10 Revealing Reasons You are Attracted to Narcissists

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“Why am I attracted to narcissists?” Welcome to the club. I’ve asked myself the same question multiple times. A few things existing in your realm might account for the strange pattern.

I find it so mysterious in my case that I’ve asked myself this; “Am I attracting narcissists or are they a magnet for me?” Either way, the story tends to unfold the same way, narcissist after narcissist.

Could there be something more lurking beneath your consciousness that makes you gravitate toward these controlling, exploitative characters? Let’s dig deep to unlock the mystery, starting with the top 10 reasons. Your end goal is breaking the pattern while also prioritizing your well-being.

Let’s first go over key things to know about narcissists. These include their traits, manipulation tactics, and the risks of associating with them. Don’t miss the helpful hints towards the end of the post on how to end the cycle of attraction to toxic narcissists.

What Is a Narcissist?

According to mental health experts, a narcissist is anyone who shows a “persistent pattern” of traits and behaviors seen in people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). The person could be a romantic partner, family member, friend, co-worker, boss, or religious leader. One consistent theme is a tendency to take advantage of people in their close circle to satisfy their own needs.

Narcissists are prone to using psychological manipulation and other unhealthy means to achieve their goals at your expense. A one-sided, toxic, and dysfunctional relationship often ensues as a result.

The way these individuals act also causes immense distress, especially for romantic partners and workplace subordinates.

Not everyone who behaves like a narcissist has narcissistic personality disorder. NPD is a mental disorder that has to be diagnosed by a professional mental health expert.

13 Narcissist Traits, Characteristics, & Warning Signs provides a more in-depth look at NPD.

Type of Narcissist and Narcissistic Traits

There are at least FIVE basic types of narcissists, as follows:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) is a psychiatrist’s tool for deciding if someone is a narcissist. The DSM-V spells out all the traits of narcissism. The traits can be low to high in intensity.

By the way, psychologists say all of us will exhibit one or more of these traits at some point in our lives.

The main concern is frequency and intensity. An NPD diagnosis typically suggests that the person shows a persistent pattern of behavior throughout their life that aligns with those laid out in the DSM-V.

While all narcissists share several DSM-V traits, some are more subtle and harder to spot in a covert narcissist.

You’ll have little trouble recognizing a grandiose or overt narcissist. They are your classic ‘look at me” type always vying for attention, publicity, and recognition.

Are Narcissists Bad People?

Narcissism carries a negative stigma. Needless to say, all narcissists aren’t bad people. In fact, many are charismatic and enigmatic.

You can’t help but fall for them straight out the door. Watch your back if it’s a malignant narcissist or one who also has the characteristics of a sociopath.

One of the main problems with narcissists in general is the knack for using various manipulative tactics to gain and maintain control. Their romantic partners often experience the brunt of it.

You may be familiar with one or more of the following common tactics. Incidentally, they have been classified as forms of emotional abuse or narcissistic abuse.

  • Gaslighting, or saying things to make you question your memory and sanity
  • Persistent lying
  • Denying things even when confronted with proof.
  • Deflecting, or shifting the blame to you to avoid taking responsibility
  • Using harmful language to criticize, demean, and make you feel unworthy, e.g., “Something’s wrong with you!”
  • Getting people to agree with their point of view of you. This makes you believe something’s really wrong with you.

Are Narcissists Evil? How to Find Out

How Dating or Loving a Narcissist Affects You

A narcissist will wear you out and change you if you deal with them long enough. Researchers recognize a link between long-term exposure to toxic narcissistic behavior and mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

Other mental health consequences of being in close contact with narcissists include:

  • Feeling disconnected from reality
  • Feeling confused, helpless, or worthless
  • Loss of trust in relationships
  • Self-isolating to cope
  • Loneliness
  • New substance use habit or addiction

Despite their unhealthy behavior pattern, you still find yourself wanting to befriend and date narcissistic people. The relationship doesn’t last for long before you get tired of their mind games, lies, and manipulation. You either call it quits or they treat you to what’s called a narcissist discard.

At this point, you swear off on dealing with a narcissist ever again! The next thing you know, another one is on your radar, and you can’t figure out why.

