Unconsciously repeating trauma.
Often when people were raised by narcissists, they repeat the familiar pattern of picking someone who unconsciously repeats this pattern from their childhood. Frequently this includes the person trying to gain the narcissist’s approval, love, attention, and caring, despite the painful emotional rollercoaster of the relationship. One can think of this as the person unknowingly repeating this familiar cycle because they are unconsciously trying to finally get the positive feelings that they did not get enough of as a child. Of course, they usually do get the outcome they are craving, and more frequently they end up feeling re-wounded.
They can be intoxicating.
Not every narcissist is charming, but the ones that are can be truly intoxicating. At their best, when a narcissist “picks you” many people feel special, wanted, chosen, and find this to be very intoxicating. This is the stage when they are viewing you as the perfect being that they are pursuing, and the average person is unlikely to have any idea how quickly these feelings can change, and what the relationship is likely to feel like when the narcissist does not find them to be so shiny anymore. By this point, many people are so in love and tangled in the relationship, that it can be very painful and difficult to break-up.
Not every narcissist is created equal.
There is a huge range of emotional functioning among people who suffer from NPD. For example, there are narcissists who become icy when they are angry but have learned to filter the meaner things they may be tempted to say in a moment of anger. On the other hand, there are also extremely toxic narcissists who can be cruel, sadistic, and awful the second their mood shifts. A higher functioning narcissist is capable of having a healthier relationship than the lower functioning, more sadistic narcissists.