“Sometimes, you don’t attract who you are. You attract what they want.”
Once we have more awareness and understanding of narcissistic abuse, we might have looked over our past history and discovered we’ve been around a few or a lot of narcissistic people. We might now question. Why do I keep attracting them? Or why are they attracted to me? What makes us more susceptible to these kinds of relationships? What makes us accept behaviour that should never have been accepted. Here are three theories to see which you can relate to.
Humans have a natural attachment system, and this is a neurobiological system that drives humans to bond with other humans. This is an emotional bond that is formed at birth, where infants attach to their primary caregivers so that they can get their basic human needs met, as babies are dependent on primary caregivers to get their human needs to be met, fed, changed, loved etc., this then develops into the needs for social acceptance, emotional, and cognitive development. Humans need for growth, contribution, love and connection and significance, meaning we need to connect with other humans, but to also contribute to other humans, and connect with things more significant than ourselves.
When the attachment system is opened within a mother and baby relationship, through skin contact, eye contact, then mirroring the energy, and the mother can soothe and take care of the infant. Forming an emotional bond within the mind.
Empaths have an attachment system that’s extremely easy to open when they connect with other people, and empaths are very good at feeling another’s pain and seeing others’ perspectives and trying to help those they are close to. As empaths are naturally tuned into other people’s needs and feelings, even if unaware on a conscious level, it’s easy to get sucked in.
A narcissist’s attachment system works. Differently, the narcissist has no sense of self, believing they are above others and that others are just an extension of themselves, so there is no two-way energy flow of giving and taking. They can do this at the start of the relationship as they pick up the empaths energy. They know how to extract sympathy from the empath, so the narcissist is like a parasite feeding off the empath’s positive energy and passing the empaths energy back to them.
As the narcissist, gaslights, projects, blame-shifting and all the other manipulation they use, making the empath doubt reality. The attachment system of the empath is activated on a much higher level.
Narcissists thrive off the energy of others. They slowly steal the empaths’ energy, leaving the empath drained and looking toward the attachment to the narcissist for more help.
Childhood emotional neglect. So when you were growing up, your parents might have ignored your emotions, discounted your feelings, discouraged your feelings. This can happen in loving, supportive homes, as well as households with abuse, addiction and narcissistic parents. This can disconnect you from your own emotional needs, not asking people for help and support, only giving others your help and support, providing more than you should to others. You get into a mindset of not loving and caring for your own needs, only getting validation if you are helping others not to feel how you truly feel.
This is exactly what a narcissist is looking for, someone who neglects their own needs and looks to help others and put others’ needs above their own. People who care more about other people’s feelings than their own.
Growing up with a narcissistic parent, growing up with toxic abuse, verbal, mental, physical, when your childhood is filled with a negative experience or trauma abuse and problems. The past will lead you to future issues as most often you grow up with low self-esteem, no love for yourself, little self-worth, not knowing who you indeed are, people-pleasing to avoid disappointment from others. You’ll not be emotionally healthy, and you might not even be aware of your own true authentic self, thoughts and feelings.
Emotional intelligence is everything when dealing with narcissistic people, and your emotions tell you when to love, when to fear, when to react, when to run, when everything is good, when to hope, when these are blocked or overactive, it can keep you trapped in places you shouldn’t be. If you grew up with a narcissistic parent, you might not feel as upset as you should when someone had wronged you. It’d hurt. Still, you might relate more to. It’s not that bad if I hadn’t. They wouldn’t, as you were trained to think this way as a child. A lot of people make excuses for the narcissists’ behaviour as they just don’t understand it, forgive and forget. Or you might feel overwhelmed with emotions, doing all you can to please the narcissist to heal those devastating emotional blows the narcissist sends your way through all their manipulation.
This is what narcissistic people prey on. With their gaslighting, projection and blame-shifting, they know how they can twist it onto you, so you blame yourself and trust in those you shouldn’t be trusting. Hurt you, so you beg and plead for forgiveness.
If you were raised that your feelings don’t matter, even though you might feel them, you’d do all you can to make sure the other person’s feelings are put before your own, so they don’t feel how you do as you know how much it hurts.
You might have been programmed from an early age that this is just how people treat people, although you don’t treat others this way as you know it hurts, due to childhood programming, you believe their behaviour is normal as you did something wrong, so you need to change to get that person back you first met.
As you don’t ask others to help you, you push your own thoughts and feelings to one side in order to help others. Growing up with narcissistic parents, you might feel really disconnected from others like others just don’t get you.
This again is what narcissistic people are looking for, and why you become trauma bonded, as they’ll treat you better than anyone had, they really get you, just to further on crush you.
How can you stop this in future relationships?
1. Heal yourself, take care of yourself, pay attention to yourself, ask yourself. “What do I want. What do I feel, what do I need. Who do I want to be.” Becoming aware of your true self and your actual needs, the less toxic people will enter your life. Learn to love and take good care of yourself before you take care of others.
2. Learn, hold, and stick to your boundaries. If something doesn’t suit you, it’s a no and stick to your no.
3, Observe people’s behaviour, don’t absorb it until you know them better.
4. Say what you mean and mean what you say, so long as your intentions are good, don’t worry about how someone will feel if you don’t want to do something, don’t. If you do, do. From the start, so you don’t get drawn in.
5. Heal your inner child. Write a letter to yourself as a child and how loveable and kind they were, think of the things you enjoyed as a child. Think about the things you enjoyed as a child.
6. Work on your emotional intelligence. Your mind controls your emotions, and you control your mind. Your emotions are controlled by you, and once you take control of your own emotions, outside situations will have far less impact on your emotions and how you react.
7. When you’re feeling unhappy or stuck, ask yourself. “What would I advise my own child, a close friend, someone I love and care for, then accept take and act on your own advice.”
8. Surround yourself with good uplifting, positive people, reach out to those kind people for help and support, to gain different perspectives, those you don’t think as good, know if they are a good person they meant well the advice just isn’t for you at that moment, those who’s advice feels good, take action on that advice.
More reasons we attract narcissists and how to avoid them.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.