What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You”


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What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You”

When a narcissist says “I love you”, do they really mean it? or is this another kind of their manipulation to get control of you and your emotions.

What It Means When A Narcissist Says I Love You

Dear Codependent Partner,

What I’m about to say is not something I’d ever say or admit (to you), because to do so would end the winner-takes-all game that is my main source of pleasure in life — one that effectively keeps you carrying my load in our relationship.

And that’s the whole point.

When I say “I love you” I mean that I love how hard you work to make me feel like your everything, that I am the focus of your life, that you want me to be happy, and that I’ll never be expected to do the same.

I love the power I have to take advantage of your kindness and intentions to be nice, and the pleasure I derive when I make myself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to make you feel small and insignificant.

I love the feeling it gives me thinking of you as weak, vulnerable, emotionally fluffy, and I love looking down on you for your childlike innocence and gullibility, as weakness.

I love the way I feel knowing that, through the use of gaslighting, what you want to discuss or address will never happen, and I love this “power” to train you to feel “crazy” for even asking or bringing up issues that don’t interest me, effectively, ever-lowering your expectations of me and what I’m capable of giving you, while I up mine of you.

Related: Why Does It Hurt To Love A Narcissist? 7 Reasons That’ll Help You Understand

I love how easy it is to keep your sole focus on alleviating my pain (never yours!), and that, regardless of what you do, you’ll never make me feel good enough, loved enough, respected enough, appreciated enough, and so on. (Misery loves company.)

(It’s not about the closeness, empathy, the emotional connection you want, or what I did that hurt or embarrassed you, or how little time I spend engaged with you or the children, and so on. It’s about my status and doing my job to keep you in your place, in pain, focused on feeling my pain, blocking you from feeling valued in relation to me. I’m superior and entitled to all the pleasure, admiration, and comforting between us, remember?)

“I love you” means I love the way I feel when you are with me, more specifically, regarding you as a piece of property I own, my possession. Like driving a hot car, I love the extent to which you enhance my status in the eyes of others, letting them know that I’m top dog, and so on. I love thinking others are jealous of my possessions.

I love the power I have to keep you working hard to prove your love and devotion, wondering what else you need to do to “prove” your loyalty.

I love you” means I love the way I feel when I’m with you. Due to how often I hate and look down on others in general, the mirror neurons in my brain keep me constantly experiencing feelings of self-loathing; thus, I love that I can love myself through you, and also love hating you for my “neediness” of having to rely on you or anyone for anything.

I love that you are there to blame whenever I feel this “neediness”; feeling scorn for you seems to protect me from something I hate to admit, that I feel totally dependent on you to “feed” my sense of superiority and entitlement and to keep my illusion of power alive in my mind.

when narcissist says "I love you"
What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You”

(Nothing makes me feel more fragile and vulnerable than not having control over something that would tarnish my image and superior status, such as when you question “how” I treat you as if you still don’t understand that getting you to accept yourself as an object for my pleasure, happy regardless of how I treat you, or the children  — is key proof of my superiority, to the world. 

You’re my possession, remember? It’s my job to teach you to hate and act calloused toward those “crazy” things that only “weak” people need, such as “closeness” and “emotional stuff;” and by the way, I know this “works” because my childhood taught me to do this to myself inside.)

It makes me light up with pleasure (more proof of my superiority) that I can easily get you flustered, make you act “crazy” over not getting what you want from me, make you repeat yourself, and say and do things that you’ll later hate yourself for (because of your “niceness”!).

Everything you say, any hurts or complaints you share, you can be sure, I’ll taunt you with later, to keep you ever-spinning your wheels, ever trying to explain yourself, ever doubting yourself and confused, trying to figure out why I don’t “get” it.

(There’s nothing to get! To break the code, you’d have to look through my lens, not yours! It’s my job to show complete disinterest in your emotional needs, hurts, wants, and to train, dismiss and punish accordingly, until you learn your “lesson,” that is: To take your place as a voiceless object, a possession that has no desire except to serve my pleasure and comfort, and never an opinion on how it’s treated!)

