Narcissism seems to have come into the spotlight a lot more in recent times. In all likelihood this is for a variety of reasons! The main one is probably our easy and constant access to social media, where narcissistic traits become easily evident – whether through photos of a world leader displaying obvious narcissistic behaviour or daily selfies of f/b ‘friends’ we barely know!
A colleague recently asked me some very important questions re narcissism, relationships and astrology, namely - why are individuals attracted to narcissists and how are these traits portrayed in Astrology?
First of all, our natal chart does not describe psychological dysfunctions. However, it can portray where and how each of us is more likely to be vulnerable to psychological challenges, given the most ‘conducive’ set of challenging circumstances. Without this set of circumstances these traits are more likely to be expressed in a functional constructive manner in our lives.
In terms of Narcissism and Astrology, there are several potential signatures including a very Fiery or Airy chart without much Water (empathy) and/or Earth (grounding). Also Sun/Mars – particularly in Fire or Air signs. Strong Sagittarius and/or Jupiter in the chart – Sun, Ascendant or planets in Sagittarius in the 1st house or on the MC and/or Jupiter on the Ascendant/1st house or conjunct the Sun.
However, these configurations at their most expansive can be easily expressed in a fiery, dynamic, warm-hearted, fun and joyful manner. However, if they are combined with childhood emotional, physical, sexual and /or mental abuse and/or neglect including any of the following and more: lack of unconditional love, lack of communication, lack of a loving presence by parents/caretakers, the threat or presence of aggression and violence, passive aggression, addictions, punitive silences, abandonment, engulfment…then the individual may develop narcissistic traits if these issues are not worked through in a conscious manner. Consciousness which is key, as it leads to an awareness that there is an issue which needs to be addressed, requires the creative development of our Sun sign! Unless childhood issues are addressed with a view to developing a real sense of self (rather than an ego based one) – usually through psychotherapy – it is unlikely that the awareness on its own will change the narcissistic patterns of behaviour. However, one of the challenges with deeply embedded narcissistic qualities is that the individual protects themself by believing that everyone else is at fault. This avoids being accountable and taking responsibility for their narcissistic behaviours.
Another important consideration is that we live in a global culture that has been largely founded on 'ego' rather than the ‘real self’. Hence narcissistic behaviour is often regarded as an advantage and is financially rewarded and encouraged in many parts of the ‘corporate and political world’ as it generates more money and hence power, for a handful of individuals who skilfully ‘use’ the narcissistic behaviour of their employees for their own means!
Why are some individuals attracted to narcissists?
A lot of psychological writing highlights how Empaths and other highly sensitive individuals (HSP) are often drawn to narcissists. This is of course a complex issue, so bear with me as I am only skimming the surface! (However Armand Diaz and I will be offering a webinar on ‘Narcissism and Relationships’ The date will be announced shortly!)
The natal charts of empaths/HSP individuals usually have a lot of planets and/or angles in Water or a Sun/Neptune, Moon/Neptune aspect. Moon in water is very common as well as Sun or Moon in the 12th house. At their most expansive these planetary configurations can best be expressed through the creative arts – writing, painting, dancing, music and singing as well as psychic awareness. Also through working in the ‘caring’ profession, with children etc. However, if these configurations are combined with childhood abuse as outlined earlier in the article, then there is more likely to be an attraction to individuals with narcissistic traits. A key issue is that because of their sensitivity, empaths are more likely to have felt a sense of responsibility to heal their abusive parent. This is in part based on a belief (often encouraged by the parent), that somehow the child was at fault! The individual may then unconsciously look for ways to try and heal/fix the original wound with the parent, through relationships with individuals who at the very least require endless attention and reassurance and at worse are emotionally, physically, mentally or/and sexually abusive or neglectful.
One of the things that is likely to keep empaths in relationships with narcissistic individuals (including friendships!) is that they have the innate ability to perceive the best potential in others and they sometimes ignore the reality of how the person is actually behaving, versus their best potential that may rarely or never manifest in this lifetime!
As with Narcissists, the Sun sign and aspects to it in the natal chart of an empath are unlikely to be fully developed. In the case of empaths, Mars may also be repressed, suppressed or underdeveloped and Saturnian boundaries may not be easy to maintain.
Similarly to narcissists, the way through is to consciously consciously engage with and work through the original childhood abuse. The good news is that HSP individuals are more likely to engage with psychotherapy and work through their painful childhood issues, enabling them eventually to let go of any self-blame to do with childhood issues and any need to heal their narcissistic partner or friends! This enables them to fully engage in happy and fulfilling intimate relationships.
Margaret Gray June 2017
(Many thanks Judy for asking these valuable questions!)
FYI! Armand and I offer live online Relationship readings to individuals and couples! Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like some further information or check out our website at:www.relationshipsandastrology.com. We both work with astrology from a psychological perspective and have worked extensively with most relationship issues including: narcissism, substance abuse, domestic violence, adult children family dynamics, LGBTQI relationships, new relationships, separations, divorces... I am also am MSW and work as a Couples and Family Mediator. - Margaret Gray