The Painfully Honest Reason You Always Attract Narcissistic Men

Why do you always pick horrible men?

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Attraction to a narcissist is bad news and if you want to avoid it, you need to look at the various attachment styles that make you an attractive victim to these types of men.

So, if you've ever found yourself drawn to a narcissist, you may feel like a bug attracted to light.  

RELATED: 4 Telltale Signs The Man You Love Is A Full-Fledged Narcissist

American singer and songwriter Aimee Mann demonstrates her understanding of the "narcissistic alliance" in her 2002 hit song "The Moth", which opens with the following verse:


"The moth doesn’t care when he sees the flame

He might get burned but he’s in the game

And once he’s in, he can’t go back

He’ll beat his wings till he burns them black."

Some scientists scratch their heads trying to understand why a moth will always fly into a flame that burns its wings. Theories range from pheromones that draw a moth to the light to the theory that light acts as a moth’s directional compass, telling it where to go.

In both scenarios, the moth is seduced by the light causing it to head into danger without consideration for the consequences ahead.

In the therapeutic space, clients who enter into relationships with narcissists often discover they follow the same pattern, ignoring the many red flags that appear during the relational flight course. 


The good news is, if you happen to be one of those people, you can change the way you navigate future relationships so it’s easier to find the love you’re seeking. 

To start, we need to define narcissism, what it is, and what it isn’t.

A narcissistic personality exists on a continuum that we all live on. On the one end, are people who can behave immaturely, and selfishly, with a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and can be extremely self-focused. 

On the other end, some people are truly selfless, care deeply about others and their well-being, and see others as different from them but value those differences greatly.

Most of us lie in the middle.


RELATED: 9 Signs Of Narcissistic Abuse, Explained By A Therapist

As human beings, we all are self-motivated to some degree and that means that we all have our own needs in relationships and we also have our version of relational struggles.

The issue with narcissists is that they lack empathy for the other people in their lives. 



A person with true narcissistic behavior, in a clinical sense, can only see others as objects for their pleasure, not as people with wants, needs, vulnerabilities, and feelings.


Instead, they exploit those wants, needs, and vulnerabilities because, for some people, it gives them a false sense of power and superiority. For others, it feeds them with a sick sense of pleasure.

Regardless of the motivation, if you are a metaphorical moth who always seems to be drawn to a narcissist’s flame, then you know how charred the wings of your heart can get hoping that your love interest picks you over their own needs, wants, and desires. 

You likely also know, even though you may hope to the high heavens that things will be different this time, that in this type of relationship, you always get burnt in the end.

While many people in this predicament torment themselves trying to understand why their narcissistic mate treats them the way they do, the more important question is, why are you drawn to them like a moth to the flame?


The answer lies in your attachment style.



Your attachment style, which was formed early in childhood, is like your pre-programmed flight plan. It is your due north and directs you where to go almost without thinking.

For most people, their attachment style developed during their childhood and was impacted by how their parents or caregivers treated them. If you were neglected, mistreated, abandoned, or hurt in other ways, you unconsciously look for this pattern in future relationships (this is like your own pheromones directing you to a familiar scent). 


RELATED: Women Most Attracted To This Type Of Man, According To Research

Unfortunately, until you learn how to understand why you’re attracted to these kinds of pre-programmed relationships, you will continue to seek out relationships that model the ones you were in as a child.

While many try to "think" their way out of this pattern, hoping it will happen, it never works. 

Most people need to access their early relational wounding through psychotherapy. When this happens, a person can grieve and unburden themselves from unconscious beliefs placed there as a child. 

These could include thoughts like:

  • "I’m not lovable."
  • "Only when I behave in certain ways will a person love me."
  • "My job in a relationship is to make them happy regardless of my needs."
  • "Their needs come first."
  • "I don’t deserve to be happy."

Once a person brings this kind of thinking into therapy, a good therapist can help them unpack these beliefs and heal them with more loving ones. In therapy, the work is actually to replace these negative beliefs with more positive ones which reduces the attraction to future narcissists because the need to feed these beliefs dies off.


When this happens, the words to Aimee Man’s song can be replaced with something more like:

"The moth will care when s/he sees the flame

S/he won’t get burned

Cause s/he’s left the game."

Being attracted to narcissists is not a life sentence if you do the work to heal.

You can choose to find healthier paths to love but it does require that you dig a little deeper to see what is causing you to feel like a moth to a flame whenever one comes around.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of ongoing emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissist, you are not alone.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are or anything you've done wrong.


If you feel as though you may be in danger, there is support available 24/7/365 through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.

RELATED: 12 Types Of Toxic Men That Wreak Havoc On Your Emotions

Maura Matarese, M.A., LMHC, is a psychotherapist, speaker, and author of the book: Finding Hope in the Crisis: A Therapist’s Perspective on Love, Loss, and Courage.