A man with a hard luck story and a broken wing is irresistible to a lot of women. Perhaps, it’s because we are hard wired to be nurturers and caretakers, or perhaps, the broken wing we see in others is a mirror of our own pain and need for comforting.
Not too many people come out of childhood emotionally unscathed. We all have some issue or another that shapes our current perception and behaviours. Sometimes the dysfunction is overt and obvious and sometimes it takes a while to see it in another. But we can prepare ourselves by understanding what drives and motivates another’s behaviours so that we don’t fall victim to it.
So suppose you were a Narcissist or a broken down and you were in desperate need of Narcissistic Supply. (Attention, admiration, sex, money….) Obtaining this supply is an extremely anxiety-provoking experience. You don’t want to waste your time on women that know what you’re all about and will shoot you down, so you need a method by which you can determine, which women will be easy prey for you. So what do you do?
All predators have a modus operandi. In the same way that psychopaths or child molesters have their methods for luring their victims, the Narcissist has his specific process for quickly and easily determining who will be willing and who will not.
The Broken Wing Theory
The Narcissist appeals to the nurturing side of women. This is how he weeds women out. You see, as a Narcissist, you want someone that’s going to take care of you, because you’re irresponsible. You want someone that is fairly easy to dominate, because you like the control and you need to be put on a pedestal. You want someone that’s nurturing, because you need the attention and you need to be catered to. You need to find someone that’s overly giving because, let’s face it it’s all about you, so you need someone who will put you first and themselves last. You’re going to need someone that makes excuses, rationalizes and blames themselves for other people’s bad behavior, because you are going to act like a selfish asshole. So in general you need a caregiver, a nurturer with low self-esteem, and no boundaries, that puts up with a lot of crap.
So the M.O. goes something like this: With immense charm and skill the Narcissist poetically spins tales of hard luck and injustices that have been heaved upon him (nothing is ever his fault). This is why he’s in the particular state he’s in now. It’s only temporary though, he tells you. He wants to be perceived as strong, tough or brilliant (he isn’t really at all, but wants to be perceived that way) And because you’re special he shows you the vulnerable side of him, his broken wing.
He knows from experience that by doing that, it will have the same emotional response, to the right woman, as if he has just pulled out a puppy. He knows, because you are still there, sympathetic to his plight, giving him that shoulder, feeling sorry for him, that he has found his target. He tells you that he is looking for the right woman, someone who will understand him and give him a soft place to land. He fast tracks you through the Utopian lifestyle you’ll have together. He initially puts you on a pedestal, showering you with attention and compliments, because you are special enough to see his superiority and his potential for greatness.
He dangles everything you want right in front of you. He puts all of his energy and attention on you. He’s the perfect guy. He pursues you like no one ever has and because you are a nurturer, all you want to do is throw your arms around him and say, “Awwww you poor misunderstood baby. Let me take care of you. Let me make it all better.”
Then the nightmare begins.
Narcissists are indeed broken people, so you might say that this process comes by them honestly, but these men are con artists, they have honed their craft well and they’ve practiced it so often it has become second nature to them. They do not form normal healthy emotional bonds to people, so we know that when they show you their vulnerable side it is a manipulation technique they have learned.
Their deceptiveness is a given, but they are not solely to blame. The phrase, it takes two to tango, comes to mind, because some of the onus belongs to the target as well.
Why do we fall for it? Most women that have self-esteem, self-respect and boundaries would recognize a dog when she saw a dog and opt out of the situation, but so many of us stick around and allow ourselves to be kicked again and again.
Women as Caretakers
Yes, women are caretakers and nurtures. Nature intended for us to kiss the boo-boos and make everything alright. We are hardwired that way – but – we were hardwired that way to take care of children – not full grown ass men.
This is where we get it confused. We were not meant to fix adults. Every individual is responsible for themselves and the choices they make. It’s nobody’s job to fix someone else’s problems – flat out -because we can’t. We need to recognize how hard it is to make changes in our own lives and for us to stick to those changes. To come up with a solution for someone else’s problem and try to force them to change is impossible.
Somehow we think, if only _________ would do this and stop doing that, then we could have the life and the relationship he promised me in the beginning. We put all of our energy and attention on getting them to change, we stop paying attention to ourselves. Their problems become our entire focus, to the detriment of our own lives.
