Why a narcissist loves a high achiever…

If you have ever been in a relationship with a person with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) or who exhibits narcissistic traits, you will know how emotionally draining the ride can be. 

High achievers are naturally a perfect choice for a narcissist, as they tend to exhibit the exact traits they look for in a partner/ victim. People with NPD have a grandiose sense of self importance, so it’s beneficial for them to have a high achieving partner look good on their arm. They have an innate desire to be surrounded by high status including people, places and things. 

I work with many high achieving women who have been involved in narcissistic relationships and did not see it coming, due to their own sense of stability and achievements prior to the relationship.

So what qualities of the high achiever attract a narcissist?


Narcissistic communication can be extremely painful and a narcissist requires their partner to forgive them over and over again through the course of abuse. High achievers feel inclined to do this as they do not want to quit on the ‘challenge’ of the relationship, they want to see it be a success as they try to avoid perceived failure at all costs. 


It is beneficial for a person with NPD, or who fosters a similar type of abuse pattern, to choose a partner with a high sense of optimism, because they always look for the best pieces of the situation. Optimists tend to forget the negative and enhance the positive in any given circumstance. Most high achievers know that where your focus goes, energy flows and they will focus on the good traits of their partner, which can leave them vulnerable to love bombing and manipulation. 


Persons with NPD do not have a desire to give altruistically and therefore it makes sense for their victim to be someone who is willing to give endlessly. That way the narcissist can be cared for and take as much as they want. High achievers have a tendency to be self-sacrificing as they are usually fighting for the greater good and success. They will do anything for the goal of love, a successful relationship and life. This desire to give and do until the job is done, unfortunately makes them perfect prey. 


High achievers are known for their ability to take on many responsibilities and make sure that everything is organised, planned for and cared for in order to be successful when executing any given task. This makes them likely to take on more tasks and the role of caregiver within the relationship, looking after the kids, paying bills, cleaning up, cooking etc. A narcissist loves this, because it means they can behave as they wish with less responsibility, following their own desires at will with the benefit of someone to support in running day to day errands for them. 


A narcissist needs to make the decisions to maintain control and power in their relationships. Their targets are often people who look for external approval in their decisions, this may not be prevalent at the beginning of the relationship, but the narcissist can cleverly manipulate and weaken their victims mindset to bend to their will over time. High achievers naturally seek approval, they want to do well so that they can be looked upon well and thrive on praise. This can lead to falling into the trap of becoming addicted to the narcissist’s approval.


High achievers are often extremely flexible people, forever moving and shifting with challenges to ensure that they are getting back up on the horse and completing the task at hand. This makes them incredibly resilient and accommodating! They will stick out uncomfortable situations longer than others to ensure they succeed and are generally willing to go with the flow to relieve any additional problems or stress. Narcissists are extremely rigid and controlling, so this flexibility in a victim allows them to get their own way. 

I myself am a high achieving woman and I write this article speaking from experience. If you are resonating with this content please know that these high achieving traits are your strengths and you should never have to change who you are! I write this to inform other women who are wary about relationships. You can continue to be the awesome high achieving you! But I encourage you to be wise to boundary setting and to undertake a journey to know yourself well enough to know where your unique boundaries are. 

It is possible to set boundaries with loving intention, connecting with what feels good to you and deciding what is acceptable in your world and what is not will help you to protect yourself against people who may be out to take advantage of your good nature. 

My signature program ‘The Glow’ is designed for high achieving women who are looking for soulmate love, but may be afraid of getting hurt again. I specialise in supporting women to rediscover their inner power and strength, falling in love with themselves (shadow and all) to ensure that they are ready to connect with a worthy, healthy and committed partner.

You can book a call to discuss ‘The Glow’ Program with Sinéad here

The Glow

Sinéad is a hypnotherapist and love coach based in Sydney, Australia. The Glow program is online and accessible anywhere in the world.

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