- Why Do I Keep Attracting Narcissists? Break the Pattern!
- 1. Embrace Your Vulnerability
- 2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity
- 3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking
- Final Thoughts
- More Tips About Living Your True Self
- Why Am I Attracting So Many Narcissists?
- Six reasons you keep attracting narcissists
- 1. Narcissist behaviour feels normal
- 2. You believe your feelings and needs don’t matter
- 3. People pleasing behaviour
- 4. Needing other people’s approval
- 5. Needing to fix someone
- 6. I’m unlovable/I’m worthless
- Why You Keep Attracting Narcissists and How to Stop It
- 1. Early in any relationship ask for what YOU want and see what happens.
- 2. Know your must-haves and stick to them.
- 3. Don’t let him rush you. Insist on going at your pace.
- The 4 types of people narcissists are attracted to, according to a psychotherapist
- Why You Keep Attracting Narcissists
Why Do I Keep Attracting Narcissists? Break the Pattern!
Last Updated on April 17, 2020
We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.
When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.
In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.
Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.
If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.
According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.” Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.
No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.
When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.
Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.
1. Embrace Your Vulnerability
When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.
Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.
When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.
Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.
In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.
It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.
You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.
Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.
What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?
You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.
That’s where we all should be.
So, answer me this:
How are you, really?
And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.
Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.
Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.
Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)
Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.
It’s taking control.
2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity
You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by staying true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.
You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.
In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.
Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.
You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…
Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’ When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.
But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?
It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.
In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You
It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.
Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:
Change will happen.
Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.
You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.
And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.
You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?
That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.
You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.
When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.
3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking
Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.
In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.
If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s you rise twice.
Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.
Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable. It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved. It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.
How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?
Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.
“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.
Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.
Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.
It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.
Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,
“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”
What would you do if you felt you were enough?
By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.
So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.
By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.
Staying true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.
When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.
You will find that making decisions what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!
More Tips About Living Your True Self
Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com
Why Am I Attracting So Many Narcissists?
Many people feel as if they are “narcissist magnets.” If there is a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder within 100 feet, they believe that somehow that person will be attracted to them. They often ask me: “Why am I attracting more narcissists than anyone else around me? What can I do to stop this?” If you share this problem, I may have some answers for you.
It may not be that you attract more narcissists than other people, but you may be keeping more. Let me explain.
Let’s imagine that you are looking for a new mate. You go out on a date with someone that you find attractive and witty.
After a few dates, you notice that your new romantic interest is exquisitely sensitive to slights, needs to be the center of admiring attention, ignores your feelings, and requires lots of reassurance about how great he or she is. You do not need to be able to diagnose a narcissist to be disturbed by this type of behavior.
At this point, many people who have no knowledge of narcissism at all will politely disengage themselves from the relationship because the trouble of catering to their new friend’s needs outweighs any possible benefits. What do you do?
Here are some questions to think about:
- Have you ever ended a relationship because the other person was too selfish?
- Do you have clear boundaries that you enforce about what types of behaviors you will or will not tolerate from a romantic partner?
- If a relationship began wonderfully, but quickly goes downhill, do you stay in it hoping that it will improve?
- Do you put up with being devalued?
- Do you make excuses for the other person’s bad behavior?—They don’t really mean it. They had a hard day.
- If the person’s behavior turns abusive do you leave immediately?
If any of the above seem to relate to you, you probably need to revisit your standards of what you will tolerate from a romantic partner. This does not mean that you should never date people with narcissistic traits, but you do need to develop better strategies for sifting out those people whose bad behavior distresses you.
Some people do this automatically. If they feel taken advantage of or uncomfortable, they exit the relationship without looking back. You may be giving the wrong people too many chances and staying with them too long.
This increases the lihood that you are keeping narcissistic people that others would weed out before they got seriously hurt.
An Example: Tina and Bob on a first date
Tina was on a first date with Bob and enjoying his company. He was attractive and seemed to be very interested in her. They found lots of things to talk about and she could feel a strong physical attraction developing between them.
But, then Bob starting asking Tina some questions that she found too intrusive for a first date: “Why had her last relationship broken up? How many previous sexual partners did she have?”
Tina tried to change the topic, but Bob kept going back to asking her even more intrusive things. What he found amusing and interesting topics of conversation, Tina found painful and embarrassing.
Bob was tone-deaf to Tina’s hints, so she decided to be more direct: “Your questions are making me uncomfortable. They feel too personal for our level of relationship.
