Love is a beautiful thing, but the narcissist is simply incapable of feeling or expressing it. And there is one simple reason why.
If you dive into the mind of a narcissist (and be careful if you do), you’ll see that their thoughts revolve almost exclusively around themselves, their needs, their desires, and how they can achieve their aims.
To them, other people are mere objects to be used for their benefit and gratification. They believe they are superior to everyone and anyone else, and this delusion of grandeur is the primary reason why they are unable to feel what you and I would call love.
Love, romantic or otherwise, is a connection; it is a communion of souls in which two people join together and share a deep-seated care for one another. In order for this connection to form, both parties must see beyond the outer layers of a person and witness the truth that lay hidden beneath. They must accept each other as reflections of their own humanity and, most importantly, as their equals.
Equal, in this sense, means being worthy of the same respect, treatment, and care as a fellow living creature. And love is not restricted to other human beings; it is just as possible to feel love for and from members of the animal kingdom.
A narcissist, however, does not view others to be in any way equal to them. They genuinely believe that they are better, more deserving, and greater in virtually all respects.
As such, they sit upon their pedestals looking down on us mere mortals with disdain. Is it any wonder, then, that a narcissist is incapable of forming the types of intimate connections that are the basis of love?
If they are unable to accept that another being might be equally as worthy and deserving as they are, how can they possibly act in a way that demonstrates this parity? How can they love?
Short answer: they can’t.
What Does A Narcissist Mean When They Talk Of Love?
Their inability to see anyone as their equal may prevent a narcissist from loving, but it does not stop them from declaring their “love” to others. Indeed, premature proclamations of their undying affection are a favorite tactic of many narcissists in what is widely known as love bombing.
What’s less clear is whether narcissists actually believe themselves to be experiencing love in its truest and rawest sense. We may know that what they feel is not love, but they may think, from an intellectual point of view, that it is.
This question, while intriguing, is largely irrelevant. They do not feel love, but something else entirely.
The mistake they make is confusing the deep, ethereal feeling of love with the superficial mental state of infatuation. In terms of a romantic partnership, most people will go through a phase of infatuation during which the object of their desire rarely slips far from their mind. Yet, if the relationship is maintained, this develops into the loving connection described above.
A narcissist, however, will get stuck in an everlasting infatuation phase. They will be almost obsessive around and towards their partner, using them as a source of narcissistic supply.
Narcissistic supply basically comes down to the victim – the object of their infatuation – providing the narcissist with the attention they desire above all else. Most narcissists, other than the more covert type, will find the lure of the spotlight simply irresistible, and attention of any kind will satisfy their cravings…
You see, the narcissist feeds on this attention and the power it brings in order to reinforce the belief they have in themselves as a superior being. Like any form of food, regular meals are required in order to remain satiated.
So, when a narcissist takes a partner, they do so primarily in order to ensure a reliable and regular supply of attention. Similarly, when they single out a colleague, friend, or family member as a victim, they are also seeking this same attention.
This narcissistic supply, and the infatuation it often leads to, could be viewed as their substitute for love. A narcissist will desire it much like we all desire to be loved. They will feel great satisfaction upon finding it, be energized by it, and be loathed to relinquish it.
They might think that what they feel is love, but when you look a little closer, it resembles something more along the lines of dependency. Indeed, narcissistic relationships can often end up as co-dependent ones where the narcissist relies upon the other party for attention and adoration, while they, in return, rely upon the narcissist to tell them how to live (often due to the destruction of their own identity after months or years of mental abuse).
These kinds of relationships can almost appear as loving on the surface, but this is no more than a thin veneer that hides the truth lurking below. Love may be in the verbal vocabulary of a narcissist, but they lack the understanding of its true definition. They mistake their infatuation, their need for narcissistic supply, and the gratification they feel upon receiving it, for love.
Through their delusions of grandeur; their genuine belief that they are superior beings, a narcissist loses their capacity to form meaningful connections with other people. Their egos will not let themselves be relegated to the status of equals with anyone, and for this reason, the spark of true love is forever missing in any relationship they are a part of.
Whether or not they believe they are in the throes of true love, it is fairly safe to say that no narcissistic relationship of any kind is based upon this richest, rawest, and most sought after feeling.