The following post was originally published on YourTango.
Like a moth to a flame.
Good women who dated narcissistic men often wonder, "Why did I play the fool?" don't judge yourself any further.
It's not what they did wrong that resulted in the horrific relationship with a narcissist. It's what they did right that made them targets.
Like many single men and women, the narcissist looks for someone who completes them. Opposites attract. And those qualities and traits you've worked so hard to cultivate — being strong, independent, financially secure, professionally successful, and fit — often draw a bad person to a good one.
This doesn't mean you should stop being a catch. It just means you need to arm yourself with the knowledge of warning signs so you know who to avoid and who to attract.
Many narcissists tend to be bad boys who are drawn to good girls because opposites add spice and passion to a relationship. People are drawn to others out of needs and desires they seek to fulfill in their life, such as a desire to experience greater connection, security, love, support, and comfort.
On the other hand, some unfulfilled longings are associated with polar opposite characteristics like adventure, freedom, risk, challenge, and intensity, which the narcissist embodies.
When your emotional needs and more passion come together with your partner, you feel more alive and complete.
Here are 4 reasons why men who show narcissistic relationship patterns are drawn to women with positive qualities:
1. You have a high capacity to love.
People who possess antisocial disorders (psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists) lack empathy. They do not care about anyone but themselves. Without empathy or concern for others, love cannot exist.
You are a target because you truly care and hurt when others are in trouble or in pain. You tend to be a person who has high levels of trust, compassion, tolerance, and attachment or loyalty within your relationships. You are a positive person who sees the best in others. Your goodness not only makes you highly desirable, but these traits also help you excel in helping industries such as nursing, psychology, education, and human resources.
There is nothing wrong with how you love. The narcissist exploited your strengths and goodness. Because of this violation, your traumatized brain wants to disown your ability to be vulnerable again.
But by shutting down your vulnerability to others, you shut down your capacity to love — which is part of who you are and of what makes you happy. Love only exists to the degree we stay open and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. The abuse must be confronted and grieved. Your heart will renew and return to health.
2. You are reliable and responsible.
You were targeted because you are reliable, emotionally mature, and able to take charge. You may have grown up taking care of siblings or supporting a sick parent and you may bear the majority of the responsibility of raising your kids.
Instead of taking on more responsibilities, you may desperately need adventure and fun. Having a balanced life is important to your wellness. Give yourself permission to be a free spirit and childlike at times. This freedom will help you seek out a more whole, balanced partner.
3. You are a powerful person.
A woman who is ambitious and has an influential job is attractive to a narcissist. Powerful women often intimidate a normal man, but a narcissist is not afraid of someone like that. He seizes the opportunity of having a strong woman by his side.
An extroverted woman may feel like she's met her match — a man powerful enough to stand up to and love all of her.
As an influential person, you may believe you need to have every situation under control. Recognize that you, too, are human, and no matter how smart or together you are, you need a relationship that invites you to surrender and be vulnerable without being taken advantage of, a relationship in which you can be built up and supported.
4. You have a good relationship with your father.
We tend to think that if a woman gets involved with a toxic man, she must have come from a dysfunctional family so she never learned what a healthy relationship is. And while that can be true, it's not always the case.
Having a healthy and loving relationship with your father can leave you vulnerable because you haven't experienced, and simply don't believe, the sad truth that bad people exist who wouldn't be labeled as hardened criminals.
If you grew up with a father who was always there for you, you may have a hard time accepting the idea that a man would target you specifically for your capacity to love.
The tension of opposites produces genuine passion that will sustain, deepen, and enliven relationships as long as each partner is respected, seen, and cared for. These differences encourage us to move out of our comfort zone and embrace our growth zone, allowing us to evolve into a more whole and complete person.
You are worthy of a man who offers more than he takes and who values your heart, your mind and your body as his own. It's my goal to empower and educate so you have the tools needed to avoid people who are incapable of expressing love as well as to support your healing journey when love and the loveless collide. You're wired to love and be loved fearlessly!
Jianny Adamo, LMHC, founder of Fearless Love Coaching and Counseling supports singles and couples breaking through fears and limitations to create safe and intimate marriages and relationships. Video calls and phone consultations available. Jianny is writing her book Love Trauma: Seven Tango Lessons to Recovery From Emotionally and Sexually Abusive Relationships with Narcissists, Psychopaths and Other Toxic People.
Check out more insightful stories from YourTango:
- 8 Signs You're in Love With a Narcissist Who Specializes in Deep Emotional Abuse
- How a Narcissist Thinks (Warning: It's Pretty Messed Up)
- The 7 Things Only Narcissists Will Do (Because They're The Worst)