Why Do I Keep Attracting Narcissists?

Why Do I Keep Attracting Narcissists

Narcissists initially come across as charming, confident, and captivating, masking their deep-seated self-absorption and belief in their superiority over others.

Characterized by exaggerated self-importance, empathy deficiency, and a sense of entitlement, narcissism is recognized as a personality disorder.

Being drawn to someone displaying these characteristics might indicate their narcissistic tendencies.

This article aims to explore the reasons behind the attraction to narcissists, often a recurring pattern, and to identify manipulation signs by such individuals. Recognizing these signs is crucial for fostering relationships with individuals who genuinely care and offer positive treatment.

What Is A Narcissist?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental health condition characterized by an inflated sense of importance, an intense need for admiration and attention, and a striking lack of empathy toward others.

Narcissism leads to challenging relationships, showcasing an exterior of supreme confidence which conceals a fragile self-esteem and high sensitivity to criticism.

Individuals with narcissistic traits can significantly disrupt the lives of those around them, affecting romantic partnerships, workplace or educational environments, friendships, and family dynamics.

Narcissists often fixate on their physical appearance and prioritize their needs, exploiting others for personal advantage.

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.

Why Do I Keep Attracting Narcissists?

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. It’s vital to understand the dynamics of people-pleasing to break this cycle.

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. Addressing these issues of self-esteem and approval-seeking is crucial.

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.

Why Do I Keep Attracting Narcissists?

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

About our Author Michelle Landeros, LMFT license# 115130
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: July 16, 2024