Love

2 Key Reasons Even The Smartest Women Magnetically Attract Narcissistic Men

Photo: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock
girl smiling at guy

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a tough diagnosis for even seasoned mental health professionals to make yet most women dating today will tell you that at some point they've felt a magnetic attraction to one or several men they would at least describe as having narcissistic personality traits. But why would a modern, smart woman ever consider getting involved in relationships with this type of guy when there's so much dating advice out there cautioning us about the emotional abuse narcissists are famous for, behaviors like "gaslighting" and "love-bombing" and the like?

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The dictionary definition of a narcissist is “a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish [or, in psychoanalytical terms], a person who suffers from narcissism, deriving erotic gratification from admiration of his or her own physical or mental attributes.”

The criteria for a clinical diagnosis of NPD according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) are highly specific and complex, and luckily, NPD is still considered rare. That said, many people exhibit narcissistic behaviors, and the majority of those people are men. Whether or not they qualify for a diagnosis, the charming magnetism they possess combines with their emotionally abusive behavior to wreak havoc on women's hearts and lives regularly.

We all know someone we could describe as a narcissist, but why would any self-respecting woman want to be with one of them if they only care about themselves? There are two fundamental reasons why even the smartest women find men with narcissistic personality traits so irresistibly attractive and have difficulty breaking away from relationships with them.

RELATED: 9 Dominant Traits That Reveal Someone Might Have Narcissistic Personality Disorder

There are 2 key reasons even the smartest women magnetically attract to narcissistic men:

1. Narcissists know how to make you feel like the only person in the world

This concept is very real to someone who has narcissistic tendencies, while for the rest of us, it will feel like a whirl-wind romance, fate, true love, destiny, and every other cliché you can think of. For most of us, a true connection is hard to find, so when you finally meet someone who is all about you and wants to jump right into a relationship, it can be overwhelmingly exciting, causing us to forget about the “little things.”

   

   

These little things may include:

  • Whether he always leads during conversations, whether you are allowed to express your feelings when they arise, and whether those feelings are given consideration or are quickly shot down
  • Whether they are typically rude to people who serve them and/or treat people as less than human
  • Whether they frequently invade your personal space, no matter how often you ask them not to

These little things can seem like no big deal at first because you might just think they're excited to have found someone they connect with as well, and that feeling that way has them a little bit awkward. When we are getting to know someone new, it can be easy to push away our feelings or opinions because we are just learning about each other and want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but as time goes on the person with narcissistic tendencies will continue to be all about themselves. People like this can be very manipulative and may shame or guilt you into going along with them and their ideas. Over time, they are likely to start making you feel bad when you express legitimate feelings and concerns.

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2. Narcissists are highly skilled at wearing down your self-esteem

Another narcissistic trait is to dehumanize others through behaviors such as gaslighting, name-calling, and making jokes at others' expense. They may try to pass these behaviors off as humor or emotional intimacy, but the truth is that this is how these men operate to maintain control over you.

   

   

If you begin feeling as though your lives are intertwined, take a look at theirs and how involved they allow you to be in what is going on with them, as narcissists tend to enjoy invading your personal space while simultaneously forbidding you from entry into their own.

In some cases, they may tell you who you should and shouldn't spend time with and why, or they may try to micromanage your life, believing they should have access to whatever aspects of it they want. At first, that can seem endearing, but it almost always turns out to be oppressive instead.

Most experts believe that a narcissist can love only their false or idealized self and that if this self is in danger of being exposed, they will go to great lengths to protect that image. As poet, playwright, and critic T.S. Eliot wrote: "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to harm, but the harm [that they cause] does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

This quote makes an important distinction between narcissists simply lacking concern about how their behaviors might harm others as opposed to being vindictive. When choosing a partner, always remember that if you feel devalued in any way you should take a look at what is causing those feelings. Most narcissists won’t even notice what is real for you, because they are too involved with themselves. The bottom line is that if something feels too good to be true, then it probably is, and don’t expect a narcissist to feel bad about it.

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.

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Amy Elrose is a professional life coach and is the owner of Presence Life Coaching. She helps people look at their limiting beliefs with a new perspective.