Why Am I Attracted to Narcissists?
Updated: May 4
To understand why we are drawn to a narcissist as our mate, look to the Love & Evil Wheel. At the bottom of this wheel is the facet of love called Reality, or Truth. This pie section corresponds to the positive emotion of Power on the Feelings Wheel.
When we learn Truth: Truth about who we are, Truth about who others are, or Truth about who God is, given to us by the Holy Spirit through insights, this knowledge of reality gives us real power. Think of real power as a confidence, a sure foundation. When you know, with absolute certainty, that something is true, you stand ready to defend it. You feel “armed” with knowledge that cannot be disputed, cannot be challenged successfully. You have gained a perspective that cannot be distorted.
So knowing Truth makes us feel Power. This power is not power over another. It is real power, fueled by Reality, not lies. It is supported by humility - the humble knowledge that you don’t know everything and therefore must ask for Truth - not by pride. Real power is never self-righteous. Real power is merciful. Real power does not seek to feel better than others. Real power - knowledge of reality - is used to understand, not humiliate, and to give grace, not judgment.
Now, imagine growing up with a narcissist as a parent. This parent makes you feel power-LESS. He treats you like you do not exist, like you do not have preferences or needs apart from his own. She judges you, makes you feel “less than,” and makes you feel wrong. He makes you feel hurt, resentful, indignant. She makes you feel jealous, spiteful, possessive. When we feel powerless, we feel angry. We can even make these two words synonymous. Powerlessness = anger.
As the young adult child of a narcissist, you make a choice: do you blame yourself for feeling this powerlessness (anger)? Or do you blame others, the world? If you blame yourself, you will spend your life wanting to feel power but being too afraid to do so. You will always feel powerless, like you are functioning without knowing the rules of the game. If you blame others, you will spend your life making the rules of the game in order to seek power over others because this false power temporarily relieves you of feeling powerless (anger).
These two types of people - the “co-dependent” and the narcissist - are each drawn to the other because they both feel powerless. The co-dependent senses the false power in the narcissist and wants it. He will fulfill his need to feel power vicariously through the narc. The narcissist senses the powerlessness in the co-dependent and wants to exploit it. She will continually give her anger to the co-dependent by making him feel powerless.
In this scenario, only one person in the couple feels satisfied. The narcissist successfully and daily offloads his anger, his powerlessness, onto his co-dependent mate.
The mate takes it and feels angry all of the time. She will often feel ashamed for feeling this anger and, deep down, perhaps even know that it is not hers. The co-dependent will take the narcissist’s abuse, over and over again, until one day she will hit a wall. Her suffering will be too great. She will finally give up and withdraw within the relationship, or she will leave it altogether.