With the type of woman that gets caught up in this, there is a pay-off for her. By consuming herself with her mate’s problems, it stops her from having to look inside and face her own. So often, these women are full of self-loathing, looking at themselves is the last thing they want to do and they continue to live in a fantasy world, where if they could just get their partner fixed, then everything would be ok. Broken men become appealing to us because we too, believe that we are so damaged and imperfect that we can only have another damaged and imperfect human being.
Flawed + Flawed does not equal Unflawed – it’s not like two negatives canceling each other out.
If you were out shopping for used cars and you came across a beat up, broken down car that was never going to work properly – would you buy it? What if it could talk and it told you stories like – it got this dent here because it was in the Daytona 500 and that the transmission didn’t work because someone was so jealous of how fast it went, they pulled it out, but they have a plan to get an even better transmission. Would you buy it then? Probably not, so if we wouldn’t buy a broken down old car that will never provide us with what we need – why do we overlook obvious flaws in the people we are considering having a relationship with – flaws that should have us running for the hills – clear indications that they can never give us what we want or need?
It’s almost like we put on our rose coloured glasses and refuse to see the dog right in front of us. There are some obvious – run like hell – signs that we need to be aware of.
- If you have a man steeped in issues and he is throwing you up on a pedestal, worshipping you as his messiah and savior that’s a huge red flag. It may sound and feel great at the beginning, but trust me that’s a major, major red flag. It’s how the Narcissist gets you addicted to him. The worshipping is short lived and you will spend the rest of your relationship trying to understand why he doesn’t anymore and how you can get it back.
- If you have a man rushing you through the get to know you phase, that’s a red flag.
- If your man is constantly coming up with excuses and never taking responsibility for the condition of his life, if it’s always someone else’s fault – that’s a red flag.
- When a man is tugging at your heartstrings, trying to get you to feel sorry for him, that’s a huge red flag.
- If you find that you are drawn to men that have problems, there’s a serious check engine light on, telling you that you need to do some internal repairs before you start dating again.
Recognize that the Narcissist is like a used car salesman trying to sell you a lemon. He’s trying to run a con on you and only by knowing the rules can you protect yourself. When you stop trying to have relationships with broken men and you start being a nurturer and caregiver to you first, will you be able to change the rules of the game and walk away with your winnings intact.
Join our subscriber mailing list and receive our weekly posts right to your inbox!!!
I *am* the fixer upper but not out of npd. i have schizoaffective disorder and it feels nearly impossible to make changes.
I found this article when I started looking for some answers this morning on why I attract the same kind of men.
I wanted to know why this is happening, because I feel like I’m a really great person!
Since my last relationship ended 15 months ago, I’ve been trying to work on me, which is going well. Then over the past 2 days, I’ve encountered 2 different men who made me feel awesome! They talked to me, complimented me & were very charming, but I started recognizing the same pattern; heavy smoker/pot user, no job/on permanent disability, poor housing situation, different baby mamas & never married, little/no ambition or drive….
I’m thankful that I’ve recognized things almost right away, but it’s hard feeling so good & then saying no thanks.
The final result? I’m pretty proud of myself & will continue to work on myself
This was me for 11.5 years Early on I was given 2 dozen roses, and taken on the romantic trip of a life time. At about 6 weeks the mask began to slip at 6 months it was off but I chased the dream I was sold believing as I was told it was my fault things had changed. I tried to leave occasionally but the love bombing always wooed me back in as that is what they are good at. It was always short lived and the worst part about it I now know other women were simataneously involved and most likely treated the same way…..as men like this have multiple women usually in different phases of the dissfunction…wooing phase, devauling phase, dumping phase ect. I am actively seeking a counselor as I NEVER want to end up in a relationship like this again! Trust me when I say it zaps the life out you not to mention makes u look crazy! LOL
I might add other heads-up to this great article (from my own experience of 2,5 years with a man who came to my FB profile): when they are into truthseeking and spirituality, one big argument for their failure in life is that money is bad, the poor is the pure, and that they have such a great heart for living in shelters… Amongst the most broken.