Let’s just enjoy our date together and talk about something else.”
Instead of just changing the topic or apologizing, Bob got defensive and attacked Tina: “I was just trying to get to know you better. Why are you so sensitive?”
Tina took this as a warning sign that she and Bob would not be a happy couple. She wanted someone who cared about what she felt, and it was obvious to her that Bob was too wrapped up in his own agenda to suit her needs. She ended the date early. Later, when he contacted her again, she thanked him, but said that she did not think that they were well-suited and refused to see him.
Tina’s refusal seemed to heighten Bob’s interest. She received a flurry of flattering text messages over the next week asking her to give him another chance.
Giving Chase as a Narcissistic Response to Rejection
This is one of the typical narcissistic responses to rejection. The more Tina pulled away, the more Bob pursued her. For Bob, the ground had shifted. It was not that he d Tina more than before, but he felt the need to convince her to see him again. He hated that Tina had made the decision to dump him before he had decided to dump her. It became a matter of pride to Bob to get Tina back.
Many people get seduced back into relationships with narcissistic people because the person pursues them in what feels such a flattering way. They mistake the narcissist’s desire to win, for love of them as an individual.
This is a basic misunderstanding of what is going on. This pursuit has nothing to do with your good qualities or their positive feelings about you. It is all about the narcissistic individual’s self-esteem.
At this point, they could care less about you and your good qualities. All they care about is winning.
Let me share with you a few basic rules that we can extract from the example of Tina and Bob that may help you avoid ongoing unpleasant relationships with people who have narcissistic disorders:
Rule 1: If you have already rejected them for bad behavior, do not take them back. It is highly unly that they will behave any differently in the future.
Rule 2: If they did not respect your boundaries in the beginning of the relationship, they will not respect your boundaries later.
Another Example: Tara and Sam and the jewelry store
Tara is a very beautiful, very acquisitive, and very narcissistic woman. She and Sam had been dating for a few weeks. One day they were out together for a romantic evening and they happened to pass a jewelry store. Tara stopped and started telling Sam how beautiful everything in the window was. The store was open and Tara suggested that they go in just to look.
Sam felt uncomfortable but wanted to please Tara so he agreed. Tara stopped in front of showcase filled with bracelets. “Oh Sam,” she said, “I hope you don’t mind if I try on a couple. They are so beautiful!” Sam did not know how to gracefully say “no,” so he instead he said, “Of course. Whatever you want.
” Tara tried on quite a few, then narrowed it down to her two favorite ones. She put one of them on each wrist, and asked Sam in front of the salesperson, “Which do you best?” Sam felt trapped. He had not intended to buy Tara an expensive present, but once he said that he d one better than the other, he somehow felt obligated to offer to buy it for Tara.
Tara walked out pleased with herself and her new bracelet and Sam felt angry and miserable.
Sam d Tara, but he had not realized until then how often she had manipulated him into situations where he felt taken advantage of. He realized that Tara was a very selfish woman who did not really care about him or his feelings. Sam decided that this situation was unly to change and that he did not want to pursue the relationship with Tara any further. He never asked her out again.
Devaluing is another Common Narcissistic Response to Rejection
Tara sent him a few sweet texts and thanked him profusely for his generous gift. When he did not respond, she became angry and then sent him a long, nasty, rambling text message that ended with her calling him “a miserable, cheap, heartless loser.” Sam was relieved that he had not stayed in the relationship longer.
You do not have to be able to diagnose someone as a narcissist in order to decide to get the relationship. Sam was not a diagnostician, nor was he sophisticated about psychology. He was, however, able to recognize when he felt uncomfortable and manipulated.
Sam cut Tara his life because he had an idea of how he wanted to be treated and trusted his own sense that Tara was mistreating him in some way that crossed his personal boundaries.
Her final insulting email just confirmed for Sam that he had made the right decision.
Rule 3: Trust your Gut
If being with this person makes you feel uncomfortable or they regularly maneuver you into doing things that you do not want to do, he or she is probably not right for you. Trust your own instincts.
Punchline: It is not a good relationship if you repeatedly feel bad.
Six reasons you keep attracting narcissists
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is defined as an “all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts, such as family life and work”.
Being devoid of empathy, people with narcissistic personality disorder are generally unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, preferences, needs, priorities and choices of others.
They often rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people they consider unworthy or inferior to them.
Some people never get over the extensive and extreme damage this behaviour causes. Particularly if you are a highly sensitive person, you may notice that your well-being, self-worth and health are hampered by the behaviour of a narcissist. This is the case for me.
