When Anita’s live-in boyfriend suddenly refused to retrieve his son from his ex-wife and then flew to Las Vegas on a whim with his co-workers for a boozy weekend, she immediately knew she was dealing with a narcissist.
Over coffee, she asked me, “Why are all the sick puppies attracted to me?”
It’s a question many women ask themselves after leaving a narcissistic relationship.
However, when dealing with an experienced, successful predator who initially molds themselves to be your perfect partner, it is challenging to see their patterns if you came from a traumatic childhood that normalizes abusive behavior or rewards certain personality traits.
Unfortunately, all Cluster B personality types — narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths — literally can sniff out any vulnerable person who cannot discern their toxic patterns. As a result, they choose partners who overlook their bad-boy antics, forgive their abuse, and normalize their bizarre conduct repeatedly.
So Who Attracts Narcissists?
- Adult Children of Unsafe Parents. Unsafe parents include all those who mistreated their children because of addiction, alcoholism, abuse, Cluster B personalities, or even sufferers from complex trauma. These parents neglected their children’s development, invalidated their accomplishments, ignored their needs, and trampled emotional, physical, or sexual boundaries. They destroyed their children’s self-esteem, employed constant verbal abuse, put them in danger, and saw them only as extensions of themselves. These parents laid the subconscious tracks for future narcissistic abuse, setting up their children to feel a “soul connection” with toxic partners because their abusive behavior feels “normal” or “like home.” And because it feels so “right,” these adult children are blind to the obvious red flags others can see. They will often return to the role of a people-pleaser to keep the relationship and avoid conflict, just as they did as a child with their parent.
- Empathetic Caretakers. These folks are crack to a narcissist who takes advantage of their empathy. Typically, extreme caretakers put others’ needs before their own and lack the necessary boundaries to protect themselves. They invest heavily in relationships…