Why are we attracted to Narcissists?
If you read enough articles about Narcissists… about how awful, how fake, how mean and nasty, how ugly, how evil, monstrous, and abusive they are… how they lie, cheat, steal, ignore, dismiss, invalidate, treat others like shit then dump them, discard them like a used hankerchief, or keep them around in a box full of broken people they’ve used and might still want to use because egos are hungry beasts… it makes you wonder how anyone could ever be attracted to them.
The way they are described sounds like a classic fictional villain of the worst kind.
Yet going by the sheer volume of articles written about Narcissists, the popularity of such a trending hot topic, and all those jumping on the bandwagon to rip Narcissists a new one… while also getting traffic flowing to their blog, website, forum, support community, to buy their book, products, spiel, and cures for the damage done, an antitoxin for the Narc poison…
Well… we’re all rather obsessed with them. They’re the centre of our universal attention, the spotlight is on them, and even though we all have pitchforks and are screaming ‘Burn them!’… we’re still attracted to them, our hate for them keeps us transfixed, attached.
They’re the baddies we all love to hate, and can do so openly, in the company of friends, while eating popcorn and drinking champagne.
We can express all the darkness within us, project it all onto them, and justify our homicidal tendencies without worrying about how sociopathic or narcissistic we sound when we’re doing it… because we’re the good guy, the hero, the victim out for justice, so it’s okay if we say that the world would be a better place, where unicorns can roam free, the Sun always shines, and rainbows don’t need rain to decorate the sky, if they all died… we won’t sound like a dictator advocating genocide at all.
But… it’s not okay, is it… you don’t like it at all, you don’t like this person you’re being. This person who hates, who wants someone else dead, or perhaps just slightly maimed, or just to feel pain a little bit… the pain they’ve caused you… you don’t like who you’ve become because of your relationship with a Narcissist.
You’re obsessed with them, you think, feel, eat, drink, breathe them. You want to stop, move on, let go, forgive and forget… especially forget, but you just can’t.
Your friends (if you have any left after the relationship with a Narcissist) are fed up with you as you are and keep encouraging you to return to who you were before, they just don’t understand… you don’t understand either…
How did this happen!?!
Before you met them you were probably all the things which a great person and human being should be. You were successful, independent, happy, positive, a good person, empathic, caring, with lots of friends, and everyone liked you… you liked you.
Now… you don’t like you. You try… you try to recapture who you were before, but… that’s like chasing a mirage, one which keeps getting away, and further away, you can remember who you were, but somehow who you are now makes who you once were someone that is out of reach.
You’re beginning to wonder if you were ever who you thought you were, worse still… since you went online to try and figure things out… and at first you did feel a rush of understanding, of clarity in all the fog… but then a shadow began to grow out of the research you were doing… a rather frightening chill got into your bones… What if… you know what’s coming next, don’t you?
Some of those articles about Narcissists like to analyse what made us a ‘target’ for the Narcissist – What made us a magnet for them, what attracted them to us?
Occasionally they’ll tell us why we were attracted to a Narcissist, and the reviews aren’t particularly flattering. Terms like – codependent, enabler, start to become a part of your vocabulary. Then comes people-pleaser, too empathic, too nice, too caring, too idealistic, too sensitive… Are you a Hyper Sensitive Person?
Didn’t things like being a people-pleaser, empathic, nice, caring, idealistic, sensitive… used to be good, positive, encouraged!?! When did they become negative and bad!?! When did they become weaknesses rather than strengths!?!
Okay, everything has a flip side, but…
WTF is going on? Has the world gone topsy-turvy?
Some articles about Narcissists… well, sometimes they sound as though they’re written by Narcissists. If you feel bad after reading them, and that kind of ‘feel bad’ is similar to how you feel after spending time with your Narcissist, then feel free to question what you’re reading and the source of it.
There was a conversation (in which I did not interfere) on my blog recently between commenters, where one mentioned that Narcissists like to be teachers. It’s a very good insight.
Some of the ‘experts’ on Narcissists may be Narcissists, embodying the teacher role which they like so much, or better still – the guru role… the guru whom you are not allowed to question or challenge even though they say they’re open-minded and welcoming to all because they want to help you be a better you (their idea of a better you which is based on… what or who exactly?).
Not all Narcissists are as obvious as articles about Narcissists make them sound like they are. In fact most Narcissists aren’t obvious Narcissists at all.
That’s why you were caught unawares and may have fallen for them.
If an article about Narcissists tells you that the reason you attracted and were attracted to a Narcissist is because… well, it’s all your fault for being a good person, being a good person makes you weak and so of course a Narcissist is going to target you… Doesn’t that sound like Narc-speak?
Some of the fault is yours, you already know that, a relationship is made of two halves, two people and the responsibility is shared, you know this (the narcissist doesn’t), and you don’t need someone to rub that kind of salt into your wound – although sometimes it can be healing, it has to be carefully dosed.
Don’t let anyone make you feel worse than you already feel… that’s not helpful. But don’t feel pressured to feel better than you do, that’s not helpful either.
Just listen to yourself… even if you aren’t sure whether you can trust yourself anymore because you were attracted to a Narcissist and… you know… just listen to yourself tell your story, whatever it is, however it goes, and as you do, hear the subtext, the nuances, that small voice within that just wants someone to understand – be the one who understands.
Understand that you’re human… and need your own empathy, compassion, forgiveness… and love.
So, you were attracted to a Narcissist… and now you’re not sure if they’re the Narcissist or if you are… because that’s the kind of mess which Narcissists create… and it’s a kind of mess which goes with being human.
Why were you attracted to a Narcissist?
A million reasons could apply for the position to be the answer to the question… they could all be right and all be wrong…
Maybe they were sexy, beautiful, handsome, looked good to your eyes… but that only explains an initial lustful attraction, which in theory should pass after they’ve opened their mouths and garbage spews out.
But garbage doesn’t spew out of their mouths, diamonds and pearls do…
If you read enough stories about people’s relationships with Narcissists, you hear about how the Narcissists… love-bomb, manipulate you, get under your skin, into your head, tell you what you want to hear, show you what you want to see, they are your fantasy, your dream come true… and you buy into what they’re selling because you want it to be real.
They’re evil geniuses, Machiavellian, superhuman, and… everything an imagined villain should be… of course we were putty and puppets in their hands.
Are they truly that clever or are we really that stupid?
They are human and so are we… this is the rub, which rubs us all the wrong way and rubs us raw.
Narcissists – Are we really attracted to them… or to something which we see in them which is really within us? Perhaps our attraction to them is more about their attraction to us… to what they see in us which attracts them and which we can’t see until… we meet them and they reveal it to us for a moment.
If you dig through all the mess which comes later to find the starting point of the relationship… was it really about them, or was it about you?
For a moment, in their eyes… you saw your own reflection and it was beautiful, so much so that you wanted to see more of it, but unfortunately you ended up seeing more of them instead.
We got lost in them… and are still trying to find ourselves by searching through them, but… we’re not there.
Apres-Narcissist… What type of people are you most attracted to now?