If you’ve just ended a narcissistic relationship, you might ask yourself “why?”; “Why did I let a narcissist into my life? Why did I continue the relationship thus far? Why did the narcissist choose me as a prey?”
Perhaps it isn’t even about a single relationship. At one point, you just stop and think about your past only to find lots and lots of narcissistic exes, friends, bosses and colleagues. Then, what quality of yours draws all these narcissists? What kind of people interest narcissists?
Empathetic, compassionate, emotional people
Although narcissists lack empathy, the ones they’re interested in tend to be very good at it. Especially at the beginning of the relationship, a narcissist is likely to share dramatic stories about their past with you, they can talk about their abusive or cheating exes, their family traumas and so on. Some of these stories may be real, or perhaps they’re all just made up. While listening to such stories, you can bring down your walls a bit too early especially if you’re an empathetic person who doesn’t quite know how to set boundaries.
Of course people can talk about some delicate matters and feel the need to share emotional moments. But the initial goal of the narcissist here is to make you trust them as soon as possible so that they can quickly enter your life. Trust and sincerity between emotionally healthy people develop naturally in time.
Once the idealization phase starts leaving its place to poor treatment, the narcissist is going to try to rationalize their bad behavior with these sad life stories. If you’re an empathetic and compassionate person, you can find yourself defending them and trying to justifying their mistakes and abuse.
Attractive, successful, charming people
In a way, narcissists follow attractive people. This attractiveness sometimes refers to physical beauty, sometimes success or intellect, sometimes financial power etc. If the narcissist is someone who cares more about appearance, your physical attractiveness may draw them in. If what the narcissist is looking for in a partner is a successful career, they’ll be interested in those with respectable jobs.
Not only that, though. People with good relations, hobbies and special talents, people who are popular and well-liked… generally, those with certain achievements in life draw the narcissists’ attention because these people can help the narcissists look good in the eyes of others.
But of course, pretty much everyone would like to have an attractive or successful partner. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for a narcissist, such qualities of yours will be their tools to boost their own social status. Especially at the beginning of the relationship, the narcissist may introduce you to their friends and family quite fast. While you’re busy thinking this is because they care about you, the actual message they’re trying to convey is; “Look what I’ve just won!”
Your positive traits are both something for them to flaunt about, and also a challenge. Besides, it’s definitely something worth copying. A narcissist can eventually turn into you by mirroring your clothing, your posture, your way of speech etc.
At the same time, this type of qualities may be the reason why some people find the narcissists attractive. Most narcissists have a surface-level charisma due to their self-confident exterior and their self-righteousness may help them rise above others in our capitalist system. All these qualities may look attractive and that’s quite natural. But still, we should never forget that it’s all very surface-level. If we’re about to enter a sincere relationship with someone, we should be aware of their deeper qualities as well. And unfortunately, underneath all that grandeur, there’s an arid desert.
Those who find it hard to say no, those with weak boundaries
Narcissists love people with weak boundaries. The weaker your boundaries are, the easier it is for them to bend you to their will and to manipulate you. Weak boundaries are caused by lack of self-respect. Although we’ve talked about the fact the narcissists are interested in people who have achieved certain things in life, even those who are successful can have a certain degree of insecurity and lack of self-respect/love/confidence. Just because someone appears successful and confident in public doesn’t mean they always feel as such.
Besides, if you’re someone who fears rejection deep down, you might find it hard to say “no”. In order to prevent people from stop loving you and leaving you, you might turn your back on your own principles and find yourself saying “yes” even when you want to say “no”. This is a very attractive quality for a narcissist who always expects their own desires to be the priority.
People who make the narcissist feel better
Narcissists crave compliments, attention and love. In order to satisfy this need, they try to keep those who make them feel better close to them; those who do not deny them their love and attention. But the hole in a narcissist’s heart is so deep is that no matter how hard these people try to keep them satisfied, they’re never content enough. At some point, the inevitable happens and the narcissist starts looking for a new prey who hasn’t lost their energy yet.
At the same time, the person they choose can also be a wounded individual who requires some affection and attention. Especially those who suffered from neglect and abuse as a child can easily let their guard down during the narcissist’s idealization phase and let themselves bask in the feeling of being taken care of. People who suffered from abuse and neglect tend to feel invisible and worthless, and end up thinking they’re unworthy of praise and love. As a result, the seemingly “unconditional” love they’re shown by the narcissist makes them feel visible to someone all of a sudden and makes them feel loved.
People who try to change / fix / save others and the world in general
Perhaps what drew you to the narcissist was not their success, charisma or the affection they’ve given you. Perhaps you’ve simply noticed the wounded and fearful child hiding behind their glamorous facade. If you’re an idealist person who feels the need to change, to fix and to save others; your desire to help this wounded child may have caused you to get attached to the narcissist.
The actual problem here is not even the fact the narcissist is unable to change/heal. Even if your intentions were good, you still don’t have the right to force somebody to change if they don’t want your help. If you also feel the need to change and fix others, try to see how controlling that is no matter how honorable it looks and try not to confuse pity with love.
Instead of choosing to change and fix other people, we can try to improve ourselves and turn into a better person for our own sake.
Devoted and self-sacrificing people who put others before themselves
These qualities sound rather nice, do they not?
Actually, they aren’t.
Although thinking about other people and caring about them is great and all, if we’re too self-sacrificing for our own good, and if we’re neglecting our own needs and desires for the sake of others, then we’re doing it wrong. We should be able to love and take care of ourselves first, so that we have the energy for others as well.
If someone devotes all their life to “giving”, they’re doom to meet someone whose life is dedicated to “taking”. Keeping the balance is important.
Besides, most of the time the extremely self-sacrificing ones feel heartbroken and aggrieved when their efforts are not appreciated enough. This situation is caused by the fact we measure our own self-worth through other people’s opinions on us.
Those who tend to blame themselves and take responsibility on other people’s behalf
Narcissists never blame themselves. Most of the time, you can hear a narcissist say things such as: “You made me do this. You left me with no choice.”
Their partners, on the other hand, tend to wonder if it was their mistake whenever things start going downhill. The emotional manipulator you’re dealing with is going to use this quality of yours against you and they’ll look for ways to make you feel guilty even for their own mistakes. Even when it comes to relationships where there’s severe physical and sexual abuse, the victims can be convinced they are the ones who caused all this.
What we need to do is once again to keep the balance and try to avoid taking responsibility for others’ mistakes. Everyone should take responsibility of their own actions.
If you’ve ever felt like a narcissist magnet at some point in your life, what you need to do is to face the traumas that left you vulnerable against abusers and try to regain your self-respect, self-love and self-confidence. I know it’s easier said than done. But I also know it is possible to succeed.
We all deserve healthy relationship, we all deserve to love and to be loved in the right ways.
You can also find the articles on https://medium.com/@narsistsiz:
Insider. “The 4 types of people narcissists are attracted to, according to a psychotherapist”. Access 6 August, 2018. https://www.insider.com/the-types-of-people-narcissists-are-attracted-to-2018-8.
Huffpost. “Personality Types Who Fall For Narcissists: Are You One?”. Access 21 March, 2017. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/personality-types-who-fall-for-narcissists_b_58d15a27e4b0e0d348b34830?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAN3qJGrM-vh08p5zPH5XOPBgDq3Wlh45ZYBGpFKKZh_wOwF3o0jVug4SLtaPjAhnnP4pa_FTIewbk8UDSmBkEK1fsN0nOXLwPO2KwXj4euOdatxIAwHuXPJqc1iR7MH-wL5TxCMK06QCKMi32dP6mQFRvsEUXxZ_Pt5UoZXPMDFT.
You can also check out my other articles on the subject: