The Narcissist In Love

Narcissists yearn for perfect, romantic love and absolute adoration. People often think that narcissistic individuals love only themselves, like Narcissus in the Greek myth who fell in love with his own reflection, but the polar opposite is true. The narcissist usually struggles with fragile self-esteem and intense feelings of shame. The grandiose thinking they exhibit as well as the clamoring for attention and admiration are defense mechanisms that help keep all those painful feelings hidden from others and from themselves. It’s as if they say to themselves, “How can I have anything to feel ashamed about when I’m so admired and loved?” They need to bolster themselves and boost their egos and narcissists do so through other’s admiration and envy; some narcissists take this a step further and accomplish this by having people fall in love with them.

Since the narcissist thrives on people desiring him (or her), he learns to excel at arousing such feelings in others. He (or she) can make their intended target feel important and highly valued, lavishing constant affection in order to make them feel special. He may do thoughtful little gestures, bring gifts, pay compliments and devote himself to the other’s pleasure in bed. The narcissist strokes their ego and pampers them, sowing the seeds of love. Narcissists can be exceedingly nice, quite charming, flirtatious and seductive, and will flatter someone shamelessly if they want something from them. This behavior is not always conscious and intentional. Sometimes narcissists deceive even themselves about their true emotional motivations, often believing they’ve genuinely fallen in love.

Being “in love”

The narcissist seeks the perfect kind of romantic love, idealized and unrealistic- like one sees in movies or reads in a book. Being “in love” (some know it as ‘infatuation’) can feel like a drug, causing a “high” sensation and temporarily blinding people to theirr own faults and imperfections, to the dissatisfactions they may feel in other areas of their lives. It makes people feel as if they are the center of the universe and that their lives are perfect.  Nothing feels better … while it lasts. It’s certainly understandable why narcissists have such a strong desire to seek this out- it fulfills most of their narcissistic needs.

What Does Love Mean to a Narcissist?

(Adapted from A Narcissist’s Love Letter)

When a narcissist tells you he is in love with you… he means he loves the story he can tell to his next lover, about his ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how like a storybook and what an outstanding couple they made.

When a narcissist says he’s in love with you… he means he loves the way he feels when he’s with you. He loves himself through you. He loves seeing himself through your eyes. He loves seeing himself through his eyes imagining how he looks through your eyes. He loves having someone new to tell his stories to, to express his opinions, and to share his profound theories and beliefs about the important things in life.

When he tells you he’s in love with you… he really loves having someone beautiful to wear, like a new outfit. He loves the way you feel on him. He loves the way he feels about himself when you are with him.

When he says he’s in love with you… what he really loves is not being alone. He loves having a full-time, personal audience.

When a narcissist tells you he’s in love with you… he means he loves being what keeps you up at night, your obsession. He loves being your altar, your sacrament, your icon, your miracle. He loves being the object of your sacrifice. He loves being your pain.

When  a narcissist says he’s in love with you… he means he is in love with being your sun, monopolizing your orbit, being your gravity, keeping you drawn back to him no matter how hard you try to jump or fly away. He loves keeping you his. He’s in love with being your drug and your dagger.

“Perfect” Love Doesn’t Last (and neither do narcissists)

Unlike fairytales, “perfect” romantic love can’t last forever. Hopefully, it evolves into something more realistic and lasting- where two people discover and accept one another’s virtues and faults, grow to appreciate the good qualities in each other but also to accept the disappointing traits.

True narcissists cannot tolerate such an experience. To be emotionally honest and open with their partners means they must have a more authentic relationship with themselves, too… and with the shame and poor self-esteem they so desperately want to keep at bay. When the person they profess to be in love with attempts to get close to them in this way, they feel they are getting emotional pressure put on them and they withdraw because that person is “too demanding”.

The previous feelings of perfect, romantic love begin to fade along with the idealization of their partner… and the narcissist falls “out of love.”