Related: How Narcissists Fake Empathy To Manipulate You And Your Emotions

(That you can’t figure this out, after all the ways I’ve mistreated you, to me, is proof of my genetic superiority. In my playbook, those with superior genes are never kind, except to lure and snare their victims!)

I love that I can make you feel insecure at the drop of a hat, especially by giving attention to other women (perhaps also others in general, friends, family members, children, etc. … the list is endless).

What power this gives me to put a display of what you don’t get from me, to taunt and make you beg for what I easily give to others, wondering why it’s so easy to give what you want to others, to express feelings of affection, to give compliments, that is, when it serves my pleasure (in this case, to watch you squirm).

I love the power I have to get you back whenever you threaten to leave, by throwing a few crumbs your way, and watching how quickly I can talk you into trusting me when I turn on the charm, deceiving you into thinking, this time, I’ll change.

“I love you” means I need you because, due to the self-loathing I carry inside, I need someone who won’t abandon me that I can use as a punching bag, to make myself feel good by making them feel bad about themselves. (This is how I pleasure myself, and the way I numb, deny the scary feelings I carry inside that I hope to never admit, ever. I hate any signs of weakness in me, which is why I hate you, and all those I consider inferior, stupid, feeble, and so on.)

“I love you” means that I love fixing and shaping your thoughts and beliefs, being in control of your mind so that you think of me as your miracle and savior, a source of life and sustenance you depend on and bouncing back to, like gravity, no matter how high you try to fly away or jump.

I love that this makes me feel like a god, to keep you so focused (obsessed…) with making me feel worshiped and adored, sacrificing everything for me to prove yourself so that I condemn you, seeking to please none other, and inherently, with sole rights to administer rewards and punishments as I please.

I love how I can use my power to keep you down, doubting and second-guessing yourself, questioning your sanity, obsessed with explaining yourself to me (and others), professing your loyalty, wondering what’s wrong with you (instead of realizing that … you cannot make someone “happy” who derives their sense of power and pleasure from feeling scorn for others … and you!).

Related: The Narcissist’s Conditional Asterisk

“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I see myself through your admiring eyes, that you’re my feel-good drug, my dedicated audience, my biggest fan and admirer, and so on.

You, and in particular, your looking up to me, unquestionably, as your never-erring, omniscient, omnipotent source of knowledge is my drug of choice. (You may have noticed how touchy I am at any signs of being question; yes, I hate how fragile I feel at any sign of thinking that you, or the world, could judge me as having failed to keep my possessions in line.)

And I love that, no matter how hard you beg and plead for my love and admiration, to feel valued in return, it won’t happen, as long as I’m in control. Why would I let it, when I’m hooked on deriving pleasure from depriving you of anything that would be the wind beneath your wings, risking you’d fly away from me? 

It gives me great pleasure to not give you what you yearn for, the tenderness you need and want, and to burst your every dream and bubble, then telling myself, “I’m no fool.”

I love that I can control your attempts to get “through” to me, by controlling your mind, in particular, by shifting the focus of any “discussion” onto what is wrong with you, your failure to appreciate and make me feel loved, good enough — and of course, reminding you of all I’ve done for you, and how ungrateful you are.

I love how I skillfully manipulate others’ opinions of you as well, getting them to side with me as the “good” guy, and side against you as the “bad” guy, portraying you as needy, never satisfied, always complaining, selfish, and controlling, and the like.

I love how easy it is for me to say “No!” to what may provide you a sense of value and significance in relation to me, with endless excuses, and that I instead keep your focus on my needs and wants my discomforts, or pain.

I love feeling that I own your thoughts, your ambitions, and ensuring your wants and needs are solely focused on not upsetting me, keeping me happy.

I love being a drug of choice you “have to” have, regardless of how I mistreat you, despite all the signs that your addiction to me is draining the energy from your life, that you are at risk of losing more and more of what you most value, and hold dear, to include the people you love, and those who love and support you.

Related: How Sharing Your Concerns Makes You Vulnerable To A Narcissist

I love that I can isolate you from others who may nourish you, and break the spell, and I love making you mistrust them so that you conclude no one else really wants to put up with you, but me.

