When I was small, I was a real magnet for perverts. Seriously, I am not talking about one or two older guys approaching me, but rather 10. These guys sorted me out from my friends and approached me and not anyone else. Why? I guess, it was because I was a shy kid, with the urge to please everyone around. It was obvious that I was easily scared and low in self-esteem. After all, as a pervert you do not want a kid to start laughing over you or call the police, no you want someone who is easy to control. The whole purpose of approaching children is to control in a manner that would never be possible in grownup relationships.
Of course perverts have a lot of training in reading people, but an average person as well is picking up quite a few signals on the way. Describing my grownup relationships is a little bit more difficult, but I think I can see two patterns here. Lets begin with the guys that I have noticed being interested in me, and these would be slightly narcissistic care-taker guys. These guys have a high need to gain their identity through providing services and favors to other people. They are also highly likely to manipulate through these favors and demand excessive gratitude. The help is provided in the areas where these guys want to provide it, not necessarily where you need it and all this is followed by slight martyrdom when they declare how much they have done for you and how little you do for them. As their dissatisfaction grows, they become increasinly angry and critical for feeling used and not appreciated enough. These type of guys are also highly sensitive to criticism and all criticism is blocked by either counter-attact or their declaration as to how much they have done for you and how ungrateful you are. Not full narcissists, but somewhat narcissistic.
Where do I stand in this pattern? Well, I have extreme need for protection and I have always believed myself to be incapable. From early on, my mother convinced me that I was failing in everything I did and that it was better if someone else in fact did things for me. In addition, I also have a low self-esteem and a need to please, which would make these narcissistic guys feel somewhat safe, as I am less likely to point out their flaws. I have also, always found it encouraging if someone tells me what to do, as seriously anxious about the world, someone else taking responsibility for my life has felt comfortable. Obviously I had little if any power in these relationships. I traded my independence for protection. My furstration in these kinds of relationships usually came from me feeling that these guys were never happy with me. Every conflict was my fault, it was always me who had to change something. Naturally, I did not question it, but I started to feel worse and worse about myself. The relationships would escalate when these guys felt that I was overly needy and they were giving too much, while I, due to their criticism had become even more needy. Furthermore, as I was becoming needy, I also was ot happy with what these guys were willing to provide, but might have demanded something else. These guys however were never interested in someone else setting the conditions for the relationship. Furthermore, all kinds of suggestions for change were a red sign for them, since they undermined their fragile ego.
I am not going to describe my other pattern in this post, but rather focus on what kind of outer signs might attract these guys to me. This will however be done in the past tense, since I have no idea what kind of guys are attracted to me at this point, after all the therapy. I notice slight change, but I have not yet managed to analyze it. So I find that similar things as with those perverts hold true here as well- I looked helpless, eagered to please (especially important for someone with narcissistic tendencies), harmless etc. These are signs that can be recognized already after few meetings if not after the first one.