I have always been highly sensitive, empathic and caring and I attracted one narcissist after another into my life from childhood, up until the point I transformed my past and my limiting subconscious beliefs.
I am now no longer addicted to these people and no longer draw them into my life.
The reasons you are attracted to them and give your power away to them may include:
1. Narcissist behaviour feels normal
Maybe you grew up with parents or other caregivers that were narcissists. They had no empathy or understanding for you. They may have emotionally, physically or sexually abused you. Maybe they were an alcoholic or struggling with depression or another mental illness. Or, perhaps they just had no time for you. This is the behaviour you are used to.
2. You believe your feelings and needs don’t matter
This results in you sacrificing your needs and suppressing your feelings so that you can please others and make them happy. You put other people first all the time and find it difficult or impossible to say no when someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do. You may not even know what you want because you may have learnt as a child that it was wrong to want anything.
3. People pleasing behaviour
Getting your self-worth by constantly trying to please other people involves giving your power away. But, when you do this with a narcissist, you will never be able to please them. They constantly change their mind and raise the bar about what they want – to keep you trying harder and harder and making you feel more of a failure.
4. Needing other people’s approval
Initially, narcissists can make you feel you have met your soul mate as they give you so much positive attention and approval. As soon as they know they have got you hooked, they start criticizing, judging and doing all they can to make you feel worthless. Someone needing approval then tries harder and harder to get their approval.
5. Needing to fix someone
This may be an alcoholic, drug addict, gambler or someone else who is struggling with life. But, we can’t actually fix anyone as they have to do the inner work themselves.
A narcissist will often talk about how difficult their life is and how it is everyone else’s fault. They do this to see if you are a caring, empathic person who is ly to become addicted to helping them.
They also believe that everything is everyone else’s fault and that their manipulative and abusive behaviour is justified.
6. I’m unlovable/I’m worthless
Having this belief will cause you to not be attracted to and reject anyone who loves and cares for you. You don’t think you deserve to be loved so you settle for poor treatment from others.
When you transform your past traumas and limiting beliefs, you are able to find self-love and self-worth inside yourself and no longer need to give your power away trying to get love and self-worth from others. You are able to take care of yourself and put yourself first and say no to others when you need to. You no longer need other people’s approval so you feel free to be authentic and speak your truth.
Low self-worth and people pleasing behaviour isn’t attractive to a potential partner unless they are a narcissist. When you can feel self-worth and self-love you are no longer attracted to controlling and abusive narcissistic behaviour.
You start to attract caring and supportive people into your life.
Find out more about narcissistic personality disorder, including the symptoms and causes, as well as treatment options that can help those with NPD build healthier relationships.
Why You Keep Attracting Narcissists and How to Stop It
Have you ever asked yourself ‘why do I keep attracting narcissists and jerky men’?
If you are you a smart, kind, self-reliant and successful woman with a smattering of the usual insecurities…then you’re a sitting duck for these guys! You are definitely not alone. Far from it. I’m going to tell you why this happens and give you the control to stop it. Listen up.
I’ve coached so many women through breaking their pattern of attracting and choosing these toxic men.
Contrary to what you might think, narcissists don’t go after weak women. They are attracted to strong women who have a lot to give. Someone you maybe?
Think of narcissistic men as heartbreakers in prince charming’s clothing. If it seems too good to be true, then it just might be.
Here is how that works:
Narcissists need someone nice who will stroke their ego. They want someone successful and strong to take care of them. They want someone empathetic to attend to their child- needs. They want someone self-sufficient so they don’t have to take care of your needs. And whatever insecurities you have (we all have some) they will fully exploit to their gain.
What do you get in return?
The quintessential alpha male who is exciting, fun, charming and witty. He’s funny, intense and, when you are together there is never a dull moment. You will have chemistry and feel high from all his attention. For a while, anyway.
I was definitely sucked in by these charming, manipulative guys when I was single. the countless women who have shared their stories with me, I was left feeling broken, drained, and more insecure than ever. And I felt stupid for allowing myself to be sucked in that.
In case you feel embarrassed or dumb for picking these guys, please don’t. They are expert at what they do. Here is what Samuel López De Victoria, Ph.D. says in a PsychCentral article:
“The skillful narcissist is a person with some pretty amazing traits. In my opinion, they can be formidable…You can also be charmed by the pulling power of someone reflecting you so as to create a deep rapport.
This intense connection is created when a person gives you the feeling you’ve known them a long time or you feel initially safe with them. They have unlocked the door to your insides.
A skilled extreme narcissist knows just how to reflect your music back to you so that you feel he has your playlist of favorite songs.”
Oh yes. Narcissists are formidable indeed.
If you attract narcissists, please PLEASE read these 3 ways to spot them and stop.
1. Early in any relationship ask for what YOU want and see what happens.
These men have a way of seeming so generous and kind. They wine and dine you. They tell you what you are longing to hear. It’s all about you. But that’s just the way it seems. Maybe they are taking you to the places you choose, but it’s still on their terms. They are making all the calls.
Pay attention, and when there is something you want, express it. Start small mentioning an activity you’d to do or a restaurant you’d to try. Or maybe ask him to change the time for the date, or call you at a certain time.
It’s easy to be fooled on this one because narcissists can be very good givers – as long as it’s something THEY want to give you. For example, he might want to hang out with his friends, but not yours. Or take you where he wants to go, or he has no trouble expecting favors from you. Ask yourself: when you are together does it seem it’s all about his world more than yours?
The last thing a narcissist wants is someone who expects to have their needs met. So, be that person. Ask for what you’d and see what he does. A good guy wants to give you what YOU want. A narcissist wants to give you what HE wants.
2. Know your must-haves and stick to them.
No matter how charmed you are or how much fun he is, when deciding if he could be a possible partner, stay focused on your must-haves. You want someone honest, reliable, and generous, right? You want to feel appreciated and respected for the real Is he doing that or are you making excuses for your narcissistic guy?
When he upsets you, does he always have a way to ultimately make it your fault and make you feel wrong? Does he discount things you say or things you want, because he claims to know better? Does he dominate conversation and turn the topic back to him? Do you feel that he’s abused your kindness? Are you feeling less-than with him?
If you find your values are being compromised then cut it off, the sooner the better. As anyone who has survived a narcissist will tell you, looking back there were always signs they ignored and excuses they made. I suggest that you look now, and take action.
(Not yet clear on your grownup must-haves? Get help here.)
3. Don’t let him rush you. Insist on going at your pace.
If a guy comes on strong and fast about what he can do for you, how much he a s you and how it will be as a couple, take a step back. It’s called love-bombing and narcissists are great at it.
Love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by lavish demonstrations of attention and affection. It works because it feeds into our fantasy of being swept off our feet. Their charm and intensity can be intoxicating and make us feel so adored and taken care of. I promise, though, that’s temporary.
No matter how good it feels, this is NOT healthy courting. Love bombing has nothing to do with love. It has to do with him getting what HE wants by playing a game that he wants to win.
Keep both feet on the ground, go slow and let your head dominate your heart. When you are getting love bombed, chances are that he’s a narcissist, a user or a control-freak.
So, when you suspect you are getting love bombed, pay close attention. Is it all about him getting what he wants? Tell him you need to slow it down and get to know one another before making any plans or promises.
Then watch; is he showing respect for your wishes? If he’s a good man who is just being overly enthusiastic, you’ll see him back off. The narcissist will simply keep trying to manipulate you to get what he wants.
Be firm and if he does not hear you and back off, then get away and stay away. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in this romantic fantasy.
Think of narcissistic men as heartbreakers in prince charming’s clothing. If it seems too good to be true, then it just might be. But you have tools to ferret out these guys so you can move on with your heart and self-esteem intact. And on to someone who deserves all you are and all you have to give.
The 4 types of people narcissists are attracted to, according to a psychotherapist
- Narcissists are attracted to certain types of people.
- Rather than weak, vulnerable people, they tend to go for the strong-willed and talented.
- This is because they see it as a challenge, and they will find more entertainment in taking down someone impressive.
- They are also attracted to people who reflect well on themselves — they to show off their partner in public, but abuse them behind the scenes.
- Ultimately, it's all about control.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist is hard work.
Even if things appear to be going well, there's no telling what's going to set off their narcissistic rage.
They may not always mean to hurt their partners, but more often than not, they do. It's up to you to decide if you're willing to take the risk, or try and make the relationship work. Just bear in mind it'll be emotionally draining, and you may end up getting discarded anyway.
A common misconception is that narcissists go for the weak, because they are easier to manipulate. In fact, narcissists prefer to try and hook someone in who is strong-willed, and who has talents or characteristics they admire. That way, they feel more accomplished if they succeed in tearing them down.