I love that I can make you feel I’m doing you a favor by being with you and throwing crumbs your way. Like a vacuum, the emptiness inside me is in constant need of sucking the life and breath and vitality you bring to my life, which I crave like a drug that can never satisfy, that I fight to hoard, and hate the thought of sharing.

While I hate you and my addiction to your caring attention, my neediness keeps me craving to see myself through your caring eyes, ever ready to admire, adore, forgive, make excuses for me, and fall for my lies and traps.

I love that you keep telling me how much I hurt you, not knowing that, to me, this is like a free marketing report, which lets me know how effective my tactics have been to keep you in pain, focused on alleviating my pain — so that I am ever the winner in this competition — ensuring that you never weaken (control) me with your love- and emotional-closeness stuff.

In short, when I say “I love you,” I love the power I have to remain a mystery that you’ll never solve because of what you do not know (and refuse to believe), that: the only one who can win this zero-sum-winner-takes-all game is the one who knows “the rules.

My sense of power rests on ensuring you never succeed at persuading me to join you in creating a mutually-kind relationship because, in my worldview, being vulnerable, emotionally expressive, kind, caring, empathetic, innocent are signs of weakness, proof of inferiority.

Thanks, but no thanks, I’m resolved to stay on my winner-takes-all ground, ever in competition for the prize, gloating in my narcissistic ability to be heartless, callous, cold, calculating … and proud, to ensure my neediness for a sense of superiority isn’t hampered.

Forever love-limiting,

Your Narcissist

PS: I really, really need help — but you CANNOT do this work for me (not without making things worse for both of us!).  Remember, we’re co-addicted to each other, so we’d never go to an addict to get help, right?

Related: 11 Traps of Narcissistic Entanglement

Only a therapist, with experience in this, stands a chance, and even then, only if I choose to really, really, really let him/her! (That’s because I’d have to face my greatest fear that not only am I not superior to everyone and thus not entitled to make and break rules as I please, but I’d also have to own — that my own actions, thoughts, and beliefs about myself and others — are THE main cause of the suffering in my life … and changing them, THE solution. I could not ever want to do this for the sole reason that, from my worldview, only the feeble-minded and weak do such things!)

Source - PsychCentral
By Athena Staik, Ph.D.
Published with permission from the author
What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You”
What It Means When a Narcissist Says I Love You
What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You”
What It Means When a Narcissist Says I Love You
when a narcissist says i love you pinex
What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You”
when a narcissist says i love you pin
What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You”

97 responses to “What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You””

  1. Mesut Aydın Avatar

    Very eyes opened article. I confronted with narcists friends all times, the reason behind that is that my father is a perfect narcist one I think. His behavior on us make us insecure ones. The effort that we spend to get rid of from this insecure personality, push us to be friend with narcists.

  2. Robbie Burntarse Avatar

    The word Narcissist is used with too wide an application here. It would be more accurate to label them ‘evil people’ for not all narcissists are evil. Simply ask any CODA or ALANON member who has a partner or family member who is a narcissist/addict. They would tell you that it’s a disease not a moral defect as you maintain. Your science is very pegorative. Almost medieval.

    In my own experience as a clinical psychologist codependents are far more manipulative and controling. They tend to be the obsessive Denial or Anal type with very rigid ego boundaries. Narcissists are much simpler personalities with extremely diffuse ego boundaries. Yes they do want a caretaker, but it’s a misconception that they are controlling at least not to the micromanaging degree of the caretaker.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

  3. joe Watson Avatar

    don’t let these fruitcakes talk you into guily. every relationship have these issues by both partners. screw this

  4. Aakash Kharbanda Avatar

    Thank you so much. It was an eye opener for me.

  5. Eman Asaad Avatar

    spot on!!! excellent elaboration!

  6. Wendy Lee Finer Avatar

    Holy Cow! You just described my 24 year marriage to the T

  7. Zac Shuford Avatar

    I read this article once, and it felt like looking straight into a mirror, Dorian Gray style. I saw all of my worst attributes right out there, plain as day. I saw all of my friends, all of the romantics relationships I’d trashed, all of the lives I’d mangled because of my actions.

