Do you know what makes a woman vulnerable to unwittingly becoming a source of narcissistic supply for a narcissist**?
For the most part, all it takes are certain “human” qualities that most would consider exemplary overall!
Why? Narcissists are addicts, and they’ll stop at nothing to get their fix.
Their drug of choice? A narcissist is perpetually at war with his “true self” (or human nature). In his mind, proving his superiority (“false-self”) exists, means he exists! It is what entitles him to the benefits of preying on the weak with impunity.
This leaves him with a huge and extremely wounded ego, and like a house of cards, obsessed with proving his superiority.
Narcissists lack the ability to connect to human traits of empathy and caring to the extent their early experiences trained them to detest and feel scorn for these traits as dangerous, associate them with women, weakness and inferiority (and other “weak” thus “hated” groups).
Below is a list of 7 sets of human traits. All are connected to shared human yearnings, or emotion-drives, a hardwired value system that prompts us, from the first breath to the last, to seek to matter and meaningfully connect to self and others and life.
Challenge yourself, and see if you can find a key difference between the items 1 to 4 and items 5 to 7.
1. Are you smart, beautiful, intelligent, capable, all of the above?
The smarter, more intelligent and capable you are, the more a narcissist may view you as an opportunity to display his superior skills and prowess. He thinks it’s his job to keep women in their place, to work on disarming you into trusting him, so that he can have access to your sense of self, confidence and belief in your strengths and intellect.
And if you’re also pretty, he’ll use this as well to get into your head, to get you to question whether you have what attracts and gets his attention, for example, by openly glaring at other women, or giving them the attention or something you’ve repeatedly asked, or begged him to give you.
Narcissists know. They’ve studied human nature. They know humans are hardwired to yearn to contribute, to feel loved, valued by those close to them. So beware. When a narcissist says he admires certain things about you, yet doesn’t back this with consistent action, you need to pause and think. Get to know, for example, what a narcissist means when he refers to love, remain aware.
2. Are you overall a happy person, loving, nurturing and caring of others?
Narcissists study women both like hunters, their prey; and warriors, their enemy. Love-bombing is a tactic used, more often at the start, and then only sporadically, as part of the larger strategy to disarm a woman, and not believe what her mind, common sense, wisdom, and others, are telling her! He knows precisely what he is doing, by the way, when he executes strategies of abuse, exploitation, gaslighting, accordingly, to take over the mind and will of those they prey on.
From boyhood, a narcissist has been shamed, and trained to fear, hate and feel scorn for “traits” that are not manly. And indeed, he’s learned to do so obsessively, as if, he is in danger of human traits of empathy, for example, contaminating their masculinity and manliness.
They know women are socialized to link their self-worth, and success in their relationships, on proving they selflessly serve others’ needs, and in particular, make happy, the man in their life. The more a woman displays how happy it makes her to make him happy, the more a narcissist “knows” how to make her feel ineffective, doubt herself and sanity, and even blame herself for his insecurity, unhappiness, as well as his wrongs or failure to keep a job or develop caring relationships with the children.
3. Are you kind and thoughtful, go out of your way to give others the benefit of doubt?
The more a narcissist picks up on thoughtful nature and sense of fairness, the more effective his use of gaslighting you with half-truths and falsehoods. He knows women are conditioned to feel bad for making others feel bad, so he gets a rush of power playing with your mind, and subverting your will, for example, by accusing you of being mean or controlling when you make a simple request.
Have you notice that, the moment you bring up a topic or area important to you, such as nonsexual affection or romantic gestures, and so on, he automatically shuts it down by making how bad you “should” feel the main topic, i.e., accusing you of nagging, being mean, critical, never happy, always attacking him for one thing or another, and so on?How could you be so thoughtless to ask him for help with dinner when he works so hard to provide for you? How could you be so emasculating as to question why he came home after midnight? And so on.