References:

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/a-narcissists-love-letter/

http://www.yourtango.com/experts/joseph-burgo-phd/narcissist-love

 

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About Alexander Burgemeester

10 Responses to “The Narcissist In Love”

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  1. Deb says:

    Wow, Alex, you really hit the nail on the head with this. My 4 month relationship with a Narcissist came to an abrupt and emotionally excruciating halt about 12 months ago – just nearly at the time you wrote this.

    You described love exactly as the Narcissist sees it! It is really all about them and their ‘idea’ of their partner and their ‘idea’ of what love should be. The reality is, they have no idea what healthy, mature, emotionally intelligent love is. The third time we were together, my 49 year old Narcissist proclaimed he’d never felt true love until then, he finally understood what it was. I found that oddly amusing and thought he was being silly. I course could not reciprocate that sentiment. In hindsight, I realize he actually meant it at the time!

    They’re incredibly immature, undeveloped individuals with a serious personality disorder. Very toxic and emotionally harmful overall. I disengaged after 4 months and he became quite enraged about that. He was an utterly exhausting human being. I felt as if every ounce of energy and virtually all of my well being had been drained by the time I extricated. Never in my life have I ever met anyone so egocentric.

    What a wretched experience, but it taught me a lot about my own issues. In hindsight, I’m actually grateful for it all. I’m now working on my own behavioral and emotional issues that led me into a relationship with such a disordered person in the first place!

  2. loving girl says:

    Well, I was engaged in a seemingly amazing relationship for 15 months with a man (in our forties), and the honey moon would just not end. When the time to move forward the relationship came to frutition…and we talked about living together he had an adverse reaction that was not normal (didn’t match the love, intensity, beauty of relationship).

    Needless to say, this hurt me deeply and I broke it off.

    Seven months later I call him and he is still seemeingly “not over me” and cant see or hear my voice without being thrown for a loop.

    I know he loved me as much as he could – but he is very emotionally immature and has many issues. I, on the other hand, must admit I’m pretty healthy. My biggest lesson in that realationship was…I assumed we were moving forward never needing to talk about it…because things were that good.
    Boy, was I wrong.

    I am certainly talking about “the future” in my next relationship…and what I want VERY early on.

    I am glad that I called him…bc Obviously…I got to him. So it wasn’t me….it was definetly him.

  3. Anon says:

    I am a narcissist. I always have been. I’ve recently gone through some short term relationships, and this is exactly correct. This entire article has the most accurate portrayal of my experience as a narcissist that I’ve been able to find. And it sucks. But it’s true.

  4. Matt G. says:

    I just got out of a 16month relationship with a narcissist/sociopath. The damage caused by it is unreal. Unfaithfulness, lying, manipulation, mental & emotional deception, games, trickery. A vile seductress/succubus, put on the mask of “love,” only to flippantly discard me once I started calling her out & exposing her. At which point, she immediately entered into a campaign blaming, framing, & shaming me to her friends, coworkers, & family.. in order to keep up the mask of innocence & charm, painting me out to be the bad guy, and her being the “victim.” Along with that, was instantly out drinking, partying, & being promiscuous to an unfathomable degree, feeding off the fresh & “exciting” new attention she was getting from all these other new males.
    Her promiscuity, scandalousness, & treachery knows no bounds.
    The weight & damage it has inflicted is likely something I will carry for the rest of my life.

  5. Narc says:

    @loving girl I agree with Andy your ex was not a narcissist! if he was narcissistic you wouldn’t have had that much control nor would it had lasted that long with any dfrom you. And if he did spend 15 months with you then he would have married you because you would have had to be over loading his narcissistic supply. Most people a emotionally & mentally drained by a narcissist with in a year. 15 months together and a year after the break up you’d still be wondering was any of the love true! And that would be why a narcissist abusee would be on the page!

