“I love to be hated and I hate to be loved.” Sam Vaknin, narcissist and author
of “Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited”.
That statement could be further expanded to say that a narcissist loves to be hated, hates to be loved, and also loves to hate. Who do they hate? They hate you. They hate you if you criticize them or have a different opinion from theirs, they hate you if you are successful in any sort of way, they hate you if you are a woman, and they hate you if you tell them you love them.
One of the defining characteristics of narcissism is the excessive jealousy they feel toward others. When you achieve any level of success in life, whether as big as a prestigious award or as small as a compliment, the narcissist is going to hate you for it. Why does the narcissist hate you when you are successful? Basically, there are four reasons.
1) The first and most obvious reason is that they are jealous. Narcissists can’t tolerate anyone else’s good fortune. Not surprising, they are resentful of it. They always believe/wish it should be them instead of you; they think they are more entitled to it than you.
2) The second reason is that they think your success might make them look bad. In the workplace, for example, it might increase the standards for which they will be judged in the future. They may be challenged to have to improve themselves as they need to always be number one, the best, and the most important.
3) The third reason is that they typically think you don’t deserve the success. They feel that success came too easy for you or that you are not qualified enough for it. For example, some narcissists will automatically dismiss your accomplishments because you don’t have what they feel is the right amount of education or experience. They have an image of what a successful person should be or look like – and you’re not it… but of course, they believe they are.
4) The fourth reason is familiarity. As the saying goes, it breeds contempt; this is especially true where narcissists are concerned. A narcissist would be quick to say something such as, “Isn’t he the same old John I grew up with, went to school with, and partied with – who does he think he is now?” The narcissist sees your success as a form of betrayal of him (it’s always about him!) – a betrayal of the person you used to be or should still be in his mind.
If someone compliments you on anything-your style, work, children, life, good looks or personality- the narcissist is immediately jealous. He may retaliate by raging at you or demeaning you with nasty remarks.
The narcissist needs to have the spot light; he craves the attention and doesn’t want to share it with anyone…especially if it is someone he considers his inferior (most people).
He will say and do everything possible to diminish the “success” (at whatever level that success is). The narcissistic abuser seeks feeling superior to, and in control of, his partner; his goal is to make her feel inferior, demoralized and powerless so that she would not be able to leave him – or trump him in success.
When you become successful (and “success” can be anything positive such as a compliment, certification or small award) he will retaliate by:
- Refusing to talk
- Withdrawing affection
- Strutting and posturing
- Stomping out
- Walking away
- Denial of anger and abuse: The abuser will deny the partner’s reality and the abuser’s fault.
- Trivializing: The abuser acts as though the partner’s opinions, thoughts, actions, or concerns are trivial or don’t count.
- Judging and criticizing: The abuser puts down the partner’s thoughts, feelings, or actions.
- Blocking and diverting: The abuser purposefully creates barriers to the partner’s efforts to communicate and will change the conversation to gain control.
- Name calling: The abuser strips away the partner’s dignity and/or identity by replacing it with a foul name.
- Chronic forgetting: The abuser regularly “forgets” or is consistently late for appointments, functions, or other important events to the partner.
Success is not the only area where you will see the behaviors listed above. Watch out for ‘narcissistic rage’ if you tell a narcissist you love him! Sam Vaknin, author and self-proclaimed narcissist states that, “Nothing is more hated by the narcissist than the sentence ‘I Love You’. It evokes in him almost primordial reactions.” He goes on to say that the narcissist hates women- virulently and vehemently. A narcissist is a misogynist and equates being loved with being ‘possessed, encroached upon, shackled, transformed, reduced, exploited, weakened, engulfed, digested and excreted’. To him, love is a dangerous pursuit. When a woman tries to pick up a narcissist, flirt or court him, he is likely to react by subjecting her to humiliating contempt or by dumping her after having sex with her. In both cases he makes it clear that he is superior and that the woman is nothing to him but a pathetic parasite or an object to be violated. He thinks that her approaching him and attempting to seduce him was proof of her stupidity, blindness, or maliciousness… for how could she not have noticed how different and superior he is?
Furthermore, loving someone means knowing him intimately. The narcissist believes he is so unique that no one can ever really know or understand him. The narcissist genuinely believes he is ONE of a kind. To say to him “I love you”, negates the feeling of uniqueness and he views it as trying to drag him down to the lowest common denominator. It threatens his sense of being ‘special’ as anyone and everyone is capable of loving …and even the basest human being can love. To the narcissist it is a primitive, common ability.
The narcissist is usually well aware that he is a con artist, a fraud, an elaborate hoax, a hollow being. He thinks any person who loves him is either lying (after all, what is there to love in a narcissist?) – or a dependent creature, blind and stupid, unable to detect the truth. The narcissist cannot tolerate the thought that he selected a liar or an idiot for a mate, so a declaration of love is an indirect criticism of the narcissist’s own powers of judgment.
The narcissist hates love- however, and wherever, it is manifested. Thus, for instance, when his spouse demonstrates her love to their children, he wishes them all a horrible death. He is so pathologically envious of his spouse that he wishes she never existed. Being a bit paranoid, he also holds the conviction that she is doing it on purpose, to remind him how miserable he is, how deficient and deprived he is. The narcissist regards her relationship with their children to be a provocation, an attack on his emotional well being. Seething envy, boiling rage and violent thoughts are the flames consuming the narcissist’s brain whenever he sees other people happy.