Have you ever asked yourself ‘why do I keep attracting narcissists and jerky men’? Well, if you are you a smart, kind, self-reliant and successful woman with a smattering of the usual insecurities…then you’re a sitting duck for these guys! You are definitely not alone. Far from it. I’m going to tell you why this happens and give you the control to stop it. Listen up.
I’ve coached so many women through breaking their pattern of attracting and choosing these toxic men.
Contrary to what you might think, narcissists don’t go after weak women. They are attracted to strong women who have a lot to give. Someone like you maybe?
Think of narcissistic men as heartbreakers in prince charming’s clothing. If it seems too good to be true, then it just might be.
Here is how that works: Narcissists need someone nice who will stroke their ego. They want someone successful and strong to take care of them. They want someone empathetic to attend to their child-like needs. They want someone self-sufficient so they don’t have to take care of your needs. And whatever insecurities you have (we all have some) they will fully exploit to their gain.
What do you get in return? The quintessential alpha male who is exciting, fun, charming and witty. He’s funny, intense and, when you are together there is never a dull moment. You will have chemistry and feel high from all his attention. For a while, anyway.
I was definitely sucked in by these charming, manipulative guys when I was single. Like the countless women who have shared their stories with me, I was left feeling broken, drained, and more insecure than ever. And I felt stupid for allowing myself to be sucked in like that.
In case you feel embarrassed or dumb for picking these guys, please don’t. They are expert at what they do. Here is what Samuel López De Victoria, Ph.D. says in a PsychCentral article:
“The skillful narcissist is a person with some pretty amazing traits. In my opinion, they can be formidable…You can also be charmed by the pulling power of someone reflecting you so as to create a deep rapport. This intense connection is created when a person gives you the feeling like you’ve known them a long time or you feel initially safe with them. They have unlocked the door to your insides. A skilled extreme narcissist knows just how to reflect your music back to you so that you feel like he has your playlist of favorite songs.”
Oh yes. Narcissists are formidable indeed.
If you attract narcissists, please PLEASE read these 3 ways to spot them and stop.
1. Early in any relationship ask for what YOU want and see what happens.
These men have a way of seeming so generous and kind. They wine and dine you. They tell you what you are longing to hear. It’s all about you. But that’s just the way it seems. Maybe they are taking you to the places you choose, but it’s still on their terms. They are making all the calls.
Pay attention, and when there is something you want, express it. Start small like mentioning an activity you’d like to do or a restaurant you’d like to try. Or maybe ask him to change the time for the date, or call you at a certain time.
It’s easy to be fooled on this one because narcissists can be very good givers – as long as it’s something THEY want to give you. For example, he might want to hang out with his friends, but not yours. Or take you where he wants to go, or he has no trouble expecting favors from you. Ask yourself: when you are together does it seem it’s all about his world more than yours?
The last thing a narcissist wants is someone who expects to have their needs met. So, be that person. Ask for what you’d like and see what he does. A good guy wants to give you what YOU want. A narcissist wants to give you what HE wants.
2. Know your must-haves and stick to them.
No matter how charmed you are or how much fun he is, when deciding if he could be a possible partner, stay focused on your must-haves. You want someone honest, reliable, and generous, right? You want to feel appreciated and respected for the real Is he doing that or are you making excuses for your narcissistic guy?
When he upsets you, does he always have a way to ultimately make it your fault and make you feel wrong? Does he discount things you say or things you want, because he claims to know better? Does he dominate conversation and turn the topic back to him? Do you feel that he’s abused your kindness? Are you feeling less-than with him?
If you find your values are being compromised then cut it off, the sooner the better. As anyone who has survived a narcissist will tell you, looking back there were always signs they ignored and excuses they made. I suggest that you look now, and take action.
(Not yet clear on your grownup must-haves? Get help here.)
If a guy comes on strong and fast about what he can do for you, how much he a likes you and how it will be as a couple, take a step back. It’s called love-bombing and narcissists are great at it.
Love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by lavish demonstrations of attention and affection. It works because it feeds into our fantasy of being swept off our feet. Their charm and intensity can be intoxicating and make us feel so adored and taken care of. I promise, though, that’s temporary.
No matter how good it feels, this is NOT healthy courting. Love bombing has nothing to do with love. It has to do with him getting what HE wants by playing a game that he wants to win.
Keep both feet on the ground, go slow and let your head dominate your heart. When you are getting love bombed, chances are that he’s a narcissist, a user or a control-freak.
So, when you suspect you are getting love bombed, pay close attention. Is it all about him getting what he wants? Tell him you need to slow it down and get to know one another before making any plans or promises. Then watch; is he showing respect for your wishes? If he’s a good man who is just being overly enthusiastic, you’ll see him back off. The narcissist will simply keep trying to manipulate you to get what he wants.
Be firm and if he does not hear you and back off, then get away and stay away. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in this romantic fantasy.
Think of narcissistic men as heartbreakers in prince charming’s clothing. If it seems too good to be true, then it just might be. But you have tools to ferret out these guys so you can move on with your heart and self-esteem intact. And on to someone who deserves all you are and all you have to give.