In response to the Question asked: “What is a victim looking for, and what is a narcissist looking for? What do they find attractive in each other?”
They both look to have needs be met — they are each looking to become the other’s supply. The target gets all their core needs met through the NPD’s mirroring everything they learn by careful observation. This is the mask of ‘love’ and adoration they wear, it is designed to be everything the target wants so the NPD can get their needs met. The NPD’s needs are to be idealized as well whether by the target or the public in general. They achieve this by training the target to be reciprocal — by creating a platform of support, devotion and love they will get the same experience in return. The target is ‘trained’ how to be in the relationship. Depending on the supply needs of the NPD, it may not matter at all what physical appearance the target has — as long as the target fulfills the most important needs of the moment.
The target grows in confidence due to the neurochemical shifts that occur when their mirror neurons are so intensely activated and they experience deep and genuine emotions of bonding and trust. It is those same critical neural connections and chemical bonds that get shattered when the NPD unmasks the whole thing as a sham and betrayal, and the experience turns to terror and extreme confusion. It requires physical brain healing to recover from, which is why the process is so painful and takes so long — and why so much focussed effort and work must be done to repair the ripped apart of psyche. The target’s mind becomes so damaged by the experience it causes Complex Post Traumatic Stress with Narcissistic Victim Syndrome — the target experiences “Mental Death”. Such is the power of the NPD mind games — our brains are manipulated at a level we are hardwired for with human existence. The danger to us from NPDs cannot be overstated.
The book, “Habits of a Happy Brain. Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels”, describes the neurochemicals which are involved in human bonding. Dr. Rhonda Freeman, PhD, hypothesis is that it is those very neurochemical connections that are so impacted by Narcissistic abuse.
The NPD gets a different experience, their chemistry is atypical because the areas of the brain most involved in these emotion processes were stunted during early childhood when the disorder took root, and those areas of the brain did not evolve into a mature state of functioning. As a result, the biology of the NPD brain is different. The book, “Bouncing Back, Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being”, offers a clear description of the processes, physiology and chemistry that occurs in the neurotypical brain when we are mirrored to feel intense emotions and bonding, and, by extension, this book serves to illuminate where the NPD brain is dissimilar to neurotypicals. The NPD brain is ‘broken’ causing the mental states to not achieve the natural designed emotional and bonding outcome. These physiological deviations from the norm, be extension, cause the altered thought processes and patterns — it’s a completely different brain where the emotions are concerned. But the NPD wants to feel and experience the incredible highs that come from idealization — it is like a drug and the energy they need to survive. Unfortunately, it is shallow and unsustainable because they cannot bond and fake the feelings through observation and mirroring to get the supply they need to feed their fragile egos. They are incapable of experiencing complex emotions and so use manipulation to control their experience. Controlling external events to control the internal emotional state is key to their being able to function, which is why they do everything they can to exert dominance over people and situations through any means possible.
Additional factors can be looks, social status and finances — but these are not global criteria.
They both get their needs met:
- The target is looking for love
- The NPD is looking for something to fill the empty void within them and feed their ego.