Why the Narcissist Chooses Us

Lisa E. Scott's picture

If you’re like me, you have fallen for more than one Narcissist. As a result, I often ask myself why I’m attracted to these personality types and would like to understand why they are attracted to me.

In my opinion, the first part of this question is simple. It is easy to fall for a Narcissist. They are charming, witty and often the life of the party. They are the quintessential Alpha Male. To spend time with them is exciting and fun. There is an intensity about them that is indescribable. They possess a force that is magnetic. There is simply never a dull moment and they always keep you on your toes.

On the other hand, understanding why they are attracted to me is a bit more perplexing. Recently, however, I have finally started to understand it. I have learned I am an Empath, which describes a person who is highly tuned into other’s emotions and extremely sensitive. I have always been this way. In fact, my childhood friend was once asked to describe me in one word and without hesitation she responded by saying “sensitive.” I was surprised by the rapid-fire response she gave, but it was eye-opening, to say the least.

I have always been sensitive, and I find this to be both a blessing and a curse. I can feel other people’s emotions as if they’re my own. I have been told by others that my ability to empathize with them is palpable. While this is a blessing in many ways, it can prove difficult in interpersonal relationships. Empaths feel things more strongly than others and Narcissists pick up on the sensitivity of an Empath and take advantage of it. An Empath is the perfect accoutrement to a Narcissist.

Empaths are incredible listeners, naturally giving and always there for people they care about. Narcissists notice this immediately because they purposefully seek a partner who is compassionate and in tune with their never-ending needs. An Empath absorbs the emotions of others and will easily fall prey to a Narcissist, who uses others as an emotional sponge.

Empaths are very sensitive to suffering in the world and are often idealists who want to fix the world’s problems. Empaths have an incredible capacity for self-sacrifice and are often found volunteering or dedicating time to help others. People naturally feel comfortable sharing their feelings with an Empath because of their incredible ability to feel compassion and connect with others.

Whereas a Narcissist does not connect well with others, an Empath connects too much. When Empaths are around peace and love, they flourish. However, when surrounded by an emotional vampire, like the Narcissist, an Empath is ravaged. An Empath absorbs the negativity, fear and rage of a Narcissist. So much so that they take on these problems as their own and try to fix things for their partner. This is precisely what a Narcissist is looking for in a partner and exactly why they seek out relationships with Empaths.

The Narcissist chooses us for a reason. They choose us because we are strong, successful, intelligent and driven. They need someone to take care of their never-ending child-like needs and certainly are not going to choose someone who can't provide for them. They know they can take a lot from us and gain significantly by being in a relationship with us. They want to be taken care of and choose strong people to partner with for a reason. Overall, I believe being an Empath is truly a gift, but we must be careful not to allow others to take advantage of us.

I received the following message this morning from forum member, Carol24, and it inspired me to write this blog. Carol says it perfectly, so with her permission, I’d like to share her words with all of you:

"Hi Lisa,

I just had a thought and I felt I wanted to share it with you.

I have noticed that so many of us ladies who write in blame ourselves constantly. For example, one lady was beating herself up because she had given in and contacted her ex when she heard he was going through a difficult time. I pointed out that, although no-contact is the way to go, what she did was kind and she should not feel disappointed in herself for having feelings of human nature. It is as if our narcissist partners have programmed us all to see all of our positive attributes as weaknesses. Perhaps they do this on purpose because they perceive having feelings as weak and a disadvantage.

It does sometimes appear that the narcissist has the upper-hand over us genuine people because they lack feelings. e.g. They break our hearts but they will never experience this themselves which seems so unjust. From what I've read, narcissism itself seems to be a defense mechanism that is designed to protect them from being hurt by others - it is very effective! We all like to believe that "what goes around comes around" but it seems that, for them, this is not the case. They are like machines without feelings and it is easy for those of us who have been made to feel helpless and powerless by them to begin to see this as a strength or even to feel some degree of jealousy because they can hurt us whilst that their emotionless "thick-skin" is deemed inpenetrable .

However, I think it is important for us ladies to remind ourselves that, due to their sub-conscious feelings of self-loathing, narcissists also have contempt for the people who love them and this is their weakness. Underneath their haughty facade they have such little self-worth that when they see that a woman wants to be with them they (sub-consciously) ask themselves "why?" and "what's wrong with her that makes her want to be with a pathetic worthless creature like me?". They then go on to treat the woman very badly as a result of these feelings of total contempt.

