Do you know what makes women vulnerable to unwittingly becoming sources of narcissistic supply?
For the most part, it only takes having certain “human” qualities that most would consider exemplary! A narcissist** however views these as weakness, and seeks to use them against women socialized overall to be unsuspecting and unaware.
Why? Narcissists are addicts; they stop at nothing to get their fix.
Their drug of choice? From a narcissist’s disturbed worldview, proving his superiority (“false-self”) means he will be seen and heard. As a man he exists, whereas he is a nonentity as a woman, with no rights to be seen or heard. Superiority, he believes, entitles him to the benefits of preying on those perceived “weak” with impunity. It is a drug for him.
This leaves him in fear of women and intimacy, and a deeply wounded ego that leaves him hating himself and feeling scorn for his human nature to keep it at bay. Like a house of cards, obsessed with proving his superiority, a narcissist is perpetually at war with his “true self” (or human nature).
Below is a list of 7 sets of human traits. Challenge yourself, and see if you can find a key difference between 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 lush turf to display proof of his superiority, and skill in using others to his advantage, as trophies to boost his ego. Remember, narcissists think “it’s a man’s job” to keep a woman in her place. And if you’re also good looking, it’s an added bonus, he’s use this too.
It’s about getting into your head, to get you to question your smarts, intellect, looks, adequacy, compare yourself to others, spin your wheels to please and keep him happy. Of course, he’ll never be happy (to do so, after all, would end his game!).
Narcissists know. They’ve studied human behavior. They know humans are hardwired to yearn to contribute, to feel valued by those close to them. They use this information to elevate your fears. For example, he’s publicly shower another woman with affection, the very thing you practically begged him to give you last night. He ends up looking like this guy being “nice” to some lady, and you end up looking like a jealous control freak. First, however, in order to hide his wrongs, he works to disarm you to hide his wrongs. If you’re not aware, he has access to your sense of self, confidence and belief in your strengths and intellect.
So beware. When a narcissist says he admires certain things about you, yet doesn’t back this with consistent action, then you need to pause and think. For example, does he repeatedly correct you in front of others? Or, openly stare other women up and down? If you’ve started to question your self, thinking, ability to make choices or have sex to keep him away from other women, something is really off track. Learn how to identify what a narcissist means when he refers to love, and remain aware.
2. Are you overall a happy person, loving, nurturing and caring of others?
Narcissists study women; like hunters, prey and warriors, the enemy. Love-bombing is a tactic they use, more intensely at the start of a relationship, as part of the larger strategy to keep a woman disarmed, believing in fairy tale norms (toxic femininity) and illusions, rather than her own gut, mind, common sense, wisdom and intuition!
He knows precisely what he is doing, by the way. Narcissistic abuse consists of tactics of intentional exploitation, gaslighting, intimidation, and among other things, terrorizing a woman to take over her mind and will to action.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.
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). 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.
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, or example, by accusing you of being mean or controlling when you simply made a simple request for something that doesn’t interest him (i.e.,time together or nonsexual affection).
Does he gaslight you the moment you start to talk about a topic important to you, such as romantic gestures? Does this have the effect of shifting the focus to making you feel bad for a long list of half-truths, i.e., for nagging, being mean, critical, never happy, always attacking him for one thing or another, and so on? Does he accuse you of being selfish for asking him to help with dinner or the kids? Or that you’re being controlling or emasculating when you want to know why he came home after midnight? And so on.
Beware of gaslighting. It is a pathological form of lying, thought control tactic that is scientifically proven to get into another’s mind. It is designed to “train” a victim to increasingly silence herself and feel her own needs, wants, voice have no relevance, feel invisible. It is no mere use of “emotional abuse”! Keep in mind however that tactics of throught control work primarily on the unsuspecting and unaware! Women are susceptible, in short, because their socialization conditions them to be trusting, nice and selflessly think of others even at their expense.
Narcissists in truth 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 automatically turn women into magnets for NPDs or APDs. Women only have to exhibit confidence in their self and abilities, display an overall loving and happy nature, or be thoughtful and trusting of others!
The risks are greater for women who are successful in attaining their career and eduction goals, are self-sufficient and financially independent. It is no wonder that more and more women remain single.
Money symbolizes power in our society. Narcissists are rigidly socialized to hold might-makes-right values, and thus to fear and regard women (and other “inferior” groups) as potentially dangerous, fierce competitors vying for power to control and take away men’s entitlements to dominance power. This worldview, power is exclusively for those who prove they are ruthless in exploiting the weak, and show no remorse for inflicting harm, pain. 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.
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.
5. Do you long for a listening ear to validate certain wounds from childhood and, or past relationships?
And who doesn’t, right? Whether you tend to reveal copious details about past wounds, or typically deal with them as private matters, most narcissists will charm victims into spilling their guts, especially at the start of your relationship.
