I think they do both. Particularly if there is a family tie. They will go away once they find a distraction that fills their need - some truly naive sucker - but they will pop up here and there forever, just in case you "change your mind and come to your senses".
I don't know, of course, Beeleever...but I'm guessing that it might be something like an inexplicable 'remission' in some physical ailment...beyond our understanding.
I'm going to ramble on here...
My purpose is to get to the bottom of very basic solutions that might help everyone.
There are some people who are never the victims of 'users'.
Picture a big redhead in a red dress and long red fingernails. If anyone dared to suggest any of the things narcissists do, she would put her hands on her hips and ask in a loud voice, "You want me to do WHAT?!" And, she'd laugh.
Also picture a warm, kind, self-confident, and successful person, out puttering in their garden on a Saturday morning. One remark from a narcissist on the warpath would get...what...reaction?
Probably just the suggestion of a smile, a small shake of the head, and a turning away...
You can think of other examples of people who are impervious to self-serving manipulations.
The wise child who's feet get going when a narcissist comes within three yards...is another. Something tells them they will go home, now.
What is the difference between us and them? And, what is the difference between each of them? Also, what is the difference between a narcissist and the rest of us?
The differences could be knowledge, experience, wisdom...but these don't seem likely, given that few people know what narcissistic behavior is all about, let alone how to 'manage' it.
I have a theory. It is this...those who are impervious to manipulation operate on an entirely different 'frequency' than both manipulators and potential victims.
Aren't narcissism, victimization, and imperviousness all 'learned' behaviors?
Not individually, of course. I think it might be impossible to 'teach' any of the three on a 'school-day schedule'...but in general environmental attitude we might any of us be 'trained' into vulnerabilities or strengths...maybe both.
The child who learns basic truths of independence, with the rights of others a close second, might be protected against abuse, and abusing.
They might be too busy learning and doing better behaviors, to ever fall into the 'trap'. Which is not to say that everything they may be developing is always better. They may make mistakes anywhere else...but this subject just 'does not compute'. Their instinct is to be elsewhere.
Which begs the question..."How do we get from where we are to where we want to be?"
When I was seeing a counselor, I asked her that very question. If we have always lived in Box A, and have no idea of what Box B is like, how do we get from one to the other?
You know what she told me? "Just jump."
I replied, "Carla, that's no answer!"
But, now I think it IS. How do I know? Because, in a lifetime of considerable analytical thinking, and worrying that others might think me to be 'Pollyanna', I haven't come up with a better plan.
One woman wrote that one way to become President of General Motors was...to find a person who was most like the President of General Motors, and stick to him like glue!
A worldly, widely-traveled young woman, to help me with self-confidence, suggested that she could take me to tea with a remarkable older woman from Europe. "In one and a half hours she will teach you all you would need to know to socialize with royalty."
I said, "Gulp!"
Anne also told me that I should travel to Italy. "They LOVE blonds there. They would make you feel so good!"
Later I read that Italian men dote on females...of any description. A tall, gangly, very young woman is likely to hear, "I wish I had a ladder to climb up and gaze into your beautiful eyes!" Or, to have her fine bottom patted.
Italian men always find some reason to admire a woman...they say.
These, and other stories Anne told me, were so far from my experience that there is no doubt that, by telling them, she influenced my courage profoundly. The stories echoed in the back of my mind, through thick and thin, even to this day at age 69.
No, I never did have tea with the European lady, or go to Italy, or even be completely on my own until age 46...but those possibilities exist in my imagination.
Perhaps that was enough to save my bacon. Perhaps I WAS 'protected' to some degree.
There is one other lady for you to read...free.http://www.wishcraft.com It's the first book she wrote, and a gem...and a bestseller all this time, though it has never been promoted.
Ever since I first found Barbara Sher's work (my head snapped around in a double-take when I found her on PBS..."WHAT did she just say?"), I have wondered how to get the message to children...even little children, appropriately.
If they had a standard, they would be less vulnerable, wouldn't they? And, we could establish a standard, simply by preferring it, out loud, and living it. Children pick up attitudes by osmosis...they absorb them through their skins.
Maybe just stepping to the side, into a different 'frequency' is the easiest, and best way to get where we want to go.
They never really go away. In my instance with recently breaking off of an N family member, they were harrassing me and whoever they knew I was around. Now, after about a month, it's quiet...but I've seen other people break from her before, and she doesn't stay away for too long. Soon, the antics will probably start back up...they did with the other people who got away from this N family member. Without that power over people, they can't seem to operate too well. You just have to keep your chin up.