The Two Types of Individuals in a Narcissist’s Orbit


Narcissists, individuals with an excessive focus on themselves and a lack of empathy for others, tend to attract and interact with two distinct categories of people in their lives. Understanding these dynamics can shed light on the complexities of relationships involving narcissists.

The Enablers

Characteristics of Enablers

Enablers are individuals who, knowingly or unknowingly, support and validate the narcissist’s behavior. They often exhibit the following characteristics:

  1. Submissiveness: Enablers are typically submissive and accommodating. They may go to great lengths to avoid conflict and keep the narcissist content.
  2. Validation: Enablers provide constant validation and praise to the narcissist. They boost the narcissist’s ego by reinforcing their self-centered beliefs.
  3. Excusing Behavior: Enablers often make excuses for the narcissist’s actions, even when those actions are harmful to others. They rationalize and downplay the narcissist’s behavior.

Reasons for Enabling

Enablers may enable narcissists for various reasons:

  • Fear of Repercussions: They fear the narcissist’s anger or retaliation if they disagree or confront them.
  • Desire for Acceptance: Enablers may seek the narcissist’s approval and validation, leading them to comply with the narcissist’s wishes.
  • Dependency: In some cases, enablers may be financially or emotionally dependent on the narcissist, making them reluctant to challenge them.

The Challengers

Characteristics of Challengers

Challengers, on the other hand, are individuals who resist the narcissist’s behavior and set boundaries. They possess these key traits:

  1. Assertiveness: Challengers are assertive and unafraid to voice their concerns or objections. They stand up for themselves and others.
  2. Healthy Boundaries: They establish and maintain healthy boundaries, refusing to tolerate mistreatment or manipulation.
  3. Independence: Challengers are often independent and self-reliant, making them less susceptible to the narcissist’s control.

Reasons for Challenging

Challengers challenge narcissists for various reasons:

  • Protecting Themselves: They prioritize their well-being and refuse to be victims of the narcissist’s behavior.
  • Defending Others: Challengers may stand up for friends or family members who are targeted by the narcissist.
  • Promoting Accountability: They believe in holding the narcissist accountable for their actions and preventing harm to others.


In conclusion, the dynamics surrounding narcissists often involve two distinct groups of individuals: the enablers and the challengers. Enablers provide support and validation, while challengers resist and set boundaries. Understanding these roles can help shed light on the complex relationships that develop around narcissists.