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

What it means when a narcissist says I love you

Dear Codependent Partner,

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

 

I love how easy it is to keep your sole focus on alleviating my pain (never yours!), and that, regardless 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, 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.

(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.)

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97 COMMENTS

  1. 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. 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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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”.

  12. 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.

    • 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?

    • 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!!!!

    • 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.

    • 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 ..

  13. 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.

    • 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.

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Athena Staik, Ph.D.
Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik shows clients how to break free of anxiety, addictions, and other emotional blocks, to awaken radiantly healthy lives and relationships. Dr. Staik is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, Safe Enough to Love?: Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit www.drstaik.com or visit on her Facebook fan page 
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