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These 7 Traits Make You Vulnerable to Narcissistic Manipulation

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Some people find themselves in a relationship with a narcissist, claw their way out, and do their best to write-off or avoid other narcissists for the rest of their lives.

Others are simply magnets for narcissists.

They ditch one romantic relationship with a narcissist – only to find themselves in a new abusive situation just months later. Or perhaps they continue to put up with narcissistic abuse from coworkers or family members.

If the latter hits close to home, you aren’t alone.

You’ve probably asked yourself, “is there something wrong with me that makes me vulnerable to narcissistic abuse and exploitation?”

The answer is both “Yes” and “No”.

There is nothing wrong with you – far from it – but there’s a chance you have certain qualities that make you very attractive to narcissists, like moths to a flame or leeches to a host.

In fact, these are probably some of your best qualities. Abusers know this and that’s why they use narcissistic manipulation tactics to exploit you and use your good nature for their own gain.

Narcissists and Empathy

It’s a common misconception that narcissists lack empathy.

Empathy simply means having the ability to understand another person’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Empathy can absolutely exist without other characteristics like compassion – this is called cognitive empathy.

Torturers use cognitive empathy to get inside their victims’ heads and cause unspeakable pain.

Narcissists don’t lack empathy – they lack compassion, remorse, and humanity.

Using cognitive empathy, the abuser is able to seek out and target individuals with highly compassionate, loving, and caring empathetic traits. This is why the narcissist finds it so easy to exploit and manipulate your empathetic traits, found below.

7 Empathic Traits That Make You Vulnerable to Narcissistic Manipulation

Narcissists are attracted to people with specific qualities. These qualities give the abuser a foot in the door to carry out their narcissistic manipulation tactics and suck the life force from their victims.

Other people might not put up with narcissistic abuse past a very early point. But people with empathic traits are different: they have a desire to help, heal, and fix people.

They believe people deserve unconditional love – even narcissists.

With these traits, you might as well be wearing a red bullseye for narcissists! But, you don’t have to put up with it, and you CAN change how you react to narcissistic abuse. Identifying what draws narcissists to your personality is the first step.

1.     You’re Trusting and Have Integrity

Some people believe that trust must be earned upon meeting someone. After all, how can you trust someone you’ve just met?

For you, trust doesn’t have to be earned from the get-go: you naturally trust people to treat you with respect and do the right thing.

Why? Because you have integrity yourself and you’re a trustworthy person. You expect that people are worthy of your trust until they’ve broken it.

Narcissists know that you’re naturally trusting, and they use this to their advantage to carry out their narcissistic manipulation tactics against you. They know they can get away with lies on top of lies because they know you really want to trust them.

2.     You Value Equality and Treat Others with Respect

You believe that relationships are a 50/50 experience and you treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

When you first met the narcissist, they probably obliged your need for basic equality and dignity. But brick by brick, their charade started to crumble. Until one day, you find yourself apologizing because you had the nerve to let the narcissist know they hurt your feelings.

The narcissist used their cognitive empathy to get into your head and exploit your compassionate empathy.

3.     You Refuse to Give Up

To narcissists, people with compassionate empathy are like a drug. Every time they beat you down and carry out their narcissistic manipulation tactics to exploit you, they get their fragile ego fix – and no one abusing drugs wants their supply to run out.

The narcissist knows you’ll never give up (or so they think) because it’s in your nature to see things through until the end. That’s why they cling to you and won’t let go. That’s why they seemingly “love you” and abuse you at the same time.

4.     You Love Unconditionally

This is perhaps one of the most bittersweet traits that makes you a magnet for narcissists. They know that when you love someone, you love them unconditionally.

This can apply to all types of relationships including romantic partners, friends, and family members. You believe that everyone is deserving of unconditional love.

The narcissist understands this about you and fully exploits it. In between fights and abusive slurs, you may find the narcissist will briefly apologize, shower you with praise, and promise to change. This is all a façade to make you believe that they too love you unconditionally – and they use it to keep you hooked until the next outburst.

5.     You’re Honest and Compassionate

To the narcissist, honesty and compassion aren’t traits one should brag about. These traits are weaknesses that should be hidden.

Why? Because someone could exploit these vulnerable traits – and that’s exactly what narcissists do.

