This was written by my awesome friend Kait.
I was asked a particularly interesting question. Thankfully, I knew the answer right away. The question being, “What made you so susceptible to narcissists?”. I can safely say that I have welcomed four into my life with open arms; a best friend, a lover, a pedophile and someone I considered a life partner for five and a half years. Something all of these people shared in common is yes, they really do look for kind people. In terms more in depth, they look for people who have the capacity to give and give and give without wanting anything in return. In fact when I was a narc’s supply, I sincerely thought that I didn’t need anything in return. I really thought I didn’t need a single thing from the person I was planning on marrying; no favors, no affection, nothing. And I wondered why I was so unhappy and angry. This ability to fool myself into thinking I was okay with one-way relationships came from the events in my past. I’m going to share the most potent life event with you.
When I think about what made me easy prey for a Narc I think about this one particular time in my life. The memories of this time in my life are tinged with an airy, aloof loneliness. This occurred when I was ages nine to twelve. We had moved in with my mom’s boyfriend at the time. He lived in a large house with a basement, middle floor and upper floor. My mom spent most of her time at work and the other pieces of her time in the basement. I was living far away from my school and also far away from my family. My mom has four sisters and I have the best grandparents in the world; during this time I was separated from them. I was the youngest in the family during this time as well. I was bullied very hard at school. I still don’t know why. I’ve always been people-my-age-repellant since I was very young. I was one of those babies who cried all of the time and as I made it into toddler-hood I always chose to play on my own rather than with other kids. I had strong relationships with my teachers rather than my peers and with animals rather than adults. I excelled in elementary school especially in art, reading and writing. According to my peers I acted strangely. According to my teachers I was very mature and well-spoken and ahead of the curve. I achieved a college reading level in fifth grade. Middle school was an entirely different story but I digress. I felt very alone in school. I had no friends and I was picked on everyday. I cried a lot at school. At home, now in the abode of this strange man, I never saw my mother. She would pick me up from school and we’d make the half an hour drive home and then she’d hide in the basement. I never saw her. Even during summer break I never saw her. For three years I didn’t talk to my mom or anyone. Ages nine to twelve… after watching my younger cousins grow up (we are twelve, almost thirteen years apart and her brother and I are twenty years apart) I can say that nine and ten are where you start to strike out on your own as an individual. You start to think about what you like and don’t like. You start to realize who makes a good friend to you and who doesn’t. You start to ask yourself “who am I?” and that is great. It is easily one of the most beautiful times of human life. This part of my life was tainted by that cruel loneliness. I didn’t hear from anyone. There were entire blocks of time during summer break or the weekend where I wouldn’t say a word to anyone. I didn’t have a father figure. I didn’t have any siblings. I had no friends. I was emotionally neglected and most importantly, in relation to this writing piece, I did not receive any feedback. What I mean is this; I turned nine and gained sentience and that little flame of who I was going to be down the road was lit. I was turning into me and I began to ask “well then, who am I? What am I good at? What can I add to the world and how I can be of use?” as any child does. No one was there to nurture that. I can say my teachers didn’t; they told me if I was passing or failing. I didn’t have anyone to say “Wow! You’re really good at this!” or “Look at that! I think you could be a writer some day. Or an artist!”. I had to figure these things out on my very own. Because of how I was treated at school I came to the conclusion that life wasn’t about “Who am I?” life was about “Well, what is wrong with me?”. As I went into fifth grade I started to feel myself giving up. It worsened in middle school. Anything that I wasn’t good at right off the bat, I didn’t even try. I was sleeping or drawing during my math classes. I knew I couldn’t grasp it. I stopped reading the books I was supposed to read over the summer because I didn’t want to and I struggled so hard with comprehension and my teachers just couldn’t figure out why I was so great at reading and writing but… I just couldn’t recall what the hell I just read and what it all meant.
“What is wrong with me?”
My body was a big, hollow marble column that those words were constantly echoing around in and as I went through puberty, had my first period and started wondering who I was sexually and emotionally and that phrase dyed everything in shallow, swampy colors.
“What is wrong with me? I’m so angry all the time. What is wrong with me? I can’t wake up in the morning. What is wrong with me? No one wants to be friends with me. What is wrong with me? I can’t keep numbers in my head. What is wrong with me? I can’t focus. What is wrong with me? Cutting myself makes me feel so much better.”
I just wanted to find someone who knew what was wrong with me. It ties back to the original question. The question that was so bastardized in childhood. What even was it? Oh yeah. “Who am I?” I just wanted someone to tell me. I only felt this on a deep subconscious level and in other words I was looking for a parent.
As far as I knew I was a blank slate with something mysterious wrong with her. I was no one and nothing and so it was easy for me to meld into anyone. It was so easy for me to not have any opinions and be whatever anyone wanted me to be. This was so easy for me as long as someone gave me just the time of day; just a kiss or an “I love you.” Those things are much easier for someone to do than most people know. Someone doesn’t have to give a rats ass about you to kiss you or say they love you. I learned this the hard way and yet I was happy to just have those hollow phrases and gestures because I was so used to having nothing and being nothing. After all, I was also hollow. Even if the “you’re so beautiful’s” and “I really appreciate everything you do’s” only happened once every two years I was content. I was content with sex never being reciprocated as long as I had sex but deep down I was angry. The little flame that came to life when I was nine years old flickered and sputtered as my boundaries were crossed and my needs weren’t being tended to but these narcs kept throwing water on the fire and I kept letting them because I felt like something was wrong with me. I felt like defective goods being sold at a discount and I should’ve felt lucky someone was looking my way. And surely I owed them something for having to deal with me?
It wasn’t until I attempted suicide three times in two months, got diagnosed with BPD, quit my job, moved back home, went though a break up, found out I was getting cheated on, went no contact with my most recent and powerful narc (yes the person who cheated on me, big surprise), went though almost a year of therapy and got meds that “What is wrong with me?” turned into “oh wait, nothing is wrong with me.” and now it has turned back into “Who am I?” (All of this happened in a year). It feels weird to not know who I am at twenty three years of age however I think many people struggle with this. Not knowing is so much better than pretending or being hollow.
To wrap this all up, I attracted narcissists because I didn’t know who I was and they can smell that like blood on the wind. They find people who are malleable, who bend without breaking and choose not to make waves. They look for complacent people who think they are worth nothing. If you know who you are and what you stand for, if you fight for what you believe is right and know you are worth something, narcs will fear you. They will avoid you like the plague. They don’t want to be around people who bite back when they’re treated like shit. Narcs want people who don’t even notice they’re being treated poorly. They want people who will back down from arguments. They want people who are too scared to walk away from an argument that is going in circles.
I don’t want you to think I stayed with my most powerful narc for five years because of the flaws in my character because, bottom line, a good person will not take advantage of your flaws. When it comes to these types of relationships there is a clear abuser and a clear victim. One person is taking advantage of another. It is easier than most people think to blame a victim of abuse. I blame myself often for what happened to me. It is not my fault and if you’re being taken advantage of by a narcissist it is not your fault. It is no one’s fault for abuse but the abuser. I urge you if you are being abused by a narc to break away as safely and as quickly as you can and figure out why they were able to take advantage of you because there within yourself is a space open for growth. Imagine that this big empty space inside of you is a massive, freshly white canvas. You’re going to get to paint all over it with your very own colors of self-exploration. It will no longer be a vast aching space reverberating with “What is wrong with me?” and instead it will be the vibrant collage of your growth.