Fatal Attraction

Why I am so attracted to Ns?  PWC (Polly Want a Narcissist) said in her post:

Do I gravitate towards them?

Yes, it’s as simple as that. I could walk across a crowded room and collect three Narcissists on my way, I’m that good at finding the N in the room.

I still laugh when I think of this post – how eloquently she states the truth.  I use this early warning sign when I meet new people.  When I am instantly attracted to someone or like someone I proceed with caution now.  But I wanted to know why?

And for the most part I would tell myself: you’re attracted to the familiar.  But sometimes they are attracted to me and in some way hone in on me.  Why is that so?  Why am I attracted to them and they to me?

I’ve thought about this for a very, very long time since writing about early signs of an N in January of 2012.

And on my recent summer holiday I realized something about myself.  I was in a major tourist area and it was a busy day.  Crowded, hot and sticky.  I was standing at a view point – looking over the town that led down to the sea.  It was breathtaking.  I was standing there looking at it, not taking a picture but just enjoying it.  My simple enjoyment was interrupted by a guy who nudged me to take a photo.  I didn’t think anything of it.  I wasn’t in his way and so he stood right next me to take the photo of the scene.  And as I tried to enjoy the scene before me I felt oddly annoyed.  It made me turn around.  And a woman was standing right behind me with her child.  She was so close to me – not touching but really close I could feel her breath despite the heat.  She stared at me.  And I reacted quickly.  I moved over so she could stand next to what I presumed to be her husband.  When I moved over I noticed the emptiness to my right side.  How there was nobody along the railing and it was the same exact view from where I was standing.  And yet this man and woman needed to stand on my left side and in my spot instead my right side.  I had moved for them even though it was absolutely not necessary.

It was a nuance that only an N would notice.  And I realised that that is how I have so subtly behaved to people in general and even to my friends.  Thinking I’m the inconvenience when in fact I am NOT.  I am not in their way a majority of the time.  And for some reason the N can pick up those nuances quickly and that is how they maybe can be attracted to me?

And the flip side of it, I came to the realisation that I am attracted to them out of familiarity.  I still had one question lingering.  All the Ns are different on the outside.  The Ns that are friends don’t behave like my NM.  They don’t use fear like she did so how can I be attracted to someone who seems very different from my NM.  And after writing my recent posts on Worth I found something that seemed to make sense with all my N friends.

They defined my Worth.

That is what I was attracted to.  That was familiar.  At times it can be very mesmerising to have someone define Worth.  It gave me something to hold onto, a sense of structure.  I didn’t have my mom’s definition around after moving out so another person’s was a good replacement.  The ones that do (even subtly) seem to have a self-confidence, seem to have figured life out.  All the Ns came across that way at first.  They would in a very sneaky way define Worth and then show or assert the fact that they measured up to their own definition that was, of course, universal in their eyes.

And even if non-Ns define Worth it can be an attractive quality.  I am in admiration sometimes.  It seems so reassuring at first.  Later on it is a different story about how together they really are but that initial attraction, I get.

I’m just feeling out some thoughts on this and was wondering if anyone else seemed to understand the initial attraction?

xx T Reddy

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14 thoughts on “Fatal Attraction

  1. I think it’s more usual than unusual for children of narcissists to be attracted to the familiar. For one thing, the unknown is scary. For another, some of us are trying to “fix” what went wrong in the past.

    That you are thinking about why you are this way is a giant step in breaking the chain.

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    • The unfamiliar is scary, as you say. I think it did on a sub-conscious feel uncomfortable when I dealt with non-Ns and I didn’t understand it and I didn’t know how to react to it. Understandably pushing away people who were emotionally healthy.

      It is always eye-opening when I see pieces of the puzzle of my behaviours. The adventure never ceases.
      xx

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  2. This issue came up for me just last night! I was paying at a grocery cashier, and this guy next in line came up and started pressing the buttons on the debit/credit machine before I was finished with my transaction. He was clearly trying to edge me out. I stood my ground, looking straight ahead and talking to the cashier as if he were not there. I did NOT allow him to intimidate me. He was forced to wait his turn. On the way out of the store I was thinking about all the reasons for his behavior (ageism, arrogance, upset, angry, in a hurry or some combination of the foregoing). Then I realized I don’t care and it doesn’t matter. Just take care of the problem and don’t allow the N space in your head.

