As we learn more about Narcissists and NPD, we sometimes come to realize that the most recent experience we are reeling from is not the ONLY experience we’ve had in our lives.  While we can itemize the things to look out for and ways to extricate these emotional vampires from our sphere, it may be equally important to look into our own souls and discover what it is about us that continues to attract these aberrated people.  Allow me to share some observations that I’ve made about my style for your self-consideration as you continue on your own journey back to the lightness that once was your life.

Past Challenges

Youth has its challenges, particularly high school … at least for most people.  My personal style during those coming-of-age years was to choose the “underdog” as my friend.  Perhaps it was a calling to help out, perhaps it was a distinction that I made about myself.

Primary family stuff influences how we view ourselves.  I had/have an older sister from whom I learned what NOT to do in life (for the most part) but following in her footsteps through school left a legacy evaluation of her that poured over onto me, even though we were entirely different.  As such, this put me on the peripheral of the mainstream student.

I stood up to those who were critical of me and I staunchly defended my sister’s reputation too.  The whole cycle enraged me, however.  I was angry at my sister for causing such pain to my parents.  I was also angry at her for leaving such a messy trail for me to follow.  Mostly, I was angry at those students who berated me for being her sister.  I had no choice about that!

There was a hallway leading from the lunch room where my tormentors would linger, howling their criticisms at all of the kids who were not part of their accepted group.  I could have gone another direction to class but I actively chose to run that gauntlet each day with my head held high.

I wanted those boys to know they weren’t hurting me but, in fact, they were.  I didn’t realize how much so until I met one of them at a social function later in life.  When he approached me and used my maiden name to find out if I was me, I asked who wanted to know.  When I learned his name, all of my high school rage surfaced quite unexpectedly.  My terse reply to his inquiry about my welfare since graduation may have surprised me more than him.

So, with that background in mind, there are a few things going on.  First, the primary family stuff with regard to my sister.  I learned to “hide” family matters from the public eye, which informed my later decisions to keep things private that needed to be public.  Additionally, successfully running the gauntlet each day after lunch gave me false confidence about my ability to confront anything.  Finally, I felt separate from the norm which may have driven my desire to find an unusual man as my partner.  You must admit, Narcissists fit that category very handily!

The Role of Fear

Following another spiritual quest, I was asked to list all of the situations where emotion had superseded intellect and caused me to act out.  As I wandered down that trail, the worksheet had checkmarks to fill for the emotion that was ruling my reaction during that event.  It was quite a surprise to me to realize that the  underlying emotion present in all of those emotions on the list was fear.  Fear of abandonment, fear of betrayal, fear of failure, fear of … fear of … fear of.

Since the debacle of my narcissistic ex, I’ve wondered if fear was the motivator for my refusal to see him for the jerk he really was being … at least most of the time.  I mean, I know that I felt love and this emotion governed my ability to forgive him during our relationship, but I also have grown older and we met at my mid-life.  Was it my fear of growing old alone that kept me going back for more of his malformed love?  If so, did that cause me to propitiate in cases where I should have pulled out all the stops and let him know how I really felt?

Anecdotally, I offer a quip that has irritated every man I’ve ever loved, including my narcissist ex.

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle!

But, back to the role of fear in our choices.  As we are aware, Narcissists are very afraid of being found out.  It seems to follow that, once they learn that your fears are guiding your willingness to endure their bad behavior, they would hone in on and target those fears to draw you further into their sick game.

For instance, I told my former beau that I regretted not having children of my own fairly early in our relationship.  He used that information in his seduction.  At the time he told me of his dream about having children with me, it felt like the nicest thing that any man had ever said to me.  I was hopelessly ensnared.

Available research indicates that finding and exploiting your “buttons” is a skill that every Narcissist has, whether they are your partner, parent, sibling, child, or employer.  Those things that we let affect our emotional judgment are attractors for a Narcissist.

Where do YOU Stand?

I’d love to hear feedback from my readers about their reflections.  We’re in this together and I’m certain many of you have ideas of your own, especially when you realize that your most recent disappointment is not the only Narcissist you’ve attracted into your life.