Why Do I Keep Attracting Narcissists?
Narcissists are often charming, confident, and charismatic at first glance. Underneath the pretense, they are very self-centered and believe they are superior to everyone else.
Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by grandiosity, a lack of empathy, and a sense of entitlement.
If you are attracted to someone who exhibits these traits, they may be a narcissist.
This article will discuss why people become attracted to narcissists (often consistently) and how to spot the signs that you are being manipulated by a narcissist so that you can start attracting people who care for you and treat you well.
What Is A Narcissist?
A narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition where people have a sense of grandiosity, a deep-seated desire for admiration and attention, and a marked lack of empathy for other people.
Narcissism is characterized by difficult relationships and the outward appearance of extreme confidence, under which lies very low self-esteem and vulnerability to criticism.
People who exhibit narcissistic traits often cause serious issues for others in their lives, including within their romantic relationships, work or school lives, friendships, and families.
Narcissists may obsess over their physical appearance and have a preoccupation with their own needs, often exploiting others for their gain.
Symptoms Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Let’s take a quick look at some of the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder now to help you spot it.
- A false belief that the individual is special or unique compared with others
- Little concern about being criticized by others
- Inflated view of own abilities and talents
- Exaggeration of achievements and gifts
- Grandiose behaviors such as expecting high praise or admiration from others, having an exaggerated opinion of one’s physical appearance, demanding complete obedience from those around them
- Sudden mood swings
- Unrealistic expectations
- Emotional overreaction to criticisms or failures
- Lack of guilt or shame
What Causes A Person To Attract A Narcissist
So why are you attracting narcissists into your life? Whether they are friends or partners, if you find yourself frequently attracting or attracted to narcissists, you are bound to wonder why.
Here are some of the reasons that we have found can be the cause.
1. Narcissist Behavior Has Been Normalized
Perhaps you grew up with parents or caregivers that were narcissistic. They may have been emotionally abusive towards you or were struggling with a mental illness.
If you were treated badly by a narcissist like a child, the behavior has become normalized and you seek out narcissists as partners.
2. Sacrificing Your Emotional Needs For Others
If you are used to putting other people first (especially true if you grew up around a narcissist and had to suppress or modify your feelings and needs to suit those of the narcissist) you may attract narcissistic partners because you have learned that you should sacrifice your own emotional needs for others.
3. People Pleasing
Achieving a sense of self-worth by people-pleasing is a recipe for disaster, removes your power and gives it to the other person.
Narcissists are constantly raising the bar – so you will never be able to completely satisfy them.
4. Wanting Approval
You may have low-self esteem and seek others’ approval. Because narcissists are common love bombers (lavishing you with positive attention initially to reel you in) they can easily manipulate vulnerable individuals.
Once they’ve hooked you, they’ll begin the devaluing process of judging and criticizing you to break you down and make you feel like you need them.
If you seek other people’s approval, you will fall victim to the narcissist as you try harder to win their approval.
5. Being Very Empathetic
Narcissists often exaggerate the difficulties in their lives and blame it on everyone else but themselves. If you’re naturally inclined to want to help fix someone, you may be drawn to a narcissist.
Narcissists often seek highly empathetic people as they are a good source for them to achieve a narcissistic supply (attention).
Empathetic people are also easy to manipulate and abuse because they struggle to fight back or leave the narcissist.
6. Past Trauma And Limiting Beliefs
Thinking that you are worthless or unloved can cause you to become attracted to narcissistic people.
These may be subconscious beliefs that cause you to avoid or sabotage relationships with people who care for you and treat you well.
Past trauma can cause these sorts of beliefs to surface and lead you straight into the manipulative web of a narcissist looking for his or her next supply.
It is very important to work on creating self-love because only narcissists find low self-esteem and people-pleasing behavior attractive, and will work to decrease your self-worth even more to fit their requirements.
Signs You Are Under A Narcissist’s Spell
Are you living with a narcissist and you don’t know it? Maybe one of your friends has you hooked without realizing it? Check out some of these signs and see if any of them ring true for you.
A Lack Of Self-Worth
Do you feel worthless or not particularly good about yourself? It could be the narcissist putting you down.
Narcissists will put you down, make you feel small, and slowly chip away at your sense of self-worth over time.
You Are Being Gaslighted Or Stone-Walled
Gaslighting and stone-walling are forms of manipulation and narcissistic abuse marked by the distortion of reality and using the silent treatment as a control tactic.
You Think You Are Being Lied To
Narcissists often lie to cover up their misdeeds and keep you trapped in a vicious cycle.
You Avoid Previous Activities, Friends, And Family
Do you cover things up about the narcissist due to embarrassment or to protect the narcissist? This isn’t common and is one way we protect the person we love, while also isolating ourselves.
You Feel Responsible For Everything
Everything bad that happens is your fault, the narcissist will never take responsibility for their actions.
You Feel Like Walking On Eggshells
You never know what kind of mood to expect, the slightest thing can cause him or her to fly into a narcissistic rage.
You Are Constantly Judged And Criticized
They may make comments about your appearance, intelligence, or abilities to reduce your confidence.
You Feel Unloved Or Unappreciated
You are being ignored, devalued and the narcissist withholds affection as punishment.
You Can’t Rely On Them
Narcissists often break promises, and you’ll find that you can’t rely on them to do the things they say, you feel as though you do everything yourself.
You Feel As Though They Do Not Care About You
Narcissistic traits include a cold lack of empathy. They may disregard your emotions or not react to your distress in a way you would expect. Narcissists often turn cold as a mode of punishment too.
The best advice for anyone thinking of having or resuming a relationship with a narcissist is to steer clear.
Narcissists need constant, unreturned admiration and attention from others, and it’s better to be alone than in a relationship where you are taken advantage of and manipulated.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that he or she loves you. Narcissists use other people for narcissistic supplies which only benefit themselves.
They don’t care if you end up heartbroken, and being manipulated by a narcissist can often lead to serious mental health problems.
That’s why if you are in a relationship with a narcissist – it is best to leave and rediscover your sense of self-esteem before the situation gets worse, as narcissists are very unlikely to change.
If you have had a relationship with a narcissist in the past and find yourself still attracting narcissistic people – you should do everything you can to avoid them.
Working on the aspects of your personality and mental health mentioned above which attract narcissists will help you to develop bonds with people who do not have ulterior motives and only have your best interests at heart.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: September 24, 2023