Did the Narcissist Ever Really Love Me?

sleepingmanThis is one of the most commonly asked questions from those who have given their hearts, and souls to a narcissist. At first the relationship is very intense and romantic and it seems perhaps you have finally found “the one.”

I recently watched a movie where a character comically said “or you are still chasing after the elusive “one?”

We often spend our lives waiting for the one who will finally make everything right with our world. Initially it may seem the narcissistic lover is “the one,” but after the honeymoon is over the tables turn. Why? Well because the honeymoon is over! And narcissists love the honeymoon.

In all healthy relationships there comes a time where the honeymoon must evolve into something real. This means it is time for real communication, dealing with issues, concerns and commitments. It means having the ability to work with a partner, to consider the needs of that partner, to let go of the need to be “right” in favor of having true communication, accountability and responsibility. If you have a concern in your relationship you should be able to take your concern to your partner and be heard. You should also be able to listen, really listen to the concerns of your partner. In a narcissistic relationship this doesn’t happen.

The reason the narcissist loves the honeymoon is because he can be stuck in the Peter Pan, terminal boyhood or girlhood stage where s/he doesn’t have to be responsible or accountable.

A narcissist doesn’t want to deal with issues in the relationship. If any issues are brought up he will be quick to dump them back on you and walk away. He loves the romance, the attention, admiration, adoration, promise of ideal love and hope that he has found “the one” who will tolerate all his weirdness without question. When his beloved begins to question him, differ with him or make demands, his “weirdness” escalates. He resorts to his manipulation techniques to get you to stop bringing his issues to the forefront. And his greatest manipulation technique is to dump it all on you. It is your fault. You are too demanding! You don’t accept him as he is!

The narcissist doesn’t want to grow up and be accountable. He is entitled to constant attention and admiration without having to invest anything more than the initial time it took to woo you. Once you have been wooed you should be hooked in and he shouldn’t have to invest so much anymore. He has groomed you to be a constant source of admiration, attention, sex, affection, and nurturing. The piece that is missing is that the narcissist doesn’t seem to believe that he should reciprocate.

With men there is an unlimited supply of selfless women out there who believe in taking care of their man and catering to his needs without concern for their own. And so it is pretty easy to groom a woman to play this role. With female narcissists they want to be the queen and look for men who will completely adore and admire them, once again without any concern for their own needs. Men who had demanding or narcissistic Mother’s might easily align with a woman like this and cater to her every need in order to keep her around.

Underneath it all the narcissist can’t enter into a place of mature love. Their love is immature, self centered and needy. They are looking for unconditional love but are unwilling to give it. And so the question “did he ever really love me?” can be answered simply by saying “he loved you to the extent he was able. He never had the ability to move beyond the honeymoon and upgrade to mature love. He is stuck in “young” love which is intense, passionate and romantic while it lasts.

For a time, you might be “the one” for the narcissist. But when you begin to have needs or demands from the relationship, or you are disagreeable, it will change. When you begin to question his behavior whether it be viewing porn, staying out late or ignoring you, he will be angry at you because he wants you to completely affirm and validate him, no matter what he does. He expects for you to tolerate his affairs, his porn, his sex addiction, his avoidance issues, and anything else he does. This is narcissism! Narcissism is self centered and immature. It doesn’t consider you or your needs.

Often when you are cut off, abandoned, devalued and discarded, it is a punishment for your refusal to comply. And as victims of narcissism we often believe it is somehow our fault that he or she treated us with such contempt. We wrack our brains wondering what we did to deserve such cruel treatment. But it is and never has been about you. What you did is refuse to cater to his needs and affirm him unconditionally. But unless you want to completely give up yourself and be absorbed by the narcissist, it is unrealistic to play this role with him. Often we do, for quite a long time. We are conditioned to turn a blind eye, to take him back after he had an affair and not ask questions, and suffer through the cold spells and silent treatments. But eventually one of two things happens. Either the narcissist gets bored with you because you no longer challenge him, or you get fed up with his behavior and start making demands for yourself which may eventually result in your leaving.

You can’t always know what is going on inside the tortured mind of the narcissist. The one thing you can know is that he or she is unable to truly give you what you want, need and deserve; a whole, healthy relationship. So whether you leave or the narcissist leaves, you are better off.

It is perfectly O.K. to love the narcissist, even after it is over. If your love was real then honor that and embrace it. This means you are able to love in a deep and honest way.

