The great question for those who have been through narcissistic abuse is WHY?
Why do narcissists and control freaks single out one person but not another?
Why do some people seem to fall for their charms and cons, and not others?
The answer is actually pretty simple, believe it or not. There are facets and details that contribute to the answer, mitigating circumstances, life situations, and all kinds of emotional and mental factors that can be analyzed, extracted, injected, and examined to create each person's individual scenario. However, what it boils down to is simply this:
In most cases, "Narcissists" or controllers have something in common: they are used to having someone in their lives who they feel superior to. At some point in their childhoods, there was a person who was treated as an "inferior" to someone else. Someone was being treated as a sidekick, a scapegoat, a weakling, an underling. Someone was being treated on a regular basis as a LESSER human being.
It might have been the person's sister or brother (How many people think it's "normal" and "okay" to treat a little sister or brother like garbage? And how many parents do nothing about it, and may even make the bullying worse by blaming the sibling who was being targeted because they favor the bully child?)
It could have been their mother or father; if one parent made it a habit of dominating, abusing, and disrespecting the other parent, or even if they both did it to each other, the child is learning by what the parents MODEL, just like every other human kid. Basically they're learning: "It's natural to treat a person close to me with disrespect, even abuse, and dominate them like a crazed gorilla in order to get my way, and whoever is more abusive is the one who everyone treats better than the other one." The kid doesn't know that the "extra respect" people are giving the abuser is called "walking on eggshells", it's not "respect", it's avoidance of triggering their "wrath" because everyone is sick of the stress and problems they cause.
It could have been a kid down the street that everyone picked on. It could have been an Aunt and Uncle, where one treated the other like a servant; the child would of course NOT want to grow up to be the one who behaved like the servant, but like the one doing the ordering around. It could have been another kid's brother or sister who was being treated like a sidekick or a punching bag, or who was being left out of everything just for meanness' sake. Most likely that kid's sibling who was being left out was the opposite sex, but not always. It could have even been the kid himself or herself, getting treated like a sidekick, a ragdoll, or a scapegoat by his or her own family members, and in order to cope with the abuse, the child chose "finding someone else to target" as their main coping skill; they were being taught "how to bully" by their own family, directly.
So the narcissist grew up with someone in their life who they felt innately superior to.
This was almost always exacerbated by both someone else's bullying and scapegoating behavior toward a given target, AND by not being taught or guided about how to treat others, what ethics are, and why they're important.
>Even if one parent did guide and teach the child with as much teaching skill and serenity as Gandhi, Mother Theresa, or the Dalai Lama, if that parent was treated with DISRESPECT by others in the family, the child will very likely learn to disrespect that parent and therefore dismiss, ignore, and disdain anything that parent tries to instill.
The narcissist or controller person is used to feeling entitled to withhold "approval" of another person, is used to feeling like they have innate authority and superiority over whoever they decide is "lower" or "lesser" than themselves (and others like themselves), and is used to feeling "above" someone else in their personal life, and believes that's perfectly okay and normal.
It's part of normal daily life, in their minds, for there to be someone who is "superior", and someone who is "inferior".
They most likely do not know or comprehend that everyone does not think and live that way.
So that explains the Narcissist or Controller. What about the target?
Why does one person end up in an abusive relationship, and not another?
The answer to this is the same as the previous answer, but the flip side of that coin.
In most cases, a person who ends up being the target of a Narcissist or a Controller has been one before.
They were "trained" at some point in their lives to allow disrespectful behavior toward them from those around them.
They learned to expect those in their personal lives to act as if they were better than them, stronger than them, smarter than them, more experienced than them, more knowledgeable, and tougher.
They were trained that someone else will know better, do better, and is more able to lead, to teach, to make decisions, and to get things done.
They were treated as if they were not "one of the people" who gets treated with automatic respect from others, because they just aren't.
They were trained to believe that they could not do "important" things on their own, that they needed someone else who was stronger, more knowledgeable, and braver than them to be there with them.
They were trained that the only reason people treat them with disrespect is because they are doing something to MAKE THEM treat them that way, or that they should deal with it because of who or what they are, "that's the way it is."
They were even trained to shrink back from standing up for themselves because it's "rude" and "bad manners".
This "training" could have come from the target's parents, but not necessarily. It could have come from one parent. It could have come from watching one parent target the other, and they identified with the targeted parent instead of the Controller parent, like the Narcissist might have done. It could have come from the school they went to, either the faculty, the other kids, or both. (Usually both, there are always narcissistic faculty members in most schools who undermine the values and ethics that other teachers are trying to uphold, who will pull the "Golden Child" and "Scapegoat Child" bit, or have sex bias issues, or just not like kids.) It could have come from the neighborhood, from other kids, other parents; it could have come from other relatives. It could have come from their closest friend, and that friend's family members. It could have come from their religious community, or from the entire community they grew up in.
So the ANSWER to the question of "WHY?" is simple.
The Narcissist or Controller is just used to thinking of themselves as "above" and "superior", and they feel normal when they have a person targeted to be the "inferior" one.
They're a bully and think (or hope) that they're better.
(Maybe they want to be the Uncle who everyone treated like Royalty, and since he treated their Aunt like a rug, that's how they think "great people" act. Or maybe it was the Aunt who everyone treated like Royalty and the Uncle who was treated like a rug.)
Whatever, either way they're identifying themselves as a "SUPERIOR PERSON" who controls all, who doles out resources and approval, and makes demands to "underlings".
The Target is a person who has been through this before, and was taught that it was "normal". So the Target misses the "Red Flags" that someone else may have seen and steps past them. It feels "normal" to the Target to NOT receive approval and reciprocal friendship. It feels normal to have someone in their life who seems to want to take the lead, or even take over things they should leave alone, and cross boundaries, change plans frequently, and act like the "stronger one". It even feels normal to be in a friendship or relationship with a person who seems UNINTERESTED or even dismissive toward the Target's interests, talents, ambitions, plans, feelings, accomplishments, and even pets and children. Because it all feels familiar, they've been here before.
Have you ever noticed that non-Narcissist men seem to see through Narcissism in other men that women tend to miss, but they miss the Red Flags flying on Narcissistic women?
Have you ever noticed the opposite is true also, that non-Narcissist women tend to spot Narcissism in other women before men seem to?
That's because it's more common for a person to be trained to accept Narcissistic, disrespectful behavior from the opposite sex than from one's own. Kids are "allowed" more often to stand up to children of the same sex, but not allowed to stand up to kids of the opposite sex, no matter how bad the bullying is. Girls are punished on a regular basis for standing up to boys and men who are disrespectful, bullying or nasty, and boys are punished for standing up to girls or women who bully them as well. Both girls and boys are frequently punished for standing up to any disrespectful adult, especially if the parents want to make a "good impression".
Standing up for one's self is not improper, and does not involve disrespecting, threatening, or bullying the other person back.
Some girls and boys are even often directly taught not to stand up to ANYONE who threatens or gets physically abusive, which is literally crazy, especially since females are an average 5% smaller than males, and individuals of course (boys or girls) can have an even greater size difference between them. Talk about being trained to allow abuse! Being able to defend one's self confidently, and as safely as possible against an attacker should be a basic part of any child's learning.