    I thought about what lead me to become this way: my older brother’s and father’s treatment of me, my mom and advocate passing away of cancer when I was a kid, my own experience with a narcissist during my recently ended marriage.

    And then I read the article again. This time, I saw all of the little actions and twists and turns my ex spun on me to keep me in my place, too many to name after 7 years… It became clear to me that there was more to my story than that of others’.

    I think my take away from this article is that I have some understanding of where my tendencies come from. I don’t know if I’ll ever grow out of them, but I think it’s best that I step away from the table until… if I ever become well enough to trust my own judgment and the timing is right, things may be different…but, for now, know, that there is one mixed up, whacked out narcissist out there who is not only sorry for all of the pain you have all felt, but has felt it too.

  8. Speak Easy Avatar

    I have lived with someone like this for 20 years. The depths that this person will go to in their quest to control and destroy you are never ending. I can relate to every single word in this article.

  9. Spencer Ayvas Avatar

    This is honestly really gross because it turns narcissism into an abusive trait. Many patients of narcissistic personality disorder have a constant need to be validated and to feel needed, and somehow this person expects US to be the abusers?? Narcissism is about us. Why would someone think it’s about THEM.

  10. neruss Avatar

    Thank you for Narcissist article. It answered questions of 35 years and brought relief.

  11. Rebecca McLennan Avatar

    Wow there’s an actual name for it!!

  12. Lynnette Neff Avatar

    This describes many forms of narcissistic love. Unfortunately, it includes love within families. I’ve been on the abusive end of this kind of love. Once I broke free and learned to stand up for myself, the true nastiness and hatred reared its’ ugly head.
    In the past, I took the blame, and sacrificed myself in order to keep the peace. It left me feeling like I had no self-esteem or self-worth. That had to stop.
    Standing up to narcissistic behavior has shown me how strong I can be. It’s taken half a century, but I’ve learned I don’t have to bow to that treatment. I’ve learned that I have control. If that person wants to be in my and my family’s life, that person needs to act accordingly. Otherwise, they are not welcome under any circumstances.

  13. Jen Leigh Avatar

    Ah, another gem….Naimah Sultana, oh boy! Not quite everything, but darn close!

    1. Naimah Sultana Avatar


    2. Jen Leigh Avatar

      It’s sick…because of how true it is.

  14. Marny Berteloth Mouw Avatar

    Yep! Run!! Far Away!!! :/

  15. Rebecca Asher Avatar

    Wow! Its been three yrs and i still feel inferior! I am moving forward. Getting g better everyday

    1. Angela Pohakuola Avatar

      They are cowards in bully form …. you will see them for that when you embrace the perfection of so called imperfection! I see your beautiful light and haven’t met you! Bless you dearly!

    2. Rebecca Asher Avatar

      Thank you for your encouragement !

  16. Diana Volter Avatar

    Just nothing at all. It s a lie

  17. Christina Swan Avatar

    Lyndsay Swan remind you of anyone?

    1. Christina Swan Avatar

      Oh ok… worrying.

  18. Michele Peterson Grace Avatar

    Sarah Blackman Spears Just wow.

  19. Ana Paula Wong Avatar

    Maira Gonzales Aguilar

    1. Maira Gonzales Aguilar Avatar

      Y hay las que se quedan años.

  20. Megan Stevens Avatar

    So accurate, I lived for two years in this hell.

    1. Lee Boys Avatar

      I hear you Hun xx

    2. Angela Pohakuola Avatar

      So glad it was 2 years not 28 years like me! Good for you!

  21. Hamzah Abusamak Avatar

    Well, in the end, what is the exact differ between a self-centered person & narcissist person!!

  22. Karla Austin Avatar

    that is one sick ass bastard….I knew him by the name of Norman….

  23. Akash Navghare Avatar

    I know a narcissist myself. But she’s too darn reactive and manipulative. She’s in pain too. Tried to (want to, I being an empath) help her out as I know that I and only I know what she’s going through and how can she get out of it. But instead of letting me, do her some good, she ‘kinda’ keeps trying to repel me! Weird! Doesn’t talk to me properly! Can’t just figure out what to do! Any ideas?! I wanna help.