Sometimes the narcissistic relationship shows us how deeply we can and do love. Playing with Peter Pan can be a magical experience, one that you don’t forget. It can be intense, passionate, sexy, and romantic. But you are destined to live in never never land which means you will never have anything real or true. It is all only make believe.

I believe there is a part of the narcissist that does love those he gets involved with. At least some of them. He or she may also use relationships to get something he/she wants. The narcissist may marry for money, or prestige or power. A narcissist may get involved with you because you are eye candy and make him/her look good. But then, most people make choices based on what’s in it for them. Most people are physically attracted to someone because they perceive that person as hot, or beautiful, or gorgeous. People with money, or power or prestige never have trouble finding a mate, because the mate is more attracted to the goodies, than the person. Many people are attracted to fixer uppers hoping they can rehabilitate them and make them the “perfect mate.”

Love only goes as deep as we do, and frankly if your mate doesn’t run very deep than neither will the love. If your mate hasn’t taken the time to develop himself or herself than it’s not likely going to change in the relationship. If you’ve spent your life embracing “personal growth” and your mate has never read a book on the topic, then you can bet that personal growth isn’t high on his list of priorities.

Did the narcissist ever really love you? Perhaps he loved the idea of you. Perhaps he loved how you made him feel. Perhaps he loved the fantasy of what life with you could bring him. Perhaps he loved the idea that he has finally found someone who will love him unconditionally and ignore his shortcomings (which are a lot.) Perhaps he was taken by your beauty, or intelligence or wit. But he was never strong enough to go the next level. And ultimately that is what you wanted right? You wanted a real, mature, loving, caring, nurturing relationship that considered your needs. And you simply weren’t going to get it from someone that shallow.

If you tell yourself that you loved him and he loved you to the best of his ability given what he had to work with, you can finally make peace with it all and let him go to be who and what he is….a narcissist.

About Kaleah LaRoche

Kaleah LaRoche is the Founder of Narcissism Free and has been working to support others in their recovery of narcissistic abuse since 2006. She has authored four books on the topic of narcissistic abuse, recovery, and traversing the dark night of the soul. A Clinical Hypnotherapist and Holistic Counselor since 1988, Kaleah brings her compassionate counseling skill and Hypnotherapy to assist in healing and recovery. Kaleah also has a popular podcast "Pandora's Box." You can go to pandoras-box-radio.com to listen.

29 comments on “Did the Narcissist Ever Really Love Me?

  1. WOW…..you’ve said it all, and have answered every thing I knew to be true. I just couldn’t validate my true thoughts on my own. This man I have been dating for right at two (2) years is all of the above. Very self centered and self made. He simply does not try to please me with affection or displaying true love. Yes, I have had many issues with his behavior, but he still thinks nothing of it and expects me to just forgive, forget, and continue as if nothing happened. I find myself feeling that it’s hard to walk away from the relationship because he so easily includes me on his escapades. He loves to show off his sport cars and doesn’t mind me riding with him because he looks at me as being beautiful and attractive. Anyway…. thanks for this article. Things are truly much, much clearer to me and as I have always thought in my mind that…..I’m simply not just imagining things.

  2. This was an insightful and awesome article thank you for your words of wisdom for such a terrible time of my life 🙂

  3. The more I read these various sites on narcissism, the more I realise how I had been played, ridiculed, lied to, dot dot dot…
    My narcissist girl friend broke up with me and then totally demeaned me in front of her friends, making me look like a real clown, and because I loved her so much and did so much for her during our relationship, it gutted me to the point of saying ‘enough is enough’.
    That same evening she was in a motor accident…not serious, but after 2 days, I found this out and made enquiries, to find out that she was ok.

    All the while she had been ignoring me and eventually made contact, sending me pics of what she’d looked like after the accident and how I didn’t even care to see whether she was OK.
    I responded and let her know that I had made a final deceision to walk away, but still enquired about her well-being, without her knowing.

    I loved her deeply, so it hurts that she thinks that I didn’t care. Her accident couldn’t have come at a worse time, so I must really look like an uncaring, callous monster, to her, her family and her friends.
    For me though, and under these tricky circumstances, I have to remain adamant about my decision.

    Does she realise and ever consider everything else I have done to show how much I loved her? Or is all of that devalued now, that I had to take this (what must seem like) harsh stance, after this tragedy?

