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April 24, 2015

Let’s Get Intimate: Nixing Narcissists. {Adult Q & A Column}

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Do you have questions about creating intimacy or developing mindful relationships?
Confusing questions? Awkward ones? Deep, dark scary ones?
I want them.

Email your questions to: [email protected].

All relephant questions will be answered with loving kindness in this weekly column. (Yes. Every one.)
Authors remain anonymous.
No judgments, just soulful answers.

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How does one stop attracting narcissists when it’s so in one’s blueprint?

First, we need to ask: “Who is a narcissist?”

A narcissist is someone who is often charismatic, fun to be with, caring and compassionate in public, and quite driven in life. All of that can seem quite attractive! In a romantic partner however, a narcissist has difficulty engaging in his or her partner’s needs, mainly because he or she cannot step away from their own life in order to truly empathize with another’s.

There is a center of the world, and the narcissist feels he or she is it. Everyone else revolves around, affects, and influences them. Period.

If a narcissist is angry, it is your fault for making them that way. If a narcissist discovers you are in emotional turmoil and need assistance, they may wonder if you are actually trying to criticize them indirectly. If a narcissist makes a mistake, they will not apologize, as their error was likely due to your influence (if there was an error at all). The same rules do not apply to narcissists as they apply to other people; the narcissist is the smartest, most centered and well-adjusted person they know.

Fundamentally, there are three types of people who attract narcissists as partners:

The Traumatized Child

Trauma in this case does not always mean this child holds a tragic event in his past. The trauma may stem simply from not having (or being allowed to have) a voice. Perhaps he was dismissed or outright ignored by his parents. Because of this, the adult traumatized child will seek out narcissistic partners in order to play out the healing scenarios that were needed way back in his childhood with his parents.

Of course, this healing and growth never happens, so even if the adult traumatized child succeeds in jettisoning from the unhealthy relationship, he will likely seek out another opportunity to heal in yet another relationship with a narcissist.

The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) or Empath

By nature, highly sensitive people and empaths see the best in others. They can easily overlook hang-ups and “difficult” personalities because they have a natural ability to energetically tap into the innate goodness in all beings. This explains why narcissists can be taken under their wing with relative ease.

Alternately, those who are highly sensitive and/or empathetic are prime targets for narcissists. In them, the narcissist sees warmth and attention that the HSP and empath give to all around them. It’s what they feed on psychologically, so they gravitate toward those who will likely offer them that diet.

Other Narcissists

Like attracts like. What gets tricky here is that a fellow narcissist may not recognize that she is a narcissist herself. In fact, that is the very nature of narcissism: Blaming others for what isn’t going right in one’s life. It’s the good old Jungian projection trick: Deflecting responsibility for something we are by calling it out in someone else. (You know what they say: When you point a finger at someone else, you have three more pointing right back at you.)

So the narcissist attracts another narcissist then complains that she is trapped in a relationship with someone who doesn’t give her enough attention. Infinite loop ensues.

 

How to Stop Attracting Narcissists

Regardless of which of the above categories most resonates with you, the guidelines for avoiding narcissists are the same.

  1. Cultivate Awareness

So you meet a vibrant, exciting person who seems to be genuinely into you. Fantastic! Enjoy. But take stock of the whole picture. How does he treat the waitstaff at the restaurant (or anyone else for that matter)? When she speaks of politics/art/literature/local events, does her conversation revolve around how those subjects affect her alone?

Be aware of how this person presents himself to the rest of the world. Is he coming from a self-centric place or one of compassion for fellow sentient beings?

  1. Set Boundaries

Understand that self-development, particularly when healing issues from childhood, is the most essential step in creating boundaries. Once you claim your thoughts, feelings, spiritual being, and physical body as your own, you will have set boundaries to protect them. A narcissist may try to manipulate your emotions, but with your boundaries firmly set, you will be unaffected by their attempts.

Get a support system of like-minds in place to help reaffirm and strengthen your boundaries. You may even plan to meet or call someone in this support system immediately before or after an encounter with a narcissist, or whenever you’re feeling vulnerable.

  1. Forget Fixing

This one’s for you, HSPs and empaths. You see potential in people vividly. You regard them in the best possible light, with hope for their wellbeing. A narcissist may seem to you like a powerful force of nature who just had a rough childhood and needs extra love to get over that hump. Keep in mind, however, that you are not responsible for making that personality change; the narcissist is. Keep your boundaries and step away when necessary—literally or figuratively.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, right? Give a narcissist a compliment and he’s healed for a day; let him get help for himself and he’s healed for life.

Remember that another person’s wellness is not your responsibility. Let go. Do this with love, of course. For yourself and for the narcissist, who is on his or her own developmental path, just as you are.

  1. Stop Saying You Attract Narcissists

The brain is a beautiful thing; it believes what you tell it. Lovely little neuropathways are created that fire in the exact same sequence every time the stimulus is given. Since we’re all made of energy, it naturally follows that the energy we generate follows that same logic.

For example, I’m famous for saying I can’t draw. My exact words are: “My artistic skills are arrested at the fifth grade level.” My partner, who is an artist, refuses to believe me and responds with, “Don’t believe everything you think.” Sage advice.

You see where I’m going with this. The more you self-identify as someone who attracts narcissists, the likelihood is that you will indeed be energetically attracting them. So cut it out.

Instead, begin to align yourself with the belief that you attract the most perfect, complementary partner for you, exactly when you need him or her. Know that you are a blessed, unique being on this earth and that your partner is out there, right this very moment, thinking the same thing. Place your beacon of energy smack dab in the center of your being and let it radiate outward to the right mate for you.

Happy loving!

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Author: Rachel Astarte

Editor: Alli Sarazen

Photo: Richard Baxter/Flickr

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