Dr. Vaknin writes...
“It is possible to have a relatively smooth relationship with a narcissist, and it's possible to maintain it for a long time. The first requirement for this, though, is distance: this simply cannot be done with a narcissist you live with. Given distance, or only transient and intermittent contact, you can get along with narcissists by treating them as infants: you give them whatever they want or need whenever they ask and do not expect any reciprocation at all, do not expect them to show the slightest interest in you or your life (or even in why you're bothering with them at all), do not expect them to be able to do anything that you need or want, do not expect them to apologize or make amends or show any consideration for your feelings, do not expect them to take ordinary responsibility in any way. But note: they are not infants; infants develop and mature and require this kind of care for only a brief period, after which they are on the road to autonomy and looking after themselves, whereas narcissists never outgrow their demands for dedicated attention to their infantile needs 168 hours a week. Adult narcissists can be as demanding of your time and energy as little babies but without the gratification of their growing or learning anything from what they suck from you. Babies love you back, but adult narcissists are like vampires: they will take all you can give while giving nothing back, then curse you for running dry and discard you as a waste of their precious time. “It is also essential that you keep emotional distance from narcissists.”
Ten Do's and Five Don't Dos if you INSIST on Staying with Him
Narcissistic Personality Disorder Tips – by Sam Vaknin, PhDhttp://samvak.tripod.com/npdtips.html
Dr Samvak is himself a narcissist (a form of psychopath), so he knows them more intimately than you, or I will ever have the displeasure of knowing. His assertion that they will take everything from you, and return nothing in kind, is absolutely accurate. Psychopaths have only one concern, that is that their every need and whim be met instantaneously and w/out question. They expect you to have no needs of your own. If you do happen to have a need for something like, oh I don't know, maybe some consideration for your feelings at the very least, you'll be highly disappointed. In fact quite the contrary. The one thing the narcissist will do that a baby doesn't do, is intentionally hurt you as often and as deeply as possible for "no good reason."
In the book The Unexamined Victim, Women Who Love Psychopaths, the author explains what a psychopath is looking for in a victim. They psychopath doesn't start off the relationship acting as the above quote from Dr.Samvak describes. If they did I doubt they'd ensnare as many victims as they do. Perhaps an occasional victim with low self esteem and little self worth who doesn't feel that he/she is very important themselves. But, that sort of victim is little thrill for the psychopath. They prefer victims who have a good amount of self worth and esteem. It's much more fun watching them crumble at the masters hand, then to watch an already defeated victim remain defeated.
The relationship of a psychopath has a pattern to it. There is the initial "wooing" stage which is something called the "luring" stage, or the "idealization phase." This is when he/she puts on the show of their lives for you. They read you like a scrip from a theatrical film and you are the character they'll be playing. They're studying you to see what your likes/dislikes are. They are ascertaining what it is you're looking for, needing, or lacking in your life. They'll then begin the process of putting on their academy award winning performance of becoming the very man/woman of your dreams. "All the better to ensnare you with my pretty." I can imagine them eerily saying to themselves as they begin their ascend into your life. If you are someone who enjoys dancing, and the night life. Well, that is what they'll become. Someone who loves to go out to the clubs and dance those little twinkle toes off.
So, you see in the beginning it can be difficult to recognize a psychopath and a person has to be vigilant in noticing the signs early on to avoid a vicious snare waiting along the path. I love Dr. Phil's quote, "the best predictor for future behavior is past behavior." If he/she has a string of broken relationships in his/her past. Chances are, you'll be another in a long line of victims the perpetrator has left in their wake.
So, what does the perpetrator look for in a victim? How can you protect yourself from being a tempting target? In the book The Unexamined Victim - Women Who Love Psychopaths, the author studied common traits and characteristics of victims specifically of psychopathic lovers. It turns out we are a breed of our own w/some distinct features not found in victims of other crimes such as rape, domestic violence, assault and so on. I'll cover the information from the book in the coming days. For at the moment it is 3:49am and I need to be up for work in a few hrs. Time to get some shut eye before the morning light.