Jill Weatherholt and I have been following each other for about seven years now. She’s strong and kind and lovely and a published author. You can visit her site at https://jillweatherholt.wordpress.com/
She’s also an orchid whisperer. She keeps orchids in her office and they love her as much as she loves them. There’s lots of growing and blooming.
So when I saw this delicate light green orchid, I immediately thought of Jill. I don’t know what it’s called, but to me it’s Jill’s Orchid.
This has become the most popular search term in my list. I have written before about other search terms of this type, such as how to get a narcissist back and how to get a narcissist to fall in love. The titular term is slightly different of course, and making a narcissist want you is not necessarily the same as wanting a narcissist to fall in love or to get him or her back.
There may be a number of things going on here. The first is that there may be the idea of vengefulness in the mind of the searcher. “I want that horrible person to want me so that I can do the same and give him/her the boot. Give him/her a taste of his/her own medicine!”
Or, the searcher may be another narcissist, and in that case, it’s probably an attempt at figuring out how to do a hoover.
Unfortunately, there’s a third option, and that’s the fact that the searcher may really be trying to get the narcissist to “want” him or her. And that’s disturbing, because what that tells me is that the searcher likely
knows what the narcissist is but still believes in redemption, in a cure, or that love can conquer all.
And that type of thinking only has negative results: heartbreak, betrayal, manipulation, verbal and emotional abuse (sometimes there’s physical abuse as well), gaslighting, rejection, abandonment, hoovering, more rejection. The behaviour of the narcissist is well-established and steady across years of interactions with others. The course of their interplay with you is very predictable, even if you are never sure what they will do or what is going to come out of their mouths; you know that it’s going to be something, and something unpleasant at that.
Most people are optimistic. Yes, we have periods when we aren’t, but for the most part, the majority of us believe in second chances, change, and opportunities to recoup. Narcissists know this, either consciously or unconsciously, and even if they are the unconscious type who becomes conscious of it, it’s not going to change them.
The people who authentically are trying to get the narcissist to want them are turning a blind eye to what they know. Really, they’re the ones who want the narcissist. The narcissist could care less – a few hoovers, a nice infusion of supply, and then, no more narcissist.
Well, the narcissist might turn up now and again, even years apart for a hoover, but for all intents and purposes, the “relationship” is over.
In the end, it’s the victim who has to stop doing the wanting.
Why do people pursue those who have hurt them, manipulated them, betrayed them? Do they feel that it isn’t worth it to themselves to set a standard? (I won’t accept this, this, this and that.) Maybe they’re worried that no one will be left. That unless they accept the narcissist, and convince the narcissist to drop the bad behaviour, they will be alone and everyone will judge them. Or, unfortunately, maybe they are just used to it and can’t imagine another way. Sometimes, it’s that we become comfortable with discomfort.
The charm that the narcissist exudes during the golden period can be heady, wonderful, completely intoxicating.
Once there’s a taste of that, especially if it’s combined with a fear of being judged inadequate if they are constantly alone, or a fear of what might be wrong with them, well, then they’re dealing with what’s in their heads.
The fear that there’s something dreadfully wrong with you if the narcissist can’t be convinced to want you is powerful. The pride that prevents you from moving ahead as a single is also powerful.
And again, the narcissist knows this and takes advantage of it.
This uncertainty in yourself is what the narcissist wants, not you yourself. And you wanting the narcissist? Part of it is that you’re wanting the person the narcissist made you believe you are – an unrealistic golden period version of yourself, and unfortunately, you will fall off the edge of that particular path if you try to stay on it. Yes, you’re wanting what you thought the narcissist is, too, but those feelings you had about yourself during the golden period – you thought you could fly.
Want can never be satisfied; it’s a false economy of hucksterism that the narcissist knows well and manipulates thoroughly. It’s the narcissist’s job to find out what your wants are in order to exploit them.
The narcissist lives externally, and has drawn you into that. There will never be enough love, enough faith, enough loyalty to overcome the narcissist’s deficits and make you feel like you did when you first met the narcissist. There may be glimpses of it, but they’re just that.
It’s unfair, but you will be left holding the “want” bag and will have to deal with it. No Contact is the answer. Many interpret this to mean that it’s for keeping the narcissist at bay.
Yes, it is that, partially. But the most important part is for you. You have healing to do, resting to do, and then, work to do. No Contact allows you to get yourself and your life sorted, to create space so that you can do the work of figuring out why you would love and/or want the narcissist. When you’re asking “how do I make a narcissist want me?” – what are you really asking?
Should I change my clothes? Should I change my hair? Make-up? House?Job? Personality? I know – I’ll become a chameleon and be whatever the narcissist wants me to be in that particular moment. I’ll spend all my time doing that and the narcissist will have so much fun with it experimenting with how many different ways I can be pretzeled. It’ll be a blast!!
Why do you want the narcissist to want you?
Answer the question.
It’s a hard question and will take work and struggle and you will feel frustrated and will want to give up.
But accepting yourself, as you are, with what you have to offer, is worth it.
The alternative is to accept that you want a mirage and that your life with this individual will be one of denial, deflection and obfuscation. And if you would rather do that, then that’s your choice. Lots of people have made the choice to live that way, but I believe that there’s a better way.
There are many types of losses, most of which are natural and normal, even if they hurt like hell. Most of us will experience the loss of parents and grandparents, the loss of a relationship or two, the loss of a friendship. Some losses are much worse than others; the loss of a child, for instance.
Even under the best of circumstances, loss carries a huge emotional load, but when you’re dealing with the loss of a narcissist, there are whole other dimensions to consider.
It’s not just the actual physical loss: the loss of the person, the loss of that relationship, the loss of that duo-dom.
It’s the loss of much of yourself.
You’re stuck in mud, your feet becoming larger and larger as the mud adheres to your shoes and tries to hold you tightly.
You’re not just hurting from the loss of the relationship, you’re hurting from the loss of yourself: your self-confidence, your judgement, your logic.
Breakups are painful, but when the breakup involves a narcissist, there is so much more to navigate. Narcissists are litigious and aggressive, so a good lawyer (read expensive) might be required. In my case, the ex-N became threatening and I had to go to the police. I had to change my door locks, install an alarm system and hire a security company.
In the meantime, he was hammering away with every type of hoover he could think of.
At the time I didn’t know that that behaviour had a name and I didn’t know about no contact. I just wanted to get his stuff out of my house.
The simple fact is that you might not even realise until much later what you have been involved with, and until that becomes clear, the mud will stick to your shoes in a big way.
When I got my ex-N out of my life, I wasn’t very knowledgeable about narcissism, but I knew that he had to go and I had to get help.
I was fortunate on several levels: there were no children, I had financial stability (my ex-N put a huge dent in that but I was essentially okay), and I had a good supplementary heath plan and could afford counselling.
The counselling portion of my quest to reclaim my life was very important because I wasn’t just mourning the loss of a relationship; I had to come to terms with the underlying reasons for my involvement with the narcissist.
That was hard – very hard. It required me to look at myself in ways that were uncomfortable and difficult.
I had to get to know myself better. And getting to know myself was paramount because it is my best defense against further involvement with another N.
In the meantime, my sense of self, my judgement and confidence were all on life support and I had no trust in them at all.
I had to rebuild, and the structure that came out is nothing that I expected. I like it though. It’s a good structure, even if it’s not pretty.
Most of all, I had to let myself grieve: I had to recognise the guilt and stupidity I felt about myself, forgive myself for that part of my humanity, and allow myself some relief from the self-criticism.
With help, I let myself off the hook and began to learn what I need to learn from this experience.
I have had a particular search term show up a lot lately: narcissists whochase women (or words to the same effect). Narcissists do chase women, but those who chase women aren’t really chasing women. Sound confusing? Read on.
First of all, my apologies to those who have suffered through a female narcissist. However, the fact is that most narcissists are male, hence the search for information on narcissists who chase women. I admit to having something of a bias in this area because I had a relationship with a male narcissist and I often write about my experiences with him and about what I learned. However, I was raised by a narcissist – my mother. It’s taken me a long time to see that and to even admit it or say it out loud or write it here. (It took a lot of reading and thinking and chatting with my blog friend Ursula at https://www.anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com. Thank you, Ursula.) So, to those who have experienced female narcissists and who may also feel a bit like they’re stepping on female territory, or who feel left out, don’t. A narcissist is a narcissist and that’s that. They may take different approaches, but the damage they cause is profound, no matter what sex you or they are.
Narcissists do chase, mostly because you have something they want or they think you have something they want.
They like to hang on to people whom they have for the most part discarded when they’re in the process of collecting someone else, just in case the new subject gets away.
They like to return to someone they have discarded when they are in between “relationships.”
The point is that they are never without someone. (Please see the piece I published about that particular situation.)
The first example – that narcissists chase when you have something they want or think you have something they want – is probably the trap that catches the most targets. Narcissists are usually determined, highly motivated and extremely single-minded when they have zeroed in on a target that they see as very suitable – in other words, when they have zeroed in on someone who fits a set of characteristics that they believe can be easily exploited.
There are degrees to which they will pursue, however. The less important you are to their wellbeing or sense of self and/or success, the less seriously they will invest energy in you.
The more desirable you are to whatever it is they need, the more ardent they will be.
So, if they really want something, and they believe that you have whatever it is they want and you possess the right characteristics, they will chase you. They will study you to find out the information they need in order to get you to trust them, and then they will put a lot of energy into proving that your trust is warranted. During this phase, you will feel like you have landed in the nirvana of relationships. It will feel absolutely wonderful.
What comes next, though, is devastating, because once they have secured you, once you are no longer a challenge, once they have achieved what they wanted from you, you will become, at best, unimportant. At worst, well, that could be anything that another human can do to you to hurt you.
Do narcissists chase? Yes. They do. It is what they do. It is their defining characteristic. It is how they survive, emotionally and financially. They chase women, men, colleagues, neighbours and children. They will chase anyone who fits the “profile” and from whom they can get whatever it is that they determine they need.
The important thing to remember though is that they aren’t really chasing people. They’re really chasing stuff.
A lot has been written about the difficulties involved in leaving a narcissist, especially if there are children involved.
A lot has also been written about going “no contact” or involving a third party to minimise contact if there are children.
What I haven’t seen a lot about is the business of how to move on after after. That is, after you have left the narcissist or the narcissist has left you,
and you finally know that you don’t want him or her back again.
After the assets and possessions have been dealt with or the custody issues resolved (and yes, I realise that if there are children, there are likely always going to be problems with the narcissist, but I’m referring to finding a situation that’s perhaps as good as it’s going to get) and the dust has settled.
You have your life back.
You might feel deflated.
I’m not kidding.
For example, in my case, it only took four months from the time I separated from my ex-narcissist to the time that my divorce became final. I had a good lawyer who fast-tracked my case on the grounds of cruelty. She was concerned (needless to say, as was I) about his unstable behaviour, the death threats he had made and the continued stalking. The police were involved. He had threatened some of my friends and had written a letter to my employer accusing me of unprofessional behaviour. My employer had turned the letter over to me, unopened.
I also made the difficult decision to buy him off. I’m not wealthy, not by any stretch, but I felt that if money could allow me to turn the corner on this, could secure me some measure of security, then it was worth it.
And all this concerted effort and financial incentive worked.
I was granted a very timely and efficient divorce, without opposition.
The ex-narcissist continued to pursue me for some time afterward, but that tapered off and then eventually stopped. I haven’t heard from him for a couple of years now.
I had gone into counselling to deal with my feelings and sense of inadequacy about this situation, but that, too, stopped. One day, my counsellor told me that I didn’t really need him any more.
So there I was, with my life back. Suddenly.
It was what I had desperately wanted. But it felt strange. Odd.
It felt like something was missing.
And really, something was missing: all that adrenaline, all that worry, all the quick changes to the house with new locks, new doors, a new alarm system. Attempts at measured calls to friends, to the police. But they could tell anyway that I was frantic. Meetings and e-mails. Trips to the bank. Forms and papers. The not sleeping.
And before that, there had been my decision to divorce him. And before that, there had been that terrible life with him. A life of constant stress, of constant hectoring and confusion and volatility. A life in the land of the narcissist. And that is a strange place.
After all that, just being with my real life was no longer familiar. I had to learn it again. And I had to incorporate all the stuff I had learned.
So, I wasn’t really going back to my old life. That was forever gone.
I had a new thing. It was sort of my old life, but also not. I had the same job, the same house, the same friends and the same family. But I was a lot wiser and happier and yes, sadder, especially about how I was also partly responsible for putting myself in this situation. I found myself processing for a long time afterward.
I am still processing, and will likely always be processing.
Because to close the book on an experience like this is to move on before the full set of lessons can become clear.
And that’s dangerous. It might invite false confidence. To think that we know everything we need to know, well, isn’t that kind of narcissistic? There’s always more to learn.
So, once you have finally dumped that narcissist and gotten your life back, allow yourself to explore this new reality.
Take your time, and value the positives that have come from it.
Let yourself be okay with having gotten mixed up with a narcissist.
Incorporate what you have learned into your new/old life.
Realize that you might feel deflated. That’s okay, too.
Remember that a new beginning is a good thing, and don’t forget to be forgiving of yourself.