Can Narcissist Truly Love?

Uploaded 11/10/2010, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

Narcissists are incapable of truly loving, and yet they experience some feeling, a modicum of emotion, which they insist is love.

So what gives?

Well, narcissists love their spouses or other significant others as long as they continue to reliably provide them with narcissistic supply, in one word, with attention.

Inevitably, narcissists regard others as mere sources, objects, functions, or extensions of themselves. Lagging empathy and emotional maturity, the narcissist's so-called love is pathological.

The precise locus of the pathology depends on the narcissist's stability or instability in different parts of his life.

There are two types of narcissistic love, pathologicalize as it may be.

One type of narcissist loves others as one would get attached to objects. He loves his spouse, for instance, simply because she exists and is available to provide him with narcissistic supply. He loves his children because they are part of his self-image as a successful husband or father. He loves his friends because, and as long as they provide him with narcissistic supply and as long as he can exploit them, as long as they are exploitable and gullible. So these are objects, sources in his life. He doesn't really regard them as three-dimensional human beings with their own needs, preferences, wishes, and priorities.

To him, they are two-dimensional cardboard cutouts. They are representations of functions, of his needs, of his priorities, of his wishes.

Such a narcissist reacts with alarm and a rage to any sign of independence and autonomy in his charges. He tries to freeze everyone around him in their allocated positions and assigned roles. His world is rigid and immovable, predictable and static, fully under his control.

Such a narcissist punishes for transgressions against disordained order. He stifles life as a dynamic process of compromising and growing. He renders life instead a mere theater, a tableau vivant, a cult.

The other type of narcissist abhors monotony and constancy, equating them in his mind with death.

He seeks, actually, instability, chaos, upheaval, drama and change, but only when they conform to his plans, designs, and views of the world and especially of himself, only when they conform to his false self.

Thus, such a narcissist does not encourage growth in his nearest and dearest. By monopolizing their lives, he, like the other kind of narcissist, also reduces them to mere objects, props, and the exciting drama of his life.

This second type of narcissist likewise rages any sign of rebellion and disagreement, but as opposed to the first type of narcissist that we describe, he seeks to animate others with his demented energy, grandiose plans, manic and megalomaniacal self-perception.

He is an adrenaline junkie. His world is a whirlwind of comings and goings, reunions and separations, loves and hates, vocations adopted and discarded, schemes erected and dismantled, enemies turned friends and vice versa. His universe is equally a theater, but a more ferocious and chaotic one.

So where is love in all this? Where is a commitment to the loved one's welfare, the discipline, the extension of oneself to incorporate the beloved, the mutual growth?

Well, in the narcissist world, this kind of mature love is nowhere to be seen. The narcissist's love is hate and fear disguised. The narcissist's so-called love is fear of losing control and hatred of the very people is precariously balanced, personality so depends on.

The narcissist is egoistically committed only to his own well-being. To him, the objects of his love are interchangeable, replaceable and therefore by definition inferior to him.

The narcissist idealizes his nearest and dearest and closest not because he is smitten by emotion, not because he loves them, but because he needs to captivate them and to convince himself that they are worthy sources of narcissistic supply. He is aware of their flaws and mediocrity, but he lies to them and to himself about these.

In order to elevate them into high level, high octane, high quality sources of supply.

Once he deems his sources of supply, his nearest, his closest, his dearest, useless, once he deems them useless, he discards and devalues them cold-bloodedly.

The predator, always on the lookout, always on the prowl, he debases the coin of love as he corrupts everything else in himself and around him incessantly and inexorably.

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Narcissists Hate Women, Misogynists

Narcissists view women as objects and use them for both primary and secondary narcissistic supply. They fear emotional intimacy and treat women as property, similar to the mindset of European males in the 18th century. Narcissists frustrate women by teasing them and then leaving them, and they hold women in contempt, choosing submissive partners whom they disdain for being below their intellectual level. The narcissist projects his own behavior and traits onto women.