  24. Betty Aitken Avatar

    Oh yes…this is my ex to a T!! I finally gathered and garnered the courage to pack my things and leave…I often questioned my sanity…always felt insignificant…slowly but surely whittled my sense of Self to nill…I am so grateful I managed to muster the strength to leave…I feel I might have died physically…the final straw!

  25. Dani Feigs Avatar

    So glad I finally walked away from this bulls**t! FREEDOM!!!!

  26. Sandra Crosbie Avatar

    It is not just men who are narcissistic…. and these traits also appear in non-romantic relationships too.

  27. Sarah Dawn Avatar

    So sad… never again.

  28. Velika Salinas Nevins Avatar

    That sure Gave me the Creeps…

  29. Laura Sgroi Avatar

    ugh…but that’s over now…..new year…new times…

  30. Edee Zarate Avatar

    So much truth. I now get I am an Empath and he is a Narcissist and what it has really done to both of us is not good for either of us at all in the realities of life. I fell into this. I, however, do not blame him either. I am walking away, however.

    1. Angela Pohakuola Avatar

      Good! Stand firm….

    2. Edee Zarate Avatar

      I will this time. Not getting any younger and don’t plan to waste whatever time I have left. It helps to have support, too. 🙂 Thank you for your thoughtful support in this regard too. 🙂

    3. Angela Pohakuola Avatar

      Edee Zarate they are wounded souls, but not ours to heal! Loving you as you find such strength!

  31. Laura Sophia Avatar

    Interesting, insightful and chilling article.

  32. Ruth Fourie Avatar

    Sad thing is that some people struggle to trust others after such a relationship & can confuse a sincere person’s behaviour with a narcissist’s eg some prefer to speak more regularly through actions rather than words.

    1. Adellemaree Bailey Avatar

      Its been very hard but my now man is nothing like the last 1 or 2 for that matter .

  33. Caren Allen Avatar

    Wow…that’s some heavy shit…

  34. Shelli Leo Avatar

    This describes my ex to a tee…

  35. Iliriana Sela Avatar

    To anyone who escaped from being a prisoner of a narcissist, I am proud of you for breaking through. Enjoy your life and your freedom. This is why I say. The words “I Got you” mean more than “I love you”.

    1. Angela Pohakuola Avatar

      A real live PHD! Some of us catch on at 60 years….busted out of prison!!!!

    2. Iliriana Sela Avatar

      Angela Pohakuola congrats on busting out. 🙂

  36. Elaine Follin Avatar

    This describes so perfectly the last two men I dated. I had the misfortune of falling in love with the first, only to have him walk away and move onto a new girl without ending it with me. It took most of a year before I noticed the similarities in the next guy and I ran. Never again! Stay away from the cocky alpha, he’s a narcissist with a great pick up line.

    1. Chris Kelley Avatar

      Very true, very…I had one too

    2. Virginia Burdick Avatar

      I was raised by a narcissist so when I married it was natural to choose the familiar. So unhappy, and after 10 years divorce then married my next one for another 15 years. It wasn’t until the end of that relationship that I devoted much time to counseling. I have remained single because I don’t trust my intuition, but am getting better. I’ll never forget asking my second husband why he loved me. He looked and me an simply said, “Because you love me!” Says it all in a nutshell, doesn’t it?

    3. Angela Pohakuola Avatar

      They have a sneaky sick purpose and are preditory….no need to stop being a loving person….but once you know their MO it’s easy to nix! They are cowardly and will be on the search for the next victim! With that said….they will tell you right away….it’s whether you are a fixer upper and think you see their best. Oh yes! It’s there! But not in your lifetime!!!!

    4. Angela Pohakuola Avatar

      Virginia Burdick bless your heart! They teach us to use discernment!

    5. Virginia Burdick Avatar

      He was locked in treatment for two months–he just couldn’t overlook that I dared to be assertive—lol. His psychiatrist and my counselors kept urging me to get a divorce. I had come from a broken home in the early 50’s (big taboo) and was not wanting to admit my second marriage was a failure too, and was striving to preserve the union. My husband’s doctor said, let me explain it to you this way—-“You are a wounded fish, your husband is a shark.” I have stayed unmarried for 27 years now, and have been in occupations that have allowed me to observe behavior—male and female–learned much just by watching. At 67 I am not interested in pursuing any relationships anyway. I love having my own space and am very contented. My first book on this subject was ‘People of the Lie’, by M. Scott Peck. Great Book.

