Before we understand why people fall for narcissists, let’s spend a minute understanding what narcissism is in the first place.
Narcissism is a personality disorder that causes an individual to think of themselves as fundamentally better than other people.
Other symptoms of narcissism are a highly inflated ego, obsessive need for admiration, and a general lack of empathy towards others.
Not exactly ideal partner material!
And yet, many people find themselves falling hopelessly in love *or in obsession* with narcissists, only to be inevitably burned by a personality incapable of true love. But if they’re so terrible, then why do people fall for narcissists? What is it about them that’s so tempting?
[Read: The narcissistic relationship pattern and the 7 stages you have to experience]
Like any abusive partner, narcissists learn quickly to keep their nature under wraps until their victim is fully in their clutches.
Unfortunately, the world is full of well-trained narcissists who have no problem getting people to fall in love with them. But why do people fall for narcissists when we know how bad they are for a relationship? What is it about narcissists that’s so appealing?
[Read: Understanding what it means to be in a relationship with a narcissist]
The answer is complicated, due in part to the confusion of confidence and narcissism. Confidence is incredibly charming and sexy– a person who is sure of themselves is always going to appear attractive, especially to anyone who is less confident. Narcissists are confident– or at least they appear confident at first.
In reality, narcissists are not confident at all. It is all a front, hiding a storm of insecurity, grandiose feelings of self-worth, and a need for control.
A narcissist will put you down, hurt you, and exploit you for their own gain. A truly confident person would never need to do those things, especially not to someone they claimed to love. Read on to learn some other reasons narcissists can seem so irresistible. [Read: The 20 biggest narcissistic traits to recognize a narc in your life]
First, it is important to note that Narcissism Personality Disorder is a broad spectrum, and not all narcissists are made the same. Everyone is different, and that includes narcissists.
Some narcissists are non-malignant, relatively harmless, and can maintain healthy relationships. However, there are other, more dangerous versions of this personality disorder that can cause a person to be aggressive in the defense of their delusions, sometimes to the point of violence. [Read: What types of narcissism you should be on the lookout for]
At the end of the day, much of our actions revert back to our childhoods. If you were raised or surrounded by narcissists growing up, your odds are higher of dating a narcissist.
If you grew up with a narcissist parent, ask yourself if you really want to be with someone like that for the rest of your life. Chances are good that the answer is no. [Read: How being raised by a narcissist can harm your life]
Narcissists usually don’t reveal their true nature right away. They know that to be successful, they have to play the part of a potential loving partner.
When you meet a narcissist, there usually aren’t many red flags, at least, not the obvious ones. They put on a good show, and you may be swept up in their looks, charm and apparent interest in you.
After all, if someone attractive and charming approaches you, you’ll dive into the conversation without a second thought. That’s their gift; they’re very appealing. [Read: Relationship with a narcissist and what it means to love one]
On paper, a narcissist may tick all the boxes. They’re attractive, confident, bold, and charming. They may even go out of their way to compliment you, or perform over-the-top gestures of love, such as delivering dozens of roses and buying expensive gifts.
While there is no need to treat this with inherent suspicion *they could always be a nice person, or just rich*, keep an eye out for signs of “love bombing.”
Love bombing is an emotional manipulation technique in which a person uses over-the-top flattery, affection, and gifts early in a relationship. The motivation behind this behavior is not love, but control. [Read: Love bombing and 21 signs someone is manipulating you to fall in love]
When the narcissist later changes their behavior, they point to the love bombing as justification. They act “good” only as long as it takes to get you close to them.
When you first meet a narcissist, they’re usually bold and self-entitled, which can come across as confident. Of course, we all find confidence sexy.
Studies have even shown the more narcissistic a man was when confronting strangers, the more phone numbers he received. But as stated before, the true difference between confidence and narcissism is night and day.
Confidence does not seek to put down others, but narcissists do.
The difference is that confident people have a strong sense of self, whereas the narcissist has no sense of self, only what they can make others believe about them. If those beliefs are challenged, they are likely to react badly. [Read: Narcissistic behavior and 27 signs to recognize them when you see one]
Narcissists trick potential partners because they are good at it. It is, unfortunately, that simple. When it comes to relationships, narcissists are like professional athletes.
It’s not about finding a life partner or even a satisfying sexual relationship– for them, it is all about the “thrill of the hunt.”
The narcissist is driven only by their desire to get as many people to love them as possible, and they hone that skill from a young age. That’s why everyone else falls for their tricks.
We’re amateurs in comparison to them! They give out practiced mixed signals and wrap you around their finger, and they keep doing it because it works out for them. [Read: Narcissistic men – 27 traits and signs of a guy who knows how to use, not love you]
For a person who loves chaos, they may be attracted to the high drama that a narcissist can bring. And it can be fun to be in a passionate, wild relationship… for a short time.
But the drama always gets old, because at the end of the day, a narcissist doesn’t love anyone but themselves. For people who aren’t narcissists, they’ll be on a roller coaster of emotions wild enough to tire out even the most dedicated soap opera fan.
If they were just self-absorbed and entitled people, you’d get rid of them fairly quickly. There has to be something positive to keep the relationship going, and usually, it’s in the bedroom.
Narcissists are infamously known for being obsessed with sex, but not intimacy. This can be attractive, especially to women who have never met a man even remotely good at sex.
Will your mind be blown? Yes. Will your feelings be hurt when you realize that person doesn’t care about you, or any of the other people they’ve slept with? Absolutely. [Read: How to know if a narcissist is finished with you? The harsh truth]
A narcissist may be physically gorgeous, or they may project themselves as wealthy and successful, drawing in people for whom those things are important.
This doesn’t mean people who value money and good looks are all narcissists, but it’s much easier to get along with someone who values the same things as you. You may value a good-looking partner with money, and though you may not be a narcissist, your partner who also values those things may be one.
When it comes to narcissists, nothing is what it seems. Yes, they tell you one thing, and then – boom – the next minute, it’s completely different.
This kind of hot and cold behavior can have you guessing what you did wrong, or what you did right. So, there’s a sense of mystery and excitement to the entire relationship. While simultaneously, it is also toxic. [Read: Gaslighting – What it is, how it works and 22 signs to spot it ASAP]
Or they believe they can change themselves to make the narcissist happy. But that is not possible.
No one changes unless they perceive the need to change, and a narcissist is very unlikely to feel that way, especially in a relationship that is already working for them.
They will never change how they treat you because they don’t have to, as long as you keep sticking around. And it’s not that they don’t know how much their behavior hurts you— they know. They just don’t care. [Read: Can a narcissist ever change? The real truth if you’re looking for hope]
People fall for other people for millions of different reasons. Many people fall for a narcissist’s appearance; others fall for their charm, while some people date people they have experience with.
At the end of the day, no one should fault themselves for falling in love with a narcissist. It is an easy, and heartbreaking thing to do. [Read: How do narcissists control you so subtly? And why do you allow them?]
If you have found yourself hoodwinked by a narcissist, don’t be too hard on yourself. Treat it as a learning experience about what kind of red flags to avoid in your next relationship.
[Read: Narcissistic supply – How to stop giving a narcissist the one thing they crave]
If you have fallen for a narcissist before, you may be wondering, why do people fall for narcissists? The answer isn’t simple, but hopefully, this gives you some clarity.
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