10 Brutal Facts About Narcissistic Love (Q&As)

— Reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy.

When your narcissist floods you with gifts and romantic gestures, do you sometimes wonder, “Is it true love or just a dream?”

Loving a narcissist can be frustrating. Their cloyingly sweet version of love makes you doubt if love can be this perfect.

While they shower you with constant attention, gifts, and “I love you’s,” you feel something is off.

Get answers to all your big questions on a narcissistic love relationship.

Can Narcissists Love?

Yes, narcissists can love, but it is more of a conditional love than genuine unconditional love. Their love gestures are often transactional — to get (in return) validation, praise, and obedience. In later stages, narcissistic love becomes self-absorbed, dominating, manipulative, and possessive.

True love is based on authenticity, not just treating others well, being generous, and showing care for the sake of it. True love is courageous enough to show its vulnerable side, expecting empathy and love in return.

But a narcissist’s love is there as long as you—the person of interest—give them more than they invest.

Romance for them is a show of kind acts, caring gestures, and patient listening. You will never get to know their actual vulnerabilities or failures.

A narcissist in a relationship will change the rules and expectations constantly, making it impossible for you to keep up.

Their love-show gets replaced with neglect, insults, sarcasm, criticism, demeaning, and contempt.

You understand that ultimately, a narcissist’s self-love will always be bigger than their love for any other person. You realize that all that “love” was to secure you as a person who can supply them with attention, praise, obedience, being servile, and tolerating their abuse (called narcissistic supply.)

When you meet a narcissist, you feel like you met your soulmate. Why?

  • Because they mirror you. They mirror your dreams, aspirations, hopes, and desires. Even your dislikes and fears.
  • The mirror they hold up reflects your jagged edges, unconscious, unhealed parts of you. The mirror so much blinds you that you don’t see the narcissist’s true self.
  • So, when you meet them, you feel like you’ve met your soulmate.
Why does the narcissist mirror you

10 Brutal Facts About Narcissistic Love (Q&As)

  1. How do you tell if a narcissist loves you? Narcissists usually show their love by showering you with attention and gifts, idealizing you, and mirroring your interests and behaviors.
  2. When does a narcissist know you love him? They get assured of your love when they feel they can manipulate and control you at will. They know you have fallen for them when you constantly try to please them, and give them the constant admiration and attention they crave.
  3. Can a narcissist fall in love permanently? They cannot love a person for long, since they cannot understand love as anything else than a superficial and conditional (give-and-take) interaction. However, they can become dependent on their partner.
  4. Can narcissists love another narcissist? Some narcissists may form relationships with other narcissists, but it’s likely to be volatile, highly competitive, and envy-ridden.
  5. Can narcissists love their children? Narcissistic parents treat and love their children as extensions of themselves. Mostly, this love is conditional—based on the child meeting the narcissist’s expectations. They do take credit for their children’s achievements.
  6. Can narcissists love animals? Narcissists have a “disaffectionate” love towards animals—typically conditional and self-serving. They are quite capable of harming pet animals.
  7. Can narcissists love their parents? Narcissists may have a complex relationship with their parents, either idolizing or resenting them.
  8. Do narcissists love narcissistic leaders? Narcissists often have a “cult-like” fandom for narcissistic leaders and influencers, putting them on a pedestal. They are known to troll the people who oppose or criticize their favorite leader.
  9. Can a narcissist ever have a healthy relationship? A narcissist can have a successful relationship if they work hard, go to therapy, and get social support to learn the skills for a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
  10. Can narcissists be cured so that they can love normally? No, unless the narcissist is in therapy, they cannot behave like normal people. Your best bet is to avoid getting into a destructive relationship with such a haughty, self-centered person.
Can A Narcissist Love You
A narcissist’s love is transactional and conditional.

7 Reasons Why Narcissists Can’t Truly Love

Here is why a love relationship with a narcissist cannot love you truly:

1. A narcissist’s love is one-directional.

Narcissists crave love, but their love is one-directional, flowing only to them.

That means, while your love is for them, their love towards you is also ultimately for them.

Their show of love is to get your love in return. Unlike a “give more than take” kind of love, theirs is a “take and only take” kind.

2. Their love is transactional love.

Narcissists expect you to put their needs first.

They will give you love as long as you give them their validation. It’s difficult to romance them since they constantly belittle you for “disrespecting” them.

3. They crave to boost their self-esteem (ego).

Narcissists use their “love” as a tool to bind you in the relationship and boost their ego.

Their exaggerated self-importance and emotional shallowness prevent them from making the genuine connections vital for a good and long-lasting relationship.

4. Narcissists lack empathy and compassion.

Narcissists struggle to understand other people’s feelings and emotions. Their typical reaction to a friend’s success is that of jealousy and envy.

Since they are unable to feel the pains of others, it is difficult for them to build empathy-based bonds.

5. Narcissists are attention-hungry people.

Narcissists put their own egos above their partner’s well-being. And it’s more than being self-absorbed.

Their desperate craving for attention, admiration, and validation causes them to disregard their partner’s needs and problems.

6. They keep trying to manipulate you.

Narcissists use love bombing to lure you into a relationship by pretending to be in love with you.

They can weave unrealistic capers and envious accomplishments to trap you.

Then they manipulate and gaslight you to control and dominate you, making it challenging to form a healthy and equal partnership.

7. Emotional intimacy is hard for narcissists.

Narcissists wear masks and crave deep emotional connections, but fear showing their vulnerable side, resulting in only surface-level relationships devoid of emotional intimacy.

12 Signs You Might Have Fallen For A Narcissist

Narcissists lure you in with charm and charisma, but then devolve into their trademark narcissistic abuse cycle.

  1. They are incredibly well-behaved in the early stages of romance and go to great lengths to impress you.
  2. They mimic your positive behaviors and expressions to manipulate you into believing they are likable.
  3. They have a lot of confidence in their abilities and love to be praised, often showering you with attention and gifts to earn your admiration.
  4. They do not take criticism or negative feedback well and may give a blank look when corrected.
  5. They, especially the grandiose ones, are egocentric, arrogant, aggressive, and exploitative, showing contempt for those they perceive as socially inferior. They often yell at others and can be harmful to your pets.
  6. They do not have many long-term friends, as people tend to avoid them. Narcissists are known to use manipulation and exploitation of others to achieve their goals.
  7. They have a sense of entitlement and expect special treatment from others, including unreasonable levels of respect, love, care, and attention.
  8. They bolster their fragile self-image with fantasies of success, power, beauty, or ideal love, believing they are special and unique. But deep inside, they suffer the shame of being mediocre and average.
  9. They crave constant admiration and expect you to praise them every time you talk to them.
  10. They rarely feel guilt, remorse, or regret after hurting or abusing others.
  11. They do not trust you entirely and are almost paranoid about signs of betrayal from you, often putting your trustworthiness to the test.
  12. They make excuses for their weird behaviors, often blaming you for their actions, and even using aggression to get you to agree to their version of events.
Can Narcissists Fall In Love

What happens when a narcissist falls in love?

How to know when a narcissist is falling for you? How do they show their love?

Warning: A narcissist wants you in their life to secure your love, manipulate you into validating them, and inflate their ego. Look out for red flags like a lack of empathy or a constant need for praise.

Here are some specific love behaviors of a narcissist:

  1. They try to win you over with grand gestures, intense flattery, and excessive attention.
  2. They show extreme eagerness to spend time with you and lavish you with expensive gifts.
  3. They present themselves as wealthy and successful people who can meet all your material needs.
  4. They often boast about their qualities and achievements and are often given to humble-bragging.
  5. They do not support you during your difficult times and may belittle your successes and awards.
  6. They can be very competitive, making you feel bad about yourself if you’re in the same field as them.
  7. They view you as a means to satisfy their entitlement since their relationships revolve around them.
  8. You may find it hard to end your relationship with them because they instill a neediness in you that is known as narcissistic codependency.

A narcissist in love can make you think, “He has followed me across three continents to gift me a Gucci and a Rolex. I’d be a fool to turn him down.” With that, you are one step deeper into their world of abuse.

Moreover, it is often painful to choose between staying and leaving them.

It is so because they keep you tied in a trauma bond, which they create through occasional gestures of love in between abusive behavior.

When the narcissist comes to know that you love him?

“A narcissist in love is truly amazing, until it isn’t. At some point, they will conflict entirely. You cannot love the way that they love, and they cannot love the way you do.”

Can a narcissist love – Ben Taylor, a self-aware narcissist

Final Words

Narcissists usually have three hallmark traits:

  1. inflated self-importance,
  2. constant need for praise, and
  3. a lack of empathy.

But most narcissists have cognitive empathy, which helps them read your mind but not feel like helping you.

Can a narcissist fall in love with a high-empathy person?

No, not in the way we perceive love, despite those people going all out to meet the narcissist’s needs and demands. People with high empathy (popularly called empaths) often have a “fatal attraction” to narcissists. The narcissists lure them with their sob stories while they are moved to fix the narc.

Such relationships seem mutually compatible. The narcissist provides security to the insecure empath while the empath boosts the narcissist’s low self-esteem.

Finally, even if you think that a narcissist has fallen for you, your falling for them is almost always a bad idea. They need therapy instead of a person willing to love them despite their unrealistic attitude to love.

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