What kind of a spouse/mate/partner is likely to be attracted to a narcissist?

Thanks for sharing this ZZcem. Excellent read.


The truth will set us free and the truth for us lie's within us; not them. Once you stop looking towards them for the answer and go within for the solution's, recovery and healing begin to flow more rapidly. This is an inside job.

One of the best articles I've read on the part WE play in keeping the myth alive for the narc and allowing him to continue to sling his abuse. Read this and look at YOUR part in all of this and take the "blinders" off your eyes, and get out. Also this article shows the severe damage, manipulation, and mindset of the narc as he is sucking you in and sucking you dry. There is no hope or cure for the Narcissist to suddenly have a change of heart and begin to meet your needs. Isn't going to happen. Not in this lifetime. They don't have it to give; they are damaged goods. Their cup is not full, you are going to a drywell looking for water. The well is dry and the sooner we get this; the sooner we get them out and begin to heal.

My narc said those very words: "I am damaged goods, I do not have the ability to love you like your fantacy love. I have not been that way in years and I will never be that way," and he was only 30 years old. Geeze, and I simply was incapable at the time of comprehending emotionally just what he was saying. He was bacially giving me the headsup and I STILL did not want to hear it or believe it.

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
― Maya Angelou

Sam is trying to tell us who and what he and they are, and who they target.


In response to those who don't like to hear it from the horse's mouth:

No one knows or understand a Narc like a Narc and the truth of the matter is that a highly intelligent narc is going to be able to explain their mind games and manipulation better than anyone else (one who you are not personally involved with that is). They can tell you what a con looks for and what they are afraid of and avoid. He knows what the disorder consists of from an inside view.

This should be valuable information for the parnters of narcs to learn in order to avoid these potential pitfalls in the future.

"What in me attracted the narc in the first place?" What was the "in"? Where were the chinks which not only allowed the narc to gain control, but also allowed the partner to remain in a unhealthy dangereous relationship?

"Understanding it" is esential to recovery and working through the cognative dissonance. I don't know of many who have been able to recover, move on, heal, and avoid relationships with narcs in the future who have not fully grasped what just hit them. Many who gloss over or deny their own part in all of this continue to engage in unhealthy relationships moving forward.

The key lie's in looking at what in us allowed this to continue. Obviously it is not our fault that we initially were sucked in by a manipulator, yet is IS our responsibility if we continue to accept abuse once we realize that our lives are being destroyed. This is not easy work to do and many avoid it like the plague by continuing to live in denial and obsess with magical fantacy thinking about the Narc and how they can fix and cure him and he is not really that bad. Or they become paralyzed and beat down. Unable to make any sense of it and become resolved to dance the dance regardless to getting few if any of their needs met.

What Sam Vaknin is attempting to show in this article, is that there is a way out and that this has nothing to do with your efforts; the narc is not wired right and no attempts by you are going to change this. The answer lie's in your inability to see the truth of the situation and he is illustrating this actually quite well in this article.

Wake up, get real with yourself about what is up, heal yourself, and see the narc for who and what he is: an underdevoped, fearful, self aborbed, shell of a man who intentionally keeps you down in order to gain supply for his addiction and your addiction is to stay and allow it.

I have known narcs who were able and willing to articulate their manipulation and it is chilling to hear and realize that they know exactly what they are doing and trying to obtain every step of the way. They look for the unsuspecting, the one's who will keep their dirty little secrets. The one's who will go back for a few more rounds.

As the article says, there are many out there who tell these leeches where to get off the FIRST time they sling their abuse. They don't give them a second chance to create havoc in their lives. So as difficult as it is for many to accept, we do have a role in creating our own destiny's. This helps me to learn how to spot a narc, get out early, and do the work on myself and my needy codependent components which allowed this insanity in my life in the first place.

God bless,

Jan 1 - 1PM
Pumpkin's picture


Thanks, I needed to read Sam's article again. And thank you Goldie. A reminder that I had a big part in this and I need to work on me and my codependency problems.


