Why do I attract narcissists?

It’s not because something is wrong with you. It’s because you are kind, caring, loving, and most importantly, forgiving. And it’s a walk in the park for narcissists to exploit people who have an empathetic nature. That’s why it is perfectly understandable why you often tend to fall for such people.

Plus, they are highly attractive, and charming, and know when and how to break the ice. However, the fact of the matter remains crystal clear — it is frustrating to be with a person who has a narcissistic personality disorder and it can really take a toll on your mental health.

Listening to them brag about themselves, dealing with their inflated sense of self-importance, getting trapped under their maze of manipulation, and catering to their enormous emotional needs could all be exhausting, to say the least.

Before you find out how to respond in such a situation, you need to find out why you often tend to repeat relationship patterns by always falling for people with narcissistic tendencies. 

8 Possible Reasons You Attract Narcissists 

Attracting narcissists can be influenced by various factors, and it’s important to note that it’s not your fault. Here are a few potential reasons why you might find yourself attracting narcissists:

1. You had a narcissistic parent growing up

One of the main reasons why you attract narcissistic partners is because you had a narcissistic guardian or a parent growing up. This is the reason why you have created patterns where you unknowingly attract similar individuals in the future. The unresolved issues between you and them and the gaping emotional wounds that still hurt can make you more susceptible to their manipulation. 

According to research done by Newport Institute, children raised by such parents have trouble expressing themselves. They know that their needs and longings aren’t going to be fulfilled. Hence, they suppress them. Similarly, you feel like your emotional stability doesn’t matter when you are in a relationship because instability is ingrained in your mind since you were a kid. 

2. You have low self-esteem 

People who don’t have a healthy self-esteem can be more susceptible to attracting narcissists owing to the fact that a narcissist person has a charismatic and charming persona that initially draws people in. They shower individuals with attention, gifts, compliments, and flattery, which can be highly appealing to someone with low self-esteem. Their initial validation and admiration temporarily uplifted your self-esteem, creating a sense of worthiness and value.

Why do I attract narcissists and sociopaths? Because narcissists love those who put themselves down. Your negative self-perception and a lack of confidence are reasons why you are often in a relationship with a narcissist. You constantly doubt your own worth, leading you to seek validation and approval from others.

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Meanwhile, people with narcissistic personality with their inflated egos and ability to exude confidence appear as an attractive source of validation to you. That’s why you feel like being in a relationship with a narcissist confirms your worthiness, even if it is based on false premises.

3. You are an extremely empathetic person 

Why do I attract narcissists? Because narcissists lack empathy and it is one of the traits that attract narcissists. They are often drawn to individuals who are also compassionate, gentle, and are willing to provide support. Why, you ask?

Because empaths are “emotional sponges” who absorb other people’s feelings very quickly. Hence, a person with toxic characteristics sees these qualities as opportunities to exploit and manipulate you for their own gain. 

According to studies, empaths have a heightened ability to understand and share the emotions of others. They often have strong mirror neuron activity, which enables them to emotionally resonate with others.

When interacting with narcissists, who can be charming and charismatic in the beginning, empaths may pick up on the positive emotions displayed by the narcissist and feel a connection. However, narcissists can later exploit this connection for their own gain. 

Narcissists have a favorite victim. And that’s an empath because the latter has a natural inclination to care for others and help them heal. They often see the potential for goodness in people, even those who exhibit negative behaviors.

Ergo, sociopaths and narcissists present themselves as wounded souls in need of healing, and empaths may be drawn to their perceived vulnerability, hoping to offer support and understanding. 

4. You have codependent issues 

If you have codependency issues, it’s one of the obvious reasons why you attract so many narcissists because codependency is when you put the needs of others before your own. This enables and accommodates your partner’s behaviors, even when it is detrimental to your own well-being.

Codependent people and their self-sacrificing behavior can be highly appealing to narcissists, as it allows them to maintain power and control in the relationship. And that’s exactly what they want. Narcissists want to control everyone and everything!

Here are some signs you have codependency problems:

  • You often feel like you are responsible for your narcissistic partner’s feelings, thoughts, and even happiness
  • You have a low self-worth 
  • Your boundaries are weak
  • You come from a dysfunctional family
  • You think it’s okay to tolerate narcissistic abuse because you are afraid of being alone and want a relationship
  • You are living in denial. You are pretending as if their actions are not as bad as they are 

5. You are a people pleaser

Why do I attract narcissists as friends? Perhaps you are a people pleaser. You have a strong desire for approval and validation from others. What’s more is that you bend to their pleas and demands because you want to avoid any kind of conflict, disagreement, and disapproval.

You prioritize the happiness and comfort of your partner above your own. Therefore, this power imbalance aligns with the desires of narcissists, who seek control and dominance in relationships.

Dealing with Narcissists

How to be unattractive to a narcissist? Avoid pleasing them because the narcissist takes advantage of your willingness to accommodate and please, while reinforcing their own sense of self-worth, superiority, and entitlement.

You, a people-pleasing person, will be surprised to know that you and your narcissistic partner have one thing in common — you both grew up with a parent who was either absent, abusive, or didn’t know how to respond to your emotions. 

6. You have no boundaries 

You can’t develop healthier relationships if you don’t know how to establish clear boundaries. This is the worst personality trait to have as it can disrupt your peace, sanity, and mental health. A lack of it is the reason you are asking, “Why do I attract narcissists?”.

Narcissists don’t care about other people’s feelings, they are always selfish. They only have an intense desire for control and power in their relationships and boundaries set by you can limit their ability to exert dominance and manipulate those around them.

They may perceive boundaries as threats to their control and may feel frustrated or angered by them. In fact, they will try to make you feel guilty for setting boundaries. The fact that you haven’t drawn any kind of boundary with a narcissist, makes it easier for them to dominate and exert control over you.

By not drawing any line, you get narcissists attracted to you because you haven’t challenged their inflated self-image yet. They haven’t tasted rejection or the feeling of being inadequate yet. This is unhealthy and it may negatively impact your self-confidence. 

7. You deny your own needs

One of the main reasons why you are in a relationship with such a toxic person is because you are not taking care of yourself and your emotional needs. You are neglecting them because you are busy taking care of a narcissist’s feelings without knowing that they possess narcissistic traits in them. The more you bend over backward to make them happy, the more miserable you will be in your life. 

By constantly catering to a narcissist’s demands in romantic relationships while sacrificing your own needs, you inadvertently reinforce their narcissistic tendencies. Narcissists thrive on the imbalance of power and control in relationships, and your self-neglect can perpetuate this dynamic, making it difficult to break free from their manipulative behavior. 

8. You are a narcissist yourself 

If you are a narcissist yourself, then their personality will naturally appeal to you. Ergo, you are attracted to narcissists who love being the center of attention. You find a sense of validation and understanding in relationships with other narcissists because you can relate to each other’s grandiosity, need for admiration, and self-centered behaviors, which may create a sense of connection and mutual understanding.

Narcissists are often drawn to those who reflect and reinforce their own grandiosity and self-importance. Being in a relationship with another narcissist can serve as a mirror, reflecting back your desired self-image and bolstering your self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth. 

Moreover, most narcissists generally struggle with empathy and emotional support. Hence, being in a relationship with another narcissist eliminates the expectation of emotional support, as both you and your partner will prioritize your own needs and disregard the emotional well-being of one another. 

It is important to remember that relationships between narcissists can be volatile and unhealthy, characterized by power struggles, manipulation, and a lack of emotional intimacy. That’s why you need to find out ways to repel narcissists. 

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How To Break The Cycle Of Attracting Narcissists 

Narcissists tend to initially provide an intense emotional connection, showering you with attention, flattery, and affection. They will love bomb you, appear as the kindest person to ever walk on the face of this earth, and they will never make you feel uncomfortable. This whirlwind of emotions can be captivating and addictive to a person who is an empath, a person with low self-confidence, and a person who has a self-sacrificing nature. This is what makes it difficult to break away from the cycle. 

Stop asking, “Why do I attract narcissists?” And practice self-awareness. You can do so by taking time to reflect on your past relationships and identify relationship patterns and commonalities among the narcissistic individuals you have been attracted to. Consider the reasons why you may have been drawn to them and the dynamics that played out in those relationships.

You also need to focus on building healthier relationships based on mutual respect, empathy, trust, affection and healthy communication. Your romantic relationship shouldn’t reek of abuse, control, or power play. You can break the cycle of attracting narcissistic people by protecting yourself and cutting off toxic people from your life.

They say, “you attract what you are”. So, the minute you raise your confidence and get rid of insecurities, you will start attracting people who have the same positive qualities and energy as you. 

How To Stop Attracting Narcissists 

If you are done and drained by asking, “Why do I attract narcissists?”, here are some strategies to help break that pattern:

1. Build a healthy self-esteem 

Narcissists rely on those who think of themselves as weak and give in to their insecurities quickly. You can stop attracting narcissists by building self-esteem. It is going to be a gradual and ongoing process. So, don’t rush it. Take your time in boosting your high self-worth by doing the following things:  

  • Practice self-compassion by being kind and understanding towards yourself. Treat yourself with the same empathy and care you would extend to a friend
  • Identify and challenge negative self-beliefs by paying attention to negative self-beliefs or self-talk that may be undermining your self-esteem. Challenge these beliefs by examining the evidence for and against them. Replace negative thoughts with positive and affirming statements
  • Set realistic goals that align with your values and interests. Break them down into smaller, manageable steps. Celebrate even the smallest achievements along the way, as each step forward contributes to your sense of accomplishment and self-worth
  • Celebrate your strengths, talents, and achievements. Your lifelong journey can’t be spent without celebrating your positive qualities, your talents, and both trivial and big achievements.
  • So, look at all the things you have achieved in life. Don’t magnify your weaknesses. Every single person has them. It’s just that some are great at concealing them then the others

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3. Identify red flags early on

Some red flags are on your face which include love bombing, constant criticisms, suspicion, physical abuse, inability to resolve conflicts, difficulty in communicating needs, and jealousy. On the other hand, there are some red flags that are subtle and hide behind their smartness.

These include manipulation, gaslighting, controlling behavior disguised as concern, lack of emotional intimacy, and narcissistic tendencies masked as confidence and self-assured nature. These are the warning signs most people tend to ignore. 

You can identify red flags by noticing their behavior. Be cautious if the person becomes overly intense or idealizes you very early in the relationship. While it’s normal to feel excited in the early stages of a relationship, extreme idealization or an excessive desire for closeness could indicate a manipulative tactic known as love bombing, where the person tries to win you over quickly to gain control.

Furthermore, pay attention to whether the person consistently puts their needs and desires above yours. If they consistently prioritize themselves without considering your feelings or perspectives, it could be a red flag and this is one of the common narcissistic tendencies. 

3. Establish clear boundaries 

You can stop attracting narcissists by establishing healthy boundaries with them. However, it can be challenging as they may resist or disregard your boundaries. They may even act like a victim when you try to draw the line. This is one of the weird things narcissists do. They will cry, plead, and promise you that they will change their bad behavior and mend their ways. But this is just an act to stop you from setting boundaries. 

Clearly communicate your firm boundaries to the narcissist in a calm and assertive manner. Stay firm and consistent with your boundaries. Also, make it clear that there will be consequences if your boundaries are crossed.

For example, tell them you will walk out if those boundaries are violated. And if possible, minimize your exposure to the narcissist instead of asking, “How to be unattractive to a narcissist?”.  

4. Seek professional help and educate yourself about narcissism 

Consider seeking therapy or counseling to explore deeper issues that may be contributing to the attraction of narcissistic individuals. A mental health professional can provide guidance, support, and strategies to break unhealthy patterns and develop healthier relationship dynamics.

Just don’t bottle up your feelings. If you don’t want to go to a therapist or a counselor, you can talk to a trusted family member or a close friend about this. 

In addition to that, you can try to educate yourself about narcissism and their characteristics. This knowledge can help you better understand the behaviors and tactics of narcissists, empowering you to make informed decisions and protect yourself.  

5. Surround yourself with healthy relationships

Show some self-love and surround yourself with supportive, caring, and authentic individuals who value and respect you. Positive relationships can serve as a contrast to the dynamics of narcissistic relationships and provide you with healthier examples to model your own relationships after.

Key Takeaways 

  • People attract narcissists not because they are easy targets. It’s because they are empathetic, sensitive, and have a habit of pleasing people
  • Codependent people and those who have had a troubled childhood also have a habit of attracting narcissists
  • You can repel narcissists by developing confidence, identifying red flags, keeping an eye on repeating patterns, and setting firm boundaries with them 

Breaking the cycle of attracting narcissists takes time and effort. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you navigate this process and enter relationships. Furthermore, don’t let them isolate you. So, nurture and protect your support network of trusted friends and family who can provide validation, perspective, and emotional support during this difficult process.