Can Narcissists love?


The short answer to that question is no.  This is something that is very difficult to digest of you are in or have been in a relationship with a narcissist.  The reality is that narcissists merely view other people as commodities, for them to use as they find convenient and then discard or attack when they are “burdensome” or if they cease to fulfil a role that was allocated to them.  A person who likes to work with people and help others will be a natural target for narcissists, and people who are open and giving are likely to have more than one predatory narcissist in their lives.  The problem with this for the non-narcissist is that it “normalises” their behaviour, they select you for your usefulness to them.

This is not a relationship as most people would see relationship.  It is one person taking advantage of another and the more love and attention you give, the more they will take, the more material stuff you give them the more they want.  To use a horticultural expression, they are “voracious feeders”, they know no limits or boundaries and will quite happily sit back as you work yourself to the bone to provide them with what they think they are entitled to and will always expect more.

The more you give the more content and placid they will be.  They will bandy the love word around constantly to let you know how well you are doing at providing them with what they want.  It is only when you stop giving or slowdown that they will expose their true nature.

Narcissists love inanimate things like cars, clothes, jewellery, they do not love people.  The quality of the feelings they have for another person is the same as it is for a machine of some sort.  You stop working for them and you will end up being brought to the dump.

In a healthy loving relationship there is give and take, you can get angry with your partner, child, friend and pet, but that doesn’t mean that that relationship is over, because healthy love comes from a bond that goes beyond the superficial.  Narcissists however expect unconditional love.  Healthy unconditional love is a love that is appropriate for parents to have for their children.  Adults do not need unconditional love as they have (in theory) developed and grown as people to be able to stand alone.  A narcissist has not gone through this developmental phase and will try to “force” those around them to love them like the emotional infants that they really are.

Narcissists cannot see beyond the superficial aspect of someone else, their clothes, the car they drive, the amount of money they have and above all how they can be useful to the narcissist they will not want to harvest everyone in the same way a mere meeting with a famous pop star is sufficient for the narcissist so that they can name drop in public, or a connection to the church is sufficient for them to feel worthy, a politician to feel powerful but with other people they will demand to be parented and their every need attended to.  They cannot see the inner landscape of someone else because they are completely blind to their own, they do not understand how it works.  It leaves the person interacting with the narcissist feeling that they just are not seen or being listened to, it is very frustrating but also an accurate assessment of the situation.  So in short, narcissistic love can be described as “I love this person for what they can do for me and only when they are doing what I want them to do/fulfilling the role I have designated to them”.

It takes two people to have a relationship and if one person is not relating to the other person, that relationship can never be healthy and it cannot be fixed because part of the narcissistic armour is to deny that there is anything wrong with the way that they interact with others.  If someone goes to lengths to explain that there is a problem, and if the narcissist grasps the concept the blame will automatically and immediately be shifted on to someone or something else.  So if you think that you love a narcissist you are really only loving a false image that has been projected out by them and supported by you.  You want them to be who you want them to be so we keep filling in the gaps, making excuses, listening to what they say not what they do and holding on to a level of naivety that says “I cannot believe that someone would behave that way towards someone they love” which flips into self-righteous indignation when the cracks begin to appear

Having a daily relationship with a narcissist takes a lot of mental work they are very corrosive in a relationship and will blame the other person or circumstances for creating a negative atmosphere, when in fact you will be perpetually trying to figure out her motives or intentions; constantly trying to avoid a flare up of narcissistic rage (for the sake of a quiet life), not confronting their abusive language and behaviours to try to minimise the impact on yourself and those around you (which is what most people do), only lets them know that having temper tantrums actually works in controlling the other person.

This is very draining and exasperating because they will not accept your thoughts and feelings, and in the long run you will feel worse after sharing your feelings because they will either dismiss them out of hand, shame/ sneer at you for having such silly feelings, or harvest the information and use it against you at a later date and in a different context, so rather than a problem shared and one would hope in some way resolved, it will feel like a burden that you have exposed yourself to some pending peril.  Normal communication between adults is not bewildering or confusing and it does not create anxiety.

So ultimately it will feel like you are always alone when in the company of a narcissist.  They will not tolerate any demands or obligations to be imposed on them and ultimately, the worse you feel about yourself the better they feel and vice versa.  It is all about them trying to control everything.

A narcissist will know that you will not blow up in their face the way they do and depend heavily on politeness and consideration from the people that they abuse.  Basically they are cowards, so if they know that they will not get away with something they will back down.  They try to test your boundaries all of the time (even after ten years in a relationship) to see if they can gain a little more ground, just like a child.

Frequently when a narcissist is talking about herself she will use the 3rd person singular.  This is because this mode of speech puts distance between her actions and her accountability.  So if the person you’re in a relationship with is highly narcissistic, there is little to no chance for a long-term, happy relationship.

When a narcissist is in a partnership or a family of origin situation the way that they prise out supply from their “loved ones” can be extremely nasty.  They will revert to verbal abuse, emotional abuse, instigate fights simply to be the centre of attention.  It does not matter if it negative attention, just so long as it is attention.  It gives them a power surge to humiliate someone, to see them cry or get depressed it is a game that they are absolutely determined to win by whatever means they can, even if that hurts, upsets or humiliates their victim.

Narcissists do not want to be loved as love requires openness and honesty, feeling difficult emotions and compromise.  The narcissist will avoid these at all cost, it is not your fault that you cannot be loved by them, they were never available for authentic love, they can seem to love you, they will say that they love you, they can even think that it is love, if you are involved with a narcissist you are involved in a very different relationship.  It is called Enmeshment, this is where the narcissist did not get healthy love and attention in childhood and the narcissist violates someone else to feel “safe” which is why they need a lot of minding, they are not good at taking care of themselves and will push their “love” interest into a parental role as well as a faux partnership role, in other words, an extension to serve the needs of the narcissist, they cannot love because they do not pull back far enough to see you as an individual.  Your individuality poses a threat to the narcissist which is why s/he is so hell bent on controlling you.

The narcissist cannot bond beyond the superficial appearance and behaviour of someone, not based on any meaningful connection.  Love requires self-awareness and the narcissist has become completely cut off from their own inner experience which is why the cannot see or listen to other people and really connect with them.  It takes two to have a healthy relationship, if one person is emotionally dead inside they will not be able to love you because that part of them has been completely shut down and this has happened due to some childhood trauma that caused them so much pain at the time that they will be completely unwilling to revisit it and will have put substantial armour in place to keep it buried deeply inside them.




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