They nobilize themselves, using bible excerpts and big words like “Christ Consciousness” to lure women in. Who does not want to have a “spiritual man” in his arms?! I fell for it, right from the first messages…
Another trick was to use guilt against me for being a caucasian woman, he being black: we white people would always have the advantage, history shows how the black race was enslaved, and til this day no justice was done… Yaddayadda. I fell totally for it, and imagined I was “paying” the sins of my ancestors…
Narcissists know each fiber of your Achilles Heel.
My advice? Get up, get out and SEEK THERAPY.
I have read so many articles in the past couple of weeks, and this is by far the only one that has gotten through to me. I seriously want to stop the pitty party and start working on myself so that I can have a healthy loving relationship in the future….Very powerful and spot on.
Oh my goodness thank you! I have been struggling to understand why 3 successful women in my life have chosen their losers. Low self-esteem, as an explanation, wasn’t working for me but fixer-upper absolutely works! All three women have ‘create-a-husband’ mentalities. Al, three have a history of improving the lives of their men and all three view themselves as better for it. Thank you thank you thank you! This was making me crazy!!
I am in the phase in my life of saying no to this kind of men. Just did that last week. Met a broken guy that has all the narcisistic red flags and I gave him a big NO and walk away after only one date.
I healed myself and learned how to be happy on my own and don’t accept no man to come into my life taking that away!
My narcissist left me after I finnaly found out he was seeking attention from other woman online. After a confrontation and an actual talk he confessed to me that he does crave constant attention and validations. He was the one that told me that he needed professional help and that I deserved better. I don’t know how much sincerity there is to this but I do know that the man is screwed up. He’s dealt with a lot of loss in his family and never really had any stability. Yeah it was all there though the signs promising me the world and that with him id always be happy, until I wasn’t and it stopped. I do think there in some internal things I need to work on because I keep falling for the “broken man”. I guess that’s my next step to mend the broken parts within me.
Great article. After the recent escape from a NY state prison it was discovered that a female employee aided the escaped convicts. From my experience, this is exactly how inmates manipulate women (employees or others) into helping them. “Helping” in this case means providing favors–sexual or otherwise.
Great article! While I was in this cloud for five years with a narcissist I didn’t recognize it. I knew it didn’t feel right and I knew I couldn’t love him enough. So after many attempts of me trying to end things with him (at least once or twice a year that resulted in him begging for more time etc) he finally broke it off when he found new prey.
Now since hindsight is 20/20, your article is spot on. I can look back and see all the red flags. Now at least I can take this as a learning experience and thank God that I did not have children with him. I just feel sorry for the new girl but she is ten times more insecure than I ever was so she will never know what hit her.
Hi Savannah, I have been blessed by having read up on the Narcissistic/broken wing/fixxer-upper man. I feel that I had married a Narcissist, from whom I am FINALLY getting a divorce. But, I have recently met someone in his forties (and I’m in my thirties) who has had bad luck with a couple of women. He always praises me. He even talks about how his managers are trying to drive him out. He knows that I am still dealing with the divorce process (with two kids of my own)but, already had already expressed that he wanted to kiss me even though he knows I need to take this VERY slow. He doesn’t make very much money. He used to be an alcoholic for most of his life. Hence, the not marrying earlier nor having obtained a degree or something like that. I don’t want to make the same mistake twice. Help?
rasiel05 I think you really need to slow down. My first thought is you aren’t even divorced yet, have you healed – have you worked on yourself have you spent time alone to get to know you? My second thought is, if this guy hasn’t gotten his shit together by the time he’s in his 40’s what makes you think he’ll do it now? It sounds to me like you are next in line to support him. Also note how his failures are always someone else’s fault. Be careful.
Savannah this is one of the best articles on the site.
On our fifth or sixth date, my N cried and told me that he tried to commit suicide when he was 21. Now I don’t think this ever really happened.
The next morning, I was uncomfortable and wanted to bail. Then I made an excuse for him in my mind. He was too drunk. I won’t bring it up again, I told myself. He’s probably embarrassed.
I had just proved that I was his perfect victim. The freaking guy showed and TOLD me how unstable he was, and I still ignored it.
