Why are we attracted to narcissists?

There is quite a bit of space on the Internet dedicated to trying to understand narcissists, but what about those of us who fall for them?

Countless victims have spoken out about the abuse they’ve suffered at the hands of a narcissist, but there must be a reason we’re attracted to them in the beginning of a relationship. 

After all, no one would ever sign up for the torture a narcissist inflicts if there wasn’t some sort of draw. 

If you find yourself asking why you’re attracted to narcissists, you’re not alone. You’re not crazy either; narcissists come off as quite alluring in the beginning of a relationship. 

Reasons you’re attracted to narcissists 

Despite their cold and callous ways, narcissists manage to attract many suitors. They’re actually quite skilled at drawing people in, only to quickly change their tune once they have a love interest locked in place.

If a narcissist has fooled you, try to give yourself some grace. Many people are attracted to narcissists, for one or more of the reasons below. 

Love bombing

At the start of a new relationship, narcissists engage in love bombing to get their new partner hooked. The narcissist will shower the new person with attention, affection, and compliments, making the person feel as if they are the center of the universe. 

When the narcissist love bombs, you’ll feel as if you’ve met the perfect love of your life. Honestly, the narcissist is so infatuated with you as a new source of supply, that they might think you truly are their lifelong love! 

The problem is that as soon as the honeymoon stage passes, the narcissist will begin to show some of their true colors. If you make one mistake, or slight them in even the smallest way, they’ll no longer view you as perfect.

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Next ensues an onslaught of criticism, manipulation, and control games to make you feel inferior.

Superficial charm and charisma

Narcissists can use charm and charisma to attract people to them. This is part of their superior facade.

They need to be the center of attention and command the room to get the praise and admiration they need to survive. 

In the beginning of a relationship, you’re likely to be captivated by the narcissist’s charm. They seem so gregarious and appealing, you can’t help but want to be around them. 

You’ll later learn that their public persona is much more charming than the person they are behind closed doors. 

Their air of superiority 

People with narcissistic personalities need to feel they are superior to others. 

They are insecure and unsure of themselves underneath the surface, but their superior facade protects them from acknowledging this fact. 

Because of their superiority complex, narcissists come across as impressive, accomplished people.

They will exaggerate their own achievements and strengths, while minimizing or entirely avoiding their weaknesses.

Who wouldn’t be attracted to someone who always seems to be the show’s star?

Extreme confidence

Similar to their superiority complex, narcissists exude extreme confidence. They appear incredibly self-assured, which is understandably attractive to other people.

The narcissist’s confidence makes it seem as if they have it all together, and this is a trait that most people admire.

Confidence makes the narcissist seem strong and self-assured, which can be captivating to the people around them.

Just remember that beneath the surface, the narcissist is anything but sure of themselves. 

Sense of excitement

Narcissists are pretty intense people. Their sense of grandiosity and need for constant admiration means they can appear quite exciting.

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Even as the relationship continues, and they start showing their dark side, things remain exciting.

After all, narcissists tend to operate in a cyclical pattern. They show love-bombing behaviors at the start of the relationship, followed by the devaluation phase.

If they decide to keep you around, they will go back to love bombing from time to time, keeping you on your toes, wondering when the next bout of affection will come.

This rollercoaster ride can bring excitement to your life, making you almost addicted to the relationship with the narcissist. Over time, you maintain your attraction, despite the maltreatment. 

Your own need for validation

I do not mean to suggest that anyone ever deserves to be harmed by a narcissist, but I do know that people who are kind, caring, and empathetic tend to enjoy the narcissist’s validation.

Narcissists come across as being strong, confident, admirable people, so it makes sense that others would want validation from this type of person.

Since the narcissist seems so superior and put together, it can be quite satisfying when they validate us with praise or attention. 

Feelings of familiarity 

Again, I never want to suggest that anything you bring to the table makes you at fault for the abuse you’ve suffered at the hands of a narcissist.

However, certain traits can make us more vulnerable to falling for the narcissist’s games. One such trait is a previous experience with narcissists. 

If you grew up in a family with one or more narcissistic parents or caretakers, you may be attracted to narcissists because they feel familiar.

People who seem familiar to us create a sense of safety, even if the familiarity involves abuse and mistreatment.

The narcissist’s patterns of love bombing, manipulation, and exploitation may seem comforting rather than scary if they remind you of what you’ve experienced in the past. 

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It’s not so much that you enjoy this behavior but rather that it’s so normalized that you expect relationships to be this way. 

Manipulative tactics

Finally, people are attracted to narcissists not because narcissists are inherently attractive but because they manipulate people to get what they want.

In the beginning of a relationship, narcissists may make grand promises to you, or shower you with constant affection, but it’s rarely genuine. 

Instead, they’re trying to exploit you to get their way with you. Perhaps they want to take advantage of your money. 

Or, maybe they know that you have strong professional connections in the community, and they want to use these connections to advance their interests.

Whatever the case may be, the narcissist will do whatever they can to draw you in so you’ll give them what they want from you.

Narcissists are so great at manipulating that their love seems genuine, and people cannot help but fall head over heels.

Making sense of the attraction 

Narcissists generally don’t make great romantic partners, but that doesn’t stop us from being attracted to them.

Despite their flaws, narcissists come across as charming, grandiose, and gregarious, all of which can be incredibly appealing, especially if we don’t know what lurks beneath the surface.

Narcissists are also master manipulators, and they’re willing to shower love interests with affection so these lovers become hooked on the relationship.

Now that you’re wise to their ways, you can shut down your attraction to narcissists if this is what you desire. 

At the very least, you now know that there are plenty of reasons you’re attracted to a narcissist, and none of them involve you being insane. 

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