One of the most common misconceptions is that narcissists only look for emotionally dependent partners who lack confidence and self-esteem. But, in fact, strong, confident, and self-assured women attract narcissists too.
While this may seem strange, it’s important to realize that the narcissistic traits of grandiosity and confidence are really a mask for deep insecurities.
What appears to be an overabundance of self-assurance is actually a protective wall designed to block the narcissist from acknowledging his own insecurity and lack of self-confidence.
At the same time, the narcissist uses that sense of self-confidence and assurance to portray a personality that’s attractive to a confident and successful woman.
If you’re a strong, confident, and self-assured woman, you might wonder, “Why do I attract narcissists?”
You might be looking for a man who doesn’t need your ongoing support, who has the strength and ability to manage any situation.
Confident women can be swept off their feet by an abundance of attention.
Most narcissists can assume any interest or focus in the initial stages of dating. They become the partner the woman has always looked for.
And, they do it with enough authenticity to carry on the charade for a short period of time until the relationship has solidified and they can start revealing their true personality.
Narcissists often feel safe with strong partners as they have always struggled with a consistent parent figure.
When you take charge, manage life effectively, and create your own success, this becomes a draw for the narcissist.
Coupling this with your ability to show empathy and kindness creates a natural magnet for the narcissist who desperately wants to have those characteristics.
In addition, the narcissist sees the strong woman as a conquest. It provides him with a sense of being equal or worthy of having a relationship with someone successful, independent, and strong.
As a confident, strong woman, knowing the red flags to look for to identify a narcissist is essential. Remember, anyone can display some of these behaviors occasionally, but if they are repetitive, it’s more likely that there’s a problem.
Now that you know why strong women attract narcissists, here are 4 signs your partner is a narcissist.
1. He is Mr. Perfect.
While the new partner may be Mr. Right, there may be a problem if he seems almost too perfect.
A narcissist will remember what you say you like, enjoy, or have a passion about and suddenly incorporate everything you like into his preferences, choices, and decisions.
2. He pushes boundaries.
A narcissist has difficulties with boundaries and may use jokes, comments, or actions to attempt to push yours.
If you note this and bring it up, they try to deflect the issue, make a joke, or even blame you or someone else.
3. He preys on your empathy.
Through manipulation, the narcissist preys on your empathy or kindness to get his own way.
This typically includes blame and attempts to shame you into doing what they want.
4. They want to be alone all the time.
While it may seem romantic, the narcissist creates a sense of isolation and dependence when they insist on being alone. Be cautious if the new partner never wants to go out, spend time with friends, or introduce you to his friends and family.
In some cases, the narcissist may be willing to go out with you but never wants you to spend time alone with your friends and family or out of his sight.
If you believe your partner is a narcissist or has narcissistic traits, considering if the relationship should move forward is a critical step.
The longer a strong, confident woman stays in a relationship with a narcissist, the greater the challenge in walking away.
Working with a therapist to clarify your relationship needs, boundaries, and expectations is an effective way to evaluate the possibilities.
This is also helpful in making a clean break from the narcissist early in the relationship if it is not sustainable.
While the narcissist can seek counseling and make changes to become a healthier partner, this is not a common response for those with this personality disorder.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach who helps people cope with codependency, love addiction, toxic relationships, and mental health issues. She is also the author of “Love Smacked: How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to find Everlasting Love.”
This article was originally published at Psychology Today. Reprinted with permission from the author.