I’m a psychologist – here are seven texting habits of a narcissist to watch for

If your friend or partner is exhibiting controlling or emotional signs while texting you, they might be a narcissist, a psychologist has warned.

Dr Kerry McAvoy, who specializes in helping abuse victims, revealed the seven red flags you might be overlooking that show a person is love bombing you – a type of emotional manipulation that ensures you feel attached to the relationship.

These signs could include sending incomplete, anxiety-inducing messages and expecting an immediate response to their text message but not responding to yours right away.

By understanding what red flag signs to look out for, McAvoy advised that you can learn when it’s time to make a quick getaway.

Signs that you’re being emotionally manipulated by a narcissist could include sending incomplete, anxiety-inducing messages and expecting an immediate response to their text message but not responding to yours right away

Dr McAvoy has been a psychologist for more than 20 years and uses her own experience of being married to a narcissist to help abuse victims ‘regain their confidence, clarity and control over their life.’

Narcissism is a type of personality features qualities that include thinking very highly of oneself, needing admiration, believing others are inferior, and lacking empathy for others.

Partners of people with narcissistic traits are said to be at higher risk of developing mental health problems as a result of their emotionally abusive relationship.

1. Expect you to immediately respond

A narcissist might expect you to drop everything and respond to their text message, regardless of what you’re doing, what time it is or where you are.

‘And if you don’t, they want to know if you’re too busy for them,’ Dr McAvoy pointed out in a TikTok video.

The average narcissist attaches a sense of self-importance to themselves, demanding special treatment from others to show they’re special.

They hate being annoyed, and if they don’t receive a prompt response, they strive to stay in control by making you feel ashamed or regretful, she continued to explain.

An example of this kind of text could be: ‘I need to talk to you,’ ‘Respond to me now,’ and ‘What are you doing that you can’t respond to me?’

2. Send mass sentimental texts

A narcissist will ‘find some sentimental message and then they cut and paste it to a whole bunch of people’ – including old lovers, friends and prospective new partners – to spread their ‘love and attention far and wide’ so they can get the same kind of response in return, Dr McAvoy said.

People with this disorder need constant love, admiration and attention to feel important which is why they’ll send sentimental texts to people they know will return the gesture.

3. They are overly attached to their phone

Narcissists seem to be attached to their phones, ‘like they were born with the thing,’ according to Dr McAvoy.

This is due to their need to feel important by having immediate access to other people’s sentimental text messages or likes and comments on social media.

A 2023 study found that people who have narcissistic tendencies or characteristics are more attached to their devices, specifically using them to scroll through social media apps..

4. They don’t respond to your texts promptly

When texting a narcissist, the messages may not be ‘treated with the same level of priority,’ Dr McAvoy warned, adding that ‘it may be minutes, hours or days before they bother to respond.’

The reasoning might be that they need to maintain control and dominance over any situation and by making their friend or partner wait for a response, they can avoid feeling vulnerable to someone else.

Dr Kerry McAvoy (pictured) has been a psychologist for more than 20 years and uses her own experience of being married to a narcissist to help abuse victims ‘regain their confidence, clarity and control over their life'

Dr Kerry McAvoy (pictured) has been a psychologist for more than 20 years and uses her own experience of being married to a narcissist to help abuse victims ‘regain their confidence, clarity and control over their life’

5. Send explicit messages too soon

The act of sending explicit messages or photos could give the narcissist the thrill of acting out sexually to avoid possible sexual rejection in their relationship.

‘[Narcissists] think it’s okay to send explicit text messages and photos, even before you know each other or the relationship has proceeded that far,’ Dr McAvoy told her followers.

A 2019 study focused on why men send nude photos and found that the top two reasons are associated with narcissistic behavior: self-gratification and seeking attention.

‘However ineffective and inappropriate, this ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours’ compulsion is rooted in self-gratification,’ said Dr Cory Pedersen the study’s lead author and professor in Psychology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

‘Since bragging and dominance-seeking are less conventional expressions of female gender roles, it is not surprising that men … do this far more frequently,’ Detroit sex therapist Russell Stambaugh told CNN.

‘Because it is often unsolicited dominance seeking, guys’ genital pics are far more often regarded as aggressive.’

6. Send incomplete, anxiety-inducing text messages

Dr McAvoy warned that the narcissist might ‘send short messages without any follow-up, leaving you anxious, off balance or feeling confused about the status of the relationship.’

They might send a text saying ‘Yesterday was fun. Even though I have a headache now. Thanks,’ leaving you questioning what you could have done to cause a headache or upset them.

Other examples could be asking you to meet up for the weekend and after you say ‘yes,’ they stop responding.

7. Consistently send the same photo, song or video

Sentimental messages can come in any shape or form, whether its a photo from a trip you took together, a video of you laughing together or the song you danced to at a wedding.

They want to stay on your mind and keep you coming back so they have constant validation that you won’t leave them.

It’s ‘a way to remind you how special you are and to keep you on an emotional hook,’ said Dr McAvoy.



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