Why You Attract Narcissists And How To Break The Cycle

Why You Attract Narcissists And How To Break The Cycle istock

It’s a baffling question, isn’t it?

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Why do some people seem to attract narcissists like magnets? If you’ve found yourself in relationships with self-centered individuals who leave you feeling drained and unappreciated, you’re not alone. But the good news is that you can break this cycle. Let’s explore the reasons why you might be attracting narcissists and how to shift the pattern to invite healthier connections into your life.

1. You have a compassionate and caring nature.

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One of the most common reasons people attract narcissists is because they’re naturally kind and empathetic. You genuinely care about people and want to help them, which makes you a prime target for those who want to take advantage of your generosity. Narcissists can be very charming at first, but their true colors eventually show.

2. You don’t know how to set boundaries.

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If you find it difficult to say no or to stand up for yourself, you might be sending the message that you’re willing to put up with anything. Narcissists thrive on this type of behavior because it allows them to control the situation and get what they want without any resistance. As Forbes points out, earning to set healthy boundaries is crucial for breaking the cycle.

3. You need a lot of external validation.

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Everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated, but if you’re constantly seeking external validation, you might be more susceptible to falling for a narcissist’s charms. They often start off by showering you with attention and compliments, but their ultimate goal is to control you and boost their own ego.

4. You have a history of codependency.

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Codependency is a pattern of behavior in which you put other people’s needs before your own. This can make you a magnet for narcissists, who are looking for people to take care of them and fulfill their needs. Breaking the cycle of codependency involves learning to prioritize your own well-being and to set healthy boundaries.

5. You’re afraid of being alone.

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If you have a deep-seated fear of being alone, you might be more likely to stay in an unhealthy relationship with a narcissist. They often use the threat of abandonment to control you and keep you from leaving. Recognizing this fear and working through it is key to breaking free.

6. You prioritize harmony and avoid conflict.

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While it’s admirable to strive for peaceful relationships, constantly avoiding conflict can be detrimental. Narcissists often create drama and chaos, and if you’re always trying to smooth things over, you might be enabling their behavior.

7. You have low self-esteem.

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If you don’t believe in your own worth, you might be more likely to accept the crumbs of affection that a narcissist throws your way. They often use insults and put-downs to erode your self-confidence, making you more dependent on them for validation.

8. You’re attracted to the “bad boy” or “bad girl” archetype.

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Some people are drawn to the excitement and danger that comes with dating a “bad boy” or “bad girl.” However, this archetype often masks narcissistic tendencies. If you find yourself repeatedly falling for this type of person, it might be time to reevaluate your dating preferences.

9. You over-apologize.

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Do you find yourself saying “I’m sorry” even when you’ve done nothing wrong? Over-apologizing can be a sign of low self-esteem and a desire to please other people, which can be attractive to narcissists who want to control you.

10. You’re drawn to people who need “fixing.”

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If you have a tendency to fall for people who seem troubled or damaged, you might be unwittingly attracting narcissists. While it’s admirable to want to help people, trying to “fix” someone who doesn’t want to be fixed can be a recipe for disaster.

11. You ignore red flags early in relationships.

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Narcissists often display warning signs early on, but you might be overlooking them due to your desire to see the best in people. Learning to recognize red flags and to trust your gut instinct can help you avoid getting entangled with a narcissist.

12. You have a pattern of staying in unhealthy relationships.

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If you’ve had multiple relationships with narcissists or other emotionally unavailable people, there might be a pattern at play. Examining this pattern and addressing any underlying issues can help you break the cycle.

13. You put everyone else before yourself.

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Are you always neglecting your own wants and needs for the sake of fulfilling everyone else’s?  While it’s important to be considerate, neglecting your own needs can leave you feeling depleted and vulnerable to manipulation, Psychology Today warns.

14. You’re afraid of speaking your truth.

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If you’re afraid of rocking the boat or upsetting people, you might be holding back your true thoughts and feelings. This can attract narcissists, who thrive on controlling the narrative and silencing dissent.

15. You’re still healing from past trauma.

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If you haven’t fully processed and healed from past trauma, you might be more susceptible to falling for a narcissist’s manipulative tactics. Seeking support from a therapist or counselor can help you address these wounds and break the cycle of unhealthy relationships.

Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.