Why Am I Attracted to Narcissists? 10 Possible Reasons

A relationship with a narcissist is fraught with distress and dissatisfaction due to their emotionally abusive tendencies and narcissistic rage when they don’t get their way. You grow more anxious and scared the more unpredictable they become.

What is it about a narcissist’s personality that draws you in like a moth to a flame? Asking why am I attracted to narcissists is the first key step to understanding the root reason.

The reasons outlined below might be shocking, as some may point back to you. That’s okay. Think of it as self-discovery and helpful information for self-growth.

Ultimately, you want to apply what you learn to protect yourself from those narcissists who manipulate, abuse, and discard people.

1. You grew up around a narcissist

Growing up with a narcissistic parent or relative with toxic traits can cause you to single out the same type of people to date.

Researchers discovered we’re drawn to familiar people. In psychology, it’s called The Familiarity Principle of Attraction.

what is a narcissist | narcissism | narcissist
Establishing an emotional connection through empathizing can lead to an unintentional romantic attraction.

You may not recognize the pattern since the attraction usually occurs in the subconscious mind.

You aren’t exactly intentionally looking for another narcissist. Yet, they keep showing up in your sphere. There's a similar dynamic with narcissists. They naturally gravitate to people they sense are weak or vulnerable and easy to exploit.

2. You’re attracted to narcissist traits

Are you drawn to the charisma, air of superiority, or extroverted qualities of grandiose narcissists? Maybe it’s the laid-back, avoidant attitude of an undercover narcissist that turns you on. Am I right?

Despite their toxic traits and other red flag signs you shouldn’t date them, you move closer to connect.

These traits show up as the demanding and controlling attitude of the overt narcissist or the resentful and vindictiveness of the vulnerable narcissist. Disregarding your gut feelings only causes you to rinse and repeat.

3. You’re an empath

Psychologists find an interesting dynamic between an empath and a narcissistEmpaths are people who intuitively sense when others are in distress and seek to meet their physical or emotional needs.

Manipulative narcissists see this as a weakness and won’t hesitate to capitalize on it. For example, playing the victim to garner your compassion and assistance.

Empaths are big feelers. Unfortunately, establishing an emotional connection through empathizing can lead to an unintentional romantic attraction. The problem is that you risk getting used, devalued, and discarded by the narcissist.

Do you know the 11 Reasons Empaths Form Relationships with Narcissists? Read to discover why.

4. You have low self-esteem

Low self-esteem is the lack of confidence in one’s abilities or self-value. The level of our self-worth affects whether we feel confident vs. not good enough.

Low self-worth can push you to align yourself with a narcissist if they reflect characteristics you wish you had.

For example, the ability to command attention or easily make friends because of their energetic persona.

You may subconsciously think connecting to them will raise your self-confidence or make others treat you with respect. However, narcissists can tell if someone has low self-esteem and use it to manipulate them.

5. You enjoy being controlled

Some people are dominant and prefer to rule and direct, while others are subservient and more willing to do as they’re told. Narcissistic people can be control freaks. You might find them attractive if being dominated excites you.

reasons you are attracted to narcissists | narcissist | why am i attracted to narcissists
Low self-worth can push you to align yourself with a narcissist if they reflect characteristics you wish you had.

It’s possible you’re drawn to this quality because your childhood caregivers were controlling. This can play out in your adulthood by you subconsciously seeking domineering, narcissistic partners.

6. They make you feel special

Who wouldn’t feel attracted to someone who floods them with loving gestures immediately after meeting? Expensive, gifts, money, compliments, attention, and praise. You name it, the narcissist will move mountains to give it to you.

They’ll even tell you they love you within a few short weeks of knowing you.

If you have low self-esteem, it’s easy to interpret this as love and fall head over heels for their false show of affection. The reality is, it’s a manipulation strategy called ‘lovebombing‘.

Narcissists use lovebombing in the beginning stages of dating to make you fall in love fast! They’ll show their true nature once they reap the benefits from the relationship.

