Is a narcissist capable of love?
If you have ever been around a narcissist, you have probably wondered if they are capable of love. Not to mention if they have the capacity to care about anyone in the first place. Loving a narcissist means walking a fine line between pain and love. It means not being able to decide if it’s safe to stay or if they can bring themselves to leave. The most confusing thing is it is so hard to tell where you stand. One minute you know you are loved, the next you don’t ‘know if you are even being acknowledged.
A narcissist can say that they love their partners and family, but are they capable.
Love or romance
It is apparent that a narcissist can show signs of passion, especially in the early stages of the relationship. That passion can be the result of expectation and fantasy. It is not out of love for the other person but of the love the narcissist has for themselves. The early stages of the relationship boost the ego of a narcissist.
Narcissists view relationships as transactions. They just want pleasure for themselves. For them, life is a game and their whole goal is winning. They do have a sense of emotional intelligence that helps them understand and express emotions. They see their emotions as something to manage so that they can manipulate others. Their social skills help them make a good impression. Depending on their ultimate goal, they can have multiple conquests while staying single.
It is only when expectations are raised by the other party that they lose interest. This is why they have problems maintaining relationships past several months. They prefer power to love and do not like seeing vulnerability in a partner. To maintain dominance over a partner they will play whatever game necessary. The games both entertain and empower them.
This game playing, when culminating in a break-up can traumatize their partner because it seems to come out of the blue.
Not all narcissists race to the finish with breakups. Some simple adjust their goals to include a partnership. This, however, is based on a respect for the friendship and shared interests. But a marriage is difficult for them because they avoid closeness. They can become over critical when challenged. They will only support their spouse and their needs if and when it is convenient for them.
The classic definition of love is to wish and work for the good will of another. True love is not the stuff that romantic poetry is made of. Real love involves two separate people who are together and see each other as individuals. A couple in love delight in each other’s happiness and avoid hurting each other.
Real love means caring deeply for each other and their opinions even if they are different from each other. A couple in love respects and supports each other.
Because narcissists don’t see a need to know and understand anyone else, they don’t truly feel the need to love someone else. Other hurdles they have to move past are seeing other people as individuals. They also need to practice emotional empathy. Next they have to move past their own distortions of reality.
Narcissists also have a tendency to project their negative attributes onto others. They push others away with denial and blame and constant criticism to move the shame away from themselves. Few people would risk a love relationship with a true narcissist.
Can love be measured
Love in and of itself is hard to measure. People feel love in a number of different ways, including affirmative words, time spent together, kind acts and thoughtful gifts. Some feel love with a simple, warm touch. People show love by showing interest in others activities and by giving emotional support. Narcissists have a hard time acknowledging others so they would, of course find showing love to another.
Those who take on the challenge of loving a narcissist find themselves missing basic expressions of love. Narcissists run hot and cold, sometimes showing love and intense passion, other times they can be dismissive and argumentative. They can only show love when it suits them. Thus, their love is conditional. They generally choose casual relationships because less is required of them. Instead of asking whether your narcissist loves you, ask yourself how you feel. Do you feel respected? Do you feel cared for? Do you feel valued. If you do not, then it is time to get out.