Your story brings back memories for me. I think sensitive people get involved with people who have a strong personality — leadership qualities perhaps, and of course, people who can be charming and affable, intelligent, creative. I think we all want to be with folks who have all the sophistication and intelligence that mark a person who is successful in our society.
Women who have been raised by warm and loving mothers benefit from that experience — learning how to express warmth and affection, how to take care of others, all the best motherly traits (IF their mothers were loving, and caring, and demonstrated those traits). Such a woman is a “catch” — someone many (if not most) men would enjoy having a relationship with.
However, there are people in the world who are intelligent, but they lack empathy, lack affection, have no interest in becoming a parent (and some don’t care about “love”, or feel any need to have a life companion either). Women who want a lover or a life companion can be coaxed into a temporary relationship with a man like this, and if he is attractive, intelligent, successful, and a good conversationalist…and especially a manipulative personality who is used to getting what he wants, used to taking what he wants even, a woman with the capability to be warm and affectionate, and has a need for reciprocal affection, can be trapped by such a guy, and lose herself in a relationship that could be really damaging to her mental health, her affections, and her ego.
I’ve been there, done that, hated myself.
I learned to find fulfillment and a sense of worth from taking care of myself, and my children, and doing what I needed to do to survive. Much of my life I’ve survived on my own. I know what it means to be alone and lonely. But I’ve learned to have friendships with people without the requirement that they become roommates and partners.
I think the best relationships are the result of a 50–50 exchange — a growing communication link like a bridge across the divide of our differing perceptions — an emotional recognition of the worth of one another that bridges the emotional and mental divide. A good relationship isn’t based on predatory demands and selfish needs. It’s a mutual recognition of worth and respect. And out of that grows a deepening affection that can become a lifelong love.
But a love like this cannot happen between two people where one is so self-absorbed, or so arrogant, or so needy, that they can’t recognize the needs and the values of the other person. When we become accidentally bound in a relationship with a narcissist, we suffer.
Narcissists can be attractive, intelligent, charming — but they are invariably selfish to the nth degree, and then they can be dishonest in equal measure. NPD is NOT a charming personality disorder. It’s self-absorption to the extreme. It’s pathological and life-threatening to any person who partners with one. It’s tragic for the man or woman who suffers with it…and it IS suffering, because a person who sees the world from this perspective is ultimately alone — even when he/she is around others.
Ultimately, I think the best strategy we can all have when seeking a lover is to know what the dangers of narcissism are, and how to recognize one who is afflicted, and then avoid that person.
It’s easier to survive a heartbreak if you can avoid having one as a lover, in the first place. Surviving a predatory narcissist with delusions of grandeur is not an easy task, by any means.