Seema asked me this question during one of my webinars. It’s a question that I‘m often asked.
“I seem to attract men who are often narcissistic, selfish, cheating and abusive. As much as I try to not repeat this pattern and learn my lessons and grow, I still find myself with this type of person. My dad had all of those qualities too. What am I missing and how do I finally stop this cycle?”
There are two very different answers to this question:
One answer is that there are many narcissistic people, so the chance of meeting a narcissist when you are dating is quite high.
The second answer is far more complex, and this is what I will address in this article.
While the chances are high of meeting narcissistic people, if you are loving yourself you won’t be available and you will quickly move on. But it sounds like Seema keeps ending up in relationships with narcissists, so she needs to address how she is abandoning herself.
Since Seema had a narcissistic father, she might be attracted to men like her father in the hopes of getting them to love her in the way she needed to be loved by her father. Her wounded self might believe that, “If only I can get love from a man like my father, then I will feel worthy and lovable.” It is quite understandable that her wounded little girl would think this, and want this, but it simply doesn’t work. If she is falling into this false belief, her intent is to get love rather than share love, and she is stuck in the notion that she can find a way to have control over getting love.
One of the ways she might have learned to control is to be a caretaker. Her wounded self might believe that, “If I give enough and give myself up enough to please this man, then he will love me.” Seema is likely unwilling to accept that she has no control over getting an unloving person—a selfish, cheating and abusive person – to be loving.
If Seema were loving herself instead of abandoning herself and then trying to get love from someone else, she wouldn’t be needy and she wouldn’t tolerate selfish, cheating and abusive behaviour. The moment she had a glimpse of this, she would end the relationship.
If she were truly loving herself, she would not be so seduced by the charms of a narcissist. Narcissists often know exactly what to say to pull a person in who is abandoning themselves and is therefore starved to be seen, heard and valued. If Seema is judging herself as not being good enough, or if she is ignoring her feelings and not taking emotional responsibility, or if she is turning to various addictions to avoid her feelings, or she believes that her worth is defined by others, then she is very vulnerable to the charm of the narcissist who might be telling her how wonderful she is and how he has never felt this way about anyone—within days or weeks after meeting.
We all need to accept that others often treat us the way we are treating ourselves. Seema needs to become aware of the various ways she is abandoning herself that is being mirrored back to her by the men in her life.
If Seema were loving herself, she would be seeing, hearing and valuing herself, which would make her much less vulnerable to the approval of the narcissist. If she were loving herself, she would be listening to her feelings and her spiritual guidance and she would be able to sense the difference between the manipulation of the narcissist and the authenticity of a loving person.