It's possible to meet someone and feel like you've known them your whole life. Often, this just means you're comfortable in each other's company.
But sometimes it can be a sign of something more sinister — particularly if someone you're dating is professing their love for you when you've only known them for five minutes.
Narcissists sometimes engage in "love bombing" — pretending to be everything you've ever wanted, only to turn it back on you further down the line. It's a manipulative tactic to reel in their targets. First, they shower them with affection and gifts. Then, they start gaslighting and abusing their victim, causing them to wonder what's real. It's all part of the plan to gain total control.
Although there's no global summit for all dark triad people to get together and discuss their tactics, they do seem to operate in a similar way.
"It's like they read from the same manual, even though nobody gives them that manual," said psychologist Perpetua Neo, who works with victims of narcissistic abuse. "They're almost programmed in the same way."
Here are certain phrases narcissists use, and ways they express things, that may be eerily familiar to anyone who has dealt with one.
They love bomb you during the idealization stage.
Relationships with narcissists move very quickly. Neo said some people simply do mesh really well, because they have similar interests and complement each other's differences.
"But anybody who tries to do it too quickly early on is basically accelerating intimacy, and that is bad news," she said. "Anybody who has to do that suggests they are doing something a bit creepy."
In the first few weeks narcissists will say things like:
"You're my soul mate."
"I've never met anyone like you before."
"You understand me so much better than anyone else."
"It's fate that we met."
"I've never felt this way about anyone before."
"Am I your only friend? You're my only friend."
"We don't need anyone else."
"You're so kind, creative, smart, beautiful, and perfect."
"We'll be together forever."
Then the devaluation stage happens.
Once a narcissist has hooked their victim, they start showing their true self. This is where the insults and put-downs start slipping into what they say. They suddenly criticize things about the partner that they once seemed to love — everything they say is part of their scheme to shatter their partner's confidence.
But the nastiness is intertwined with some affection, because the narcissist knows they have to keep up the illusion that the relationship is worth saving. By pretending they can still be loving, the narcissist makes their victim believe the insults are their own fault.
During this phase narcissists may utter some of these phrases:
"You're too sensitive."
"No wonder nobody else likes you."
"My friends hate you, but I always defend you and have your back."
"You're so insecure."
"What's wrong with you?"
"Aren't I more important to you than your friends?"
"Your tears won't work on me. Why are you crying?"
"You're being so manipulative."
They will explain away their behavior.
Alena Scigliano, a licensed psychotherapist, author, and clinical expert in narcissistic abuse, told Insider many of the phrases that pathological narcissists use fall under the manipulative tactic category she refers to as "distraction."
"For example, narcissists may deflect, project, victimize themselves, or scapegoat another person as a means to distract someone from focusing on a failure or shortcoming of the narcissist," she said. "Projection is an example of deflecting back onto the accuser."
They will probably start explaining away their behavior if they are ever challenged on it, saying things like:
"I'm like this because my parents were so mean to me."
"My ex cheated on me."
"Love is just hard. We have to work on it."
"Everyone abandons me, so you have to help me."
"I'm acting this way because I'm scared to lose you."
"I don't do it on purpose; I have a problem."
"Don't you remember how good things were at the start?"