Hope is the core of love, and it’s the hardest thing to let go of when you realize you love a narcissistic person. True love must include empathy, but in toxic love, empathy becomes distorted into shame, guilt-mongering, and confusion.
Sadly, when dealing with a narcissist, the attributes of healthy love are used dangerously and everything that is good about love is used to provide their unhealthy ego power and the other person pain.
One percent of the world’s population on has a narcissistic personality disorder, and the causes for it can be hereditary and environmental. Not everyone who is called a narcissist has this personality disorder; however, those who do lack the empathy in their character. A narcissist can love, but they use intimacy to gain attention and fulfill an unquenchable thirst for attention. Because narcissists lack empathy, intimate bonding is a threat because it does not satisfy this deep need.
People who fall in love with a narcissist soon discover that the person they thought was charming, confident, and kind is really cocky, arrogant, and cruel. You can love a narcissist, but they may not always love you back.
Signs to look for in a person who may have NPD include an extreme need to be adored and admired, an inability to accept or handle criticism, an incapacity to sense the pain or hurt in others, putting others down or blame-shifting to protect their ego without remorse for the pain or hurt that is caused to the other person. A narcissist can become angry and dangerous when exposed and still be unable to see their role in the problem. In fact, the core of their disorder is self-preservation.
Unfortunately, due to an abnormality in the development of their brain during their developmental years, NPD can’t be healed or outgrown, and the disorder is more often found in men than woman.
Women who fall in love with a narcissist often find that their self-esteem is slowly diminished and they are caught in a cycle of hope wishing for the relationship to return to a time when courtship felt magical, only to be disappointed. Even after a relationship ends with a narcissist, they can return using a psychological mind game called ‘hoovering.’ Hoovering takes place when the narcissist attempts to bring back old memories, making promises (then breaking them and blaming the victim for their reason why) and finding the soft spot that makes it seem that they have changed, only to be taken to a new level of brokenness and sometimes to a violent end.
The best way to avoid re-entering a relationship with a narcissistic person is to not respond to their texts or phone calls no matter how many are sent. They often will escalate to threats, statements of guilt, and sometimes self-harm. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are only person being love bombed. Once the narcissist finds a willing victim, they will drop all unsuccessful attempts and move on.