Why Adult Children Of Narcissists Date Or Marry Narcissists

Adult children of narcissists often date or marry narcissists, much to their frustration.  I did- my ex husband was quite narcissistic.  When I realized how much he was like my mother, it baffled me why I married him.  I thought I was stupid.  How could I marry someone so abusive?!  I just got away from my abusive mother a few months prior to our marriage, I & wanted peace.  How could this happen?  Looking back, I understand why this happened.  I think it was pretty normal under the circumstances.

When you grow up with at least one narcissistic parent, you have no real idea of what love truly is.  Since parents are supposed to love their children, you assume your parents love you… even when they abuse you.  You end up thinking love equals criticism, yelling, invalidation, etc.  You think people who act this way genuinely love you.  You may even avoid those with healthy boundaries & who offer praise & compassion because they are so unfamiliar to you.

Narcissists are boundary squashers.  Normal, healthy people respect boundaries, but not a narcissist.  I’m not sure they even see boundaries.  Or, if they do, they seem to take it as a personal challenge to bust through them. They will wear you down.  When my ex husband first asked me out, I said no.  He kept pushing & I kept saying no.  Eventually he wore me down.  I gave in even though I wasn’t attracted to him & I knew how angry my mother would be that I wanted to date someone.  He even wore me down enough to marry him two years later.

Growing up with narcissistic parents, you are deprived of attention & love.  You become desperate for it.  This desperation puts off healthy people, but it attracts narcissists.  They realize that you will do anything or put up with anything because you are so desperate.  They see you as an easy target.

Narcissistic partners are very good at convincing their victims that their abusive behavior is actually loving behavior. Being so desperate for love, it’s very easy for a victim to believe this.  Narcissists know this & take advantage of it.

If you too have fallen into this trap of dating or marrying a narcissist, then please don’t beat yourself up for it.  It’s a very common thing.  Instead, consider it a learning experience.  I know that is hard to do, but it’s possible.  I did that for years after divorcing my ex husband, but finally realized that he was a predator taking advantage of someone very damaged.  I was so damaged then that I didn’t realize this was what was happening.  The good part is I had the sense to get away from him, & I know that if my current husband & I weren’t together, I’d never again date, let alone marry, another narcissist.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

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