Narcissistic Behavior 10: Obsession with Appearance

Compared to the narcissistic modes of behavior I have written about in my previous posts, their tendency to be obsessed with their appearance (and the appearance of others) seems to be pretty harmless. I would definitley agree with that assessment. While most of their habits are very confusing, painful and exhausting for those involved with them, their passion for extravagant styles of clothing and their desire to look good can be seen as a harmless little quirk. They certainly don’t hurt our feelings by wanting to look good, and more often than not, their appearance is one factor that makes narcissists so attractive to us. They are in possession of a certain aura that is just really hard to resist and that makes it hard for us to let go of them an put an end to the unhealthy relationship we find ourselves in. There is just something about them that makes us come back to them no matter how much they’ve hurt us and how many times they have already disappointed us earlier.

Even if their obsession with their appearance doesn’t really do any damage to us, I still find it worth mentioning and dedicating an entire post to it. My reason for writing about the modes of narcissistic behavior is not only to comment on how potentially harmful their conduct is for us. I also want to illustrate their less harmful quirks, as being aware of them can contribute to our ability to discern narcissists. Those quirks are also a part of the bigger picture, and knowing about them can make it easier for us to work out whether we are involved with a narcissist or not. But don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting that every guy who cares about his looks is automatically a narcissist. Only in combination with some of the other modes of narcissistic behavior should an obsession with appearance be regarded as a warning signal.

The narcissist I dated was certainly obsessed with his appearance and invested a lot of effort into his style of clothing. He possessed tons of clothes and going to thrift stores was his big passion. He knew the price that he had paid for every single item of clothing that he owned and also knew exactly where he had bought it. Whenever I met him, he would point those details out to me and then he would expect me to comment on his style. I never really had a problem with it, but rather thought of it as a lovely little quirk. I found this little peculiarity lovable and endearing and never got tired of listening to him pointing out enthusiastically were he had bought his clothes.

He did not only own tons of items of clothing, but his style could also be described as being relativelly extravagant. He had some really unusual pieces of clothing that made him shine out of the crowd. Sometimes he even wore cowboy boots or a coat in a very bright color. I will never forget how he turned up on one of our dates wearing a green overall. You might be tempted to think that he surely looked ridiculous in it. But he was one of those people who could pull off something like this and not seem ridiculous doing so. If anything, it made me fall in love with him even more. He also showed a remarkable attention to detail when it came to his style. He would not have a problem wearing a hat or a cap, he had very fancy sunglasses and sometimes he even walked around with something resembling a women’s handbag. Once he even told me that people tend to mistakenly think of him as being gay, and that he had often been hit on by men in the course of his life.

When it came to his appearance he was like a chameleon. He often drastically changed his look and experimented with different styles. During the time I dated him he began to grow a beard. Sometimes he would wear really noticeable glasses, instead of putting in his contact lenses. He just really liked to be playful about his appearance and to change it on a regular basis. I was very attracted to his extravagant and changing style and thought of it as exciting and special. For me, it greatly added to the general sense of mysteriousness and excitement that was surrounding him like a cloud of perfume.

He was not only obsessed with his own appearance, but also frequently commented on the looks of others. While I was involved with him he would comment more on my appearance than on anything else. He knew every single one of my moles and scars and commented on every single part of my body (from my eyebrows to my toes). He repeatedly paid me compliments on my “good looks”. I was told on a regular basis how “pretty and sexy” I was, how he really liked my legs, my ass or any other part of my body. He never seemed to get tired of reminding me of how much I turned him on through my appearance. At times I began to suspect that my appearance was all he was ever interested in. When I carefully voiced this suspicion he pretended to be shocked, but he still went on commenting on my appearance more than on anything else.

Narcissists also have a tendency to think of themselves as very attractive and good-looking. The narcissist I dated also belonged into that category. On one of our dates he told me that he knew he could be very attractive to some women. He was also often convinced that someone had a crush on him, and he would openly admit to it by saying things like “she probably has a little crush on me”. I often knew the women he was talking about and wasn’t so sure about the correctness of his assessments. But of course I never dared to voice this suspicion, but allowed him to stay in his belief. The fact that he was assured of his good-looks was also mirrored in his tendency to use selfies as profile pictures on social media platforms. He had a different selfie for each platform (Facebook, Google Plus, Skype) and in each of those he had put on a look of mysteriousness and seriousness – gazing into the distance with a thoughtful expression on his face, pouting his lips, trying to look irresistible. Not even I could look at those pictures without thinking of them as slightly ridiculous.

I’m now at the end of my little discourse on the narcissist’s tendency to be obsessed with his appearance. As I have already pointed out earlier, this trait is not causing us any pain and therefore seems to be harmless when compared to their other modes of behavior. We often think of their obsession as endearing little quirk. More often than not we are highly attracted to the aura surrounding them as a result of their extravagant style of clothing and attention to unusual details. It makes us think of them as exciting, special and mysterious, and can contribute to our harmful habit of holding on to them for far too long. We are unwilling to let go of the exciting man who is bestowing his attention on us. We are convinced that we have made a good catch and are therefore more prepared to overlook their disrespectful and inconsiderate behavior. I was also far too distracted by the aura of singularity that was surrounding him, to find the strength and rationality to let go of him. As a result I endured months of disrespect and neglect without standing up for myself. I hope I have learned my lesson and will never again allow good looks and eccentricity to cloud my judgment and make me accept shady behavior.