- Narcissists are attracted to certain types of people.
- Rather than weak, vulnerable people, they tend to go for the strong-willed and talented.
- This is because they see it as a challenge, and they will find more entertainment in taking down someone impressive.
- They are also attracted to people who reflect well on themselves — they like to show off their partner in public, but abuse them behind the scenes.
- Ultimately, it’s all about control.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist is hard work. Even if things appear to be going well, there’s no telling what’s going to set off their narcissistic rage.
They may not always mean to hurt their partners, but more often than not, they do. It’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to take the risk, or try and make the relationship work. Just bear in mind it’ll be emotionally draining, and you may end up getting discarded anyway.
A common misconception is that narcissists go for the weak, because they are easier to manipulate. In fact, narcissists prefer to try and hook someone in who is strong-willed, and who has talents or characteristics they admire. That way, they feel more accomplished if they succeed in tearing them down.
Shannon Thomas, the author of the book “Healing from Hidden Abuse,” told Business Insider that whatever strength a narcissist zeros in on, “they turn that around and destroy it.”
“I’ve seen that a lot of folks get targeted if they have things like strong family relationships, if they have career success, especially if that career has any sort of public face to it,” she said.
“They get targeted if they are in good shape, they exercise a lot, and take care of their appearance. I’ve also seen people specifically targeted if they are of a religious faith, then the person either tries to get them to do things that go against their faith principles, or somehow break [them] down.”
According to psychotherapist Karen Arluck, who was answering a post on Quora, generally speaking, most people with narcissistic personality disorder want to feel good about themselves, so they gravitate towards people who will make that happen. Either they will feel special through association, or they will feel powerful in taking down someone who appears mentally, physically, or emotionally strong.
There are four types of people who narcissists tend to be attracted to, according to Arluck:
- People who are impressive in some way, either in their career, hobbies and talents, their friendship circles, or family.
- Someone who will make the narcissist feel good about themselves, through compliments or gestures.
- Anyone who will reflect well on them in the eyes of other people.
- Someone who validates their feelings, overlooks their flaws, and who isn’t likely to leave them during the narcissistic abuse.
“Of course, many narcissists are chasing a unicorn, that often does not exist,” Arluck wrote. “They tend to have unrealistic expectations for their partner, as well as unstable object constancy, which frequently leads them to being unhappy in relationships once the initial sparkle has worn off, and their partner shows their more human and flawed sides.”
It may appear like narcissists go for certain types of people and try to destroy them as a reflection of their own low self esteem. This may be true for a subtype of narcissists called closet narcissists, but for exhibitionist and toxic narcissists the joy comes from the destruction of others.
More often than not, a relationship with a narcissist is all about control. If they feel they have power over their partner, a narcissist will see the relationship as successful.
“I think it’s more just like entertainment sometimes, and control to be able to take someone who had this really great life and be part of watching them fall,” Thomas said. “Or someone who had really good self care and took care of themselves, and was really calm, not anxious, and not depressed, and watching them fall apart. That journey is what makes it diabolical, and it’s why they enjoy it.”