15 Signs You're Dating A Kerouac Narcissist (The Worst Kind Of Narcissist)

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In the creative world, I’ve learned that there are often two different types of artists: real ones, and narcissists who claim to be “artists.” I call the latter Kerouac Narcissists, and believe it or not, there are a lot of them. 

Kerouac Narcissists are often the reason why people warn others against dating musicians, painters, actors, and writers — and the reasons behind those warnings are totally warranted. They often see other people as “props” in the grand American novel that is their life, and that means that they will often treat them as such.

In almost all interpersonal relationships, those with this type of narcissism are insanely toxic and damaging to others. It’s not uncommon for a Kerouac Narcissist to bully others they deem “too uncool to be part of their clique,” nor is it uncommon for them to romance a girl, “get inspired” by another woman/lifestyle, then bail.

Bad as they are, if you know what to look for, you can avoid heartbreak.

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Here are 15 signs you're dating a narcissist; specifically, a Kerouac Narcissist:

1. Most people will call Kerouac Narcissists self-absorbed on social media

These are the kind of people who would make memes out of themselves or ask people to make fan signs for them. As a result, most Kerouac Narcissists will do whatever they can to grow their social media base, and might also use other people who are “equally artistic” in their group as props to show how cool they really are.

2. You often find yourself to be the only one thinking about practical things in relationships

If they’ve really gone off the deep end, a Kerouac Narcissist will often expect their partner to financially support them and do all the dirty work of adulting for them. After all, they’re too precious to do that themselves.

3. Their favorite books involve authors like Jack Kerouac

Most people who tend to fall into this Kerouac stereotype forget that his greatest book, On the Road, was a celebration of narcissism. In fact, people who model themselves after Kerouac might want to know that he, himself, was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Kerouac’s narcissistic tendencies caused him to abandon his daughter and his former partners also have nothing good to say. This is where I got the term from.

4. After a while, you notice that they tend to be very manipulative and controlling

Sure, they acted sweet as pie to that person’s face, but the moment they were gone, they started talking smack about them fast. A more common issue with Kerouac Narcissists is passive aggression as a way to control or use the rumor mill to their advantage. The reason why is that Kerouac Narcissists have to be in control of the script they want everyone to follow, and anything else will incur their wrath.

5. They keep talking about how they are making a major book, album, art piece, or screenplay that they are “sure will get picked up”

Sounds like Brian from Family Guy, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because he’s kind of a good example of what a Kerouac Narcissist is like in many cases. They rarely actually do what they say they are trying to do, and when they aren’t the “great American artist” they think they were, they will blame others for their failure. Sadly, there are some Kerouac narcissists in the arts industry as well, so if you are dating a pro, you still have to watch out.

6. This kind of narcissist will also make a point to sound smart, even on topics they know nothing about

This is a trademark move of an insecure narcissist. Kerouac Narcissists are even worse about it, primarily because they think that’ll attract “the right crowd” to them.

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7. They have an absolute need to be seen in the trendiest places in town

Remember, these narcissists often act or even think that they are the main actor in a major motion picture. For them, that means that they need the right backdrop. Since they are the star and are therefore super-cool, they may need to haunt the trendiest bars in town.

8. If they’re really off the deep end, they may even move to a glitzy city just so that they can show how cool they are to people back home

So, for example, you might see someone from Virginia move to California, just for the sole purpose of living the “artist lifestyle” for a while.

9. Speaking of which, they also tend to delve into drug use and alcohol abuse

This is not always true, but considering that these kinds of people tend to follow Jack Kerouac’s advice, it’s often the case. Unlike other addicts though, they often will push their use to the forefront or even put it on Snapchat just to show how hard they’re partying.

10. They also tend to act like they need a Manic Pixie Dream Partner to “make their life better”

Of course, this also means that when they do find a partner, they idealize her, then upon realizing she’s human, they devalue her and then abuse her or use her for resources until they “make it big” or find “a new muse.” This is a cycle, and this is one of the signs you're dating a narcissist. In this manner, Kerouac Narcissists are no different from any other sufferer of NPD out there.

11. When it comes to travel and life, they’re known for picking up and leaving at random

They may even talk about how they’re going to get out of the country and “go live in London” to get their art calibrated. These narcissists, unlike others, tend to make snap decisions in a dramatic way, often to the detriment of everyone around them.

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12. Even when they do heinous things to other people, they can’t be the bad guy

A Kerouac Narcissist is the type of person who will pretend everything is okay, sleep with you, wish you a happy anniversary, then bail the next day, leaving a bouquet of flowers and a spiel about how you’ll “thank them later.” They also may act as if you owe them a conversation just for “closure” when they are the ones who wronged you.

13. They swear they are trendsetters, but they always do whatever everyone else in the “hip” crowd is doing

No, they don’t like anything before it was cool. They aren’t actual trendsetters. As long as it’s trending on Instagram or getting airplay in a trendy magazine, they’ll adore it. The moment it stops being edgy is the moment they’ll drop it.

14. If you tell them anything even remotely critical of their work, they flip

This is often what divides a Kerouac Narcissist who pretends to be a “writer” from a real one. A real writer will hear someone’s two cents and take them into consideration. A Kerouac Narcissist will not and will often attack right back at you for it.

15. Others warn you about them or act like they were bullied by them

Though you should always take warnings with a grain of salt, the truth is that there’s often a grain of reality to the rumors you hear from others. If you hear warnings and notice other things on this list, you might be dealing with a serious Kerouac Narcissist.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer who mainly focuses on lifestyle, food, finance, and relationships.