not only among those in the field of psychology, but in everyday conversations. There are specialized support circles, Meet-ups and even Facebook groups for those who have suffered from narcissistic abuse, and animated memes demonstrating the meaning of related expressions, like gaslighting and narcissistic supply—all related to various methods used by the narcissist to bend others to their program.
Since Narcissism has been described in abundance elsewhere, suffice it to say here, that as a personality characteristic, it is recognized as a pathological tendency toward self-centeredness and entitlement, at the expense of due concern and empathy toward others.
The purpose of this article is to highlight the reasons why others would attract or be attracted to a narcissist. Because I’ve personally had my own experiences, both friendly and romantically, with narcissists of varying degrees of grandiosity, I’ve discovered that there are certain qualities in our own nature, that may make us good targets. May this exploration serve you in your own journey of self-discovery and healing, so that we may form healthier relationships!
The Qualities that Make Good Targets for the Narcissist:
- We are naturally empathic. We are thoughtful and deeply caring toward others. We are aware of and in tune with what others are feeling and what they may need. We want others to be happy and are affected when they aren’t. While this quality is admirable and arguably advanced as a human characteristic, it makes us easy prey for the narcissist.
- We don’t like to complain. We were taught not to be “complainers,” and consequently, we often don’t speak up for ourselves. Again, this makes us easy victims of the opportunistic “Narc” because they will immediately default to their own program and needs, while those around them become sources of what is known in Narc jargon as “supply.” In other words, we are there to facilitate the narcissist’s agenda. We are actors in their production.
- We’re afraid of being sources of disappointment. We don’t want to be a “stick in the mud,” so, we agree to things that we don’t truly agree with. We go along with the program, their program, according to their moods and whims, at the cost of our own satisfaction. This renders us voiceless.
- We have unresolved early trauma that left us with feelings of insecurity. This may be trauma in the form of childhood bullying, or trauma at home with a parent or overly dominant sibling, which in turn, left us with a prevailing need to win others’ approval. Taking note of our insatiable craving for praise, the narcissist will take full advantage, by showering us with excessive admiration, leaving us addicted to the attention and thus, to them. This is called “love-bombing.” It only ends up creating more trauma.
- We want to fix them. They are also insecure, and so, as empaths, we want to be the ones who understandthem… who can turn them around and show them what real love is.
- We’re spiritual and we’ve been taught that to be advanced and evolved, we should be accepting and non-reactive. It is indeed a worthy counterpoint to the volatility we see around us in a troubled and angry world, but to the narcissist—one who lacks the maturity for mutual respect and the ability to meet us on similar ground—this quality will be exploited.
This is by no means meant to suggest that because of these qualities, we are responsible for the narcissist’s behavior. We are not. Nor is it meant to suggest that we should stop being empathetic, but rather to be less averse to speaking up when necessary, especially when a relationship doesn’t feel caring in return. It’s about recognizing the red flags, even if it means calling it a day, so that we can share our sweet and giving qualities with those who genuinely appreciate us!