Dec 22 - 5PM
A Narc Encounter
A Narc Encounter's picture

Narcs Never Present as Narcs

They are attracted to strong women, and gifted women-talents they desire to emulate, over time they just hate. But they never present as a Narc other than the "too good to be true and too fast" red flags.
Dec 18 - 3AM
fooled no longer
fooled no longer's picture

answer: only nice, kind and

answer: only nice, kind and long suffering people. it can happen to anyone of us. narcs love the glory that comes from snagging a smart woman. so beware, play dumb around men. they are vermin full stop. we must stop blaming ourselves. yes there were two people involved, but we must forgive ourselves for being human. there is nothing to be learned from this at al,l except how to avoid them in future. God bless you Goldie xx
Dec 17 - 4AM
uk lady
uk lady's picture

The truth is exactly what set me free

Getting therapy and realising that I too had played a part in the "dance" was my wake up call. I just knew that I needed to address my issues and break away from the x. Waking up without the rose tinted glasses, smelling the roses and finally, but finally, realising that this guy disrespected me so much, no matter what I did, that I was liable to explode was when the truth hit me right between the eyes. Thanks for Sam's article Goldie - truly fascinating. The x was everything that Sam has laid bare on the page and up until 18 months ago I was just living with it in a constant state of confusion, being aware of it but not exactly knowing how to move out of it. Therapy and concentrating on my issues, within myself, has been the only way forward for me. And I thank the day I was introduced to my therapist - he literally saved me, from myself. If you know what I mean. My recovery has not been without its pitfalls but I feel that without working on myself it wouldn't be happening at all. Dee x
Dec 12 - 10AM
Lil.Ms.Sunshine's picture

what stood out for me: How he got in

"The narcissist acts unpredictably, capriciously, inconsistently and irrationally. This serves to demolish in others their carefully crafted worldview. They become dependent upon the next twist and turn of the narcissist, his inexplicable whims, his outbursts, denial, or smiles. In other words: the narcissist makes sure that HE is the only stable entity in the lives of others – by shattering the rest of their world through his seemingly insane behaviour. He guarantees his presence in their lives – by destabilising them." Between this and the lying, it all served to keep me off balance and give him more power. I was always complaining how unreliable he was. I would tell him that he was "predictably unpredictable." In other words, I started to anticipate his next unpredictable move with accuracy. This does remind me of the gambling analogy people use. Brain chemicals were definitely at work there.
Dec 9 - 4AM
Tryintoheal's picture

Really Nice Spouses

I think it is due to the fact that we are sensitive people, we see and feel their pain. A lot of us have come from families where even if we were not abused we most likely witnessed it going on between other family members or had relationships too young with untrustworthy individuals. Mine was due to an original wound caused by my first love. He cheated on me and I found out through one of his friends who was visiting my brother. It was Boxing day and that very same cheating boyfriend had bought me some nice gifts and had already given them to me on Christmas day. I couldn't believe it but got all the details, this guy had been there and witnessed it. So cheater rocks up at my door and I decide to tell him his gig is up and I threw all the clothes he bought me out the door. He then got on his motor cycle, rode up the street, did a u turn and sped all the way back past my house and right into a high wooden fence at the end of the street. He went right over the fence and landed in a tree but I thought he was dead. That was the start of my own guilt and shame and the ability of these men to continually own me this way. I then was holding his hand in the hospital, I was 16 and my parents had just separated a year earlier too. My mum also turned up to comfort me and brought her new boyfriend, my dad proceeded to punch the glass front door and nearly severed his arm. Blood was everywhere. Trauma upon trauma. I've dated the same guy in 7 different forms, not all suicidal machines but bullies, silent treaters, cheaters, liars, all sex addicts and all narcissists and all control freaks. I am 1 year sober and not involved in any relationships. I am still healing as my last N relationship was ten years, this one was the heavy one that eventually was the catalyst to the beginning of my healing. He screwed me up big time, could do silent treatment for up to 5 months and reappear but only wants the goodies, not to give the love honor and commitment that builds trust and intimacy. He was an emotional retard and I'm glad now that I am away from him. I never ever thought the day would come when I would say that. Love to you all, I hope my rambling resonates with some, xxx
Dec 8 - 3PM
Susan32's picture

Sam Vaknin's trinity

For Sam Vaknin, there are three kinds who are attracted to the Narc (or live with him long-term); 1)The codependent, or as he puts it, "the professional victim" 2)The saint, who has the holiness to endure that mistreatment, think of St. Monica&her abusive husband 3)Another Narc Sometimes Narcs sniff each other out. When Jack London married his second wife Charmian, she is described in the London bio "Wolf" as "the one woman he could neither con nor dominate." It's because Charmian was as much a Narc as him. She still had sexual relationships with other men after she married London. Still, he admired her&saw her as a soulmate. She had a romance with married magician Harry Houdini, calling him "Magic." Houdini regretted it, he went NC with her to save his marriage, she still praised him. Eva Duarte slept her way to the top of the Buenos Aires social ladder, marrying strongman Juan Peron. Then there's the codependent. When Sofia Behrs married Leo Tolstoy, she had fairytale ideas of marriage&family. Marriage to Narc Leo Tolstoy eventually turned her into a Narc, but she might've one before she married him, attracted to his wealth&fame. Her diaries are basically those of a codependent. The sad irony is that in the Russian Orthodox Church, she could've gotten an annulment early on. The lack of consent in the consummation would've been her out. However, it was Tchaikovsky and Dostoevsky who practiced NC with her famous husband, and kept their sanity. Tchaikovsky changed his daily walk in Moscow to avoid Tolstoy. THAT'S inspiration for NC, in this season of the Nutcracker!
Dec 8 - 4AM
Done sourcing
Done sourcing's picture