    • Honestly, they don’t care… they feel all that was ‘good ‘ they deserved ( and everyone ‘should ‘ treat them like some kind of king or queen, admire, praise regardless of their behavior ) They are also all about novel, new ‘fans’, new people to trick into supply, weather it be worship or even pity….I can almost for certain promise you that after first shocks of the accident covered in bruises , and finally alone she was probably smiling a huge smirk with glee at how she was going to exploit that moment and make you look terrible…. Have no pity for these predictors ; protect yourself with complete no contact, because they Will come back, and it Will be lies, seduction, future fakeing and false promises that they ‘learned /changed’ and it will be different this next time…. Only for the cycle of abuse to return ,along with devalue , destroy and disregard normally happening faster the next time.
      They will always be ugly to you, they have no true value for real love sadly and they can never give it back to you. If you have been left by a NPD person , try to see its a blessing in disguise ; learn or relearn how to love and cherish yourself; get help if you need to ; go No Contract ; read , reach out to others, find a support group or online community on this issue; Always remember, by getting out of a life with the narcissist, you are One huge step closer to finding real and true love with a partner that can love you as deeply and equally as you can . I know it’s hard but it always is to escape the gravity of what is a black hole…

  4. I love how this article gives a very good and uncommon insight on relationships with a narcissist, I specially like the optimism I was left with when I finished reading it. Thank you!

  5. Enjoyed this. Got discarded when I started asking questions about our finances, he said I was crazy and went to my doctor, family, and friends as a victim, with the desire to help me. Actually, he wanted more access to my money. It’s money my parent hold to protect me from these situation. He left. Yes, he’s a schmuck but the pain is incredible.

  6. I feel awful. I’ve always known there was something wrong with me, something that caused my relationships to fail that I couldn’t see or understand. I’ve stumbled upon these articles and my feelings of self blame and remorse flood into me. I don’t know why I am this way, I don’t know how to change. I’d given up at one point and she showed up in time to prevent me from killing myself, most of the time it still seems like the only real solution. Before she asked for the divorce I feel like she must have found a site like this. She never tried to insist that I get help for anything specific but she would talk about my “fantasy-land” and that I didn’t really love her and this went on for months. I couldn’t understand how I could feel like I loved her to the depths of my soul and she thought I didn’t even know her. Couldn’t understand why she was questioning it at all. I would freeze, beyond fight or flight there is utter panic that immobilizes you, deer-in-the-headlights style and I’d be trapped in my mind with hundreds of racing thoughts but never being able to say anything, paralysed with the fear of it being misinterpreted, failing on deaf ears or worse, her making fun of me for it. A couple years have past, somehow, and she has remarried.. and even though it hurts me to know that I truly hope she is happy. And I haven’t had a serious relationship since. I’m terrified of breaking someone else, of causing them that much pain unintentionally, and of the certainty of the eventual outcome, that they will leave and I will feel less than human. I want quit, it seems there’s no real solution to my problem. I held on to the fantasy that maybe we could retain some sort of friendship but that fantasy is as dead as whatever love she ever had for me is. Everything reminds me of her. I hate myself, the things I’ve done, words I’ve said, choices I’ve made. I know I can never change any of it. I feel trapped in this shell of an unsatisfied life between the guilt of the past and the guilt of those who love me and the effect suicide would have on them. I just try to keep going but it seems to be getting harder. I’m truly lost.

  7. He dogged me in front of his friends that I just met that night… it was over about what I cooked and not inviting him over for dinner. His friend made a comment that o was hiding something like I am married. He didn’t say anything and he sheepishly went along with it even after I had told him I am not married. He is so subtly condescending to his 22 yr old neighbor too. He can entertain all he wants but dissing me is out of line.

  8. This article states exactly my relationship with him. I’ll tell you dancing with the devil sure hurts like hell. Thank you for this ❤

  9. This article has bern spot on. I wondered why it felt like he was an irresponsible child. And why he wanted unconditional love no matter what horrible things he did to me. Hopefuly now I can keep up the no contact.

  10. You explained my relationship so well. This was probably the most accurate and helpful article I’ve read. I’m sorry you had to endure what you did to develop such insight. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Wonderful, insightful article. It perfectly describes the past 8 years of my life. I finally left my narcissistic husband a couple of months ago. I am just learning about narcissism, and it all makes perfect sense to me now. Before I believed he was just cold, selfish, and mean. Now I see that this is actually a mental condition, and Thank God I got out before it could get even worse for me. When we began dating, he seemed to be a wonderful person. Immediately after the marriage, it changed. When I left him, I asked him if he loved me, and he said no, not in “that” way. Then he wanted to know if I loved him unconditionally! This article helps me to see that he never did, at least not in the way that “normal” people love each other. Many thanks for this.

