Shahida Arabi is a bestselling author on narcissism; her articles are in-depth and insightful as she unpacks the victim and perpetrator’s mindset on abuse. In one of her recent articles on PsychCentral, she unpacks why victims of abuse attract multiple narcissists/abusers throughout their lifetime. According to Arabi, people naturally assume that there must be something wrong with survivors who experience abuse throughout their life. However, here’s why she thinks this is untrue.
1. Narcissists are more common than people think
In her article, Arabi indicates that meeting more than one narcissist or sociopathic individual is highly likely because narcissism and a lack of empathy are becoming more common, especially amongst the younger generation.” Narcissists are everywhere and can be encountered in any relationship including family, friendships and amongst colleagues in the workplace. Therefore, “it makes sense that many of us would meet more than a couple of predators in our lifetime and be victimised by them.”
2. Narcissists target victims for their strengths
Arabi says that narcissists target people who are empathic, resilient, attractive and successful – people who look good on their arm, someone that boosts their image and “those who can bounce back from abusive incidents so the abuser can continue the abuse cycle.” If you fit this profile, it is highly probable that you are a target of many narcissists.
3. The narcissist provides a sense of familiarity
Someone who grew up in an abusive background and was raised by a narcissist parent is “especially susceptible to being groomed by predators in adulthood because [they’ve] been conditioned to accept the unacceptable.” Arabi refers to this phenomenon as “traumatic reenactment or the trauma repetition cycle.” The survivor has become accustomed, mentally and physically to the “chaos and crazymaking [they] encountered in childhood, leaving [them] vulnerable to trauma bonding with manipulators in adulthood.” Trauma bonding can be categorised by phases of good and bad treatment that is continuously interchangeable throughout the relationship with the narcissist. Therefore, it is essential to deal with the trauma of a past abusive relationship and to set boundaries. However, even after dealing with the abuse you experienced, you could still encounter narcissists who target you throughout your life.
You can’t avoid narcissists, but you protect yourself from trauma bonding with them.
For more information on how to identify narcissists and prevent trauma bonding, read the full article here.