    6. Adellemaree Bailey Avatar

      I learnt the very hard way 5yrs ago I met him drunk showing off coming around in the night with gifts sexy kind words spent what felt like a lifetime doing normal family outings living together he loved drinking & going to the gym party’s & I let him , 1 morn 7am he returns home from party gets into bed. 2 wks later His mate reveals he had sex with some random chik. I found out & was so in love with the idea of him I suggested we move past it regain trust & get him help for his drinking ..3 months later things we great he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me I loved him madly it consumed me 8wks things got suspicious he spent more time alone & piked fights to then he made up with me, he would drive past mine at 4am on his way to work check if another’s car was at mine, he called it off but nothing really changed he still came round text cooked me dinner told me he loved me but we need time he wanted MY to party with him then get wasted & put me down he even expected me to sleep with his mate saying if I loved him I would he wanted it soo bad. 3 mths later I realised FBk posts were being hidden & questiond it he argued saying he loved me why would he do that , that night I turned up unexpected at his place walked in to find 2 kids & their mother sitting at bfast bar I was so Hurt upset & throw a photo of his on the floor he grabbed him round the waist yelling abuse at me & threw me out the front like trash I dropped me keys in the hall & asked him to get them I wanted to leave he threw them on the lawn in the dark I tried hesterically to locate them I then stood near his car to wait for him to find them still so angry I snapped the bonnet protected off & threw it at him found my keys n left .. home to bed 3hrs later police at my door arrested me for abuse causing actual harm spent 1st night ever in cell i read his statement & it killed me the absolute lies & things I never knew were stabbing me over n over in my heart for 4 mths I was played sexually taken advantage of & thought I was going insain . Court 3 mths later I seen how brainwashed I was in believing every word he said & his promises I was under his spell. I was hamiliated embarrassed & so ashamed of what I’d become = destroyed me .. & I allowed it ..

  37. Polly Karaitiana Avatar

    Iv’e meet one to many of these ones

  38. Maria Lynn Ford Avatar

    It only happens right after you give THEM good sex and only a handful of times will they ever say it. All the rest of the times they’re too busy either stabbing you in the back or beating your ass.

  39. Casval Rem Deikun Avatar

    if the person is just pretending ?

    1. Tracy Mayhew Avatar

      In a way. Dr Robert D Hare said they can’t ‘love’ as such, but they do attach. This happens during the idealisation phase. It doesn’t last long because of their incessant boredom so you’re moved into the ‘devaluation’ stage and then ‘discard’ or back to idealisation if you’re a source of good supply.

  40. Angela Pohakuola Avatar

    RUN! If a narcissist “Loves” you…..no matter what “love” means….it ain’t gonna be good for you……NEVER!

    1. Akash Navghare Avatar

      i would agree to that. i already am running!

    2. Angela Pohakuola Avatar

      Wow! Had no idea so many have been in same boat!

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Whether you left or were left, the end of the relationship can lead to anger, bitterness and resentment.

And, try as we might, keeping those feelings to ourselves can be difficult, sometimes even impossible.

I am here to tell you, from personal experience and the experience of my clients, that bad-mouthing your ex will only make things worse,

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Abuse The Abuser: Should You Give A Narcissist A Taste Of Their Own Medicine?

Should You Give A Narcissist A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

Are you tired of being abused? Tired of being screamed at, criticized, hit on your face all the time by your abuser? Have you reached the point where you say “enough is enough” and fight back? But should you abuse the abuser?

No. Even narcissists and abusers are human beings. Moreover, you should never stoop down to their level. Simply forgive them and continue to tolerate abuse because you are an empath and that’s what empaths do.” What a load of ape shit.

If that’s the kind of answer you are expecting here, then you’re in the wrong place buddy. Self-defense is necessary and a natural reaction. Going toe to toe with your abuser and giving them a taste of their own medicine might just be exactly what you need to get your dignity and self-respect back.