According to psychotherapist Karen Arluck, who was answering a post on Quora , generally speaking, most people with narcissistic personality disorder want to feel good about themselves, so they gravitate towards people who will make that happen. Either they will feel special through association, or they will feel powerful in taking down someone who appears mentally, physically, or emotionally strong.
There are four types of people who narcissists tend to be attracted to, according to Arluck:
- People who are impressive in some way, either in their career, hobbies and talents, their friendship circles, or family.
- Someone who will make the narcissist feel good about themselves, through compliments or gestures.
- Anyone who will reflect well on them in the eyes of other people.
- Someone who validates their feelings, overlooks their flaws, and who isn’t likely to leave them during the narcissistic abuse.
“Of course, many narcissists are chasing a unicorn, that often does not exist,” Arluck wrote. “They tend to have unrealistic expectations for their partner, as well as unstable object constancy , which frequently leads them to being unhappy in relationships once the initial sparkle has worn off, and their partner shows their more human and flawed sides.”
It may appear like narcissists go for certain types of people and try to destroy them as a reflection of their own low self esteem. This may be true for a subtype of narcissists called closet narcissists, but for exhibitionist and toxic narcissists the joy comes from the destruction of others.
More often than not, a relationship with a narcissist is all about control. If they feel they have power over their partner, a narcissist will see the relationship as successful.
“I think it’s more just like entertainment sometimes, and control to be able to take someone who had this really great life and be part of watching them fall,” Thomas said. “Or someone who had really good self care and took care of themselves, and was really calm, not anxious, and not depressed, and watching them fall apart. That journey is what makes it diabolical, and it’s why they enjoy it.”