Time and again, he gaslights to block your every attempt to feel your thoughts and needs are relevant to him. They’re not, but that’s his lack and deficiency. Beware of gaslighting. It is lying, methodically in ways proven, scientifically, to get into your mind. It works to derail the focus of a conversation from what you wanted to talk about, and increasingly “trains” to increasingly silence yourself and own needs by automatically shifting the focus of discussion to making you feel bad, spinning your wheels to explain or defend yourself.
In truth, narcissists are cowards that play by gangster rules and regard fair-playing persons as weak and, well, stupid. Their ego is too fragile to see the true power of collaborative human relations, and that treating other human beings with mutual respect, dignity and understanding is a mark of high intelligence.
4. Are you accomplished, financially independent or have good credit?
The first 3 sets of traits note that all a woman has to do to be a magnet for an NPD or APD predator is to exhibit a kind nature, and willingness to go out of her way to prove she believes and trust him unconditionally. From there, any possible form of exploitation is possible.
The risks are compounded for women who develop confidence and success in their careers and financially independent. It is no wonder that more and more women remain single.
Remember, money symbolizes power in our society. For narcissists power should remain exclusively for men, and those who show no remorse for ruthlessly exploiting the weak, women and other groups, for their own gain. The more financially secure and independent a woman is, the more a narcissist may regard her as a fierce competitor for status, and thus may even strategize to get her to turn against her career, education or job. It’s not a secret that abusive males want women to feel powerless, dependent, unable to leave or take care of themselves and children.
5. Do you long for a listening ear to validate any wounds you carry from childhood or past relationships?
And who doesn’t, right? Whether you tend to reveal copious details about past wounds, or typically dealt with past hurts as private matters, a narcissist will charm and shower you with attention to get you to spill your guts, especially at the start of your relationship.
Narcissists give special time to study the woman in their life. They have two gains from this! One, they instill you with an illusion of them as good listeners, empathic, caring and the like! This will help them do wrong in plain sight. Two, they gather data to know what you most want and need, and what you most fear, wounded you in past. So, while you thought you’d found a great listener who was so into you, in actuality, he was simply collecting data to use against you in the future.
In either case, a skilled narcissist knows how to impress you as being the best, most trusted friend and confidant, at the start of a relationship in particular, He lusts for you to complain and say negative things about those you had great relationships with and those you didn’t. This is how narcissists gets into the heads of those they prey to isolate and turn them against those that were your man sources of care and nurturance (however imperfect they may be!), and to increasingly create havoc in their relationships.
This data allows them to devise a custom made plan to both take away what energizes and empowers you, and up the ante on what scares and terrorizes you, so that you increasingly silence yourself, question and doubt your sanity and ability to think clearly, expect little to nothing from him, spin your wheels trying to prove your loyalty, and more. Making you feel crazy, and just plain bad about your self and life are top goals of most of his tactics, such as gaslighting.
They also tune into what most hurts or scares you, which they can use to devise customized ways of tearing you down, getting you to feel unloved and unworthy, believing no one in your family or friends cared about you ever, or they only wanted to exploit and use you. (Narcissists project themselves onto others a lot.) Guard your heart and mind!
Did you know that the more you complain to a narcissist about loved ones in your family, or past relationships, the more access you give to someone to get inside your head and control you, by manipulating your emotions? Note, we’re not just talking about mothers who consistently put us on guilt trips to get us to help around the house or clean our rooms! We’re talking about persons that aim to strip innocent people of their sense of self as agents of their lives, in order to get them to participate in their own exploitation and abuse.
6. Do you feel overall lonely, yearn for a trusting friendship, or a soulmate to share joys and pain?
The more you describe how you’ve been hurt by guys or friends in your past, the more information you give him. Do you watch Hallmark and swoon for those guys who say just the right thing?! Remember, narcissists are predators who study and know their prey. They fear, and regard women as dangerous emasculating influences, fierce competitors vying for power to subjugate them.
