10 qualities that make you attract narcissists unintentionally

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You seem to attract plenty of narcissists somehow, and you don’t know why.

It’s possibly because there’s something about you that narcissists simply can’t resist chasing after.

Awareness is power, and that’s why in this article, I will show you 10 qualities that make you attract narcissists unintentionally.

1) You downplay yourself a lot

You turn down compliments and say things like “oh, it wasn’t a big deal” or “anyone can do it, really.”

Perhaps you do this because you think it’s being humble—that accepting the praise you got or hyping up your own achievements makes it seem like you’re cocky.

But the truth is that this train of thought exists because of low self-esteem, and everyone else around you can see that.

Narcissists are naturally drawn to people with poor self-esteem because they shine when they’re with people who prefer to stay away from the limelight.

What to do:

  • Own and celebrate your victories, no matter how small.
  • Teach yourself to accept compliments.
  • Try to work on accepting and loving yourself—flaws and all.

2) You always put others before you

You’re so concerned about the needs, wants, and opinions of others that sometimes, you forget yourself.

You’d even sacrifice your own time and well-being just to make sure they’re alright.

There’s no debate that being caring towards others is a good thing, but there are reasons why you should not go too far… and attracting narcissists is one of them.

Good people might be considerate of your limits and your needs, but narcissists won’t care. 

They know that you’re going to put their needs above yours and they couldn’t care less if you’re working yourself into an early grave for THEIR sake.

What to do:

  • Never sacrifice your own peace of mind just to help others unless it’s a legitimate emergency.
  • Before you offer help, make sure that you’re actually in a position to help.

3) You aren’t firm with your boundaries

If you’ve set your boundaries and yet you just allow them to cross these boundaries sometimes, trust me—the narcissists will exploit you as much as they can.

If you let people violate your boundaries for any reason at all, you’re basically making it clear that your boundaries aren’t as firm as you’ve insisted they are, and that they can basically ignore it.

A decent person might feel guilty and not even try to press your boundaries, but narcissists aren’t exactly decent folk.

What to do:

  • Reflect on the reasons why your boundaries are so important.
  • Distance yourself from the people who have become comfortable with ignoring your personal boundaries.
  • Be firm even if it’s difficult to do at first. 

4) You seem naïve and shy

Shyness isn’t a virtue—if anything, it’s something that leaves you vulnerable to people who want to exploit you.

If you don’t know how to identify narcissists, then you’re going to become an easy prey for any narcissists who manage to cross your path.

This is especially the case if you’ve been raised by narcissists

The fact that narcissistic behavior will be “normal” to you will make it harder for you to recognize it unless you’ve put in the effort to break free.

If you’re an introvert, you don’t have to change yourself. But show to everyone around you that even if you’re shy or “innocent” or an introvert, you’re smart and you’re not someone to be messed with.

What to do:

  • Be more confident and firm with your decisions.
  • Learn techniques on how to seem more confident.
  • Don’t be scared to disappoint some people sometimes, you don’t have to impress them.

5) You’re too open with your emotions

Being open with your emotions might not in itself be a bad thing, but it nonetheless attracts narcissists because they associate it with innocence and vulnerability. 

And not only that, by wearing your heart on your sleeve, you’re letting people know what can destroy you—and narcissists LOVE to play with this.

Narcissists use this knowledge to know what they need to say or do to manipulate your emotions to their liking.

What to do:

  • Only share your vulnerabilities and emotions to people you trust.
  • Be careful not to give away the things that personally upset or even infuriate you.

6) You easily feel guilty

Narcissists love people who are too kind—those who feel guilty letting people down that they can’t say “no” even if they know they should.

It can be hard, taking a fair bit of guilt-tripping and other forms of emotional manipulation to “soften” people up.

So if you’re the kind of person who simply can’t help but feel guilty at the very idea of saying “no” to people, then be careful. 

It’s either you’ve been manipulated by a narcissist, or one’s going to walk into your life eventually.