7. You’re materialistic

A vast number of narcissists are quite successful, powerful, or wealthy. Names like Elon Musk, Donald Trump, Kanye West, Maria Carey, Beyonce, and Meghan Markle feature on one or more lists.

These good qualities make narcissists not only highly attractive, but also targets of those looking for fame and fortune.

Narcissists, themselves, single out those they know need their resources. You could say it’s a mutual attraction based on mutual benefits.

However, the relationship is transactional and materialistic. Nobody gets emotionally hurt as long as they keep their feelings in check.

8. You have emotional abuse in your history

Individuals who experience emotional abuse in childhood may be subconsciously drawn to abusive people.

Did you experience emotional abuse as a child? Perhaps you were in an emotionally abusive relationship with a manipulative gaslighting narcissist. Unknowing to you, this could be the reason why you feel a strong connection with narcissists.

Sigmund Freud coined the phenomenon as repetition compulsion. Freud defines Compulsion to Repeat as unconsciously recreating and reenacting harmful experiences. Therefore, you may be unconsciously willing to date an abusive narcissist because the way they treat you feels normal.

9. You have a fixer/pleaser mindset

A narcissist whose life is fraught with problems may seem like the right fit for you. They may be an alcoholic, have legal problems, or are on the brink of homelessness,

Deep down you may recognize the person is toxic but your people-pleasing mentality gets the better of you. You may rationalize the connection as God placing them in your life for you to rescue, help, and fix them.

narcissist | why am i attracted to narcissists | what is a narcissist
Individuals who experience emotional abuse in childhood may be subconsciously drawn to abusive people.

Other narcissists play the victim by listing all the people who did them wrong. This is only to make you feel sorry for them.

This is an example of emotional manipulation. It puts you in a position for them to take advantage of you.

10. You ignore the red flags

Controlling your thoughts and feelings, a lack of empathy for hurting you, and blaming you for their wrongdoings are top warning signs of narcissism, gaslighting, and manipulation.

These and other red flag signs someone is a narcissist stare you in the face. What do you do? You look the other way. You try to convince yourself you’re just being paranoid because a previous narcissist made you doubt your judgment.

Red flags pop up to warn you about potential danger. Don’t allow the love hormones to blind you.

How to Stop Being Attracted to Narcissists

There are ways to break the pattern of losing your mind over narcissistic people. Here are some helpful tips to consider:

  • Self-reflection: Take a good look at yourself. Ask yourself if you have traits that are actually attracting narcissists. You could be an easier target if you have the tendency to be empathetic or codependent. Psychologist, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, refers to these as “magnetic traits” of “vulnerabilities,” in a YouTube video. She says identifying the traits is not about self-blame. Instead, engaging in soul-searching allows you to take ownership.
  • Learn more about narcissism: Keen an eye out for the early red flag signs linked to narcissism.
  • Step out of denial: Stop telling yourself all narcissists are not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health disorder with predictable traits and behavior patterns. The only difference is the type of narcissist you will encounter.
  • Set boundaries: Set healthy boundaries to limit the narcissist’s ability to manipulate, hurt, or take advantage of you.

If you choose to date the person, speak up about your needs. Explain the consequences to follow if they disregard your boundaries.

Consider distancing yourself from them if their conduct continues to cause distress. Your well-being should take priority over anyone who mistreats you–intentionally or not.

Note: You should never date an abusive person or stay in any relationship where there is any form of abuse.

Final Thoughts on Why Am I Attracted to Narcissists

Our own personality traits can cause us to be attracted to people who aren’t right for us. If you identify with any of the personal reasons listed, don’t feel it’s your fault. Apply the information to break the pattern and work on becoming a better version of yourself.

Work on boosting your self-esteem and practicing saying, “No,” to situations and people that can cause you harm. Date consciously and strive to align yourself only with people who treat you with love and respect.

Professional support from a therapist remains an option if you’re unable to break the pattern of attraction to narcissists on your own.

A behavioral therapist can help you explore the root cause and provide tools to help you reprogram your thinking pattern. I’d love for you to read the 20 Warning Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist as you begin your healing journey.

And if you want more resources on relationships or recovering from a bad one, check out these blog posts:

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