If I had a dime for every time someone has asked me this question, I would be a very wealthy woman. As with everything concerning Narcissists, the answer is not cut and dry. It is blatantly obvious that it appears that they do not know how to love. After all, who would treat someone they love like that? Is love manipulation and abuse? No, no, it is not. Let’s delve a bit further into the dichotomy.
First off, it is essential to know that to truly love, you need to possess empathy. Since Narcissists do not have this ability, the way you and I love is not how they do. Everything with a Narcissist is a battle. A healthy person can love full out. They can give their heart to someone and create shared experiences from the same perspective. Narcissists are incapable of sharing this bond. But does this mean they do not feel?
Narcissists experience every emotion on the same level and are often interchangeable. Such as love and hate. With a healthy person, you realize that if you genuinely hate someone that you would not feel love for them at the same time. For Narcissists, that is not the case. This is one of the reasons why they can go from Zero-60 in a hot minute and then come back down just as quickly as if nothing happened.
They love as it serves them but do not realize that others feel and experience love much differently. One of my clients was recalling an interaction that she had with her soon-to-be ex-husband. She had said to him, “I gave you everything I had to give.” His response was, “Maybe you should not have.” I will let that sink in for a minute. It sounds preposterous, but not for the Narcissist. He was unable to experience her feelings and the depth of them. There is no fundamental understanding of what it looks like to dedicate themselves to a relationship.
Love to a Narcissist depends on that person to be there for them. Unfortunately, that is not enough. Love needs to be intimacy, respect, communication, and trust. Love is not conditional. Love is not manipulation, abuse, or one-sided. So really, at the end of the day, does it matter if Narcissists know what love is or how to love? I would say not really when this is all they have to bring to the relationship.
Are you in love with a Narcissist? Are you questioning whether you are involved with a Narcissist? Reach out now and schedule your free no strings attached session. Let’s talk.