  6. Driven nuts. says:

    I am currently in a “situation” with a major narcissist. I fell for him head over heels. He has never stopped talking to other women the whole time that we have had our “relationship”. (About 11 months). He has been with other women and so I tried to break away and started dating someone else. He lost his mind and I went back to him believing his lies. He is almost 50 (looks 70)and his looks are fading fast. The women he talks to aren’t nice looking at all. I am literally the best thing to happen to him in years. I am 45 and haven’t looked better since I was in my 20’s. Everyone I know says that I am way too good for him but I can’t seem to break away. He treats me horribly. Gets mad when I mention other women and somehow blames me. He will go for a few days and not contact me. Then expects me to be at his beckoning call. I usually do. I hate it. He tells me he loves me..I want to believe him but, you don’t treat someone like he treats me if you love them. I have had to go to therapy over him. I am depressed. And the thing is, I am beautiful. I just am finding a hard time meeting someone to take my mind off of him for good. (If it will work). I bought him a nice gift for his birthday and he was suppose to take me to dinner for mine. That was 2 months ago..no dinner. He has such control over me and I can’t get over it. What is wrong with me? I am thankful for your post. It has really shown me what I am dealing with and I feel that the sooner I break away the better. Wish me luck!

  7. Narc in love says:

    I’m a narc. I’ve know for sometime (saw a psych ). I met a girl about 6 months ago. I fell in love but in the way only a narc can. With the idea. But somehow she got through. Just before the end(she moved away and the relationship started waning and to preserve its ideal I reacted by cutting her off) I started acting like a narc on the other end of the relationship(boredom and all that) but she understood(she knew I was a narc) and showed me great love…always understanding. She wasn’t perfect btw but ya.

    I miss her. She knew how to deal with my narc behaviour. She loved me and I can objectively say I love her. I felt emotions with her. The lines of logic were blurred. At the moment the only emotional experiences are revisiting memories (I threw everything that was her out) and I’m limited to that.

    The first thing you’ll say is I’m not a narc… That’s cool. But for this excercise let’s assume I am.

    I’m about to visit her new town. All I think about all day is how I abused the one person who loved me. I want to make it so I feel again. I want to feel other emotions with her. Everything else is… Not important. I want to reconcile but I’m aware that it could be…bad for me to be rejected by her.

    Firstly. Is this a possible emotional connection (am I in love) or my obsession over my greatest failure? Where are the support groups or websites that talk to narcs and create hope. If a narc posts on a forum they instantly become the devil regardless the question. If this is not real then is there an explanation?

  8. Hurt says:

    My ex and I broke up on Boxing Day 2014 and I am trying to process what happened to our relationship as well as what has happened to me. I’ve decided to write this post to get feedback and insight as to wether I was in a relationship with a covert narcissist.

    Five years ago I met the man of my dreams. He was kind, giving and took very good care of me.
    My daughter adored him and my family and friends told me repeated how lucky I was to have him in my life. He was not only kind to me but I was attracted to the fact that he did acts of kindness for others. Everyone that new him considered him to be a very good man.

    The relationship started off very quickly. Although he had a home in the same city, he moved in after about two weeks of dating. That was a bit of an adjustment for me but I loved his company.
    Within the first year of our relationship I became ill and had to have major surgery. My ex was very supportive through the entire ordeal and nursed my back to health.

    It was soon after I felt better, that I started to notice something was wrong but I thought that it must be in my head because after all he was such a good man. We went on a trip to Vegas and he insisted that he would keep our boarding passes and passports on him so that I wouldn’t loose mine. One night after we got back I went to the theatre with my girlfriends. When I returned home the house was decorated with candles. I thought this meant that we would have a romantic evening together but that was not to be. After I praised him for his effort, he went into the kitchen and proceeded to read the weekly flyers. I also noticed that he would take objects out of my hands. By that I mean I could be drying dishes and he would take the plate from my hands and finish drying it or I could be chopping vegetables and he would take my knife and finish the job. My ex had complete control over the shows we watched on TV . I used to call the remote “the man wand”. If there was something I was interested in watching that he did not want to watch I had to do it in the spare room.

    My ex started to criticize me over things such as repeating myself, not leaving the bedroom door wide open, dying my hair, wearing makeup and what I bought for him as gifts. I never knew what mood he would be in when I got home from work. His favorite phrase was “I love you but you drive me crazy”.