In the beginning, the narcissist will pretend to appreciate your honesty and compassion. However, slowly but surely, they will use these traits against you.

Did you tell the narcissist your worst fears? Things that make you sad or mad? Trauma from your past?

The narcissist will freely dig all of that up every time they need to carry out narcissistic manipulation tactics and exploit your genuine (and very valid) emotions. Narcissists don’t hate your honesty – they love to exploit it every chance they get.

6.     Your Desire to Heal Others and Fix People

You believe that if everyone had a loving environment in which to thrive, and the right opportunities, they could turn themselves around.

The narcissist knows that you have a burning desire to truly heal them, so they cling to you for dear life. They know that you’ll never turn down their fights and you’ll always react emotionally to their abuse. This is how the narcissist manipulates you for their own gain.

It’s hard, if not impossible, to fix anyone who doesn’t want to be fixed – let alone a narcissist.

No matter how many times they tell you they want and intend to change their ways, this is just a lie to give you hope that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

7.     You Have Trouble Setting Boundaries

As someone who loves unconditionally, is automatically trusting, and has a strong desire to fix people, it only makes sense that you have trouble setting boundaries.

This is perhaps one of the first traits narcissists identify when they search for a new victim because it’s one of the easiest to spot. People who are good at setting boundaries are very vocal about their boundaries upon meeting someone and narcissists can easily sniff this out.

Narcissists are drawn to empathic people who have trouble setting boundaries because they know you’ll put up with their narcissistic manipulation and abuse as long as they can dish it out.

And by the time you decide to draw any kind of boundary – it’s far too late. The narcissist will simply laugh in your face, gaslight you, and tear it down.

Narcissistic Manipulation Tactics – 5 Red Flags to Watch Out For

If you think you’re being manipulated by a narcissist, look out for these key narcissistic manipulation tactics; they’re dead giveaways:

  • Gaslighting -The narcissist rewrites your experience and says you’re remembering their behavior wrong.
  • Perpetual Victim – The narcissist is always the victim, even when you bring up an instance when they’ve harmed you.
  • Degrading Your Worth -The narcissist will never support anything you do unless it benefits them. They’ll remind you that you’re worthless and will fail at everything
  • Controlling -The narcissist will get upset if you go anywhere or do anything, even going to the grocery store, without running it by them first.
  • Deflecting – The narcissist can never do anything wrong. They will always deflect blame back to you or someone in their immediate vicinity.

What Should You Do If You’re Being Manipulated by a Narcissist?

If the points above ring true, you’re likely in a relationship with a narcissist. This abuser could come in the form of a romantic partner, mother, father, friend, or coworker.

If you’re being manipulated by a narcissist, the only way to end the abuse is to go No Contact. If you don’t cut the narcissist out for good, they will continue with their narcissistic manipulation tactics to bleed your empathy dry until you’re nothing but a shell of the person you once were.

Narcissism is a personality disorder and it’s important to understand that you cannot fix or change anyone. You can only control and change your own actions – and ultimately your own life.

Are you ready to break free from the chains of narcissism once and for all so your true empathetic self can flourish? Check out The Essential Break Free Bootcamp to stop hurting and start healing.

Your healed life starts with one step...

Join thousands of others who have signed up for the free Email Recovery Course and Healing Roadmap. Includes expert advice and tips for encouragement and support. * Seating in my masterclass: 7 Proven Steps to Defeat Narcissistic Abuse PLUS +* How to Ease Anxiety * 16 Empowering Beliefs to Live By + more!

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25 comments
Olivia says September 2, 2019

I’ve noticed or decided to give a name to what I think attracts narcissists to me. I think it’s because I notice people. I simply notice what they are doing and even thinking, so they test me with some kind of behaviour or comment. If I then accept that behaviour or comment and treat it as if it’s normal, that is the green light for them to target me.
I hope that makes sense, it’s hard to put into words.
I realised this about myself about a year ago so I don’t do it anymore. I go round in my own little world more and if people want help, they have to ask. I don’t go round anticipating or noticing their state of mind or what they need or want. It’s such a relief!

