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.”



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About Alexander Burgemeester

7 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 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!

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