Socialized “toxic femininity” (also known as codependency) is what really poses a danger to women to get stuck in abusive relationships (and simultaneously a danger for men to remain in emotionally arrested states of development).
While a woman projects her own idealized nature of being trusting, nice, kind, trustworthy, empathically sensitive, fair, responsible, loyal, and the like, onto a narcissist — she’s completely unaware that his socialization, simultaneously he’s doing the same, except that he’s socialized to idealize inhumane, ruthless traits! Narcissists fear women as dangerous, sex starved, as they project their own socialized ideal of being heartless dominators and exploiters, fierce competitors, out to doinanate and render their partners slaves to their own whims and pleasures.
In short, narcissists project onto women who they really want to be; and codependents project onto men who they really want to be. In my work, I’m hearing more often cases of women with narcissists that “like” to watch Hallmark movies! Only one reason, ladies! To hone skills in making women go into swoon and surrender mode, common sense.
In his mind, it’s a get you before you get him proposition. Each fix, to a narcissist, is a victory, one that adds to his false-self sense of superiority.
7. Do you take his words at face value, blindly “trust” and seek to give him he benefit of doubt?
In effect, the last item above is the real culprit! It feels so wonderful to give and receive this trust from another! For women in relationships with a narcissist, it can have a crippling effect on a woman’s brain by keeping her hooked on believing she’s the star in a beauty-and-beast-type fantasies (that has a fairy tale ending!!) that, not coincidentally, make it easy for men socialized to prey on women to get a false-self “superiority” fix at toxic levels. Guard your heart and mind.
Does he treat you and your wants as invisible and expect you to think of this as “accepting who he is”? Do you spin your wheels to prove you serve at his pleasure, never yours? Do you refuse to believe you’ve been a victim of ongoing narcissistic abuse? And, that he knows exactly what he’s doing? For example, when he gets you to spin your wheels explaining your loyalty and love to make him feel secure? Or, how hard you work and what him to have what he wants and needs? Or, how many books you’ve read to learn to stop nagging or trying to selfishly control him?
While it makes sense to trust and want to give one another the benefit of doubt, this only works between two persons that share the same human values.
It is this refusal to believe the narcissistic abuse, at minimum emotional, is who he is and what he lusts to make your destiny. Narcissists reveal a pathological intent to harm.
In conclusion, narcissists gravitate to women with certain “human” qualities that most persons would consider stellar! Did you find some way or ways that items 1 to 4 are distinct from items 5 to 7? One key difference is that the traits in items 1 to 4 are ones that narcissists want tp prove are exclusively male domains, that women don’t really belong, are not really cut out for these, etc. Even in cases where a narcissist regards his wife’s career as his trophy, he still uses tactics to devalue her success in some way, or make it less visible and so on.
** The term narcissist, or narcissism, refer to persons that fully meet the criteria (as opposed to mere tendencies) for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) — or its more extreme version on the spectrum, sociopathology or psychopathology, labeled as antisocial personality disorder (APD) in the DSM. These character disorders are cognitive disturbances that, unlike other mental health disorders, predispose persons to intentionally act out their rage and scorn on others, in characteristically patterned behaviors (known as narcissistic abuse).
**** The use of male pronouns is supported by decades of research showing that domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, mass shootings, pedophilia, and other acts of “false-power” violence are not gender neutral. They are rooted in rigid adherence to gendered might-makes-right norms for “toxic masculinity” for men (and “toxic femininity” for women). These norms idealize violence and intimidation as means to male establish status and dominance.
Note: Though comparatively fewer in number, female narcissists do exist; however they too rigidly self-identify with toxic masculinity norms. In many cases, women that are mislabeled narcissists, often as targets of a narcissist’s smear campaign or as “trained” accomplices (another form of narcissistic abuse). See also post on 5 Reasons Narcissistic Violence Are Not Gender Neutral.