5 Surprising Traits That Make You A “Narcissist Magnet”


Many ask, “Why do I keep attracting narcissists and psychopaths?” There is usually nothing wrong with you – in fact, in many cases, there’s a lot right with you. Narcissists often weaponize not only the weaknesses of their partners but also their strengths. Here are five surprising traits they look for in their partners, according to a researcher.

Empathy, compassion, and spiritual inclinations.

High empathy is often one of the first qualities that initially draws a narcissistic or psychopathic person to you. If you feel pain for their supposed pain, they can weaponize pity ploys and sob stories to hook you so you’re less likely to hold them accountable for their actions and more likely to rationalize their toxic behaviors. Empathy also positions you as someone who is willing to forgive and forget (or at the very least sympathize with the narcissist’s plight even when they’re harming you, especially if they excuse their behavior with stories of trauma or insecurity, whether real or false). If you are a spiritual person, the narcissist will also gravitate toward you because they assume you have more porous boundaries and will turn the other cheek time and time again in the relationship. They will use your spirituality against you by pretending you two were destined to meet or that you must forgive in order to “prove” your maturity and be the bigger person regardless of their behavior. Rather than spiritually bypassing your emotions or treating the narcissist like a “soulmate” whose behaviors you have to endure in the name of love or God, it’s important to recognize that empathy and compassion are not enough to “change” or fix a toxic person. You can practice compassion from a distance.

Resilience and grit.

Similarly, if you have adversity or complex trauma in your history, you likely also have resilience and grit – the psychological resilience and pain tolerance of a sumo wrestler which allows you to take on any obstacle in life with resourcefulness and a take-charge attitude. Childhood trauma can also make you biochemically susceptible to becoming “addicted” to rollercoaster relationships because your body and brain have become accustomed to the stress responses associated with highs and lows. Resilience and grit are beautiful qualities to have when it comes to pursuing your dreams, contributing to your community, or accomplishing your professional career and personal goals. However, they will be used against you by a narcissist who hopes to keep you catering to them in the long-term while you withstand enormous amounts of pain. Use your resilience and grit to exit the toxic relationship and become victorious during your journey to freedom instead.

A need for excitement and challenge

It might be surprising to learn that if you’re an adrenaline junkie, an adventure seeker, a risk-taker, someone who is bold or brave to any extent, you can also be targeted by a narcissist (or even the rarer psychopath). That is because narcissists look for those who will become easily addicted to chaos and are skillful at meeting a challenge. They want someone who is goal-oriented because they can manipulate those victims into trying to meet the absurd standards and expectations for the toxic relationship. As you’re forced to keep up with their unpredictable behavior and moving goal posts, you find yourself subconsciously “rising” to the challenge of trying to please them due to your ingrained habit of wanting to prove yourself or overcome obstacles (even though this isn’t a challenge that is worth it, at all – and many survivors recognize this challenge is anything but exciting).

A relationship with a narcissist or psychopath is traumatizing, but it is anything but “boring” which is why people who seek and are adept at overcoming challenges tend to become more easily entangled with these toxic types – they feel fueled by the desire to “win” over the narcissist especially during the devaluation stage. They believe they have the power and strength to withstand adversity – but just because you can do something doesn’t mean it will be healthy for you. A key part of the healing journey tends to be detoxing from the chaos and getting off the hamster wheel of trying to prove yourself to a toxic person who wants you walking on eggshells. Save your need for excitement for healthy outlets like competitive races, skydiving, achieving a professional goal, or building financial success.

Success and beauty.

Both narcissists and psychopaths often seek out successful, high-achieving, attractive people. This is because they want to surround themselves with people they deem special and unique. This allows them to enhance their own self-image by association as they use you as “arm candy” or brag about your achievements as if they were the ones who made them possible. They may even try to piggyback off your success to gain new connections or leech off your resources. This is especially common with parasitic psychopaths who target wealthy or financially stable partners to exploit. At the same time, they will be pathologically envious of your success and beauty. They will try to deflate you because it threatens their ego to watch you surpass them without requiring their validation.

If you are out of their league in any way, be prepared for attempts to “humble” you so they can better control you. Rather than falling prey into becoming a passive object for the narcissist to benefit from, elevate your success as well as inner and outer beauty for you so you get the benefits without allowing them to profit off your labor. Center your life around your dreams and goals and invest in yourself – do not spend your precious time and energy investing in them.


When you are a perfectionist, you are hyperattuned to criticism and any micro-signals of disapproval or potential abandonment. Being over-perfectionistic can stem from childhood trauma or anxiety in general. A narcissist or psychopath takes advantage of your need to go out of your way and above and beyond to “impress.” They find perfectionistic people to be malleable targets because they expect you to go into overdrive trying to win their approval. They may love bomb and shower you with compliments one minute, only to withdraw that affection and attention and nitpick on a quality or behavior that is irrelevant. For example, they may congratulate you heartily on a promotion, only to tell you that the dinner you cooked was too salty shortly after. This may cause you to go overboard in cooking an even more lavish meal for them next time. Or, they may compliment your dress and make a backhanded remark like, “You’re so brave for wearing that,” under their breath, causing you to doubt your choices.

These are all attempts to disorient you throughout the relationship so you never feel like you’re reaching their arbitrary high standards – even if they wouldn’t meet those standards and expectations themselves. Rather than trying to be a “perfect” partner for the narcissist, turn that idealism back to them: are they in any way your “ideal” in how they treat you and behave? If not, it’s time to prepare for detachment and a safe exit.

If you are dealing with a narcissistic or otherwise toxic individual, it’s important to seek trauma-informed professional support. You deserve better than a toxic relationship. You deserve freedom and healing.

Originally Published: https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2023/12/5-surprising-traits-that-make-you-a-narcissist-magnet/