Narcissists may initially shower their partners with attention, compliments, and grand gestures, creating an illusion of genuine love and adoration.
However, this love is often conditional and based on satisfying their needs. They form intense emotional bonds that may resemble falling in love, yet they consistently lack empathy and unconditional love for the other person.
Their relationships often resemble a roller coaster ride characterized by extreme highs and lows. Their love lacks a real genuine connection. The narcissist’s love revolves around their desires, and they struggle to empathize with their partner’s feelings or needs.
So, you may be wondering, is it possible for a narcissistic individual to genuinely love someone?
Are narcissists able to genuinely love someone?
Although narcissists are generally incapable of feeling real love, they can feel a distorted version of love. This love is conditional, with strings attached. A person with a narcissistic personality disorder cannot feel the real love normally present in relationships.
Narcissists view everything in a “what can I get out of this?” way. Everything in their life is self-serving. They may seem to care about your happiness, but they only care about how it affects them. If you being happy makes them happy, it’s great, but they will never put someone else’s happiness above their own.
Narcissists view love as an external source of supply. It’s something that they get from another person to feel better about themselves. Their love is conditional on their partner’s unconditional love. This is often the cause of one-sided relationships where the narcissist receives all the love, and the partner provides it.
A major factor in narcissists’ struggle to feel genuine love is their incapacity to empathize with other human beings. It is not a conscious decision to disregard the feelings of others; they cannot understand that the feelings of others are equally as important as their own.
In opposition, real love is not self-serving. Real love is when you sacrifice your own needs and desires to serve the needs of the person you love. You genuinely want their happiness even if you get nothing in return. This is incomprehensible to somebody with a narcissistic personality disorder.
As we explore whether narcissists feel worthy of love, it is crucial to understand the underlying factors impacting their distorted self-perception and its effect on their ability to receive love from others.
Do narcissists feel worthy of love?
The simple answer is no. Narcissists crave admiration and validation, but their insecurities prevent them from believing they are worthy of love. Although they often display outward confidence, inside, they are plagued with deep-seated feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.
This internal conflict often manifests in their relationships; they may seek constant affirmation while doubting the sincerity of the love they receive. Despite their relentless pursuit of affirmation, narcissists often struggle to believe and internalize the love they receive.
They may dismiss compliments or acts of affection, believing them insincere or manipulative. Their underlying belief that they are fundamentally flawed prevents them from truly accepting love. This can create a relentless cycle of seeking validation and reassurance from their partner, as they constantly crave external proof of their worthiness.
Do narcissists ever think they are in love?
In short, yes! Narcissists can believe they are in love because they do not understand genuine love. They may experience strong infatuation or attraction towards someone, leading them to mistake these intense feelings for genuine love. Their narcissistic personality deceives them.
To the narcissist, any relationship where they get all the attention, validation, admiration, and affection they need can seem like real love. They don’t understand that they need to reciprocate these acts of love.
This distorted perception of love often leads to unstable relationships. Narcissists may struggle to maintain long-term commitments or sustain deep emotional connections with their partners. To the narcissist, everything may seem perfect, while their partner feels neglected.
It is important to note that the inability of narcissists to experience and express love genuinely does not absolve them of the responsibility for their actions. Their selfish behaviors can severely impact those they think they love, causing lasting damage to their victim’s mental and physical health.
Will a narcissist say they love you?
A narcissist will say that they love you. However, they don’t mean it and will quickly take it back if you fail to meet their standards. They also use the words “I love you” to gain control, maintain a sense of power, or manipulate their partner’s emotions.
For a narcissist, saying “I love you” is another method to keep their partner emotionally attached rather than expressing genuine affection or commitment. They want to secure their source of supply so they don’t have to go through the effort of finding a new source.
The actions and behavior of a narcissist speak much louder than words. If they say they love you but consistently show patterns of selfishness, manipulation, and emotional neglect, they do not truly love you.
A narcissist saying they love you could mean any number of things:
They love being able to control you
They derive satisfaction from manipulating and holding power over you. Over time, you may realize that they have been manipulating you. Constantly giving you orders and criticizing your actions, they relish their control over your life and emotions.
They love to make you feel crazy
Gaslighting, a manipulative form of emotional abuse, is a skill that narcissists excel at. By making their victims doubt their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, narcissists gain power and control over them. They derive a sense of satisfaction from the power dynamics at play in gaslighting.