Short answer. One who still

Short answer. One who still has lessons to learn and seems to be motivated by pain. ds
Dec 8 - 8AM (Reply to #8)
Goldie's picture

Yes, DS

As difficult as recovery is from a PD and all the unanswered questions, pain, and confusion, in order to begin to truly recover and heal, the day must come when we choose life over the pain. The obsessing and replaying of the old tapes, wounds, and sorrow, only keep us stuck in the past and as difficult as it is, letting go of the PD and their effect on us is the way to freedom. God bless, Goldie
Dec 7 - 11AM
Anonymus's picture

Malignant optimism??

If that is the case, I am the picture that appears under the definition, but I doubt the concept is correct. The optimism that one encounters on treating with these people (Ns) is dependent on how much you love them. If you love them, you release dopamine; and dopamine is a hormone related to finding patterns (even when there aren't). So, if you love an N, you will be a malignant optimist by default, until the dosage of reality is far superior then the amount of hormone released. Maybe this has a connection to the need of faith? To believe in the power of love? I don't know, maybe I'm rambling, but I'm curious to find the answers to the why we have this sort of response as human beings.
Dec 7 - 12PM (Reply to #6)
Goldie's picture


Yes and all the more reason to empower yourself and put the focus back on yourself. What you and we are describing here is a dichotomy. As the chemicals get released whether they are dopamine "love" chemicals or a knee jerk reaction from years of fight or flight response triggering past trauma which also releases chemicals through the brain; adrenaline and other catecholamines, the end result is going to be the same with a PD. Can you say that every single case is one or the other, no of course not. We are talking in general. Most likely, either you are so gaga "in love" with this person or they are a representation of past trauma to you, PTSD, either reason brings about the same end result. The question becomes: How can something which "feels" so right and good in the beginning and for many as they continue to engage in sexual relations (the primary glue) with the PD, be so bad. Surely there must be something I can do to maintain these great feelings and make this work in spite of the obvious descrepancies and abuse. This becomes "I" over "E", intellect over emotions. Someone has to step in and put an end to this madness and it needs to come from your "intellection sense of self- parenting." I know this feels great from time to time, however, the bad stuff is beginning to destroy my life and I need to say goodby to the candy, so I have room for my dinner which of course is yourself and your life force which PD's are adept at destroying. We can have therapists, forums, friends, family, all telling us that this person is no damn good, toxic, and destroying our lives and until we wake up and choose life over a certain slow emotional death, we are going to keep going back for more. Specifically what and why we were initially attracted to the PD, chose to stay inspite of overwhelming pain and virtually zero odds of this turning into a successful relationship, may vary from person to person. It is up to us to find our own truth with all the data which is available. And regardless to how much truth we encounter, we are STILL going to have to make the tough choices and do something about it, if we want our freedom, happiness, and healing. The goal here is to get ourselves back and maybe for some, find, for the first time in years. These toxic relationships have proven for many to be the very catalyst which propels them once and for all out of the darkness and into the light, or with the one timers, back into the light. For some it is a one time deal and for others, these are lifelong patterns. One thing is for certain regarding human beings in the year 2011, where addiction is rampant and technology has us on overdrive. We seem to be drawn in general to that which creates the biggest high. How many people on here have said that they never felt this way before, the sex was so amazing, that they preferred the company of the PD to their dull boring XBF or husband. This has to play a part in all of this, it comes up too often for this not to hold validity. For whatever reason the person has an unhealthy addiction if you will, pull, drive, whatever word you care to use, towards the PD and efforts to get out and away prove to be extremely difficult. I agree, getting out and remaining NC long enough to see the truth, does take a huge leap of faith in the beginning if you are still "hooked", particularly when every ounce of your being is trying to pull you back. This is where your faith and the support of a therapist, coach, support group, becomes essential for most to acheive success. I would not be here today had it not been for my faith. I was a mess, and my life was being rapidly destroyed and I found myself being sucked dry, yet, contact with him continued to suck me back in, despite what I could see right in front of my face. It was primarily my faith, the love and support to get out of my son, the reading materials, the Six Steps of Recovery, the hours spent on the phone with forum members who get this, including many hours on the phone with Lisa who was a loving continuous support to me, this forum, and becoming a moderator and giving back to those who still suffer, which did the trick for me. It was a combination of all of the above. We may never have all of our answers. Psychology is never going to be an exact science. We have made huge strides over the years and I am certain that there is going to be new material coming out on all of this as the years go by, so yes, for now, when all is said and done. IT DOES TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH God bless, Goldie
Dec 7 - 10AM
bakingfortherapy's picture


