Narcissists are notorious for blaming others, so they rarely assume responsibility for their own actions. They have little to no empathy for others. They rarely see themselves as part of the problem and will only do enough work to get things functioning in their favor again (staying out of jail, keeping you in the relationship). But their actions are not genuine.
Many clients come to me wanting to know how to get a narcissist to change.
The better question to ask is: “Why was I attracted to a narcissist?”
Because if you don’t answer this question for yourself, you’re likely to find yourself drawn into a similar situation again.
In almost every case, your answers will shed light on the role you played in entering a relationship with a game-playing manipulator.
Here are three common traits that attract otherwise healthy people to narcissists.
- They are great actors. Have you ever met someone who seems too good to be true? They are charming, sweet, kind, intelligent, empathic go-getters who seem to exude confidence. Well, if you haven’t heard the saying, “If it seems to good to be true than it probably is,” let me be the first to say—it’s true.That’s because the compelling qualities that narcissists portray are only an act. Watch how quickly the charm and kindness disappear when they don’t get what they want. It’s all a show. That’s why narcissists have very few if any long-term relationships. It’s only a matter of time before the façade fades and they are seen for who they truly are.
- They seem powerful. We are naturally drawn to people of power. People who are in control of themselves, their situation and their environment are extremely alluring. This power and control is what narcissists use to their advantage to pull you into their web of lies. In many cases, narcissists know they are just putting on an act, but it’s an act they actually believe. You’ve heard the saying, “Lie long enough and you actually begin to believe it,” yes? Narcissists truly believe they are confident and powerful people, which is what makes it so easy for others to be deceived by them. Behind the mask, narcissists are actually just dominating bullies.
- They are well groomed and attractive. Narcissists care a great deal about how they look, because narcissists are all about appearances. They use their appearance to draw you in, like a seducer. They study you so that they know everything to say and do, and what you want and don’t want. In fact, many narcissists use sexual or emotional arousal to distract you from the truth. Proceed with caution when dealing with someone who seems to be directing his or her attention to you in such a way as to stimulate and distract you. The Bible tells us to clothe ourselves in wisdom so we can fend off the sweet talking seducers (Proverbs 7:5)
If you have found yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, don’t beat yourself up. They are masters at winning you over and beating you down.
One thing is for certain, whether you plan to stay in a relationship with a narcissist or end it, you will need strong boundaries. Get help. Employ the help of a strong friend or a counselor to help you protect yourself. It’s not too late to learn what drove you to be attracted to them in the first place and begin to get healing for yourself.
If you are in relationship with a narcissist and need help drawing your boundaries, I can help. I’ve helped dozens of women and men get out of relationships with narcissists. Simply email me at Kris@Krisreece.com and put ‘narcissist’ in the subject line.
Most importantly, guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23).