  12. My husband is a narcissist and he would always threat by saying he will walk away. Do I really have to let him go or leave him? Is there any other way which could treat him and be healed? It is becoming very hard for me physically, mentally and emotionally. Please advise me on this. Thank you.

  13. This article was so right on it gave me goose bumps. God, how I loved this girl, yet I could never question a single thing she ever did. She had a room of what I call boxes and in each box was a person and a personal experience she never wanted to let go. Whenever she wanted to live that experience, all she had to do was pull the box out, never caring at all how doing that affected me. It was all about her, always.

  14. My 16 month “affair” ended about a month ago…I didn’t know she was a narcissist until I googled “silent treatment”…She was a mistress at it..The term narcissist came up….she was abandoned by her mother…dad was an alcoholic..died young etc….tough beginning….In hind sight,it now makes sense.
    This article is insightful.. The honeymoon was fun but she was not able to mature in the relationship….Oh well…

  15. I’ve been dealing with this for 20 years since I was 17..trying to make him happy….I shielded my two children from it and have painted myself into a corner..I don’t know how to get out of this…without destroying my daughter view of her perfect father….she graduates next year and will be going away to college…but it’s getting worse…we recently married In June ….I know why would I do that….but he painted such a pretty picture…said things would change of we were married…high school sweet heart two kids and 20 years of hell…he promised..then one month later I find out he’s been talking to someone for over a year….and now I’m not allowed to even ask him about it with him giving me the cold treatment….and I always just drop it for kids act like nothing so he can start talking to me again and the kids can see everything is normal….if I ask him why he did it…all he says it over so what does it matter…this isn’t the first time either….I didn’t grown up with a mom or dad and all ever wanted was a family..but it’s fake….it’s real to my kids though….I sacrificed my life for them…and now Im stuck…

  16. This is what happened to me, too. We were together for 3 years. I am also an infj. I am struggling horribly with grief and the loss. I do believe he loved me, along with all you said. I’ve searched everywhere and can find nothing to ease my suffering. Its true pain. I am so deeply in love with him, despite his awful parts. He is the only one who can comfort me or has ever been able to. No one has known me like him, or hurt me so deeply. I’m utterly lost, and sinking. We have no communication and live states apart. I’m losing hope that I will ever recover from this loss. I believed in us deeply.

  17. I can relate with it all. I was used and hurt and now I understand why. It’s so painful after four years and great financial and emotional loss. I pray for healing. I pray to be whom I was before I allowed him into my life. I feel so stupid and I knew better but he did it. He flew under my radar and I feel for it all. Thanks for the clarity and my sanity check!

  18. This article has made everything I think and feel every day, just that more real. I guess no matter what that little voice inside your head is telling you, or that little tug your gut is making you feel, sometimes it takes hearing it from a stranger, for you to accept what you have been knowing all along. I love my bf very much, more than i think he is able to comprehend. And although I will be the first to admit, I’m no angel, and I have made some poor choices in the year and half being together, it just seems I am and have been the only one putting in any effort trying to forgive one another and move forward. There hasn’t been one day that goes by without us fighting, which is always and only about me and what I’ve done wrong, we don’t ever dare speak of any of his wrongdoing nor do we speak of what both of us can work on changing. It’s frustrating because I don’t want to give up and let us go, I know what we have had in the past and it hurts just thinking about giving up. I’ve tried everything from active listening to using the “I feel…..” to just looking past everything. I guess my one question is, does a narcissist ever change? What would be the one thing that gets them to open their eyes and see what they have right in front of them?