Shannon Thomas, the author of the book “Healing from Hidden Abuse,” told Business Insider that whatever strength a narcissist zeros in on, “they turn that around and destroy it.”
“I've seen that a lot of folks get targeted if they have things strong family relationships, if they have career success, especially if that career has any sort of public face to it,” she said.
“They get targeted if they are in good shape, they exercise a lot, and take care of their appearance. I've also seen people specifically targeted if they are of a religious faith, then the person either tries to get them to do things that go against their faith principles, or somehow break [them] down.”
According to psychotherapist Karen Arluck, who was answering a post on Quora, generally speaking, most people with narcissistic personality disorder want to feel good about themselves, so they gravitate towards people who will make that happen. Either they will feel special through association, or they will feel powerful in taking down someone who appears mentally, physically, or emotionally strong.
There are four types of people who narcissists tend to be attracted to, according to Arluck:
- People who are impressive in some way, either in their career, hobbies and talents, their friendship circles, or family.
- Someone who will make the narcissist feel good about themselves, through compliments or gestures.
- Anyone who will reflect well on them in the eyes of other people.
- Someone who validates their feelings, overlooks their flaws, and who isn't ly to leave them during the narcissistic abuse.
“Of course, many narcissists are chasing a unicorn, that often does not exist,” Arluck wrote. “They tend to have unrealistic expectations for their partner, as well as unstable object constancy, which frequently leads them to being unhappy in relationships once the initial sparkle has worn off, and their partner shows their more human and flawed sides.”
It may appear narcissists go for certain types of people and try to destroy them as a reflection of their own low self esteem. This may be true for a subtype of narcissists called closet narcissists, but for exhibitionist and toxic narcissists the joy comes from the destruction of others.
More often than not, a relationship with a narcissist is all about control. If they feel they have power over their partner, a narcissist will see the relationship as successful.
“I think it's more just entertainment sometimes, and control to be able to take someone who had this really great life and be part of watching them fall,” Thomas said.
“Or someone who had really good self care and took care of themselves, and was really calm, not anxious, and not depressed, and watching them fall apart.
That journey is what makes it diabolical, and it's why they enjoy it.”
Why You Keep Attracting Narcissists
Many people want to know why they keep attracting narcissists, and how to stop this from happening. This is actually a two-pronged question. The first is why are narcissists attracted to you, and the other is why are you attracted to them.
Narcissists are attracted to people that have something they want. That can be many things. It can be physical, it can be emotional, it can be mental, it can be material… it depends on what the narcissist is looking for at that given time, and the type of narcissist they are.
An overt narcissist may be more drawn to people who make a good trophy they can sport around: someone with money, or someone with exceptionally good looks, someone who has achieved success in some way. A covert narcissist may be more drawn to someone who feels sorry for them, as sympathy is what they are looking for.
In all cases, the narcissist is looking for that fabled “perfect partner,” and whatever that means to them.
In a very real way, narcissists believe in fairy tales. They are prone to magical thinking, and their ideas and standards regarding relationships and love are very unrealistic. Because of this, their relationships are essentially doomed to failure.
They have a script in their mind of how it's supposed to go, and when it does not follow that script because the script is not realistic or reasonable, they very quickly become disillusioned and disappointed with their partner.
Their partner is supposed to be the ultimate in love, in beauty, in understanding, in support, in self-sacrifice… in everything.
Their partner is supposed to always let the narcissist shine, always compliment them, always love them, never have a bad day, or needs, or feelings or any interests that don't involve the narcissist. Any deviation from this is perceived as very disappointing and hurtful to the narcissist. They feel let down and even betrayed that their partner is not perfect.
This is not un the love a very young child has for their mother or father. Children see parents as perfect, as incorruptible, very nearly God- until they get older and are able to actually see them as people.
Many times, this first 'fall from grace' for a parent is very traumatic to a child, especially if it happens too early. Narcissists react much the same way to the realization that their partner is not perfect: with anger, hurt and betrayal.
To that end, narcissists gravitate toward people they believe can provide them with that perfect love, that perfect relationship.
Partners of narcissists are usually very – even overly – compassionate, empathic and sensitive people who are generally bright, talented, or gifted in some way. The narcissist is very envious of these qualities, as they secretly believe themselves to be boring, stupid, ugly, worthless, untalented… whatever the opposite of these qualities might be.
