True love with a narcissist is NOT possible.
If you’ve ever been deeply enmeshed with a narcissist, as I have, you would instinctively know the truth behind this statement. You may not want to believe it (I didn’t for the first forty years of my life) but some part of you would intuitively know the truth.
The cold hard truth is that narcissists are not capable of giving or receiving unconditional love, and one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve had to endure this lifetime was letting go of the idea that things could ever be any different with my narcissist.
Although heartbreaking, finally allowing myself to accept this truth was a watershed moment and marked the beginning of my journey to recovery from narcissistic abuse. This moment came after years of doing my utmost – of damn near killing myself – to give the narcissist what they wanted. What I thought they needed.
The narcissist in my life was not a romantic partner, but a very close family member with whom I was deeply enmeshed and shared a co-dependent and quite toxic relationship with. It actually makes no difference who the narcissist is – mother, father, husband, boyfriend, wife. A narcissist is a narcissist, and although no two are the same, they ALL share the fundamental qualities that make them who they are.
Simply put, he or she is a very damaged individual with deep, unconscious feelings of shame and inadequacy. He or she has buried their true self so effectively and so completely (and so long ago) that all that now exists is an outer shell – a false self which may appear grand, wonderful and even loving, but which is in reality little more than a hollow shell.
The people in the narcissist’s life are seen as tools or pawns and are very carefully selected – people with high levels of empathy are often chosen, as empathetic people (I’m one of them) are more likely to put up with the manipulative, self-serving behaviour and less likely to call them out on it.
Most people, and empathetic people in particular, want to love and care for others. We want to help ease their pain. We understand that love – true love – is give and take. This is something that we don’t give a whole lot of conscious thought to. It is what we know love to be; it is what love is.
Sad and painful as it is to accept, narcissists simply do not see love in the same light, and they do not want the same things that a regular (non-narcissistic) person wants in love. The narcissist thinks SO differently to you and I that it is difficult for you and I to even begin to understand, from our level of consciousness and thinking, how a narcissist views the world.
Narcissists want to protect themselves from emotional annihilation at all costs. Because they have no real sense of self (only the false self) they rely on others to know that they are somebody. I once read somewhere that narcissists actually have very little sense of where they end, and others begin. They see other people as an extension of themselves and therefore need to know that they can continue to get emotional rises or reactions from other people – at whatever cost.
They have very little regard for others as separate people, and this is seen in their complete lack of empathy. They think very highly of themselves – the false self – and are not willing or able to identify with other people’s feelings. The narcissist’s ‘love’ is a controlling love that is all about you meeting their every need.
Of course, this spells disaster when it comes to relationships. A relationship (romantic or otherwise) where one person is doing all of the work to make it work – to please the narcissist, to assure him or her of their commitment and love – with the other doing all they can to cause chaos, drama, pain and uncertainty is NOT a viable or loving relationship.
It often doesn’t matter how many times you profess your love and devotion – it will never be enough. The narcissist is a bottomless pit who needs constant declarations of commitment and love.
Living this way will eventually leave you mentally, emotionally and even physically depleted, and will seriously affect your sense of self-worth as you come to believe that you are the one with the deficiency. ‘If I just tried a bit harder to please him, if I could just learn to be more loving like he’s constantly telling me, things would get better…’
Truth is, it doesn’t matter how much you do, or how far you go – it will never be enough. He or she may be satiated for a while, but eventually the emptiness will return and they will demand more. Unfortunately these periods of calm and ‘happiness’ are what keep us non-narcissists hooked. Because we have experienced their ‘love’ we tell ourselves during the bad times that we can get it again – IF we just tried a little harder, gave a little more, loved a little fiercer.
The loving times do not (and cannot) last and eventually the pain, chaos and drama will return, with the sorry cycle starting all over again. At such times my narcissist would tell me – scream at me – that they ‘were sick of the drama’.
This made no sense to me as they were the one creating the drama. The words coming out of their mouth did not match their actions – or reality – in any way, shape or form. Still, I did my best to assuage them, and to calm the situation.
This was my life until the day I woke up and came to the realisation that their concern and interest was never our relationship – it was always and only ever about them. Simply and sadly put, our connection provided my narcissist with the attention required to support an extremely fragile sense of self.
This realisation was the beginning of me learning to take my life back, and the beginning of my healing journey. I now understand that until we learn how to self-love and self-partner, we will continue to be a magnet for toxic relationships.
How did I learn this? Through a lot of soul-searching AND through the work of Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Expert Melanie Tonia Evans. I am not exaggerating when I say that her Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program was life-changing for me. Read more about my journey to recovery and the role this program played in my journey HERE.
Narcissistic love is NOT real love, yet it can be devastatingly and destructively addictive as we continue to cling to the hope that things could be better if we were somehow better. THIS is what keeps us hooked to the narcissist.
If this article resonates with you and you would like to know once and for all how to stop experiencing toxic relationships that do little more than destroy you, click this link to learn about the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program, for which I am a proud affiliate.
And lastly, please remember always, you cannot hope to change the narcissist. You deserve so much more than they are willing or able to give you.
Have you been burned by a narcissist? Have you been burned more than once? I would love to hear your story, and to answer your questions. Please share in the comments below.
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