  19. I have just left someone who I believe is a narrsissist. I love him still. I love how he loved me.
    But I realise it was an immature love with no future possible. I am heartbroken. I don’t feel like a victim..I just feel sad. I wasn’t awfully abused, no rages, no hitting…but the silent treatment destroyed me. Destroyed us. I did feel he changed. And he found something that interested him more..this I know. Not a woman.
    I feel sorry for him …I see his life ending sadly when he could have had so much.
    He had secrets…he never ever took his phone out in my company..not in all the years I knew him. I started to notice changes…less communication, little put downs…not needing me as much. Talking dirty more.
    I started to feel like a piece of meat. I know Noe I was in the devalue stage…I discarded him. I didn’t want to but I had to.
    Now I am looking at everyone as a narrsissist! I am so wary of men it’s unreal.
    I doubt myself…I miss him. Imagine! To think that he doesn’t care is very difficult. He never fought for me. Any slight argument or slight criticisim and he went cold, silent.
    I will be replaced..but you know what…maybe it’s a lucky escape. And maybe he is also gonna be replaced…except his new woman will end up in this forum writing the very same script while I hope I will be living my life.. And this time it will be real.

  20. That is the best getting over it advice ever! I told my mother while we were dating, he loves me as much as he’s capable of loving anyone. And yes, I want a mature relationship, which he can never have…so, i loved, was hurt, but learned…and never going back.

  21. I always knew he had low self esteem. He always said he was infatuated with me and always commented on me being his arm candy and making him look good. He use to pour on the i love yous so thick. I use to wonder if he was trying to convince himself. He said everytime we made love that he couldnt believe he was with me. He was very emotional. Teared up at every movie. Always trying to turn the table on me. I did feed his ego because i thought it would help him to believe in himself. He has always lived with his mom in between marriages and relationships. I told him i felt like he just wouldnt grow up and didn’t want to be responsible. Also he bragged alot if he got flirted with. Unfortunately i kno it was from a neglected childhood. I too had an abusive childhood. So i need gratification and to be appreciated but i felt he needed me as mostly a place to live…i could go on foever. He had a porn issue and flirtn on fb and was an alcoholic. So i feel he was battling with it all. I hurt because i loved him but broke it off due to his quick tempet and negativity.

  22. This makes me feel so much better, and I love the Peter Pan in NEVER NEVER land because that’s what it really is, a fantasy, a short story with a sad ending. But thank you and I hope this helps others as much as it has helped me.

  23. I too fell in love with a narcists but at first I had no clue. I always thought of him as non caring, abusive, judgemental. As time went by things got worse, cheating, the lies, the silent treatments, he lied so much. I fell in love with him at the end it was worthless. Everything in this article he is just like that.

    Maria ROMAN

  24. I was in an intense and very stressful relationship with a narcissistic woman for a short 4 months that felt like a life time. At first, I was the King she adored and she told me that life would be “unbearable” without me. A month later she treated me like a servant after she had won my heart. All the kind words were gone and I became a target for her emotional instability. Constant verbal and physical attacks replaced the charm and sweetness she initially flooded me with. I loved her, tried to help her, fix her, but things only became worse. She claimed to be “perfect” the way she was and she put a tremendous amount of time and effort into gathering superficial friends and admirers but using her manipulation skills. She was pretty, wealthy, highly intelligent and energetic, and very educated. Behind that fabulous resume was an evil woman with significant problems of insecurity and depression. We fought constantly. She hid behind walls of arrogance and social status. I removed her from my life When she told me that “I wasn’t good for her image”. I cut her off at that point and blocked her phone number. I was completely stressed out and had heart surgery 3 weeks later. A year has passed and I still think about her and love her. But I know she was poison to my life. She was quite a learning experience. I didn’t know that people like that really existed. I feel so sorry for her. I couldn’t help her. I believe she’s beyond help. My torture is over.

  25. Thank you for this information, even after over a month of no contact I still deal with denial most of the time but I journal everything and try to stay focused on what happened and it wasn’t meant to be. She is a beautiful woman that everyone is after at work, she is separated and also had a boyfriend, little did I know after her 2 year relationship with him she started to pursue me, after one lunch we started be ne intimate and within a couple of weeks she professed her love to me, a few weeks after that she claimed to be beaten by her husband so I offered her my home and she moved in with her daughter, during all this time I ignored my gut feelings with the little comments she made and sometime things just didn’t match up. I asked her to leave about a month after she moved in. When she left she agreed that everything moved to fast and she wanted to keep trying but she would start disappearing on the weekends, hot-cold treatments, jealousy, gas lighting, etc…
    I know the truth is in my face but I would love some feedback because even after NC I still blame myself for kicking her out, honestly it kills me thinking I could have made it work if I haven’t.

  26. I was. married to a man like. that. , for 44 years. I had a very hurtful life. Thank God he passed away.

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