Although we are victims of their abusive behaviour, deep down we are much stronger people than they are. Our self-esteem will recover in time but theirs never will. They will always need other people to validate their self-worth, where as we are healthy-minded women who can validate our own self-worth. We must never allow ourselves to feel that our good qualities, such as kindness, thoughtfulness or wanting to see the good in other people, make us weak. We are strong and they are the weak ones."

This member is right. The Narcissist does purposefully cause us to doubt ourselves and our good-naturedness. The one thing a Narcissist can never take away from us is our ability to feel. A Narcissist will never experience the range of emotions we do, which is precisely why they are so jealous, envious and covetous of those of us who can.

We cannot allow the Narcissist to cause us to doubt ourselves because of their jealousy. They manipulate us into believing that we did something wrong by loving them. We blame ourselves for loving this person when we did absolutely nothing wrong but believe in the goodness of another person.

The Narcissist chooses us for a reason and we must never forget that reason!

"Don't rob a friend, a partner, family member or the world of someone that could have been a real companion, and someone that could make a difference. Don't ever give up being special!"
~ Willy Conradie

Comments

ATM No More's picture

Question...

So, knowing that you're empathetic, how do you keep from falling into a relationship with another emotional vampire?

Janie53's picture

ATM

There are many empathetic people in this world who don't end up in toxic relationships because they have the appropriate boundaries to keep these using and abusing people away. You need to learn about yourself as to why you tolerated ill behaviors. My kindness was used as my weakness but those days are long gone. Empathy is not the issue here!

Stay true to you!
Janie

MyTurnToBe Free's picture

My N

I know that I was chosen because I do and say things so that I won't hurt other's feelings. When Narc went down the list looking for supply I was no more special than any of the others, even though he tried to convince me otherwise. Others saw him for what he was and ran for the hills. Those that remained, like me, ended up with the spewing of garbage and eventually the D&D.

No more!

TruthbeginsToday's picture

I had always wondered why I

I had always wondered why I seemed to absorb the pain and troubles of others and get busy to do something about it. I called it my natural way and to step into their shoes. I FELT when they felt. I tried to ignore it at times but how can you un-see it or un-feel it?

This blog inspired me to stay as I am and put it to good use.. for me and for the true.

When I worked for the N's and P's.. there was no growth in them.. none. and NONE for me. It made me feel worthless in my efforts to do what came naturally for me. I can change many things about myself.. but the natural stuff is here to stay...so the message is " MOVE ON." to a less oppressive and harmful environment.Take my gifts elsewhere and give them a chance to promote growth.

Thanks for this. WOrthy of some deeper thought to promote positive changes.
Truth

Hopeless in PA's picture

Brought Tears To My Eyes

I haven't been on this board for over 2 weeks but I needed a pick-me-up. "They manipulate us into believing that we did something wrong by loving them. We blame ourselves for loving this person when we did absolutely nothing wrong but believe in the goodness of another person." This is me to a T with my ex. This whole post is me. I guess I am definitely an Empath. If anyone remembers reading my post, I had the 49 year-old boyfriend who lives with his 80 year-old parents (he never moved out, ever). I talked to a girlfriend last night and I'm still asking what I did wrong and she told me nothing. I loved him so much and would have done anything for him. She said to me, if he asked you to marry him now or even a few months ago, you would. I would never agree with her out loud but I did last night. Why is there such a spell with these guys? I firmly believe my ex doesn't realize what he is doing but he does it nonetheless. I ofter wonder had I done so much differently (including having sex with him - even though he could never stay the night - because he wouldn't hear the end of it from his parents - teenager anyone), would he still be with me. My girlfriend said I would have been in the same position, sex or no sex. She is very wise and older than me. I just came here tonight for reassurance. I'm feeling down and still blame myself at times, even though I know better. I think because we are so sensitive and giving, that's why it hurts so much. I truly would have done anything for him, including helping him with his parents - mine are gone (wish they weren't) but he didn't care. The more I cared, the more he pushed me away. I have also been dating again. This one guy laid it on so thick on my first date, saying I was beautiful 10 times and constantly asking me if I enjoyed our date. Please. I have a Tracfone (trying to save money) and I didn't have enough minutes last week to talk to him, just to text (had to get a new card). I explained to him afterward about it and said I don't have an IPhone, etc. He said "I'll buy you one." I told him he doesn't have to buy me anything. Sorry to get sidetracked. I guess I don't have a lot to look forward to dating-wise and maybe that too is why I still feel lost without my ex.

Coffeegirl's picture

This one really hits home...

Empath. This describes me, this describes his ex-wife. Strangely, I would not label OW / new fiancée an empath at all. She is very dependent upon him, controlled by him. But a rather self-absorbed person. Hmmm.

And this nails it:

"We all like to believe that "what goes around comes around" but it seems that, for them, this is not the case. They are like machines without feelings and it is easy for those of us who have been made to feel helpless and powerless by them to begin to see this as a strength or even to feel some degree of jealousy because they can hurt us whilst that their emotionless "thick-skin" is deemed inpenetrable . " Yes, yes, yes! We struggle while they skip off with new supply.

And

"We blame ourselves for loving this person when we did absolutely nothing wrong but believe in the goodness of another person." That is exactly it. I BELIEVED in him. When I stopped believing in him, he was out of there. Fiancee thinks he is God's gift to this world, especially her. Much better supply than me.

under his thumb's picture

realization

so i have read this a few times and a few things just dawned on me this morning! when i met N i was young and naive. i had just spent the past year being caregiver for my brother through his awesome fight against leukemia (he won!). my father had passed away from cancer when i was 16. those were the events who had shaped the young woman i was when we met...and i guess that is where he was hooked! he knew i was compassionate and would do what needed to be done for the ones i loved. holy hell! and he spent the next four months wooing me in every way possible. promised me the world! once i said yes to his proposal 4 months into our relationship things changed! he constantly accused me of cheating...and things continued to get worse, but two kids later and i felt that i needed to stick it out for them. until the point that i no longer liked who i had become. lived in constant fear, obligation and guilt. no more...

Veronica's picture

To Realization

Hey girl,

My kids also gave me the strength to walk away. He was turning my oldest daughter against me. She was 3 or 4 at that time. She is now 10. My youngest daughter is 7.
He became a "best friend" to my oldest daughter, and every time I told her that she needed to pick up the toys, or eat her veggies, he would intercede and say things like "don't listen to her sweetie, she doesn't understand you" or "isn't it a grown-up responsibility to clean up a child's room? what kind of mother are you?". It took me years to regain my daughter's love, but finally she seems to be coming to terms with what REALLY happened. She was also very hurt when he got her in trouble and lied about it and blamed it all on her.
I remember feeling that I had to get out of that relationship or my kids would never be able to have a normal life.

Dee30's picture

myself

In analyzing whyy these narcisstic personality types are attracted to me, I do know one thing, I am an extremely empathetic person, I am not assertive, i can be a pushover, I am self-sacrificing, incredibly good listener...a recipe for disaster when dealing with a narc.

Goldie's picture

Lisa

This reminded me of a comment my son's father made 25 years ago. He said you are so so so, like he was searching for the right word and then he blurted it out with such venom and disgust: SENSITIVE. Seriously, he said it like he was referring to something awful. No wonder I was in a perpetual state of confusion. Thanks, great post.

God bless,
Goldie

Jannie In the Sun's picture

Coming Back to Life

Wow, this post hit me so hard I had to stop and let myself cry. It described me! I felt ravaged, I became too thin, weak, and frightened. If you leave a plant in the dark, without water, nutrients and sunlight, it will lose its color, wither, become dry and brittle and eventually die. I felt that way until I got out.

In taking responsibility for my part in the relationship, I have to admit that my self doubt and self blame is the biggest cause of my pain and I have been very hard on myself. I saw red flags and made excuses for him because I empathized with his emotional pain. But I ignored mine.

I didn't know what I didn't know and I have had a lifetime of outside forces trying to tell me what to do, how to think, who to be, how to treat others and so on. I was confused. I forgive me!

All of the work I have been doing to heal has been giving me my personal power back and teaching me to love and TRUST myself so then I can better love others - the right ones, the right way.

My tears today are for the beautiful Empath that I am and I love my range of emotions. Thanks!

Jannie In The Sun

Mindy's picture

Thank You

This couldn't have hit any closer to home for me. When we first started getting to know each other, he told me that he loved self-sacrifice. And when he was devaluing me, he said, "I don't understand why you want me so bad now, there's nothing special about me." Two statements mirrored in this article.

Today, I started forgetting. Making excuses for him in my mind, and contemplating making peace with him, now that I am over everything and feel better. I am two months no contact and have never felt so free. Reading this helped me to remember, and kept me from making a grave mistake.

I've forgiven him for being a monster, and forgiven myself for being a victim... but I must never forget, or I could repeat same mistakes.

You were right: We ARE the strong ones.

blessingindisguise's picture

Thanks Lisa!

Once again, you "hit the nail on the head". Thanks for your wisdom, insight and continued leadership!

Free-at-Last's picture

Thanks for a Healing Post

Lisa and Carol, thanks so much for this healing post. After so much devaluation, projection and blame by my narcissistic ex-partner, it's great to be reminded that they choose us because we're strong, empathic, kind, hard-working, helpful, independent and successful. My ex constantly accused me of "not listening to her" (I'm a guy) and "not pulling my weight."

