If you are asking yourself why you always attract the wrong guys or how to stop attracting toxic relationships or fake friends, it can make you believe that you’re simply a narcissist magnet, and there is nothing you can do about it. But the reality is that most narcissists want to feel good about themselves, so they gravitate towards people who will make that happen, and if you’re the person they see has all the traits, it’s almost like you’re walking around with this big sign saying “easy target!” So today, let’s talk about How to stop attracting toxic relationships.
First of all, we all have the ability to make our own make choices, and you need to remind yourself that you are not a puppet on a string under the control of some evil puppeteer. Every type of relationship consists of two people, each of whom brings their own dreams and visions for the future along with all the baggage of past experiences. Even if you can’t physically walk away from a a family member or relative, what treatment you choose to accept or not, is totally up to you.
When meeting a narcissist, they will come across as chatty and witty, they will draw you into this vision of an exciting and wonderful world with them, so it’s really easy to fall for their initial charm, and you are no fool for doing this, why wouldn’t you. But the critical moment occurs when you notice certain behaviours that make you feel uneasy, they need to be the centre of attention, they ignore your feelings, and they demand your admiration. At this point everyone is at the same stage, or on a level playing field, but more crucially, it’s at this point that people have 2 choices, they ether stick around blinded by the bright lights, or they politely disengage themselves from the relationship foreseeing nothing but emotional pain catering to their new friend or colleagues needs.
So it’s not that you attract more narcissists than other people, the fact is that you are the type of person that has subconsciously decided to stick around with the narcissist, it’s a bit like always giving them the benefit of the doubt. Any warning signs are overlooked and by the time their behaviour really starts to affect your life, you are too far in to simply walk away, finding yourself at some stage down the line, needing to learn how to let go and move on. Have a look at this video if you need that question answering.
So rather than focusing on the narcissist, lets look at what you might be doing that makes them part of your life for longer than they are welcome . I used to live in Spain, and I remember eating half a melon and, being from the UK, thought nothing of leaving the other half on the kitchen worktop whilst I ate it. By the time I went back into the kitchen, it was covered in Ants. The UK bit isn’t about us being a nation of people who leave food out, it’s about our lack of ants! Anyway, the moral of the story being, once I realised what the ants were attracted to, all I needed to do was remove what they wanted, or fed off to stop them coming back.
So if you don’t want to be a melon, lets take a look at what you do, that makes you so attractive to the narcissist.
Lets face it, if you walked away at the first sign of abusive behaviour, the narcissist wouldn’t have anyone to play with, so they need someone who will forgive and forget, allowing the narcissist to just keep on pushing the boundary of the abuse they inflict upon you until the day comes when you either break, or find the strength to walk away.
Narcissists seek out people who will forgive them for their actions, it doesn’t stop them from behaving the way the do, it just means they know they can get away with it. Look at it this way if you could walk into a certain supermarket and fill your trolley with the days shopping and walk out without anybody saying or doing anything about it because they didn’t want to upset you, wouldn’t you always choose to go there! So for the narcissist they will continue to treat you the way that they do, because they know they can get away with it, without any consequence. Once the shop finds the strength to stop you in your tracks telling you that you can no longer walk out without paying, you will move on to find somewhere else that is going to let you break all the rules, and the narcissist is no different. Stop forgiving unacceptable behaviour, stand by what you know is right or wrong, as forgiving abusive behaviour once, gives them permission to do it again.
Looking for loyalty in any relationship, be it your partner, a family member, a relative, friend or colleague, isn’t unusual and if we’re completely honest, the majority of relationships actually need it to survive. However, a narcissist isn’t looking for mere loyalty, they require unconditional loyalty, so they will seek out and pursue the ones who are either already an easy target, or those who are easy to train. But it’s never going to be fair, as it's more like, one rule for one and one rule for another, as the narcissist expects you to remain unconditionally loyal to them whilst they are allowed to behave and do whatever they like without any comment, questioning or reprimand from yourself.
It may sound like a harsh analogy but imagine having a dog in the house and you make the dog sit in the corner or stay off the furniture or they are not allowed to go upstairs, whilst you, walk in with muddy shoes and make more mess than the dog would ever do, well this is the same mindset that a narcissist has over you. They will expect you to follow all the rules and to do exactly as they say, whilst they still have the freedom to act as they like seeing every situation or event as being their territory so their rules.