Narcissist's Romantic Jealousy and Possessiveness

Narcissists experience anxiety when they become aware of their possessive and jealous tendencies. Anxiety characterizes all their interactions with the opposite sex, especially in situations where there is a possibility of rejection or abandonment. The narcissist's envy of their female mate is a result of an unconscious conflict, and they exercise their imagination to justify their negative emotions. Narcissists often strike an unhealthy balance by being emotionally and physically absent, which drives their partner to find emotional and physical gratification outside the relationship.

Narcissist's Certain Losses

Narcissists are obsessed with securing sources of supply, but once they have them, they lose interest and take them for granted. Many sources of supply eventually break free from the narcissist's grip, causing the narcissist to feel abandoned and lose control. However, when the loss is tangible, the narcissist regains his former zeal and embarks on a charm offensive to reacquire what was lost. Once the targets are reacquired, the narcissist reverts to his abusive and indifferent behavior until another round of losses and reanimation.

Narcissist Re-idealizes Discarded Sources of Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists keep discarded sources of supply in reserve and seek them out when they have no other supply source. They frantically try to recycle their old sources and re-idealize them without admitting to having been mistaken in the first place. To preserve their grandiosity, they come up with a narrative that accommodates both the devaluing content and the re-idealized image of the source. If you are an old source of narcissistic supply, simply ignore the narcissist as indifference is what they cannot stand.

Don't Waste Your Love on the Narcissist (Conference Presentation)

The narcissist is incapable of both loving and being loved due to the presence of a bad object at their core. Love triggers feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy in the narcissist, leading them to reject and push away any attempts at love. They view love as a threat and seek to control and manipulate their partners to avoid feelings of weakness and potential abandonment. The narcissist's inability to separate others from themselves and their deep-seated trauma from childhood further complicates their ability to engage in healthy, loving relationships.

Narcissist’s Losses Are His Life

Loss is a crucial aspect of the narcissist's life, serving as an organizing principle and a means of transformation. The narcissist's self-destructive behavior and manipulation of external objects are driven by the need to induce change in their internal environment. Losses are both intentional and evoked by the narcissist, who uses them to engender victimhood and manipulate others. The narcissist's fear of losses leads them to preemptively bring them on, ultimately sacrificing reality for the appearance of life.

Narcissists Hate Love

Narcissists hate being told "I love you" because it threatens their sense of uniqueness, they believe love is an all-consuming and dangerous pursuit, and they know deep down that they are a con artist and a fraud. They also hate seeing love demonstrated between others, such as a spouse and children, and view it as an assault on their emotional welfare and balance. Attempting to cure a narcissist with love and acceptance is futile, as only a severe narcissistic injury or life crisis can bring about transformative healing.

Narcissist's Dead Libido (ENGLISH responses)

Narcissists have no libido, as they are non-beings with no life force. The libido is a force of life, and while Freud initially had a negative view of it, Jung saw it as a positive force for creativity and inventiveness. Narcissists objectify people and see them as part of a supply chain, with no interest in the source beyond what they can extract from it. Their relationships with significant others are transactional, and their children are seen as future sources of supply rather than expressions of life.

Narcissist Hedges His Bets

Narcissists engage in what could be described as narcissistic hedges, infusing selected subjects, topics, areas, and people with narcissistic investments. They prepare these fields, areas, topics, and people as auxiliary sources of narcissistic supply and as backup options in case of a systems failure. However, the correlation between the various selections the narcissist makes may not be very strong, which is why they can be used as hedges. Once a crisis erupts, the violently reduced narcissist, a faltering shadow of his former false self, is too depleted to make use of the narcissistic hedges that he has created in the first place for exactly such a situation of emergency.

Breaking Through the Narcissist's Indifference by Becoming a Psychop

Narcissists have three essential demands from their partner: sex, supply, and services. If the partner provides any two of these three, the narcissist is pacified and ignores her. The partner needs to escalate, dramatize, and render herself unpredictable to attract the narcissist's attention. As our civilization becomes more narcissistic, both men and women adopt and emulate grandiose psychopathic men as role models, gurus, and guiding lights. The situation is so bad that many people are choosing simply to stay alone, to remain single in the fullest sense of the word.

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