Is a narcissist capable of truly loving another human being? This is a provocative question because “love” is defined as “a strong affection, attachment or devotion for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, as well as an unselfish loyal benevolent concern for the good of another.” Narcissists by nature are selfish creatures only concerned about themselves, so it natural to believe that this selfish state of mind cannot possibly coexist with love.
The very description of a narcissist is a person who is incapable of empathy. Empathy is “the feeling that you understand and share another persons experiences and emotions.” Therefore, if you cannot truly understand someone and share in their emotions, you cannot really love them. Empathy is the basis for all love. Unfortunately, because narcissists do not have the capacity to empathize, they cannot tap into real emotions that are vital to feel love, nor are they capable of giving unconditional love.
To a narcissist, love is what YOU can do for them. As sad and shocking as it seems, you my dear, were not loved by your narcissist, you were tolerated, you were absorbed, controlled, owned, and reprogrammed by him or her. To a narcissist, he or she views it as a privilege for you to be in their life. There is no true reciprocity, no give and take, no connection, no acceptance or devotion, trust or growth. All those essential components needed to create and sustain a healthy, viable relationship are absent.
You may find yourself struggling with the memories of your narcissist showering you with attention and “love” in the beginning of your relationship. You may want to believe that this cannot have been just an act, but unfortunately it was. This love-bombing phase encourages you into a false sense of security with him or her so that you drop your defenses and trust them blindly. This makes it easy for them to manipulate and later destroy you. Then when you feel that you cannot take any more abuse, you begin to pull away. At that point, the narcissist jumps back into the love-bombing phase again to lure you back to their control zone. It is a vicious cycle that will continue until the narcissist gets bored and decides to move onto an easier target, or until you break free from it yourself.
So as the definition of love goes, does your narcissist unselfishly put you and your interests before their own? No, because he or she has no capability to feel authentic, true love. The bottom line is that you deserve to be loved, cherished and heard, and a narcissist is simply incapable of it.
*Definitions of “love” and “empathy” are taken from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary