6 Reasons You Attract Narcissists Into Your Life

Have you found yourself trapped in a difficult relationship in the past, particularly one in which you suffered through a partner’s never-ending demands, and maybe even abuse? Have you perhaps witnessed similar behavior, and want to steer clear of these circumstances?

You may have learned that certain partners who bring this dynamic into a relationship are narcissists or have what is called Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

If you wish to keep narcissistic people away from your life, you may want to know what types of qualities, mindsets, or habits attract them to you in the first place.

It is worth pointing out that instead of attracting more narcissistic people than others do, you may be keeping them in your life because, due to certain feelings of vulnerability, you end up allowing them to push your emotional boundaries (Greenberg, 2017).

However, this article is not intended to victim-blame. If you have suffered narcissistic abuse, it is important to remember that it is not your fault. Perhaps you were simply feeling vulnerable, and someone with ill intentions took advantage of it.

This article is intended to inform you as to how to avoid feeling trapped in a relationship with a narcissistic person in the future, as well as educate people regarding which qualities and mindsets would be healthy to improve on. 

With that being said, here are 6 reasons you attract narcissists into your life.

1. Narcissistic behavior feels normal to you

We tend to be drawn to behavior that feels familiar, even when we are not aware of it. Many people who attract and are attracted to narcissistic partners grew up with narcissistic parents or caregivers, or had former lovers who had narcissistic tendencies.

Experiences with these people might have taught you to see the world, and yourself, in a certain way. If narcissistic abuse is what you’re used to, you are likely to seek the same in a partner, as their mistreatment reinforces what you believe to be true: that you need to act a certain way to “earn” love, and that you deserve the ill-treatment and manipulation you received from people in the past. 

Narcissists are thus likely to be drawn to your willingness to tolerate their behavior (Hammond, 2019; Jack, 2020; Norris, 2016; Polite Right, 2021).

2. You don’t value your own needs and feelings

Do you constantly place others’ feelings before your own, sometimes to the point of enduring abuse? In relationships (and in life), it is important to place enough value on your own needs and feelings. This helps you to have clear boundaries about what you need from a partner, as well as what you will and will not tolerate from them.

Otherwise, narcissistic people may want to be with you because it would be easy for them to overstep boundaries and take advantage of you. It would be easier for them to neglect your feelings and hurt you, in order to cater to their own needs and well-hidden insecurities. If you are capable of doting on their needs while completely neglecting your own, they will see you as an ideal partner (Greenberg, 2017; Norris, 2016; Polite Right, 2021).

3. You have an unfulfilled need for approval and emotional connection

Narcissistic people do just about everything to draw the other person to them—in the beginning. They shower their partners with affection, approval, and even declarations of love. This could be appealing to anyone, but is especially so to those who have an unfulfilled need for approval and emotional connection. If you relate to these feelings, the start of a relationship with a narcissist could be what pulls you in. 

Once you are hooked, they may become insecure (as narcissism is truly rooted in deep-seated insecurity), and worry that they can’t continue to meet your needs. But because they are unable to accept their own shortcomings, they will take this out on you instead, asking more and more of you. Compliments turn into criticisms, approval turns into judgment, and so on, making you feel as though you are not good enough.

If you are desperate for approval, you may then find yourself trying harder and harder to obtain it. You might also be doing so to restore the affection they showered you with in the beginning. What tends to happen instead, unfortunately, is that their demands just become more impossible to meet (Hammond, 2019; Norris, 2016).

4. You struggle with low self-esteem

As previously mentioned, people often seek other people who reinforce what they believe to be true—even if those truths are harmful. If your self-esteem was damaged (by parents, previous partners, etc.), you may attract and be attracted to a narcissistic partner who continues to make you feel that you are not good enough. 

Low self-esteem may lead you to tolerate mistreatment, falsely believing you do not deserve better. This type of mindset could entice a narcissistic partner to stay with you, as they know you will enable hurtful behavior (Jack, 2020; Polite Right, 2021).

5. You feel worthless or unlovable

Do you feel like you’re impossible to love? Or that it would be extremely unlikely to find someone who’ll love you and keep you by their side? 

You are not alone in feeling this way. Truly, self-love is a journey. However, if you view yourself as worthless and unlovable, you may feel like you don’t deserve to be treated well, or that you won’t find anyone else to be with you. You might then feel obligated to stay with whoever does opt to keep you in their life, even if they are keeping you in it to feed their own insecurities and issues, instead of valuing you for the wonderful person you truly are (Norris, 2016; Polite Right, 2021).

6. You have co-dependent, people-pleasing tendencies

It is a marvelous thing to want to help others and spread joy. But it is important to ask yourself if your sense of identity and self-worth are grounded in pleasing people. If this is the case, you may be prone to allowing your partner to take advantage of you.

Narcissists will lead you to believe that fulfilling their demands will make you indispensable in their lives. In reality, you will never be able to please them, as they will become increasingly more demanding to make you try harder and harder for them.

Allowing this could draw narcissistic people to you, as they are typically able to identify who will permit them to behave inappropriately, and make the relationship all about them— instead of equally about both partners, as a relationship should be (Jack 2020; Norris, 2016’ Polite Right, 2021).

Concluding Remarks

Much of these can be traced to what you will or will not tolerate from the people in your life, especially romantic partners. It may take some work to change certain beliefs and habits, but at the end of the day, you are not doomed to be stuck with people who will only hurt you for their own gain. Remember that the power to keep partners like these away lies in your own hands. 

If you think your parent or caregiver may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you might be interested in treatment for them. It would be wise to proceed with caution in suggesting therapy, as they are unlikely to acknowledge that they may have a personality disorder, let alone be immediately open to a suggestion to seek help for it. They may be interested in seeking professional help for other mental health issues they are experiencing (ex. depression, anxiety, etc.).  As people with NPD can be charming and manipulative, make sure to seek a professional who is trained in dealing with personality disorders. One of your options is to consider consulting with your chosen professional first regarding the best way to bring the person you know to therapy (GoodTherapy, n.d.).

References

Christine Hammond, M. S. (2019, June 29). Why some people are naturally attracted to narcissists. Psych Central. Retrieved November 8, 2021, from https://psychcentral.com/pro/exhausted-woman/2019/06/why-some-people-are-naturally-attracted-to-narcissists#2. 

GoodTherapy. (n.d.). Narcissism. GoodTherapy. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/narcissism. 

Greenberg, E. (2017, November 7). Why am I attracting so many narcissists? Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understanding-narcissism/201711/why-am-i-attracting-so-many-narcissists. 

Jack, C. (2020, June 30). 5 reasons you’re attracted to narcissists. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/women-autism-spectrum-disorder/202006/5-reasons-youre-attracted-narcissists. 

Norris, T. (2016, July 11). Six reasons you keep attracting narcissists. Life Coach Directory. Retrieved from https://www.lifecoach-directory.org.uk/memberarticles/six-reasons-you-keep-attracting-narcissists. Polite Right. (2021). Why You Keep Attracting Narcissists | 6 Reasons On Why You Keep Attracting Narcissists. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJLmF3XB_Wo.

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