5 thoughts on “Why Some People are Naturally Attracted to Narcissists

  • July 3, 2019 at 7:41 am

    great read!!!

  • July 5, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Great list! For years I’ve been compiling my own.

    Hope you don’t mind–a bit about me: very early on in my life (19) I sought therapy for depression and was told, after about a year, I had strong narcissistic traits (of a covert, extremely self-devaluing, victimey type; full of shame, hypersensitive and the like). Deep rooted traits like these are very, very hard to reduce, and extremely painful to endure, but after a lot of therapy and mindfulness I’ve done it (though I did indulge for a short time as an “enlightened Buddhist”). The traits come back sometimes, especially during stress, so I guess they never really go away, but I manage them well. I’ve traced the traits to a few key sources: bullying by peers and a brother much bigger than me, parents who were unconditionally loving (probably saving me from the disorder) but also very enmeshed with each other, depriving me of the emotional connection or attunement needed for a child with a very sensitive temperament, as I was. I don’t blame them. How could they know? My hope is when a child is identified to be temperamentally sensitive, radars go off and the parents go to a family therapist and learn how to best parent a child like this (trust me, it’s a really BIG deal–children like this are sponges for the world and will internalize everything. Very vulnerable to taking on family stress and dynamics and having it impact their life negatively later on). I myself internalized, eventually concluding, in a very global way, “there’s something inherently wrong with me,” burying my severe shame. Unable to function as a young adult I experienced a severe depressive episode with some mild psychotic features and nearly had to be hospitalized, hence beginning my odyssey of recovery and psychological and spiritual development. These days I’m wondering if I was misdiagnosed so long ago, because my “symptoms” appear more in alignment with codependency (e.g. I have a history of endlessly caretaking and taking the abuse of women with borderline and narcissistic traits). And once, in desperation, in a moment of weakness, upon trying to “convince” my most recent therapist I was a closet narcissist, he experienced a rare moment of impulsivity and almost shouted, “NO, you’re just really neurotic!). I don’t blame him. He was just really frustrated with my existential obsessionality worsening. You see, I prefer to be a garden variety neurotic, as evidenced by some histrionically driven alarmist thinking and, even at time, behavior (like the character George’s antics from Seinfeld). Whatever I was or am though, it is clear to me when a child is emotionally neglected/abandoned and made to feel exceptionally weak, helpless, powerless and inferior, the development of a “false-self” is almost certain (Winnicott’s observation that in order to survive an emotionally depreciating, invisibility making or otherwise invalidating home, a child must develop a compensatory, larger than life self, or narcissistic adaptation, latere developing into adult NPD, hence the intimacy fleeing, blaming others etc. they are so well known for). But if the original diagnosis is right, I suppose I am lucky I never developed NPD. And the people I encounter with the milder versions of NPD (or BPD), I do have compassion for (trust me, the fiercely compulsive need to avoid any and all encounters with the shame-based, repressed and buried “true-self” is probably the most psychic pain an individual can endure–and if Millon is to be believed, as bad as imminent physical death anxiety–Is it any wonder people with NPD are so terrified of authentically confronting themselves?).

    My NPD (and also BPD) radar includes a finely tuned sensitivity to devaluation. The narcissistic defense is to “devalue before being devalued,” and they will do this in any and all manner of ways, in a smugly condescending covert style (e.g. coming off as a super enlightened superior being, or as a super special victim for the world), or a grandiose, entitled way (observe: how does your date treat the wait staff? Does he/she devalue them? This is a red flag!). Another sign is a pervasive pattern of ignoring you and your emotional needs while getting the attention back on themselves (via lack of empathy). Remember, a person with NPD does not possess the ability to self-validate healthily self-love, and so must compulsively regulate their self-esteem by vampirically getting their “emotional supply” from others, using the well known attention seeking tactics. You might also feel yourself aging as they talk and talk and talk. About themselves. Always, always, always, about themselves. Probably the hardest part is learning to tell the difference between seductive love bombing as opposed to mutual falling in love feelings. Very, very hard to do, as falling in love can so delusionally minimize the signs. But if the beauty, bravado, adventurousness and storytelling brilliance begin to smell like exaggerated grandiosity and embellishment (e.g. telling you they graduated from Harvard when actually they got their associates from a community college in the town of Harvard) at every turn, watch out. And if find your mate assuming, all the time assuming, without insight, you’ve read their mind and have agreed to cater to their every need and power fantasy, you might just have a narcissist on your hands.

    Jamie’s story is helpful, as it shows how developmentally interpersonal wounds (an NPD father) can put a person at risk (the link between codependency and narcissistic couples, perhaps). Developmental and attachment theorists also claim problems with separation during the “terrible twos” with the mother (most commonly) can lead to NPD (e.g. when the mother abdicates her maternal presence and instead handles this specific developmental stage with either excessive permissiveness or excessive authoritarianism), or a stuckness at this stage, resulting in an extremely manipulative, paranoid, boundless, raging and devaluing exploiter later on…sometimes also known as the leader of a country.

    By the way, I felt really uniquely special writing this.

    • July 9, 2019 at 9:27 pm

      Eric i found your writing. Very interesting
      Except for the 3rd an 2nd last lines
      Why did you have to go an devalue every thing you wrote. ?


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *