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What type of person does a narcissist need?

A narcissist is someone who has an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a need for excessive attention and admiration. Narcissists often engage in relationships where their partner idealizes them, caters to their needs, and revolves their life around the narcissist. This feeds the narcissist’s ego and need for validation. So what type of person does a narcissist look for in a relationship? There are several key traits the narcissist seeks out.

Vulnerable Targets

The narcissist often seeks out people who are vulnerable in some way, as they are easier targets to manipulate and control. For example, the narcissist may target:

  • Someone with low self-esteem or confidence
  • Someone who has recently experienced a trauma or loss
  • Someone going through a major life transition
  • Someone isolated from friends and family
  • Someone younger or less experienced in relationships

The narcissist swoops in during these vulnerable periods, love bombing the person with affection and attention. This helps build trust and attachment rapidly. Once dependent on the narcissist, the target is much easier to control.


The narcissist also tends to target people-pleasers – those who are very accommodating and invested in catering to other’s needs. People-pleasers often struggle with setting boundaries and will go out of their way to win the approval and admiration of others.

Some common traits of people-pleasers include:

  • Agreeing to things they don’t want to do
  • Struggling to say “no” to requests
  • Apologizing and taking blame often
  • Worrying about letting others down
  • Struggling with guilt if they disappoint others

The narcissist takes full advantage of the people-pleaser’s tendency to accommodate. Their need for approval makes them much more compliant targets.

Those Who Idealize Them

Narcissists crave being the center of attention. Therefore, they target partners who put them on a pedestal. Those with a tendency to idealize others make perfect targets. Some signs of idealization include:

  • Overestimating the narcissist’s positive traits
  • Making endless excuses for their flaws and mistreatment
  • Believing they know the narcissist better than anyone else
  • Feeling they must earn the narcissist’s love and approval
  • Neglecting their own needs and wants to satisfy the narcissist

The narcissist thrives off this constant adoration and praise. They also leverage any tendencies to idealize them as proof of their superiority over the target.


Codependents, or those with unhealthy attachment styles, also often end up as narcissistic targets. Codependency involves depending on relationships with others for self-esteem and identity. Codependents compulsively caretake, losing themselves in the process.

Some signs of codependency include:

  • Difficulty making decisions alone
  • Difficulty identifying personal boundaries
  • Feeling responsible for solving others’ problems
  • Struggling to feel secure in relationships
  • Worrying about being abandoned or rejected

Narcissists exploit the codependent’s deep attachment fears. The codependent struggles to leave despite mistreatment because their identity is enmeshed with the narcissist.

Highly Empathic People

The narcissist often targets highly empathic individuals. Empaths have great interest in understanding others’ perspectives, emotions, and needs. They pick up on emotional cues others miss. Some signs of high empathy include:

  • Feeling others’ emotions as deeply as their own
  • Strong intuition about how others are feeling
  • Easily identifying complex emotions in others
  • Struggling to separate their own emotions from others’
  • High sensitivity to emotional cues and body language

Narcissists exploit this emotional attunement, faking emotions to manipulate empaths. Empaths get hooked trying to heal the narcissist’s “wounds” despite mistreatment.

High Achievers

Narcissists often target ambitious, high-achieving partners. They know these targets are driven to succeed and make things happen. Some common traits include:

  • Perfectionism and high-standards for performance
  • Competitiveness and ambition
  • Being responsible and goal-driven
  • Strong work ethic
  • Valuing productivity and efficiency

The narcissist exploits their target’s ambition. They present visions of power couples achieving great success together. Of course, the narcissist takes credit for most of the target’s accomplishments.

Those Seeking Status

The narcissist is also attracted to those seeking higher status, influence, and prestige. Traits may include:

  • Placing high importance on wealth, power, and status symbols
  • Wanting access to exclusive social circles
  • Being obsessed with image management
  • Flaunting wealth and privilege
  • Looking down on those of lower status

Narcissists know these targets desire the influence and lifestyle they can provide. Their need for greater status makes them easily seduced by the narcissist’s success and confidence.

What Makes These Targets Attractive to Narcissists?

There are a few key things that make these targets attractive sources of narcissistic supply:

Blind Admiration

All these targets provide constant validation and ego-stroking. Their admiration helps regulate the narcissist’s insecure sense of self.

Compliant Behavior

These targets are easier to manipulate and control. Their blind trust, accommodation, and compromise enable the narcissist’s toxicity.

Lack of Boundaries

These targets accept poor treatment, excuse cruelty, and don’t enforce firm boundaries. This grants the narcissist license to exploit without consequence.


The tendency to idealize the narcissist feeds their grandiosity. They feel superior basking in constant praise and adoration.

Manipulation Susceptibility

All these targets are prone to manipulation tactics like gaslighting, love bombing, and guilt tripping. This allows the narcissist to maintain control.

Famine Mentality

Many of these targets have low self-worth and are unused to real love. The narcissist provides intermittent reinforcement and an intoxicating, rollercoaster dynamic these targets mistake for love.

Why It Works – A Toxic Dance

The dysfunctional dynamic between a narcissist and their target is a toxic dance:

  • The narcissist feels empowered and in control manipulating targets.
  • The target feels chosen, valued, and important being “picked” by the dazzling narcissist.
  • The target provides a steady stream of narcissistic supply – praise, awe, and validation.
  • The narcissist devalues and discards the target when supply runs low.
  • The target, trauma bonded to the narcissist, persists in the relationship, trying to earn back their love and validation.
  • The narcissist dangles intermittent reinforcement and hope of the idealized early days to string the target along.

This toxic dance leaves the target drained while the narcissist’s ego continues to be fed. The target’s self-esteem is destroyed while the narcissist’s false self is elevated.

Warning Signs You May Be the Target of a Narcissist

Here are some warning signs you may be the target of a narcissist:

  • You feel intense chemistry and an instant connection with them early on.
  • They shower you with flattery, gifts, affection, and attention (love bombing).
  • They constantly fish for compliments.
  • Conversations always center around them.
  • They take no interest in your life outside of them.
  • Their social media is filled with selfies and self-promotion.
  • They have a pattern of cutting people out of their life.
  • They react strongly to even mild criticism.
  • They alternate between putting you on a pedestal and then devaluing you.
  • Your self-esteem starts to sink and you feel dependent on them for approval.

If you recognize these patterns, you may be caught in the narcissist’s web. Consider seeking help to detach from the dysfunctional dynamic.

Detaching from Narcissists

It can be challenging to detach from a narcissist, especially if you are trauma bonded to them. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Seek support. Connecting with others who understand narcissistic abuse can validate your experiences.
  • Learn about trauma bonds. Understanding why you feel “addicted” to the narcissist will help you break free.
  • Minimize contact. Reduce contact as much as possible and use the gray rock method when contact is unavoidable.
  • Work with a professional. A counselor can help you rebuild self-esteem, set boundaries, and leave the relationship.
  • Join a support group. Groups provide community, accountability, and resources for untangling from narcissists.
  • Cease providing narcissistic supply. Stop offering praise, admiration, and validation when possible.
  • Keep busy. Fill your schedule with activities unrelated to the narcissist to stay detached.

With concerted effort, one can break free from the narcissist’s manipulation and regain self-confidence, agency, and inner peace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Narcissists and Their Targets


Question Answer
Do narcissists target anyone or look for specific traits? Narcissists often target empaths, people pleasers, and anyone else who provides steady narcissistic supply and is easier to manipulate.
Why do narcissistic targets put up with the abuse and stay? Targets are often trauma bonded to the narcissist and struggle with low self-worth that keeps them stuck in the toxic cycle.
What makes codependents an attractive target for narcissists? Codependents provide steady validation, struggle to set boundaries, and fear abandonment – this enables ongoing narcissistic supply.
Do both cerebral and somatic narcissists target similar personas? Yes, cerebral and somatic narcissists often target the same types, as both need targets who provide blind validation and are highly manipulable.
Why do narcissists devalue and discard targets after love bombing them? Once targets are hooked and bonded, the narcissist gets bored with not getting enough narcissistic supply. Devalue and discard helps instill trauma bonds.
What is the best way for an empathic person to stop attracting narcissists? Empaths should work on setting strong boundaries, building self-esteem, spotting red flags early on, and learning to identify manipulative behaviors.
How can you tell if you are just a narcissistic supply source? Signs include them losing interest once you stop praising them, feeling like a prop in their life, lack of reciprocity, and hot/cold devaluation cycles.
What is the fastest way to get over and detach from a narcissist? No contact, joining support groups, Therapy, focusing on your needs, and refusing to provide further narcissistic supply help detach.
What should you avoid doing when detaching from a narcissist? Avoid pleading, crying, venting hurt feelings, confronting them, and offering closure. This provides narcissistic supply.


In summary, narcissists target those who provide steady narcissistic supply and validation to feed their ego. Certain personalities like empaths, people pleasers, and codependents are prized targets. Learning red flags like love bombing and devaluation cycles can help identify narcissistic abuse. Detaching from narcissists requires no contact, building self-worth, and withdrawing supply. With proper support, one can break free of the narcissist’s manipulation and toxicity. The key is to identify our own blind spots that make us vulnerable to narcissistic predation. Self-awareness and building self-esteem makes us less susceptible targets for exploitation.