By securing a partner who embodies every quality they themselves lack, narcissists endeavor to absorb or acquire these qualities themselves, either by association or through a kind of emotional osmosis. They are chameleons, and they will attempt to imitate that which they admire.
The problem is that this is not real and they know it, so over time they become angry at their partner for not “sharing” these things with them. The narcissist tries to 'fake it until they make it,' but they never do make it.
Over time, enraged by their inability to absorb these qualities from their partner, their deep envy turns to pathological jealousy and the narcissist seeks to destroy these qualities in the partner, so that now nobody has them.
It's reminiscent of a child who sees that another child has a toy they want to play with. If the second child refuses to share this coveted toy, the envious child may destroy or otherwise scorn the toy frustrated jealousy. The fact that this upsets the other child doesn't really matter. The object that was causing the stress has been eliminated. Narcissists behave the same way.
“People pretend to your piano playing, but they're just being nice.”
The narcissist is trying to convince themselves that those qualities aren't really that great anyway because they don't have them.
The narcissist's ideal partner would be one who played the piano beautifully but told everyone else the narcissist plays better. One that recorded their beautiful works and released them under the narcissist's name.
One who stayed in the background working tirelessly to elevate the narcissist's self-esteem and enrich the narcissist's public image.
We often hear that narcissists target people, and while this can certainly be true, it's also true that they run their game on a lot of different people, but it doesn't work on everybody. Long term, it works on almost nobody. This leads us to the second part of the question: why are you attracted to them?
The initial answer is that narcissists present themselves very well at first. Their facade is perfect. But again, though they run their game on many people, it only works on a few. So why is that? I often hear people saying things , “How could I be so stupid?” or “Wow, I'm so dumb…
” It has nothing to do with intelligence. Most people – including those that stay with them – see through the narcissist relatively quickly. The issue is that while most people head for the door as soon as they figure out that this person is abusive and manipulative, not everybody does.
The reasons for that are varied.
It's true that narcissists are abusive and they work at breaking someone down but – and this may not be a popular thing to say, but it's the truth – in order for it to get to that point, there has to be another reason the person has stayed, because most have identified the narcissist as abusive, and/or abnormal before that ever happens. It may be that you had a dysfunctional family growing up, maybe a narcissistic parent or those that were otherwise emotionally unavailable. If that's the case, you may not even realize that this is not how relationships are supposed to go because this is how it's always been. Maybe you were abused and treated badly, so a partner who is rude, disrespectful or cruel would not be something unfamiliar to you. Even if not, maybe your feelings and needs have never been appreciated or validated by your family so a partner who acts the same way would not be considered abnormal. People will gravitate and accept what is familiar to them.
Codependents often find themselves in relationships with narcissists for similar reasons.
The narcissist needs a partner that will constantly put their own needs aside for the narcissist's benefit in order to feel validated and codependents need to be needed in order to feel validated.
This can sometimes result in a “martyr” type of complex or mindset for the codependent, with the idea being that the more they suffer, the more it shows they care. Dysfunctionally-speaking, it's a perfect relationship, with everyone's dysfunction feeding off of each other.
Empaths often find themselves in relationships with narcissists, but not for the same reasons as codependents. Empaths see behind the narcissist's abuse to the truth of what the narcissist is and want to help.
The empath becomes trapped by their own empathy and desire to help, either not recognizing or stubbornly refusing to accept that the narcissist is beyond help. Codependents, victims of abuse, empaths, fixers…
Regardless of intelligence, talent or anything else, nearly all partners of narcissists are people who – for whatever reason – either don't believe their needs are important or don't believe they deserve to be treated any better. If they did, they would be taking strides to get away from the relationship.
This can become a vicious cycle, because being around a narcissist is certainly not going to help anyone feel better about anything. The worse the narcissist's abuse gets, the more it reinforces this idea.
Love yourself. The important thing to remember is that, while narcissists can cause terrible damage to people, the initial problem with your self-worth existed before you ever met the narcissist. That's what made you vulnerable to them in the first place.
That's why you put up with the abuse and the disrespect and the manipulation. Still, you are not a victim. A victim is somebody who cannot move on from things that have happened to them. It defines them. This is why the narcissist is a victim and you are not. You are a survivor.
Other people can only affect you emotionally or mentally if you allow it. You don't have to listen to them. You don't have to believe them. You don't have to sell yourself out.
Work on your self-worth and you'll find that, while you may or may not stop attracting narcissists, you'll stop being attracted to them.