My ex was a narcissist - cue eye-roll. I’m aware that statement makes me sound like someone who is simply bitter over a lost love, playing into the resentful ex stereotype. But whether you choose to take my word for it or not, for two years of my life I was committed to a toxic and unfair relationship.
We had been dating for less than a year when I realised this fact, but it wasn’t until the two-year mark that I was finally able to escape. I was deeply unhappy, confined to strict controls, forced into situations I was uncomfortable with, but I couldn’t leave him - and he loved me for it.
It crushed him when I broke up with him. There are days that I still berate myself for the hurt I caused him. But ultimately it’s what had to be done - for both of our sakes.
He wasn’t the right partner for me and I wasn’t the right partner for him. Although I may have exhibited enough of the characteristics he was looking for in order for him to love having me, I didn’t have enough for us to be compatible.
Honestly, our breakup had been inevitable. Even if I hadn’t ended things, he probably would have eventually. It was pretty clear during our last month together my disobedience was getting on his nerves.
Simply put, I’m not a good long-term partner for a narcissist. However, I was still able to attract one and I know why I did, seeing as said narcissist told me. He also told me what made me unattractive - the traits I had to get rid of to make things work.
So, I thought I’d share this insider information so that you too can know exactly what a narcissist is looking for in a partner.
. . .
Being concerned with the needs of others more than your own is rather honourable. It’s no surprise that selflessness is generally attractive.
However, to a narcissist, it’s beautiful. Someone who is willing to push their desires to the side in order to take care of the narcissist and their needs - as it should be - is like gold dust.
The less you consider yourself the better when it comes to attracting a narcissist.
Wanting a loyal partner isn’t uncommon - the majority of relationships require it to succeed. However, a narcissist isn’t looking for mere loyalty, they require unconditional loyalty.
They expect you to remain loyal even if they don’t. If they decide to do something that you don’t approve of, you should still remain loyal and support them. No matter the circumstances, your loyalty should be unwavering.
The ability to overlook the bad
Have you ever been told that you tend to see the good in others? Well, good news for you - narcissists love that.
Being able to overlook the bad is essential for maintaining a relationship with a narcissist. A narcissist doesn’t see the bad in themselves and neither should you.
So, if you can put aside the bad temper or lack of manners that a narcissistic partner may have, then you’re going to be considered far more worthy of them.
A tendency to take on too much
A narcissist will notice if you tend to take on a lot of responsibilities - especially other peoples’. They’ll see how you often burn the candle at both ends as a result of your sense of duty. They’ll like that.
A partner who is willing to take on the difficult and unenjoyable tasks in a relationship like looking after the kids or paying the bills is the type of partner a narcissist needs. Rather than dividing work evenly in the relationship, they want you to be the responsible one so that they can enjoy themselves - after all, their life is far more important.
We’re told from a young age to forgive and forget. There’s a freedom that comes with the ability to forgive - it can be cathartic, even.
Narcissists appreciate forgiveness more than anyone else. Not in the sense that they see the value of it as a form of release, but that they appreciate forgiveness because it allows them to be hurtful.
If you can keep on forgiving and forgetting everything they say that causes you to cry, everything they do that brings you down, then they’re going to be so into you.
Your forgiveness not only provides you with a sense of freedom, but it also gives them freedom too.
An easy-going nature
Being accommodating to a narcissist will make them instantly attracted to you. An easy-going nature and being flexible indicates to them that they can make you compromise to suit their life.
They don’t believe they should ever be the ones to adjust so naturally they’ll be drawn to adjustable people.
When I say a narcissist is attracted to insecurity, what I mean is that they’re looking for someone who cares a lot about what other people think - someone who makes their decisions on the basis of how other people will react.
Making decisions on account of your own personal opinions and morals is off-putting, according to a narcissist. You see, if you base your decisions on external factors, then you’re more likely to make choices the narcissist favours.
Insecurity is attractive as it can be easily controlled and manipulated. If all it takes is a sigh of exasperation and a disapproving look to get their way, a narcissist will latch on to you.
. . .
The traits that narcissists are attracted to are traits that are, for the most part, universally attractive. However, the underlying theme that makes someone susceptible to attracting a narcissist is having all these traits in their extremity.
You can be loyal, selfless, responsible, and relaxed and still not attract a narcissist. It’s when you’re these things to a fault that you get their attention - when you’ll be these things to your own detriment.
So no, caring about other people isn’t what’s really going to attract the narcissist. It’s when you stop caring about yourself that they’ll start caring about you.
This post was previously published on Medium.com.