I was involved with a female oncologist who was very sucessful professionally and financially. She had spent most of her adult life married to men ( 5 years each )
    The first husband developed an eating disorder and said he wasn't happy and wanted a divorce. She told him he was mentally ill and went to the attorney first.
    The second husband cheated on her and ended up divorced and he married the "other woman" and they have children together. The first husband also remarried eventually. All of this was presented to portray being victimized by these men.
    I NOW believe she made the first man sick and drove the second husband into the arms of someone who could love him back.
    I now believe the common denominator in all of her previous failed relationships is HER !

  2. One year ago today I was "split" and viscously devalued and discarded by my ocologist partner. I have never been spoken to that way in my entire life. We were together for a year and a half and I thought she really loved me. The most shocking part was the cruel words, as she told me I have NOTHING to offer. I believe that I am suffering from some form of PTSD, as I can't get the words out of my mind, even afyer one year has passed.
    I feel as though I do have something to offer someone, but what kind of person says that to ANYONE , much less someone they said they loved and wanted to marry ?

    1. What kind of person says things like that, hurting someone who loves her? A person with a pathology and does it really matter which one?!

      Being devalued and discarded is one of the most excruciating experiences anyone could ever go through. Your brain can't even process what's happening. Even more shocking than their callousness though is that our vulnerability and fragility only seems to flame their aggression! Watch for for her reactions when you're vulnerable. It's a key sign of severe pathology.

      Most people react with tenderness. The psychopathic-narcissistic personality takes advantage. This is why message boards and websites exist: to get you back on your feet so you can prevent further harm by appealing to her compassion.

      There is none.

      This is hard for people to accept until they've witnessed the pathological personality hurting, intentionally, someone who loved them.

      I hope you're getting your finances in order, anonymous. Pathological women are notorious for financially ruining their partners.

      With a divorce record of three failed marriages, I hope the next guy sees through her pathetic stories of victimization.

      I am sorry this is happening to you. It's devastating.


    2. oh my goodness, this is almost exactly what my ex said to me...after 3.5 years of verbal abuse, cheating, hard drug use, threats of suicide and general crazymaking, i started to withdraw. i turned more and more of my energy to myself and get myself back on track.

      my ex freaked out and started to follow me around, scream and yell, send hundreds of emails and texts about how i was 'starving him like a dog' (i was never able to figure out what he wanted in concrete terms...he just seemed to need my energy and once i used it to maintain my own health and sanity, he reacted with vitriol). in his last email to me he said that he 'deserves better' than me and that i 'contributed nothing to the relationship.'

      i was a pretty stand up girlfriend and had been a decent partner in my past relationships. i kept wondering what i could have done to fix it. i went to therapy, read books, tried different ways of communicating...nothing seemed to staunch his rage and pain and insanity.

      after we broke up he almost immediately moved in with a stranger he met at a bar.

      i feel so much better reading that other people have made it through relationships like this intact. i thought at one point that i was going crazy and would never come out of it..

    3. Same story, different people. Right? You stick it out, even working hard to understand your partner. You read books, look for answers, go to therapy. And when you finally give up because nothing you do makes any difference, your partner 'takes up' with the next person he meets in a bar.

      To be replaced that easily after trying as hard as we did, is another insult to our dignity and respect.

      It's a good thing that you are OUT of that relationship for it wouldn't have gotten any better---maybe worse than you can even imagine. The pathological person doesn't change---WE DO. So if people can end the relationship before complicating their lives with marriage and children and extended family and finances, it's much much better!

      I'm glad you're feeling better and I'm also glad that you are willing to spend time finding information to help YOURSELF. If we only spent half as much time helping ourselves as we spent helping the narcissist (who did NOT want our help!), we'd be skipping la-de-dah and singing rainbow songs in no time.


  3. Thanks to everyone who replied and to your words of insight and encouragement.
    It has been two years now since I was coldly dismissed by my partner. I have spent a fortune on books about BPD NPD and even some on sociopathy (THOSE are too scary and disturbing) I began with the
    Jekyl and Hyde syndrome and that is when I learned about personality disorders and had the AH HA moment, then I went online and read everything I could to get inside of the mind of the pathological. It is sad and tragic and they have to know something is not right within themselves BUT they seem to lack insight or just prefer to stay in denial because they can't bear the truth and want to hide it from themselves as well as others. I got a couple of texts right after the breakup saying that she was sorry her last words were angry and she hoped we could stay in touch. Then one saying I left a pair of shoes and she could drop them by if I wanted. I DECLINED and said for her to leave them in a bag on her front porch and I would pick them up while she was at work. After I picked up the bag, I found my Christmas stocking in the bag with my shoes. It was so hurtful because it was a symbol of something so personal thrown back in my face and THAT was the day that I knew something more was wrong with her. She sent another text before my birthday telling me : GOD's blessings for a happy birthday and a HEALTHY year ahead (she said I was mentally ill)......when she split me black.
    Then she said you will always be Pistachio (that was a pet name during happier times)

    The only response I could give at that point was that I was just trying to put one foot in front of the other and told ber when someone dies, you have to grieve the loss .