Well, "you don't listen to me" is clearly Narc Speak for "you're defying my attempts at manipulating and controlling you." And after a year of living together, everything around her house is finally in proper working order (it was a disaster when I moved in) and so is her car and her computer. It seems that "you don't pull your weight" is Narc Speak for "I'm going to keep raising the bar until you go crazy and succumb to my every wish."

It's only been two months since I've left, and I'm still dealing with the cognitive dissonance of having done so much for her with so little appreciation on her part, plus the fact that the woman I fell in love with was a complete fabrication designed to lure me into her personal hell.

Lisa and Carol, your words literally shocked me into remembering who I really am, and how proud I used to be of who I am. My ex-girlfriend's priority was to destroy who I really was, and you've really helped me start to rebuild that. Thank you both very much.

Veronica's picture

to Free-at-last

You hit the nail on the head! you didn't fall in love with her. she was very good at "reading you" and sold you the image she chose to project to lure you in.
You fell in love with the wonderful woman she portrayed to be.
I know it's sad, but this idea helped me to move on.

kevsmart's picture

To Free at Last

I am so happy to find another guy on this site. While I am a gay male, who was a victim of another male's narcissism, it's important for everyone to know that EVERYONE: female, male, gay,. straight, bi can be victims...

I want to applaud you for stepping forward (I believe that they are MANY men out there who have had their lives turned upside down by a Narc, but are not willing to seek support, or may not even realize what has happened to them...damn male pride!)

Free-at-Last's picture

Thank you, kevsmart

Thanks, kevsmart. You're right, it's much more difficult for abused men to get support because frankly, most people – both men and women – can't even believe that men would ever get abused. So I found myself feeling very ashamed when I realized I was being abused, and I still find it downright embarrassing to share my experiences with my male friends (but I have a couple of longtime woman friends who have been very good listeners).

The scariest things about female narcissists are that (a) they're much more subtle and sneaky than male narcs, and (b) narcissistic women are soooo good at playing the victim to others.

Thanks again for your kind comments, kevsmart. Take good care.

repressed memory's picture

To free-at-last

I would just like to say that most of the Ns in my life were female. They are very good at manipulating to get everyone thinking they are the victim. My mother, mother-in-law and sister-in-law are all experts. Growing up in this environment you just accept it because you don't know any different, but I witnessed the abuse OVER and OVER and OVER. Myself and all my siblings are co-dependent empaths because of it.

kevsmart's picture

Thank You Free at Last

I am so glad to have come across your comments.

Even as a gay man, I've had difficulty finding support....most people dismiss me as being a "drama Queen."

My ex is well known in the NY acting community, so of course, everyone sees our break-up from his point of view: that I was a needy, selfish, whiny mess."

I cannot imagine, as a straight man, how difficult this must have been for you and I really have to applaud you for your courage.

When we are in love with someone, we become blind to their faults, and often embellish our own, trying to make sense of the most painful, most incomprehensible situation ever. As men, we are taught to be the protector, but who is there to protect us?

Hang in there my friend.

Free-at-Last's picture

Integrity spawns courage

I'm equally happy to have come across yours. Poor you – an actor and a narcissist – what a deadly combination! One thing I've learned from all the articles and comments I've read here and elsewhere, is that vilification comes as naturally to narcissists as abuse. They can do no wrong, so they'll trash you to all your mutual friends, say nasty things about you on Facebook, etc. I've just accepted that as a fact, and it doesn't bother me as much now.

Before you applaud too loudly for my courage, let me explain how and why I left. Although she abused me terribly, I never once abused her in return. Nor did I ever, ever stoop to name-calling or false accusations. I tried to remain calm and kind to her in the midst of her rages (which were provoked by the silliest and most trivial things). I will admit to having raised my voice (something I very, very rarely do) just twice, and it was on purpose: I had run out of things to reason with, and I thought that raising my voice might help her understand that I was serious about my position. It didn't work (my position was obviously irrelevant to her).

I left the day before Valentine's Day. I was physically and emotionally exhausted and at the end of my rope, and felt extremely frustrated about being expected to do "something nice" for my tormentor tomorrow. That would be complete hypocrisy, and that same morning I packed my belongings and left.

I don't abuse others and I don't accept abuse from others. Integrity is when you stick to your moral principles, and she was slowly pushing me into becoming a total hypocrite. Somehow, my integrity just spontaneously produced the courage it took to leave.

You're right, as men we're taught to be the protector – and we're expected to protect ourselves also. But none of us – neither men nor women – have ever been taught how to protect ourselves from psychotic people who are stellar actors and compulsive liars. And that's why sites like this are so valuable.

