Dealing with a narcissist can be one of the most confusing and painful psychological experiences in one’s life. And if your mother or father was a narcissist (or struggled with narcissistic tendencies), meeting a narcissist can feel like reuniting with family. You might even think, “Ah, I’ve finally found the love of my life.”
Illusions. Illusions. Run.
Run to a psychotherapist.
And pray to God (not yourself or your reflecting partner) for healing.
Truth is, children of narcissists will struggle with narcissism themselves. Codependency is also a tell-tale sign of a child of narcissistic parents and or parenting.
The child has had his/her development damaged. The narcissist is damaged themselves and has little to no capacity to love. Though, they often think they are great lovers and feel for other people. They are, in fact, empty inside—emptied by their own narcissitic parent(s). Recent studies have actually indicated that narcissists have damage to regions of their brains associated with empathy.
In pop culture, Narcissus is often mentioned out of context. Echo, the nymph who fell in love with him, never gets a mention. I’m not sure if that’s because most artists and art industry moguls are narcissists, or because Echo’s rejection just doesn’t fit with the ideal of romantic love. Alone, staring at himself in a pool, Narcissus seems pathetic and tragic. But add Echo to the picture, and oh, the tragic, self-centered love of Narcissus is not just self-harming, it’s damaging to anyone who tries to be his friend, let alone his lover.
So perhaps the right question to ask is not, can a narcissist love you? It might be better to ask why am I in an intimate relationship with a narcissist?
It’s a start, anyway.
“Real love is not romance, and codependency is not love.”
For more on narcissism and dealing with narcissism in others and yourself: