The two feed off each other.
The strong attraction between narcissists and people-pleasers is no accident. There is a magnetic pull between the two that is very difficult to break because each is meeting a deep need of the other.
This is not the fault of one over the other. Rather, it is an unhealthy union that breeds dysfunction. Here's why people-pleasers are a narcissist target.
1. Narcissism demands to be fed and people-pleasers are the best source.
Contrary to the outward appearance of self-reliance, determination, and independence, narcissists internally crave approval from others. They need a constant daily supply of attention, admiration, and affection. This endorsement is necessary to secure their superior status over others. Without it, they become intensely angry.
2. People-pleasers like to impress others, offer support, and feel needed by others in order to validate their self-worth.
They are constantly seeking acceptance and belonging from others which narcissists are willing to supply as long as things are done their way.
3. Narcissists can be very protective of people-pleasers because they don’t want their source of esteem to disappear.
People-pleasers need to feel as though they belong to someone, and who better than a narcissist who appears larger than life. As a result, both gain a sense of control and security.
4. The ultimate in boosting confidence for a people-pleaser is to gain approval from a hard to please person such as a narcissist.
There is a sense that if a person can get the narcissist’s approval, they can then get just about anyone else. Naturally, the narcissist loves the attention and constant seeking of their approval because it feeds their ego.
5. People-pleasers see narcissists through rose-colored glasses, ignoring any distasteful characteristics.
This validates the narcissist’s view of self because they don’t see their own faults. People-pleasers are willing to look past the negative aspects of narcissism in exchange for acceptance.
6. When narcissists become angry, people-pleasers often take the blame.
Rather than holding the narcissist accountable for their behavior, the people-pleasers prefer to calm the situation down by accepting unnecessary responsibility. The narcissist needs to have someone else to be accountable for failures because their ego cannot handle being wrong.
7. Narcissists love to rescue others.
This feeds their belief that they are better, stronger, and more powerful than others. People-pleasers often take on too much and as a result need someone to come alongside and clean up the mess. Because a people-pleaser shows extreme levels of gratitude for the help, the narcissist is willing to give it.
Breaking free from this attraction takes considerable work but it can be done. It begins with the simple step of identifying the narcissist and admitting the people pleasing tendency. It is never too late to see things clearly.
Christine Hammond is the award-winning author of The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.
This article was originally published at Psych Central. Reprinted with permission from the author.