I’ve developed kind of a habit of listing to National Public Radio on Sundays.   During the course of the day, I overheard an interview with a graduate student that piqued my interest.  Her research revealed that babies as young as 3-months old preferred the toys who had exhibited better character.  Allow me to explain, for this may seem a little abstract.

This young woman basically played with babies by performing little skits using toys.  Her observations were that, once the play was finished, the babies preferred the toys who had been “nice”during playtime.  When asked how she knew how the baby was reacting to character rather than a preferred color, she explained that she would use two stuffed toys of different colors in multiple experiments with different children.  In spite of the color of the toy, infants predominantly chose the “nice” toy over the one whose part in the play had been “mean.”

Implicit in this research is that humans are born with the ability to choose friends by character attributes and that we are able to employ this judgment before we can even sit up.  So, if this is the case, why is it that we choose “bad boys” over good guys, nine times out of ten?

Reflecting on my former narcissistic partner, I realize that he came off as a good guy.  He was charming towards everyone so, when the proverbial crap hit the fan and I explained what had happened to others who knew him, no one believed it.  This, of course, created self-doubt.

Creating dependency that leads to self-doubt seems to be part and parcel of a Narcissist’s method for keeping their prey stuck in the game.  Goodness knows they excel at that.  At times, it still galls me that I allowed myself to get snared by a man like my narcissistic ex but I’ve mostly forgiven myself.

Everything became so much clearer when distance from him provided room for honest introspection about his behavior.  Oddly, he didn’t appeal to me at all in the first 30 seconds of our meeting.  It was his charm, his quirky sense of humor, that intrigued me enough to want to learn more.  Something else that I realized after time away from him was that he employed Narcissistic tactics within the first two weeks of our so-called relationship.

Truthfully, I do still dwell in self-doubt about my ability to choose a good partner.  Although I’ve been in long-term relationships that didn’t end as badly as the last one, none have lasted.  A lyric heard in a Wailin’ Jennys tune pretty much explains my attitude about  this:

There’s no such thing as perfect,
and if there is we’ll find it through the good and bad
Trust me I’ve been looking
But tonight I think I’ll go and take a bath instead
And then maybe I’ll walk a while
and feel the earth beneath me
They say if you stop looking
it doesn’t matter if you find it
And who’s to say that even if I did
it’s what I’m really looking for

It’s a long and rugged road
and we don’t now where it’s headed
But we know it’s going to get us where we’re going
And when we find what we’re looking for
we’ll drop these bags and search no more
”cause it’s going to feel like heaven when we’re home
It’s going to feel like heaven when we’re home

The Wailin’ Jennys are AWESOME, by the way.  Here is a link if you’d like to by the CD with this song on it.  It is worth the purchase!