Do you ever feel like you’re a freaking magnet for narcissistic men? Well, if you are a kind, self-reliant and successful woman with even a smattering of the usual insecurities, then you have a huge target on your back, sister. These guys see you from a mile away.
As the founder of Date Like a Grownup, I’ve coached hundreds of women through breaking their pattern of attracting and choosing these toxic men. So please don’t waste your limited energy with self-recrimination. None of that “I’m so smart” or “at this age how can this happen to me?” You are a member of large club of very smart women with giant loving hearts.
I’m about to help you better understand this man and what makes him so attractive. Most important, you’ll get exact steps you can take to spot the narcissists and losers early on...so you can run for the hills before you get hooked!
And, boy, do we women get hooked! Keep reading.
It’s a common misperception that these men go for weak women. It’s quite the opposite. These pathologically self-centered guys want a strong woman who has a lot to give. Someone like you, maybe?
Here’s what you should know about these gents who can have such power over our lives. (Yes, I do mean our lives. I ‘fell in love’ with my share of these guys before I met my husband in 2006.)
- Needs someone to constantly stroke his (surprisingly fragile) ego.
- Wants someone steady and strong that he can count on to take care of him.
- Wants an empathetic women to attend to his child-like needs.
- Likes smart women, so he can prove he’s even smarter.
- Wants you to be self-sufficient so he doesn’t have to take care of your needs.
And here is one of the finest skills of the practiced narcissist: Whatever your insecurities (we all have some), he will fully exploit them to his gain.
What do you get in return? The quintessential alpha male who is exciting, fun, charming and witty. He’s funny, intense and, when you are with him, there is never a dull moment. You feel he “gets” you. You have chemistry and feel high from his attention. For a while, anyway.
I was definitely sucked in by these charming, manipulative creeps when I was single. Like the countless women who have shared their stories with me, I got sucked in, ecstatic that I had finally found that man who totally excited me. Ultimately, of course, leaving me feeling broken, drained and more insecure than ever.
And I felt stupid. How could a smart woman like me have fallen for this manipulative bullshit...again?
In case you feel embarrassed or dumb for picking these guys, please don’t. They are expert at what they do.
The skillful narcissist is a person with some pretty amazing traits. In my opinion, they can be formidable…You can also be charmed by the pulling power of someone reflecting you so as to create a deep rapport. This intense connection is created when a person gives you the feeling like you’ve known them a long time or you feel initially safe with them. They have unlocked the door to your insides. A skilled extreme narcissist knows just how to reflect your music back to you so that you feel like he has your playlist of favorite songs.
Oh, yes. Narcissists are formidable indeed.
If you attract the me-me-me type narcissistic men, please PLEASE read these 3 ways to spot them and stop them.
1. Early in any relationship ask for what YOU want and see how he responds.
Though thoroughly self-centered, your narcissistic man has a way of seeming so generous and kind. He wines and dines you. He tells you what you are longing to hear. He makes you laugh. He texts to tell you he’s thinking of you. He’s so attentive and charming!
Well, sister, pay close attention to what’s behind the curtain. Is the courting really all about you or is it actually all on his terms? Is he trying to get to know you or simply trying to impress you? Is he trying to connect with you, or win you?
You see, confident, grownup, relationship-minded men are over the childish ego-driven pursuit of women. They don’t feel the need to perform for you. They truly want to get to know you.
How do you pull back that curtain? Don’t let him sweep you off your feet. Stay grounded and aware of your needs and wants. When there is something you want, express it, damnit!
Start small, like mentioning an activity you’d like to do or a restaurant you’d like to try. Or maybe ask him to change the time for the date, or call you at a certain time. Ask him to share his feelings about something, or a couple childhood stories.
It’s easy to be fooled. Narcissists can seem like very good givers – as long as it’s something THEY want to give. For example, he might want to hang out with his friends, but not yours. He may only want to take you where he wants to go, when he wants go. He may not share his inner feelings and life experiences. (With the exception of his accomplishments.) He expects you to do favors for him, but somehow never can reciprocate. When you allow yourself to look, your so-called relationship is all about his world; you just live in it.?
The last thing a narcissist wants is a woman who expects to have her needs met. So, be that woman. Ask for what you want and need and watch carefully...with your clear, bright grownup eyes.
2. Know your must-haves and stick to them.
No matter how charmed you are or how much fun he is, when deciding if he could be a possible partner, stay focused on your must-haves. You want a man who is honest, reliable, and generous, right? You want to feel appreciated, respected and understood...for the real woman you are.
When he upsets you, does he always have a way to ultimately make it your fault and make you feel wrong? Does he discount things you say or things you want, because he claims to know better? Does he dominate conversation and turn the topic back to him? Do you feel that he’s abused your kindness? Are you feeling less-than with him? Do you find yourself making excuses for your narcissistic man whenever you feel slighted or ignored?
If you find your values are being compromised then cut it off, the sooner the better. I have coached hundreds of women who have survived falling in love with a narcissist. When I help them look back, each tells me that there were always signs they ignored and excuses they made. I suggest that you look now, and take action.
(Not yet clear on your grownup must-haves? Get help here.)
If a guy comes on strong and fast about what he can do for you, how much he a likes you and how it will be as a couple, take a step back. It’s called love-bombing and narcissists are great at it.
Love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by lavish demonstrations of attention and affection. It works because it feeds into our fantasy of being swept off our feet. Their charm and intensity can be intoxicating and make us feel so adored and taken care of. I promise, if he’s one of these guys, this is all temporary.
No matter how good it feels, this is NOT healthy courting. Love bombing has nothing to do with love. It has to do with him getting what HE wants by playing a game that he wants to win.
Keep both feet on the ground, go slow and let your head dominate your heart. When you are getting love bombed, there’s a good chance he’s a narcissist, a user or a control-freak.
When you suspect you are getting love bombed, pay close attention. Is it all about him getting what he wants? Tell him you need to slow it down and get to know one another before making any plans or promises. Then watch; is he showing respect for your wishes? If he’s a good man who is just being overly enthusiastic, you’ll see him back off. The narcissist will simply keep trying to manipulate you to get what he wants.
Be firm and if he does not hear you and back off, then get away and stay away. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in this romantic fantasy.
Finally, think of narcissistic men as heartbreakers in prince charming’s clothing. If it seems too good to be true, then it just might be. But you have tools to ferret out these guys so you can move on with your heart and self-esteem intact. And on to someone who deserves all you are and all you have to give.