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Reshma Abraz says August 25, 2019

After reading all this..I learned a lot about narcissistic abuse that I never knew all this while until I feel so drained and start wondering what has happen to me…where is ‘ME’ .until my counselor told me that I have been in an abusive relationship and I have been in it for far too long…I am glad that I am in No Contact with him…all this will never happen if I hadn’t seen Kim Saeed Youtube videos …thank you so much

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How to Shut Down the Narcissist During the Silent Treatment - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says June 15, 2019

[…] even real.  When the narcissist seemingly discards you, it’s usually all smoke and mirrors to trigger your abandonment wounds so that you will accept their awful behaviors and eventually give them their way just to keep them […]

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Renee says January 19, 2019

I wanted to inform others that are or we’re dealing with a narcissist to be very aware of phone hacking to constantly spy, keep track of locations, manipulate ect ect
This is a dangerous tool for narcissists.
TY & kindest regards
Renee X

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    Kim Saeed says January 21, 2019

    Absolutely. I’ve written about this several times and even have a section on it in my course.

    I was monitored this way in the past and it’s much more rampant than people may believe.

    Kim XoXo

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Tio says January 19, 2019

They are snealky. It is without added value and inner content and it is only for their own purpose. it was like a conact to get better of you and not more than that. They say that tehy are love you while they steal things from you behind your back and that are not real friends. Don”t be a peoplepleasing doormat trashcan and what you get for your good things is not what you deserve. Lovebombing at first and devaluation and discard when it comes out what they did wrong, and that is their true face and they know darn well what they did and deny what they have misdone. mess on your hands garbage from a narcissist who spoil the good personalityqualities of others and empaths to get better of someone and it is as if you have the qualities of the narcissist and the narcissist has your good qualities and it is as if you have and get the bad qualities and the narissist and the narcissist has yours. Say the love uou while they betray you with badmouthing you in front of others is not real love and compassion.

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Anonymous says January 19, 2019

Love is like a trashcan to the narcissist. Lovebombing with words like I understand you and I love you while they betray you and steal from you is not real love. They say it only hollow empty and meaningless words without added value and inner content, and real compassion. .

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Anonymous says January 17, 2019

I really want to stress one text message from your narrcisse and it really will ruin your life I read that somewhere from your advice Kim. I wish I had read that about the a year ago before it happened to me. I am getting some help from your advice. Thank you so much!

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    Kim Saeed says January 26, 2019

    You are very welcome! Yes, the article is, in fact, How a Simple Text Message Can Ruin Your Life.

    I’m glad to know my article helped you. I wish you all of life’s blessings as you continue to heal.

    Kim XoXo

    Reply
Samuel Kerry Vain says January 16, 2019

Another perfection in outlining the reality <3 Of course I know this NOW, but it would have been so handy being so well informed when my confusion began. Never again can one of them get past me. Thannk you so much for all of your educational efforts, KS. <3 U!

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    Kim Saeed says January 26, 2019

    Thank you so much, Samuel! So glad to know you feel empowered!

    Kim

    Reply
Alexandra says January 16, 2019

As much as i have learnt about narcissists and the abuse they inflict from what i have read and watched over the last 18 months, i find it extremely difficult to stay away permanently from my current narc. When I go No Contact for any length of time i start to miss his physical body, not his mind. I yearn for him. Lets be real im 63 and hes 47 and i feel there is no one else out there, and while i do like my own company i like affection and my narc is affectionate. Its me i need to work on now, i would love to be happy and content on my own for however long it takes whether or not i meet anyone or not in the future. I hate the feeling of missing my narc, i need to get beyond that. Everything you wrote is spot on, and i know how wrong this type of person is for me.

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    Kim Saeed says January 26, 2019

    Hi Alexandra, that’s something a lot of folks struggle with. If you aren’t a member of any programs, we’d love for you to join us in mine. You can explore it here.

    Wishing you all the best!

    Kim XoXo

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Anonymous says January 16, 2019

I don’t think it’s a good idea to tell people that narcissists feel any type of empathy. They do not. Having good predatory skills and a good eye for detail doesn’t mean they are relating and understanding you. Besides, there are some pretty famous narcs out there with blogs on the subject these days and even they say they feel no empathy and that they don’t understand what we feel. There are creatures in the wild who can camouflage themselves to look like plants. Doesn’t mean they are plants because they can fake looking like one.