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    • Hi JoyfulAliveWoman,
      That is a great story. Totally agree and I find that sometimes I don’t even recognise that I’m doing it. I am more aware of the smaller nuances so I hope can react to it and allow the natural tendency to diminish. xx T

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  3. OK, Imma take a shot here beyond “What’s Familiar.” I think we already got THAT aspect down for the most part.
    Attraction is MORE than “familiarity.” It’s comprised of every last “sense” (hence, “Pherenome”(sp) scents hit the market as a great example of the Role of Marketing/Spin meisters/”Publicists.”) Then there’s all the OTHER “variables” to include where we’re at the time internally not to mention the presence/absence of other substances and where the “other” is in terms of Trolling. If this is their pattern, they had us nailed BEFORE the first “Hello.”
    So, how’d they DO THAT? If you spent your life studying human behavior you would too: These are the people who have a Cluster B Ph.D and their Thesis was “How To Exploit The Good ‘Uns Without ‘Em Ever Catchin’ On.” Until they DO, and then you’re at a cross-roads: They’re betting you’ll do what you’ve ALWAYS done-and why shouldn’t they?
    “They defined my WORTH.” And don’t you ever forget that. In surrendering your personhood, you’ve just given carte blanche for “someone” who will gladly step up and drive this bus called your life. What’s happening here is NOT what the “Presenting Problem”/”Chief Complaint-Observation” superficially appears to be. That’s the manifest stuff-what you actually see and experience. The latent stuff-what you may not “see” but you sure feel is the whole “Power and Control/Manipulation” thang they do so well. You draw your line in the sand, they advance, NOT “retreat.” They’re absolutely Bullies in every sense of the term and will resort to tactics we would NEVER image pulling on any living thing. There is NO “low” to how low they’ll go.
    That’s up to us to decide and act on. I wish it were that easy-it’s NOT. When you discount what all your experience has taught you this far, you discount YOURSELF.
    Without them ever having to or make any more “effort” than you have while pretzeling yourself into an untenable position.
    FWIW.
    TW

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    • Hello Tundra Woman,
      The familiarity is something that I heard a lot about when I discovered what narcissism is and that it is in my life. I didn’t understand why it was familiar – they defining my worth is what is familiar and even helps me understand why I am drawn to certain people. And for me, that really helps in future friendships not only about avoiding potential Ns but also how I treat people as well.

      Like you said, there is more to attraction to what is familiar and there are probably a lot of variables that I will learn about (and curious to learn about) and some I will never become aware of. I think for everyone the variable can be different. For me, understanding that I seem to be drawn to people who seem to initially have ‘life’ figured out and understand worth was the biggest variable for me that helped not to go done a dangerous path.

      The latent stuff that is very deep is something that I see from many of past friendships and with my NM. I guess, by first recognising what I ‘see’ (the easy observable stuff) I can not develop and prevent pursuing a friendship with some people. I want the observable stuff to speak to me right away. I want to prevent having a relationship with any N in the future. I know that I will have to deal with Ns in some situations (like at work) but that gives me enough knowledge not to enter into one and some tactics for these situations.

      It is as you said easier said than done. I like that thought about discounting all your experiences – discounts yourself. A thought to keep in mind when I think about my past.

      Thank you for taking the conversation to a deeper level.

      xx T Reddy

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      • Yk, there’s two themes I see in ACoN’s lives (including my own) repeatedly: The Lack of Self-Confidence and Boundary stuff.
        The first (lacking in self-confidence) is a natural evolution of years of gaslighting, re-writing hx., telling us something we just saw them DO “Didn’t Happen” etc. We’re well taught to ignore the obvious and the subtle; both analogous to trying to nail their jello. Good luck, eh?
        The second-Boundaries-is a natural outgrowth of not being allowed to have ANY in our OWN lives. I “see” (and I did the EXACT same thing, believe me!) ACoNs getting the intellectual concept of Boundaries, why they’re necessary, how they work etc. They DO “Get It.” And they (I) surely tried my damndest to erect and enforce Boundaries with my MNM. And guess what happened? I put up my nice, white, picket boundary fence and then…..here comes a front end loader, MNM crashed right through the fence, backed up, dug a hole and buried the mess, backfilled and left in a cloud of diesel fuel. There! Fixed THAT, didn’t she?! 😉 Every *last* time, I erected a new, improved Boundary Border, she demolished it, flew over it carpet-bombing or tunneled under it.
        Boundaries MAY work for the non-Cluster Bs, but depending on the severity of where on the spectrum they fall (and yes, I do see Cluster B’s as more of a continuum than discrete “entities) good luck with that. I’m not saying they WON’T “work”-I’m not saying that at all. By all means, give ’em a fair try. It’s their RESPONSE to the erection of your most minimal, human-beings-treating-one-another-with-respect Boundary and WATCH the response. A non-Cluster B will get this immediately, apologize for having infringed, make good on the apology by following through with behavior that’s consistent with their words. (Please re-read “by following through…CONSISTENT..”)
        I can assure you the longer you remain in the “World” of a Cluster B/Narc, the less likely you are to ever accrue self-confidence/confidence in your experiences and perceptions. (An inverse correlation.) Your gut feelings will be assuaged by Prilosec and Pepto, not to mention sleepless nights, anxiety/fear and the never ending Drama so indicative of the wreckage they reap in their lives and the lives of anyone that gets caught up in the whole mess.
        That’s just my POV and experience, FWIW.
        TW

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  4. I think familiarity has a lot to do with it. We feel safe with what’s familiar. There is a famous experiment where they put people in a room and they had to choose others to make groups of four, but without talking to each other. At the end of it everybody had chosen people who had the same family background even thought they hadn’t spoken a word to each other. The researcher explained that when we grow up in a particular type of family we develop facial expressions that reflect the family dynamics so our past is advertised on our face (albeit unconsciously).

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      • I read about this experiment in the book “Families and how to Survive Them” by Robin Skynner and John Cleese. In the book, R. Skynner calls it the ‘Family Systems Exercise’ (p.17) You might be able to check the page on google books and it’ll be interesting to hear what else you find since the book was written in 1983 and I’ve wondered if there’s been more research on it since. I’ll have a go myself and report my findings too.
        Kara xx
        P.S. I love the new background of the blog 🙂

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  5. Hi. I am replying to your comment that reads “But sometimes they are attracted to me and in some way hone in on me. Why is that so? Why am I attracted to them and they to me?”

    I’ve been studying and reflecting on Ns for two years now. And both my dear parents are Ns. My lastest personal insight into why Ns are attracted to certain people is that they feel safer with them for some reason. They feel safer because the other person has the protection of things like status, credientials, celebrity, money, food, good looks or whatever defines security for someone suffering from narcissism.

    This reason or insight is not commonly written about on the internet or in books. I’ve never seen it anywhere before – this insight came to me in a flash – and it has helped me make sense of why people become damaged narcissists.

    They became permanently damaged when they were terrified or harmed in the past by someone(s) or something(s). Some people have more resilency to heal from injuries, but some do not. Those that do no have this resilency can become narcissists.

    Damaged people like narcissists are constantly living out the rest of their lives on the lookout for danger. They are continually perceiving threats and some of these threats are not real. This is why they are understandably self-centered and appear to act psychotic. They are protecting themselves from any more harm by viligantly focusing on protecting themselves. They cannot and will not relax their guard, and they will only attempt to do this, but only very timidly, when they feel safe enough around certain people or situations.

    But this feeling safety is usually only temporary. What would be of greater help in healing a person like this is for them to finally and bravely reflect back on what terrorized them in the first place, and then step-by-step methodically retrace what lead up to the situation that harmed them. Maybe the original harm was not as personal, or as bad as they originally perceived. Maybe there is a rational reason or explanation. Sometimes, going back and reliving a scary situation can provide helpful insights for traumatized people. And this action can help them forgive and move on to live out the rest of their lives less guarded.

    In conclusion, people who they feel have the means and ways of protecting and helping them feel safe will attract them; and so will those they feel they can control. Or in other words, they will come out of their shell more around people and situations who the damaged person feels safe with. But its much much better for a damaged person to finally face their fears and truly forgive and finally let go of whatever and whoever harmed them in the first place. The main obstacle with Ns in doing this however is their understandable feelings of terror of being hurt, yet once again, even if its only in their minds.

    Hope this post helps someone.

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    • Hi ADoTNs,

      This point where you state: “They feel safer because the other person has the protection of things like status, credientials, celebrity, money, food, good looks or whatever defines security for someone suffering from narcissism.”

      This is very insightful and it is looking at it from a different perspective. This relates to very much my friendship with Don and Lydia, married Ns and to what I have read about shame. In fact the need to protect themselves from injury is inline with how sometimes some can shame others so that we don’t suffer from the feelings of shame. And it is an interesting thought that sometimes we can see security in things (money, credentials) – and this ties into how a person’s worth is measured by these things. It even allows me to see how I judge and why sometimes I can be put off by people who aren’t narcissistic all the time – merely b/c they are measuring my worth against a thing.

      Very insightful comment and has helped me look at the attraction from a different perspective. Thank you.

      xxoo T Reddy

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