The Deeper Reason You Feel Pulled Toward A Relationship With A Narcissist

Don't set yourself up for emotional abandonment.

Last updated on Nov 09, 2023

Woman holding on to a man, compass pulling her towards him Stocksnap, scopio images | Canva 

The pull of the narcissist is two-fold, and this yields double the strength. A narcissist's shining charisma lures us in while their unshakable confidence assures us, which is why you might get yourself into a relationship with a narcissist — even if you know it's a bad idea.

Narcissistic people come in an infinite variety of different sizes and shapes. Yet, there is one thing all narcissists have in common: An ability to attract others like a moth to flame.


It is human nature to be drawn to that powerful sense of specialness a narcissist exudes — and makes you feel in return.

RELATED: How To Leave A Narcissist

Here’s the deeper reason you feel pulled toward a relationship with a narcissist:

1. Narcissists are extremely charismatic — it's easy to be attracted to them (initially). 

Nothing is quite like the feeling of basking in the glow of a narcissist. That's why you might find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist. But that moment in the limelight comes at a terrible price: feelings of abandonment.


24-year-old Bryce hung up the phone and was filled with confusion after the conversation he just had with his mother. Last week, he helped her fix her computer, and she was so loving, appreciative, and impressed with his skills.

Yet, when he told his mother about his promotion to technical supervisor at work, she seemed almost disappointed. “I thought that already happened several months ago,” she’d said before changing the subject.

2. You're caught in a cycle of needing approval and abandonment. 

Veronica let out a long, stress-filled sigh as she contemplated knocking on the door of her husband Vincent’s study. She had finally gotten her two young children to sleep. She needed his input about plans for the romantic getaway weekend they’d been planning. So, after working up her courage, she knocked on the door.

“I told you not to bother me in the evenings, and tonight is no exception,” he answered through the door in a tone of controlled rage.


Whether your narcissist is your parent, your partner, your spouse, or your friend, your relationship will likely follow a particular predestined pattern. One day, you may be on top of the world and feel needed, valued, and affirmed in your relationship. The next, sadly, you may feel invisible or, worse yet, abandoned.

3. It's hard to escape their gravity.

This push/pull dynamic is built into the personality of the narcissistic person. It’s because they are responding to their​ internal needs at every moment of every day. They are not even aware of you as a separate person — with feelings and needs of your own.

When your narcissist needs you, they want you — and that feels great. But when a narcissist doesn’t need you, suddenly, they don’t want you and throw you to the side.

It’s hard not to feel abandoned when this happens.


RELATED: How To Get Over A Narcissist

4. You crave their love and acceptance.

It is painful to have a narcissistic mother or father. You may find yourself in the same shoes as Bryce and feel appreciated and loved by her one day and forgotten, ignored, and abandoned the next.

If, like Veronica, your narcissist in your life is not a parent but your partner, spouse, or friend, of course, their role is different in your life. But again, you will find yourself pulled back and forth between basking in the warmth of the relationship when it is on and feeling rejected, alone, and abandoned when it is off.

RELATED: How To Spot A Narcissist Immediately On A First Date


To save yourself from narcissistic abandonment, consider these 3 steps.

1. Be aware of what’s going on.

It’s not you, it’s them. They're not abandoning you. They're responding to their own internal needs. Sadly, but also comfortingly, probably close to none of this relationship is about you.

2. Recognize your feelings of abandonment for what they are: a warning sign.

Your feelings are a message from your body. When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, the message of your feelings of abandonment is, “Be careful because what happens once can happen again.” This message is your body protecting you. It would help if you listened to it.

3. Fight against the pull.

When your narcissist needs you, they will come back around. They may flatter or validate you or offer explanations or apologies.

A key way to protect yourself is to find other ways to feel validated and loved in your life. Begin to build a life that gives you the healthy affirmation and love that every human needs. Doing so will make you less vulnerable to your narcissist's pull when the time comes (which it likely will).


Keep in mind that your narcissist may not be consciously manipulating you. Instead, they are driven by their own needs. To them, you are an object who only seems lovable to them when you are meeting those needs.

As painful as it is to acknowledge, there is a freedom and healing that comes when you finally accept this significant fact: Just as it is for Bryce with his mother and Veronica with her husband Vincent, when it comes to your relationship with your narcissist, none of it is about you.

Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) happens automatically when you have a narcissistic parent. And growing up with this experience can make you more vulnerable to forming relationships with narcissists later on in your adult life, too.


RELATED: The 5 Manipulation Tactics Narcissists Use To Get Inside Your Head

Jonice Webb, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and best-selling author of two self-help books. She specializes in childhood emotional neglect, relationships, communication issues, and mental health. Dr. Webb has appeared on CBS News and NPR, and many publications have cited her work.