You hang in there too, my friend.

spinning's picture

Lisa, as always

this is so enlightening, empowering, validating and excellent information.

Thank you thank you thank you! You are the best.

He will not take my best qualities from me. I will not allow it.

most sincerely, spinning (not so much today)!

terri's picture

This really hit home as I've

This really hit home as I've known this about narcs all along. From the beginning, my xN constantly questioned that my love for him was authentic - as if he just couldn't believe that someone could/would actually love him for himself.

It would always remind me of the Groucho Marx quote:
"I would never want to belong to a club that would have me as a member."

Deidre40's picture

OMG. I had tears in my eyes

OMG. I had tears in my eyes reading this. God bless you for posting this. It clarified soooooo much for me. I have been struggling off and on with CD, and this has shed such light for me.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

gratefuljen's picture

I refuse to let the exnarc take one more thing from me!

What a wonderful post. I can actually feel myself healing. Almost three months since I woke up and I have not felt this good since prior to meeting him.

My relationship with my exn, destroyed my life, my career, my finances. I refuse to let him destroy who I am and was prior to meeting him. I am just going to be very careful who I let into my heart.

Thank you Lisa and all on this site.

But remember, npd is deadly. We need to take it very seriously, if we want to recover. They are truly evil, dangerous people. REMEMBER NO CONTACT, EDUCATE YOURSELVES, PROFESSIONAL HELP IF NEEDED AND PRAYER.

Love to all

Jen

Monica's picture

Jen....I feel the same way....

I have not felt this good since before I first met him over 4 years ago. The difference in me is so great that everyone notices and comments on it. He destroyed me, too, and it nearly cost me my life. After that, I totally woke up and blocked him from every possible way of contacting me. They are evil and they are very dangerous. Mine is afraid of me now. Afraid of what I could do to him and his career if I so choose to do so. They are soul-sucking creatures who, despite sucking many souls out of many people, will always feel empty and hollow.

hooklineandsinker's picture

Like you, Lisa, an early

Like you, Lisa, an early report card of mine in primary school (age around 6 or 7), in addition to listing my grades, stated that "Katherine is a very kind child".

However I think that most of my kindness and softness has been beaten out of me, after years of meeting and being abandoned by common-or-garden assclowns (for about ten years) and then the crowning glory: the emotional rape at the hands of the narc. I am now mostly quite hard, cynical and indifferent. Stuff still makes me cry, but mostly in private. In public, I have a hard shell around me. An ex-boyfriend (neither narc nor assclown) once described me as having an exterior of diamond (one of the world's hardest materials) but an interior of melted chocolate. A more recent one confirmed this.

blessingindisguise's picture

hooklineandsinker

While I am reading this post, I see the similarities between all of us on this website as being kind, sensitive, loving and giving women who fell in love and were taken advantage of and abused by the narcissist.

I want to tell you that it breaks my heart that you say you are now mostly quite hard, cynical and indifferent. I don't know you, but deep down, you are still you. I will bet that you are a beautiful, amazing, loving woman. I believe the people on this site all are. Please get back in touch with your inner true self. Do not let him get away with temporarily destroying your true character. This, for him, is the ultimate victory.

I knew from the start of my divorce, that I would not let him change my true character and boy, has it been hard at times. It's almost like a dark force that tries to coerce you into becoming "one of them". I say, NO WAY!!

What about turning this all around? For me, it was a decision. I am not about to lose the qualities that the narc was so jealous of. Instead, not only will I retain my character and values, but I will be all that but STRONGER! What a winning combo - strength AND inner beauty!

Precious's picture

who you are is beautiful

caring around your pain, and only letting it out in private makes me sad for you, it also makes me worry that this will eventually make you sick. Don't let anyone take away who you are, "a very kind child". The world needs you, we need a lot more people like you to be kind.

Lisa E. Scott's picture

You are special

I'm so glad you finally feel yourself healing, GratefulJen!

Precious is right, HookLineSinker -

"Don't ever let anyone take away who you are, "a very kind child."

I wrote this post because we too often blame ourselves for falling in love with the Narcissist and think we are deficient or overly needy in some way. I couldn't disagree more.

We are incredibly giving, kind and compassionate people. Narcissists see this in us and target us for that reason. The thing we must remember in our recovery is to heal, but not change the person we are.

You are special and should never let anyone take that away from you!

Like the quote says:

"Don't rob a friend, a partner, family member or the world of someone that could have been a real companion, and someone that could make a difference. Don't ever give up being special!"
~ Willy Conradie