But he kept doing it. For two years I listened to him talk about how he tried to kill himself when he was 21, or that he wanted to kill himself, almost every freaking time he got drunk. He’s said fairly recently that he was going to buy a gun and blow his brains out (when he was blacked out drunk of course, which is all the time).
Either that, or he’d cry about his father, who passed away 15 years ago.
Everything you said in this post is spot-on. He always said that he just wanted me to understand him and that I didn’t.
When I met him, he was 32, renting a room in a house and living with 20-somethings. Inside his room, there was no furniture. No bed. No dresser. He slept on the floor.My gut was saying that this guy was fiscally irresponsible and was a loser — than that part of me that is too nice and doesn’t wanna be judgmental tried to overlook it.
I asked him why he had no bed. His answer? He had just moved there and his situation was temporary. He’s always out of town for work (his line of work, when he actually works, does require him to travel.)
Same thing as to why he wasn’t working. It was just temporary and he was “enjoying his time off.”
It wasn’t until fairly recently that I found out he was FIRED from his job because of his drinking problem.
Another thing that did not add up — his rental history was very strange. Really spotty. He never had his own place. He’s never lived alone. He was always in a house with several roommates, sleeping on a friend’s couch. Which is what he’s doing now after I kicked him out.
Ladies, we MUST listen to our inner voice, trust our intuition and trust ourselves! The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them!
One red flag that I think should be included is to pay attention to a man’s relationship with his mother, and really pay attention to any weird feelings you may get about it.
That was a huge red flag that I ignored. My N’s relationship with his mom was really unsettling to me. There was just something not right about it.
Before I met my N’s mother, he talked about her all the time and it was strange. My N had very strong, sexy manly hands. When I told him that, his response ACTUALLY was “My mom said I could be a hand model.” This would be a joke and a funny one, if Seth Rogen said it. But my N was not joking.
As we grew closer, he asked me to pop some pimples on his back. Even though I thought it was gross, I did it to be helpful since these were pimples he could not reach. While I was touching his back, he told me that his mom used to always pop the pimples on his back when he was a teenager, and that he found it soothing. I got really weirded out and stopped.
Then I met her. He brought me over for Xmas. After two months of dating. He also tried to invite me over for Thanksgiving, after dating for just a month. I thought he was just trying to helpful since he knew I was fairly new to the city, but that was not his plan.
I went and felt really scrutinized, as though I needed to pass some test. Know what his mom said? I wasn’t wild enough to date her son.
Over two years, while I did grow to love his mom for who she is, I see where my N’s disease came from.
She talked all the time about how handsome he is, to the point where it’s creepy, and will even post this shiz on his Facebook wall. He’s 34 years old. She admitted to me that she bailed him out financially too many times, well past the age of 21. I don’t think she disciplined him. She bought him and his brother whatever they wanted.
I feel bad for her because I really don’t believe any mother purposefully wants to raise a narcissistic man. She over indulged him and his brother, because she probably felt guilty for their dad never paying child support (his dad was a total dead beat and never gave her child support).
I really do believe that narcissists are created, not born, thanks to moms like my N’s.
Just wanted to say thanks-your insights are very helpful and your writing describes my experience to a T. Best site out there on narcissicistic relationships.
Savannah – you described my experience perfectly. I got out, then worked HARD to understand my role and errors. In the relationship, I was trying to hang on to the fantasy and fix him to avoid fixing myself. From January 2013 – 9 months after breakup, I am authentic for the first time in my life. Studying, gathering information, talking to the right people, pressing ahead, was what I had to do to get through this. I now thank God for bringing him into my life. If he would not have been disordered, I would not have learned what I needed to learn. I went through emotional boot camp for 2 1/2 years. It shaped and moulded me into the person I am today. I am ready and willing to take on life, confidently, responsibly, and by myself if that is what my path is. Thank you Savannah for your valuable information to others who have to heal from this kind of relationship.
Awesome article. I feel redeemed and on the road to healing finally! THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS FOR US WOMEN!!!
All I can say….Big Thank You.
These articles are helping so much. Thank you. I’m starting to feel optimistic or the future!
I have been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worthy enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.
Thanks for sharing this link on my page. This is a great article. I also know from experience that it’s extremely true.