They don’t want you to leave them
Despite their self-centered nature, narcissists require someone to manipulate and exert their control over them. They may express love towards you to ensure your loyalty and devotion. By making you believe they love you, they solidify a bond, as they fear losing their means of control. Without you, they would lack someone to exert power over.
They love the fact that your life has become their life
Narcissists manipulate you by aligning their fixed life plans with your desires, making every decision and action revolve around their choices. They derive pleasure from having someone who unconditionally supports them and can be controlled by them. Their affection is not for you as an individual but for what you can provide for them.
They like to think they own you
Narcissists relish the fact that they can toy with your emotions at will. They derive satisfaction from possessing you, always having you readily available exclusively for their amusement. They enjoy the power of manipulating your life as if you were a mere toy in their hands.
Genuine love involves selflessness, empathy, and mutual respect, qualities that may be lacking in a relationship with a narcissist. It is crucial to pay attention to their actions and behaviors rather than solely relying on their words.
How does a narcissist feel after a breakup?
After a relationship ends, a narcissist may ramp up their negative behaviors. They take drastic measures to undermine their victims, making them feel crazy, doubt their decision, and feel they are to blame for everything. This makes them feel better temporarily but can hurt others.
Narcissists are quite vengeful; if they feel wronged by a breakup, they may exhibit many negative behaviors. They need to balance the scales and will go to great lengths to get even with the person who has wronged them.
Although the emotional response of a narcissist to a breakup can vary based on the circumstances surrounding the end of the relationship, there are common patterns that narcissists may exhibit during this time:
Idealization and devaluation
After a breakup, narcissists often go through a cycle of idealizing and devaluing their partners. Initially, they might devalue their ex-partner, emphasizing their flaws and weaknesses. However, as time passes, they may switch back to idealizing their ex-partner, seeing them as someone they’ve lost and attempting to regain control or win them back.
Individuals with narcissism may seek retribution by making their former partners jealous. They might rush into a new relationship and flaunt it, making you believe they’ve moved on and are happier without you.
Narcissistic abusers use guilt to manipulate and make it challenging to leave the relationship. If you find yourself repeatedly ending and getting back together, it suggests a struggle between prioritizing your needs and feeling guilty. Breaking this cycle is crucial for your well-being.
Narcissistic individuals often make big promises to change when their position is at risk. They might try initially, but these changes don’t last because their entitlement, need for validation, and desire for control outweigh their genuine desire to change.
Stalking and harassment
After a breakup, a narcissist may stalk and harass their victims. They may show up at their victim’s place of work, harass them online, reach out to friends of the victim, and constantly attempt to make contact with their target.
While certain crises or catastrophes may be genuine, narcissistic individuals often exaggerate these events to receive attention. They blow things out of proportion to provoke guilt, especially when they know exactly what will get to you.
If you are contemplating ending a relationship with a narcissist, it can be beneficial to seek the guidance of a therapist. A therapist can provide valuable support if you feel uncertain about the best approach to ending the relationship, burdened with guilt or fear, or isolated in your emotions and experiences.
In conclusion, narcissists are capable of experiencing affection towards others, but their love remains superficial and lacks genuine connection and empathy. Their relationships are characterized by highs and lows, and their love is driven by self-serving motives to boost their ego.
While they may claim to love someone, their actions often contradict their words, prioritizing their needs and manipulating their partners for control and validation.
It is important to recognize that narcissists’ distorted understanding of love hinders their ability to form healthy and fulfilling relationships. Their sense of self-worth and entitlement prevents them from truly believing they are worthy of love and accepting it from others. Their self-centered nature and underlying motivations influence their perception of love, leading to unstable dynamics and emotional neglect.
While narcissists may say they love you, their actions and behaviors are more telling. Genuine love involves selflessness, empathy, and mutual respect, qualities that are often lacking in relationships with narcissists.
After a breakup, narcissists may display combative behaviors, shifting blame and manipulating through guilt. Seeking support from a therapist can be beneficial when considering ending a relationship with a narcissist, especially when dealing with uncertainty, guilt, or isolation.
A resilient writer who has emerged from addiction, depression, and anxiety with a renewed sense of purpose and a powerful voice. His journey has shaped his writing, allowing him to explore the complexities of the human condition intimately. Also blogging about mental health at www.medium.com/@Patrickmeowler