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What Kind of Person Falls for Narcissistic Relationships?
Just what type of person is attracted to the narcissistic personality?
The reality is, there is no single type of personality that is drawn to the narcissist. They can come from all walks of life. The stages of attraction and falling in love are pretty common.
The narcissist presents their best self and helps blind their partner with their apparent charm. A weeding out process only occurs later as the relationship is put to the test.
The initial attraction to a narcissist can be exhilarating, but eventually it becomes onerous or even harrowing. Surviving such a relationship can test the mettle of the victim. He or she (and most often it is a she) usually becomes the typical narcissist survivor.
The Narcissist's Partner
The narcissist's partner usually starts out with a distorted and deficient grasp of themselves and of reality. Otherwise, they would have seen through the narcissist's façade at an early stage. The cognitive distortions such a person engages in can lead to self-doubt and self blaming as well as the adoration and aggrandizement of the narcissist.
In doing so, the narcissist's partner puts themselves into the role of the victim, the punished, undeserving scapegoat. Ironically, this can cause the victim to feel moral and sacrificial, a sort of martyr to narcissism. Other times, the victim may not even realize they are being victimized.
The victim usually views the narcissist as worth all of the heartache because of the narcissist's perceived superiority in certain areas, whether they be physical, emotional, intellectual, professional or financial. Therefore, the victim has a tendency towards masochism, which ties in well with the narcissist's personality. They deserve the torment of the narcissist, or at least they think they do.
The victim is in a sense, therefore, the narcissist's mirror image. It is a sort of symbiotic relationship, with the victim being dependent on the masochism which the narcissist is so happy to dole out, and indeed, which encourages certain behaviors that are at the core of narcissism.
The narcissist, you see, needs a submissive, adoring, self-denigrating partner. The narcissist's sense of superiority requires it. It provides fuel that keeps their narcissism going and feeds their superego or false self.
The partner perpetuates the relationship through self-denial. Their own wishes, dreams and aspirations, their material, psychological and sexual needs are put on the back burner. After all, promoting their needs might inspire the wrath of the narcissist.
This self-denial makes the narcissist seem even more superior. The higher the narcissist is elevated, the easier it is for their partner to deny or ignore their own needs and desires. Finally, the victim becomes a mere appendage of the narcissist.
Both partners collaborate in this narcissistic ritual. They support and mold each other. The one is an enabler and the other is a victimizer. The enabler's submission creates a sense of superiority in the narcissist which can border on sadism. The partners fall into a familiar pattern and any deviation from the norm can be met with aggression.
The result of all of this interaction is confusion. The one who lives with a narcissist must suspend their judgment as well as their individuality. They may no longer know what is right or wrong in the eyes of their partner.
Sometimes, the only thing the victim has to cling to is the narcissist themselves. Those who do so tend to be overly dependent. If they don't start out that way, then that's the way they end up.
Not knowing what to do is understandable in the case of the victim. Too often, unfortunately, the victim does not know what they want or what they wish to become. The victim also has difficulty in interpreting reality. They fall in love with the image that their partner has projected and, when the relationship ends, the loss of that image is what they mourn the most.
Breaking up with a narcissist tends to be an emotionally-charged event. After all, the victim has gone through much subjugation and humiliation, and the healthy part of their remaining self esteem needs to declare independence against the narcissist's tyranny.
The victim in a narcissistic relationship is likely to have a poor grasp of reality and is likely to misinterpret the whole situation. This lack of grasp on reality could sometimes almost be called pathological.
The victim of a narcissistic relationship tends to have a bit of a masochistic streak. If and when the relationship falls apart, the victim often engages in a long and drawn-out postmortem. The narcissist does nothing to provide any sense of closure in the matter.
Ultimately, however, it is irrelevant as to who did what to whom. The important thing is to end the mourning process and learn once again how to smile (although in a less subservient manner).