What to do:

  • Remind yourself that every “yes” comes with a cost, and you should reserve it for when it truly matters to you.
  • Learn how to use more polite and diplomatic ways to say “no” so you won’t feel guilty.

7) You have a lot of self-hate

For whatever reason, you’re not too happy with yourself.

Perhaps you’re haunted by a deep self-hate that you just can’t place, or perhaps you’re haunted by regret over the foolish things you’ve done and the opportunities you’ve failed to take.

Whatever the reasons behind your self-hate, narcissists can see it plain as day and they will find it hard to resist.

It makes you malleable and easy to manipulate in their eyes. 

If they can manage to make you feel good about yourself (and they’re often quite good at it), then you’re pretty much putty in their hands. 

Of course, later, you’ll realize that they make you feel bad more than they make you feel good…but by then, you’ve become dependent on them.

What to do:

  • Talk to a therapist. Self-hate is often way too involved for most people to handle on their own.
  • Keep a list of all the compliments people have given you.
  • Day by day, try to love yourself a little bit more. You’re more awesome than you think.

8) You’re easily intimidated

Narcissists love intimidation. And I’m not just talking about shouting at people or puffing their chests in direct confrontations.

Sometimes it can be as subtle as pulling rank, giving people the silent treatment, giving especially harsh criticism, or “cutting people off.”

If you’re easily silenced and intimidated by shows of dominance such as these, you’re easy prey to narcissists who would use them to shut you up and make you do what they want.

And sometimes, the feeling of power they get from being intimidating is enough to satisfy narcissists.

What to do:

  • Learn to hold your head up high—if you can’t help but be intimidated, then hide it from others.
  • Know your worth, what you can do, and remind yourself every so often.

9) You’re too apologetic and forgiving

Did someone bump into you on the road or arrive six minutes late? Sorry.

Did your partner cheat on you with your best friend? Well, all’s forgiven now.

Now, politeness and forgiveness are good, but if you find yourself saying sorry to all sorts of random things—even those that aren’t your fault—and forgiving people just because they’ve said sorry, then you ought to stop.

If you have nothing to say sorry about, then don’t say sorry. Likewise, if people wrong you, you’re not obligated to forgive just because they said sorry.

Both of these things tell narcissists that it won’t be hard to make you dance to their tune.

What to do:

  • If you know you’re not at fault, don’t say sorry, even if it’s to seem polite.
  • Don’t force yourself to forgive and forget just because people say you should. Ask yourself if they have earned your forgiveness first.

10) You blow things out of proportion

We’ve all had our moments of weakness and fear when we would imagine that things are much worse than they actually are. 

Did you forget to give your best friend a happy birthday greeting? Oh, surely they must hate you now—how dare you forget!

Did you forget to bring your phone on your walk? You’ll have probably missed a lot of important phone calls!

It’s fine to panic about such things, but you do it 1000x more than necessary, and it’s become a habit for you.

Being too hard on oneself and panicky is a thing that people do out of deep insecurity, and narcissists love to prey on people’s insecurities.

What to do:

  • Pay attention to when you start spiraling and try to interrupt your train of thought.
  • Make sure you get enough rest—catastrophizing happens most often when you’re tired and stressed.
  • Try to focus on a few specific things at a time to keep yourself from being overwhelmed.

Final thoughts

Narcissists believe themselves to be the center of the world, and so they are naturally drawn to people who reinforce that feeling, and make an enemy out of those who deny them.

Insecurity, poor self-esteem, and innocence among other things make you vulnerable, and vulnerability draws in narcissists like sharks to blood.

The best weapon you can wield against them is self-confidence and personal strength—a stiff enough backbone scares off most narcissists.

The best way to deal with narcissists is to stay away from them. 

But if you’re currently with one, do a slow fade if possible. Be careful because once they find they can’t control you anymore, many of them freak out and go on a destructive one-sided hate crusade. And trust me, it’s not pretty. 

If you’re a soft-hearted person, this might be tough, but it has to be done for your own sake. 

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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