    I also noticed that he started to be critical towards me in front of his family. He admitted being rude to me but when I asked for an apology, he walked out on me. As he was leaving he told me that even my daughter does not love me. He felt he needed to leave and think about wether or not he wanted to stay in the relationship.This was devastating and I felt that there was something wrong with me. How could I have turned someone so caring into a hurtful angry man that no longer wanted me. I must have driven him to this. So a day later I begged him to come back. He did and the relationship continued.

    Not too long after that, my ex bought an all season cottage. The idea was that he would sell his home, I would downsize and we would spend our retirement at the lake. We had a wonderful summer fixing it up, meeting great neighbors, and enjoying visitors. I spent a lot of time cleaning and decorating. I noticed that he was spending most of the week there while I was at work in the city. When I told him that I missed him he responded by saying that “there was nothing to come back to the city for”. I asked him to explain his statement as I thought that us being together was important. His response was “I didn’t mean it that way”. I didn’t question it any further as I knew there was still work to be done out there before winter. However, that statement really hurt me.

    While I was in the city and he was at the lake we texted each other. I would end the text with I love you and he would end his with hugs and kisses. That bothered me since he gave everyone hugs and kisses. When I expressed my feelings about this, he told me it meant I love you to him and the hugs and kisses continued. Our sex life was almost nonexistent since he would not allow me to touch him. If I did he would tell me not to pet him like a dog and he rarely initiated sex.

    It was Christmas of 2014 when I realized that I could no longer be with this man. We had Christmas at the lake with our families. Christmas Day went without a hitch or so I thought. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized he broke a piece of furniture that I loved. I asked him if he did it to hurt me or make me mad and his response was YES. I asked him why but he could not give me an answer. He responded “I don’t know, get over it, and don’t wreck the day. I will fix it but not today. If you are going to be mad then go back to the city”. I packed up my things and went home. He came back to the city the same day and moved his stuff out. His last words to me were ” I’ve loved you, I still love you but we can not make it work”. I was left devastated not understanding why this man that everyone things is wonderful would have done this on Christmas. What did I do to make him brake something he knew was important to me.

    To add insult to injury he texted my daughter right away and told her we parted our ways. I was very angry that he did not allow me to tell her and that it was done through a text. On Valentines day this year he went to my daughters house unannounced to deliver an envelope which included a receipt for my winter tires, a gift card to my daughter’s and my favorite restaurant and mad money for my daughter. He wrote her a letter which he ended by saying “I miss you and your mom, take care of each other”. We have had no contact with each other since he moved out and I am planning on keeping it that way.

    Why was I with him? Because everyone we knew thought very highly of him. I believed that everything was my fault and things would get better if only I would change. The funny thing is that I am by no means a weak person. I am a widow that has raised her daughter on her own. I have a wonderful career that helps me afford the better things in life. I have have very good friends that consider me to be a strong person. He was wonderful and at the same time cruel.
    What I could never understand is that he always admitted his cruelty but never apologized for it. Instead he became angrier or he would walk out and I was left confused questioning myself.

    Sent from my iPad

  9. Divine says:

    My Ex N fit criteria 100%, unfortunately it took ten years and him dumping me for his new supply to realize this. Oh my ex was the sweetest, soft spoken man you will ever meet. His words “He was sent here to do God’s work & that he is searching for his angel. She must look like him, talk like him. She must be so spiritual. Well I guess he thought he found her. Told me that he married her to save her, because she was lost (spiritually) & that he has to take care of her. She’s an angel, she’s an innocent & how they look alike & speak alike. whenever i saw them, they wete always arm in arm, like King & Queen. But yet since they’ve been married, he’s trying to lure me back. Now she’s pregnant & now it’s things are hard, she does not understand me. Only you know me, You are the closest person to me. she’s mentally sick, she has cancer. Everything is his hardship or how he was the savior of all & if you didn’t follow him, you were not following God. He’s the epidamy of a narc-sociopath

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