Narcissists study the woman in their life. They have two gains from this. One, they disarm women into thinking their good listeners, empathic, caring and the like! This will help them do wrong in plain sight. Two, they gather data to know what they most want and need, and what they most fear, wounded them in the 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. He wants you to complain, berate and say negative things about those you had great relationships with and those you didn’t. This is how narcissists get into the heads of those they prey on, to isolate and turn them against those that were once their main sources of support.
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 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 them to get inside your head and control you, to manipulate your actions via 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 addicted to tearing at another’s sense of self and dignity as a sport, 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?
Do you watch Hallmark channel, or swoon for those guys who seem say just the right thing, understand a woman deeply, become their soulmates?! Do you yearn for a man that totally gets you, understands the pain and hurt and loneliness you experienced, and who dedicates his life to making you feel secure and safe, that he’d protect you from ever feeling that way again? Do you give him extra details of what really tore you apart to make sure he does this just right?
And guess what this therapist hears more and more from women clients? The narcissist they’re with loves to watch Hallmark channel. In fact, he even does so on his own! Hmmm. Why do you think, ladies? Perhaps to hone skills and make women swoon and surrender themselves, mind and heart, body and soul? Protect your hearts and minds! Remember, narcissists are predators who study and seek to know their prey. Not to love them, but because they fear, and regard them as dangerous emasculating influences, fierce competitors vying for power to subjugate them.
In short, narcissists project onto women who they really are and what they want to attain. It explains why men regard women as dangerous exploiters, fierce competitors, out to dominate and render their men slaves to their own whims and pleasures. In his mind, it’s a get them before they get you proposition. Each fix, to a narcissist, is a victory, one that adds to his false-self sense of superiority.
Similarly, women project their own socialization and ideals onto men! It explains why women refuse to believe he doesn’t experience pain and hurt as she does. And why she holds onto every tiny little thing he said that “proves” he’s nice, kind, trustworthy, empathically sensitive, fair, responsible, loyal, and the like.
You may say, what really poses a danger to women being unwitting sources of narcissistic supply is not the narcissists themselves, rather the fantasies they’ve been socialized to believe. It is the “rules” of toxic femininity (codependency) that deceive them to project their own “always be nice” socialization onto others — even narcissists.
This makes it easy for narcissists to hide in plain sight! And it leaves women clueless as to what men are really after and what they mean when they say ‘I love you,’ and other disarming things.
(And, similarly, what really poses danger for men to get stuck in miserable states of arrested emotional development are the rules of toxic masculinity.)
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 trust from another! For women in a relationship with a narcissist, it can have a crippling effect on her brain, keeping her hooked on believing she’s the star in a beauty-and-beast-type fantasies — and the fairy fantasy always has a happily ever after ending! The beast is transformed by her love and sacrifice into a caring prince with a human heart!
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 change, i.e., just “accept who he is”? Does you selflessly try to make him feel secure by doing what pleases him, and never you? Do you refuse to believe you’ve experienced 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 embrace human values overall (however imperfectly).
It is this refusal to believe the narcissistic abuse is who he is and what he wants in your future. Narcissists reveal a pathological intent to harm.
In conclusion, narcissists gravitate to women with certain “human” qualities that most persons consider amazing! Narcissists turn whatever structure they lead, secular or religious into cults. It is only in cults where a few are identified to have rights to bully, enslave and exploit others, emotionally, mentally, physically, sexually, financially, and do so with impunity.
One key difference between items 1 to 4 and items 5 to 7 is that the items 1 to 4 are traits that cult leaders regard as exclusively male domains (often exclusively white male). Women are only placed in leadership positions to the extent they serve as skilled accomplices, doing the will of psychopaths to exploit, enslave target groups, and, of course, worshiping and ensnaring others to follow the cult leader(s) as gods, to be idolized and blindly followed, in order for the group to realize some “idealized mission to save the world” from nonconforming others who are regarded “enemies.”
Items 5 to 7 are ones that set women up to act like “straw men” and sets men up to deceive themselves to believe in something that doesn’t exist — their superiority and entitlements to exploit with impunity. These “toxic femininity” norms cripple the capacity of women’s brains, with lies and fantasies, that block them from “seeing” their way out of the fog. Awareness is prerequisite to making conscious choices and taking actions that end any participation in their own narcissistic abuse.
Reality check, ladies!
Guard your heart and mind. He is not you! He’s socialized to adhere to might-makes-right values. When he says he loves you, he’s talking eroticized dominance talk!
** 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 exist; they too rigidly, however, self-identify with “toxic masculinity” norms. In many cases, women that are mislabeled narcissists are targets of a narcissist’s smear campaign or being “groomed” as an accomplice (another form of narcissistic abuse). See also post on 5 Reasons Narcissistic Violence Is Not Gender Neutral.