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Anonymous says January 16, 2019

Thank you for your valuable insights. I was in a narcissistic abusive relationship for a period of only 9 months but it felt like I’d been destroyed!!
I managed to end it, got a protection order and have been No Contact since I last saw him at our last court hearing 6 months ago. Through therapy I have come to realise that I always seem to choose – or rather they choose me – men with narcissistic personalities. So I’ve decided to remain single…safer that way.

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Sunny says January 16, 2019

As soon as I began to set boundaries he disappeared. They can’t take the word no.

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Jan says January 15, 2019

I am truly grateful for all the help and enlightenment I get from Kim Saeed and your team. Thank you for the messages which I get to read all of them daily. It has a tremendous impact to my well-being moving forward with my life from a traumatic narcissistic abuse for 12 years.
More power and bless you hearts!

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Soulstrings says January 15, 2019

Yes, this is a great article Kim! I’ve been learning about narcissism for the last three years and have recently come to the conclusion that even some of my family members are not as compassionate as I thought. Ahh….the holidays bring out the best in people don’t they? Are they narcs? Not sure, but I am done, done, done with people who don’t respect my boundaries. Or, who lie and gaslight me. I am becoming more aware.
Unfortunately, the lightness in my heart has dimmed imensley. My huge regret was not learning this stuff earlier in my life. After a string of abusive relationships (last two have left me in disrepair ), I can’t help but be hypervigilant about everyone.
Most of my close friends, (thank the sweet lord), ARE my family. And I’m, little by little, regenerating my faith in humanity.
Great, read and very help insight Kim. Thank you.

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Kendell says January 15, 2019

This was a great read, I’m getting to the place where I’m realizing more about myself and this truly helped. I had an ex of 4 years that had almost every characteristic you named, and I’m so glad that I woke up one day and chose myself over trying to love and heal someone who wasn’t trying to reciprocate the same thing back. I’m just now getting myself back in the dating world and I’m definitely keeping an eye out for the red flags.

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Sibahle says January 15, 2019

This is definitely me, but I’ve already started creating boundaries and have decided to not be apologetic about my needs. If something doesn’t go with me, then it doesn’t. I just need the advice with regards to the baby daddy, I went no contact with him a few weeks ago, I know I’m doing the right thing I’m just not sure how to handle the issue about the kid, because since I blocked him he’s also not getting access to him. Please advice

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    Kim Saeed says January 15, 2019

    Hi Sibahle,

    Great job on the No Contact! Regarding your child, that depends. If your ex was not actively pursuing a relationship with your child or being a responsible parent (like, not helping with expenses), then there is no need to include your ex in your child’s life. It would only damage your child’s mental health.

    Hope that helps!

    Kim

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Anonymous says January 15, 2019

It is important to guard your boundaries before it is too late and to have firm boundaries and to do that fearless in an early stage when you see them be aware. Selffocus. Learn to say no. Don”t give them an emotional response. There were people who gave me a good advice like you should be more for your self and also boundaries but i was not always aware of that. That some people van be a magnet to that kind of people. Your trust in people is less than before you met them and it makes you aware. .

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Tawnia Martin says January 15, 2019

If this is truly the case then, I’d have to go “NO CONTACT” with almost everyone in my life!

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    Kim Saeed says January 15, 2019

    Hi Tawnia,

    Thanks for commenting…do you mean that you have a lot of people in your life who take advantage of your kind nature and exploit your positive traits? If so, then it may be time to shed some of those relationships. But, if you have people in your life who appreciate your goodness and who respect you, then these people deserve to be on the receiving end of your kindness.

    Kim XoXO

    Reply
Laura Leitner says January 13, 2019

Hi, I am trying to learn how to go no contact with chidren? I’ve been divorced for 6 months and anytime he gets me on the phone (even text) or in person when I met to pick up kids he is at it again. I am so done being abused!
I want to go no contact but how did I when he still gets the children? And that hasnt been going well either. Several times I have almost took him to court for his 6 days a month that he gets the kids. He is very unstable and is also hurting the kids with his anger, over punishing them, expecting them to know better, shaming them and even neglecting them. I am keeping record of his ongoing “abusive behavior” with the kids.

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