Everyone should read...so much good information. It is so hard to see that they are sick, mentally ill, individuals and not the man they "acted" to be. Still struggling with this almost 7 months out! The "whys" and the "hows" almost destroyed me again... after his soul devastation almost did first!
Dec 7 - 9AM
bumblebee's picture

The parts that struck me from the article

"The status of professional victim sits well with the partner's tendency to punish herself, namely: with her masochistic streak. The tormented life with the narcissist is, as far as the partner is aware, a just punitive measure." When reading this it reminded me of a time I was on the phone with the N, his colleague knew it was me and said, "Why is she still with you?" (to the N). My N chuckled and said jokingly, "She's a masochist." Joke? Maybe. But is it completely true given what I put myself through? Unfortunately, yes. Sam's comment on being with an narc to be a "just, punitive measure" - struck me too. That's the self-esteem element. I know, on some level, I didn't feel like I DESERVED better, so it felt ok. I ACCEPTED the treatment. And then this part: "People have a need to believe in the empathic skills and basic good-heartedness of others. By dehumanising and objectifying people – the narcissist attacks the very foundations of the social treaty. This is the "alien" aspect of narcissists – they may be excellent imitations of fully formed adults but they are emotionally non-existent, or, at best, immature." Wow - does that hit home! How many times did I look at him and think... "He seems so normal-looking, human, full of life, but his actions just don't coincide." And I have to laugh at the belief in the basic good-heartedness of others too. I work in HR and can't tell you how many times I begin a discussion on an employee relations issue saying, "I believe everyone wakes up and comes to work TRYING to do a good job." haha Thanks Goldie - great post and I think this article might just be the best summary have read on the whole picture.
Dec 7 - 10AM (Reply to #1)
Goldie's picture

Yes, it does all begin to "click" and fall into place

When Narc got out of jail, a few days later he had this smirk of his face as though he had been bragging to all of his jail buddies as to what a fool I was and he said: "I can't understand why you stayed with me and wanted me in the first place, afterall I never did any of the things you wanted. You must "get off" on being with someone who does not give you what you want." ~Jailhouse wisdom~ Another time I was crying over some childhood Daddy stuff and he said: "Ha ha ha, now I get it, it all makes sense to me now." I said what? He did not respond, I knew what he meant, once again WHY, I would put up with his shit. Also the time he said that he does not want to be with girls his own age because they are stuck up bitches who require too much of his money and time. And..."you can't control me, this is why you love me so much, I am not like your other bf's." I said: you mean kind, generous, and caring??? He said: "I will NEVER be like that so stop trying to change me." "I need to make sure that I am sure before I marry you, I don't want anyone to give me a hard time. I have to make sure that you are not going to be bitching everyday." Lots of laughs....like I was the one on trial. It all looks so clear now; yet at the time, emotions were involved and it was difficult to see the real deal as clearly as I do today. Once you put the focus on YOURSELF and why YOU are putting up with this insanity it quickly begins to unravel and the truth is made ubundently clear. The truth is what set's us free. It is the self deception which binds and bonds us to the PD. You cannot remain with a PD for any length of time if there is not considerable self deception present. God bless, Goldie
Dec 7 - 11AM (Reply to #2)
bumblebee's picture

How true Goldie

You wrote: "It is the self deception which binds and bonds us to the PD." How true that is... And then the next step is not being so hard on yourself once you start to see the role you played with the self deception. If you continue to judge and demean yourself for your prior actions, you are perpetuating the same cycle! BB
Dec 7 - 11AM (Reply to #3)
Goldie's picture

Yes, exactly

There does not need to be any judgement in all of this, it is more of an action step which brings you to a new level of self awareness and healing. If you are still beating yourself, work on letting this go and moving forward. Self abuse by judging ourselves too harshly also stunts our growth. God bless, Goldie