The Most Overlooked Symptom Of Narcissism, According To Therapists

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The thing about Narcissism is that it’s hard to detect it in the beginning. The same partner that was once thoughtful, sweet, and attentive all of the sudden turns on you the moment you cave to their charm, trust them, and enter a committed relationship with them.

Once they know they have you under their grip, the signs of narcissism start to come out. However, one sign in particular, is overlooked not only by most average people but therapists as well.

What is that habit that most people overlook about narcissists? Let’s find out!

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The Most Overlooked Symptom Is:

Habitual not listening.

Man In suit Squinting on black background
Michael Mcauliffe / Unsplash
Michael Mcauliffe / Unsplash

This sign is tricky to pick out because narcissists are great at deception and can make it seem like they’re listening to you. In reality, they dismiss everything you say by brushing it aside, negating or minimizing it.

This is their way of turning the tables on you and freeing themselves from any guilt or accountability. Whenever confronted, narcissists just want the quickest way out that doesn’t require apologizing.

When you defy their viewpoint, they hear the words but block out the meaning so they never actually receive the message. They just wait for you to be done so they can move on with their agenda.

How To Recognize It

It’s hard to step outside of the relationship to notice the tactics that a Narcissist will use to manipulate situations in their favor, and emotionally confuse the person they’re talking to get their way.

close-up-photo-of-couple-with-their-eyes-closed-facing-each-other-in-front-of-dark-background
Ba Tik / Pexels
Ba Tik / Pexels

Luckily there are 2 tip-offs that give away their inability to actively listen and engage in effective conversation that shows empathy, understanding and equal communication.

The first giveaway is the word “but” as it automatically cancels whatever came before it. It’s dismissive and minimizes the previous statement. The second is in their voice tone. The more irritated or disapproving it sounds the less the Narcissist is even willing to consider what you just said or validate it. At this point, it’s like talking to a wall.

Why They Do It

The hard part is that Narcissists might not even realize how damaging their non-listening can be. They do it as part of their manipulative communication patterns tailored to boost their ego and make people give them exactly what they want.

man-in-blue-and-brown-plaid-dress-shirt-touching-his-hair-
Nathan Cowley / Pexels
Nathan Cowley / Pexels

Keep in mind that Narcissism is a personality disorder that affects one in two hundred people. Narcissists genuinely think that only they know best so they see no point in hearing what others have to say. They tend to do a lot of talking but little listening.

Why Do Even Therapists Miss This Symptom ?

Even therapists overlook the narcissistic tendencies to fail to listen. However, that’s because narcissists do tend to still listen to someone they deem to be a higher power, which therapists could be. They may put their best foot forward to be perceived in the brightest light in the eyes of the therapist, manipulating them to believe that they’re respectful and actively listening. This is the same thing that Narcissists do when first courting a partner.

person-in-black-pants-and-black-shoes-sitting-on-brown-wooden-chair as therapist talking to client across
cottonbro / Pexels
cottonbro / Pexels

Therapists often don’t notice the habitual lack of listening until they observe the Narcissist in their relationships with others. For example in couples therapy, a therapist may start to notice how the Narcissist dismisses or minimizes their partner’s points.

It’s Not Personal

What’s important to remember in interactions with a narcissist is that it has nothing to do with you. Their lack of listening is not because what you have to say isn’t valid, important, or true, but because their own issues prevent them from being able to hear it.

nhappy-black-couple-sitting-on-bed-after-having-argument
Alex Green / Pexels
Alex Green / Pexels

Don’t take it personally. If you feel unheard, take a moment to remind yourself why you had the thought that you shared in the first place. Narcissists will try to distort your memories and turn the tables so that what you have to say isn’t valid anymore. It helps if you write it down, and talk to others about it.

Act As If Speaking To A Deaf Person

To help you not take the limited hearing personally, think of it as a genuine disability brought on by the Narcissistic disorder, just like being deaf is an unfortunate disability. it’s not that they don’t want to listen to you, but they don’t even know how to.

crop-deaf-friends-chatting-on-street-in-winter
SHVETS production / Pexels
SHVETS production / Pexels

Try to respond the same way that you would with a deaf person by calmly repeating yourself and finding alternative or creative ways of conveying your message. A good trick is to agree to cooperate and validate what the Narcissist has said before adding on your point.

However, the disorder doesn’t excuse or justify their behavior especially when it becomes toxic and damaging. It’s okay to draw boundaries and to walk away when they’re crossed.

So Why Do We Fall For Narcissists?

Falling for a narcissist happens to the best of us and there is no reason for you to ever blame yourself. If you’re wondering how you could’ve missed the red flags, the answer is simple: you didn’t.

woman-kissing-boyfriend-on-forehead
Dmitriy Ganin / Pexels
Dmitriy Ganin / Pexels

Narcissists are skilled at coming off like a catch with nothing wrong with them. They use their charm to attract partners and maintain a seemingly kind, generous, and confident nature until they get you to fall for them. The red flags don’t show overnight but rather are displayed gradually over time. They start small which makes it easy to overlook them until you’re suddenly stuck in a toxic cycle.

Narcissists listen very well when they’re courting you, as you still are perceived as a powerful being that they want. It’s not until they know they have you that they shut it off.

If You’re Dealing With A Narcissist

If you have chosen a narcissist as a life partner, or have gotten out of a relationship with one, know that you’re greatest strength is in understanding their behavior as separate from you. It’s a disorder that has nothing to do with you, or your choices. To heal from the damage they cause, start with self-love.

couple hug by sunset
Kenny Eliason / Unsplash
Kenny Eliason / Unsplash

The more self-confidence you build, the easier it will be to separate yourself from them and recognize the signs early on so that it never happens again.

In any relationship, always look at how you feel and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?

Love is more than just kisses and butterflies, it’s much more than that. If you want to know more on what your birth chart reveals about how you love and what you need out of a partner, check out this personalized report based on your date of birth.

For more great relationship advice and tips on how to attain the kind of love you deserve, watch this video from expert, Amy North: Click Here To Watch The Full Video.

Aria Misty

Aria Misty is a recent university grad. She did her undergrad in media, information & technoculture with a Master in Journalism & Communications in 2018.

Aria has a particular interest in all things astrology and spirituality. This is driven by her desire to create healing. In fact, Aria went back to school for A master’s in counseling p[…]