The narcissistic personality disorder is on a spectrum, so some will never raise their voice to you or show violence as their words and silent treatments can cut straight through you and bring you down to your knees. There are those narcissists who will shout, will use physical violence, from pulling hair, spitting, slapping, strangling to using their fists. Abuse is abuse. Narcissist personality disorder can be a reason behind their behaviour. It’s never to excuse their behaviour.
So can a narcissist truly love?
There is a debate between specialists upon whether a narcissist can love at the moment or never truly love as most don’t even know who they are.
Some experts argue that a narcissist can not love, while others state, at the moment they said it to you, some narcissists actually mean it. However, they can turn that love feeling straight back off as soon as they feel criticism or their needs are not being met, so while their need is being met, they do love, conditional love, as it’s almost impossible to fill their needs as they are always looking for more. If they were not in love with you, they were in love with the idea of the fantasy of the perfect couple.
Unfortunately to you, the relationship wasn’t a fantasy. The relationship was a reality at that moment, one where two people lift each other up, help each other out, sometimes it’s 50/50 others it’s 80/20 then 20/80 etc. Relationships are give and take. Unfortunately, narcissistic people live in a reality of their very own, a fantasy that never comes true as they can not grasp the idea that life is about to give and take. All they know is to give until you are hooked, then slowly take everything from you. Leaving you empty, lost, broken, hurt, anxious, depressed, trauma bonded, and so many more.
Potentially, a narcissist can fall in love at the moment, yet they can not remain in love. Why is this?
Idealistic isn’t always realistic. Therefore the fantasy of the idealism the narcissist has is not based on the reality of what is and what they can make it be. They are living in a lonely reality of themselves, as they are only takers and not givers. They are unable to help others or make others happy. They are unable to make themselves happy, always reliant upon external sources to gain happiness.
Most narcissists are lazy. Therefore they expect relationships to come to them, without putting the effort in, they seem to be missing the step of putting time and effort into a relationship, most can put effort into it at the start, the idealisation and love bombing, unfortunately, as they don’t understand who they truly are and what makes them truly happy, they just mirror you. Once you’re hooked, they feel like they no longer need to make an effort, then they realise you are human, and you make mistakes, and the devaluation stage begins.
Narcissist idealism isn’t just of the relationship. It’s also their homes, their cars, their children, their holidays and more. Those narcissists that haven’t achieved will always blame others for their lack of effort.
Those narcissists who have achieved will always want and need more. As they are envious of others nothing is ever enough.
Most narcissists need constant attention from others. They need to be the centre of attention at all times. They need to be superior to all others, so when they’ve exploited all the goodness out of someone and their needs are no longer being met, narcissistic people simply discard and move on without a second thought. They will most like have smeared your name to all others, leaving you broken and alone to pick up the pieces.
The term narcissistic supply was introduced in 1938 by psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel, with the definition meaning “a type of admiration, interpersonal support or substance, draw by an individual from their environment, and essential to their own self-esteem.” Once that person is no longer giving the narcissist supply, it’s gone, and the narcissist moves onto other tactics. If the narcissist cannot get positive attention to make themselves feel better, they will go after hurting others negative attention to help themselves feel better.
As the narcissist’s fear abandonment, the narcissist can fear that they might be discarded first, as narcissists lack in empathy, are full of manipulation, verbal abuse, mental abuse, gaslighting and possibly physical abuse, which will never sustain a long-lasting healthy relationship.
Yet because narcissists are worried that their supply runs out, they will often go for the hoover with exes, false promises of change to hook exes back in.
As some narcissistic people were not shown true love as a child, they often don’t understand how to love themselves or how to love others.
A narcissist is always on the lookout for more to fill a deeply hidden empty void within themselves. No matter what they already have, they cannot find true happiness within themselves. Therefore they only get temporary external fixes and are always on the lookout for more.
Most narcissists when they say, “I love you.” They may mean the word, but they do not get the emotional feelings of the word, often confusing it with lust. Narcissistic people are extremely envious and jealous people who always need more. They lust after what you can provide for them.
So In answer to the original question, can a narcissist love?
No, not in the way those with empathy, compassion, understanding, and joy do, narcissistic people envy, and they lust.
However you can love, you can fill yourself back up, reclaim your own happiness, and live your life again, enjoying the moments.
You can learn to love yourself again, love others again and love the world around you again, leaving the narcissist where they belong, far in your past.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.