    That was almost two years ago and I have been no contact ever since. Sometimes I miss our life and the home we had created and most especially her dog who I loved and who had grown to love me too.

    Thanks again for your support as I still have my sad days but they are not as acute and sometimes I still feel angry but GOD wants us to love one another and forgive one another. SHE HARMED me but she did not destroy me and I amso thankful for that !

  4. Hmm... good list although I see something missing. What about the sulking/silent treatment? Or did I maybe miss that one? You see, they sulk like little children, pout and refuse to talk to you (invalidation) because you have either questioned them or disagreed with their highness and sometimes it is just hilarious! It must be a tenuous thing living in such a shaky castle, when you just have to keep running away from your real self and the core issues you dare not face!

    Also, I wanted to mention the bullying or anger over aspect. To me this is not just a lack of respect or personal weakness but it is cowardly, yes, COWARDLY; their targets are usually vulnerable and/or unprepared for the over reaction of the narc, so it is easy to be caught off guard and silenced into submission. COWARDS!

  5. My first red flag was my partner telling someone (in my presence) that he chose me because beauty is only skin deep and that there are more important aspects to a woman. My second red flag was on my first birthday together when we visited an archery store and he picked out and purchased a bow for me to shoot when I was to go with him to shoot at his archery club. While we were driving home, I thanked him for the bow. He replied "It's not your bow, it's mine." I remember thoughts of total confusion both times, and discounting it as something I just didn't understand, or a slip up on his part. I was exactly as you say, caught off guard and silenced into submission.

  6. On my highly suspect NPD 'friend' who weazled his way into my life by 'pretending' to have a disfunctional parental relationship (not true, so it appears) and a bad back problem (that magically cleared up). A red flag for me, after the long seduction period of being groomed into thinking he was kind, empathetic and caring was realising that after 22 years of friendship, I still don't feel I am doing anything other than 'bumping along the bottom': What I mean is this: I fell that I mean no no more to him now than the first day that I met him, which is not very much when he invalidates (ignores any good advice, plays the expert on anything - even things he has no real expertise in, won't be told anything (he knows already - every time). This brings me to my second red flag: healthy people cultivate the company of those that appreciate/like/admire them and who they too can appreciate/like/admire in return. They also ttry to distance themselves from those who they don't respect/like/admire and/or don't feel the same about them. This makes perfect sense to me. You want to be in the company of those that make you feel good and who you can make feel good in return. NPDs, so it seems to me, don't do that. Instead they actively cultivate/insist/demand to be in your presence or you in theirs even though they clearly don't display the like /respect/admire trio you and they are just as happy for you to be in their presence even when you give off vibes of being completely fed up/dissolusioned with them as individuals too. It's all about narcissistic supply. Even being hated or hating others they are around, who they can criticise and put down can be a source of N-supply. Best thing is to do what the healthy person does: don't play their games, use them like they use you (whilst despising them) and keep your distance as much as possible.

    1. Sounds like you hit the nail on the head here. I completely agree with your advice: ) Very insightful

  7. I know my mother was N and I suspect my ex also had a personality problem too. The red flag for me, which I did not even notice at the time, was that my ex had no friends, even in the town where he was born and grew up. No school friends, no army friends, no drinking buddies. Watch out for that one, there has to be a good reason someone doesn't have any friends. In our 25 years of marriage I saw him make friends and then disregard them without a second thought when they were no longer any use to him.

  8. Jesus Christ, I didn't know they were insane! I have 4 adult children who are just like my X.
    In reading some of these comments I am shaking in astonishment and shock,I had no idea
    they were so twisted,so insane and bizarre. A son I hadn't seen or heard from in 15yrs.,when
    I phoned him,within a minute of conversation,started to ask me did I remember a letter I sent
    him 15yrs previous,with a criticism I could not even recall. When I told him I loved him,he replied
    in a loathsome voice "That means NOTHING to me." Dear God, I've been SURROUNDED by
    them all my life,in parents,school,work,friendships,neighbours,they are EVERYWHERE!

  9. Looking back, my exhusband of a 20+ year marriage, had almost all the red flags. I chose to rationalize them away though. In fact I picked up some of his bad behaviours and alienated myself from family and friends. After all, he was funny, charismatic, intelligent, and came from "better stock" than I did...I was a mere "prairie farm girl." I believed and trusted him.

    There was one niggley red flag though, that surfaced in my thoughts fairly often, especially in the latter half of our marriage. He had hurt or discarded every single person in his life, bar none. I did wonder when it would be me next, but somehow I rationalized that I was somehow special.

    Now, I silently worry for my teen boys, who are lured in by his same methods, and wonder when the shoe will drop for them....or when they will be dropping the shoe on their future partners.

    One son especially idolizes his father and has the basic personality of his N father. The other son has a Narc'y long term girlfriend.

    As a mother, I have tried to to teach them, cleverly, in passing, about their own potential for distorted thinking and others' manipulative ways, but they quickly respond, "you are talking about Dad, aren't you?"

    I should have known 25 years ago, but wouldn't have listened. Thank you for gathering and posting the red flags of a N!