Stop behaving like the loyal pet, doing what you are told in the false belief that you are just keeping the peace and being the loyal friend or partner. Look at the relationship you have as an outsider looking in, and ask yourself if what you see is not only normal, but acceptable. I remember a past relation of mine where something totally irrelevant happened and he told me to sit on the chair and not to move until he gave me permission to. Guess what I did, I actually slept on that chair all night, not because I was afraid, but because it made for an easier life. It’s only now looking back that I shake my head in total disbelief that I could have ever been so loyal, as meeting that same person again now, and hearing the same request would have a totally different response and trust me, he would be the one walking away in fear. If you could fast forward 5 years and look back on today. what would your future self tell you to do?
Overlooking the bad.
Do you ever find yourself making excuses for the narcissist behaviour. If you’re at an event and they treat you badly in front of others, and afterwards your true friend questions why you allow it, do you laugh along with it and tell them it’s nothing and they’re only joking.
If it’s a partner, maybe you overlook their bad temper because ‘they bought you some flowers last week’ or maybe it’s an in law who constantly puts you down, but then offers to look after the children making you feel guilty for having such negative thoughts towards them.
It can often take time to see what others see as we want to believe the dream, and don’t want to accept the reality, so the narcissist will be attracted to those who they can sell the dream to and won’t see the truth of how they are being treated. A narcissist can only survive with someone who overlooks the bad in them, it not only ensures that you stick around providing them with the oxygen they need, but the narcissist just doesn’t see the bad in themselves so in their mind, neither should you. There is an expression that say’s Wake up and smell the coffee, and in this situation, it couldn’t be more true, as once you do, it’s like you have just woken up from a hypnotic trance and you look back, disbelieving that you ever accepted so much for so long.
Having an “external locus of control.”
Locus of control is a psychological concept that refers to how strongly people believe they have control over the situations and experiences that affect their lives, and it can be either Internal, or external. Those with internal locus of control attribute the success, or failure, of events in their life, down to their own control, so I failed an exam as I didn’t work hard enough, whereas those with an external locus of control attribute their success and failure to external factors, I failed the exam because the invidulator kept walking around the room and distracted me.
The narcissist will seek out those who have an external locus of control, they want someone who doesn’t evaluate the situation from the perspective of what they can do themselves to change their life. It’s all about finding someone who cares a lot about what other people think — someone who makes their decisions on the basis of how other people will react, which ensures that the narcissist not only remains the centre of your decision making process, but they also remain in control.
By reflecting on the possibility that your decisions and actions are based upon other people, and not upon what you personally think and feel, will help you increase your internal locus of control and the ability control how you let the behaviours of others affect you, and how you respond.
Being concerned with the needs of others more than your own is an honourable trait, but Narcissists are drawn to people who are self-sacrificing and willing to dedicate all their time and effort into taking care of the narcissists welfare and status. They aren’t interested in how you feel, or what you need, they just want someone who doesn’t ask for or need anything in return for what they do. Do you back down easily, accept the sudden change of plans or get put upon last minute. Are you the one that they say will always be fine and doesn’t need to be consulted as it’s always you that adapts to other person rather than them doing what you want for once. The narcissist wants someone who is easy going and expects you to go with the flow without a word of resistance as it indicates to them that you will compromise to suit their life. The narcissist doesn’t believe they should ever be the ones to adjust so naturally they’ll be drawn to accommodating people.
For a narcissist, finding someone who puts themselves second, is gold, because there is only enough space on the podium for the gold medal holder so even though they might allow you to have silver or bronze, as long as you are always behind them, they will always have the glory. But the narcissist is a very sore loser, so even if you are able to take first place and have the spotlight on you once in a while, they won’t like it and will seek to raise their game to push you back down again, so it’s often better to not even enter the competition with them, allow them to take the glory on their own, whilst you find someone else who is happy to share the recognition you deserve.
It’s really important to note that the traits that narcissists are attracted to are traits that are, for the most part, universally attractive and ones that we should all strive for, the underlying theme that makes someone susceptible to attracting a narcissist is having these traits in their extremity, its about being overly forgiving, loyal and selfless. The solution is to be wise and have the abilityt to not only decide when you need to exhibit these traits, but also who should be the recipient, and how much of you they deserve.