“No one will ever love you like I do”: NPD men in love.

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With Valentines Day coming up in a few days, I think it’s time to talk about narcissistic men in love.   I think I have enough experience with such men to be able to write about them and talk about some of the red flags to look for in a new relationship.

Narcissistic men can make the most ardent lovers and define the cliche, “he swept me off my feet.”  Relationships with narcissistic men, in the beginning, can be truly fairy-tale like, and a narc man who’s chosen you as his prey will stop at nothing to make sure you know he’s the most romantic, giving, attentive, unselfish, committed man you’ve ever met.   He’ll profess his eternal love for you, wine and dine you, present you with expensive chocolates and roses,  never forget your birthday or Valentines Day,  take you on weekend getaways to romantic locations,  and talk about marriage and even “making babies with you” early in the relationship.   Narcissistic men can be intense and women who are drawn to emotionally intense relationships (often Borderlines)  are like putty in their hands.  Narcissistic men are often drawn to BPD women too, because a BPD woman is most likely to give them exactly what they need, at least in the beginning.   Occasionally, a narcissist man who has proposed to you might actually stay true to his word and marry you.  But that doesn’t mean you’ll live happily ever after–anything but, in fact.

An NPD man’s intensity, which can be incredibly alluring to certain types of women, is exactly what makes them so dangerous.  Their “love” for you is feigned.  They are not capable of love.   They are predators.  All you are to them is supply.  Every last one of my lovers, including my ex-husband, was a narcissist, and almost all of them seemed incredibly romantic.   A couple of them eventually D&D’d me (devalue and discard), with no explanation or reason, shattering my heart into a million bits, while others became increasingly possessive to the point where I felt like I was suffocating and couldn’t wait to get away.

One of two of these narc men were covert, but most of the ones I knew were more the overt, grandiose type. Pretty much all my relationships with men followed this same sorry pattern, which I am going to outline for you.

The storybook romance.

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The narcissist is very insistent about getting to know you, and wastes no time making his first date with you.  You will notice how intensely he gazes at you and that can make you want to swoon, but make no mistake–it’s really the look of a predator stalking his next meal.

He takes you out to an intimate, expensive restaurant and buys you anything you want on the menu, no matter how expensive.  Typically, he’ll offer you bites of food from his own plate, sometimes feeding you.    (He’s luring you in, setting you up for the kill later on).

He calls you daily, always seems to have time for you, seems like the most romantic, understanding, sympathetic man you’ve ever known.  He always listens to your problems, and seems to empathize.  (He is anything but these things, but he is a very good actor).

He is always buying you gifts, sometimes very expensive ones.  He can seem like the most generous man on the planet.  (Keep an eye on your finances here–mine bought all those gifts for me using MY credit card).

He tells you he loves you early in the relationship, maybe even in the first few weeks.  He may even get tears in his eyes while he tells you this (blech).  He might tell you you’re the only woman he’s ever loved, and how lonely he was before he met you.  (WATCH OUT.)

Sex with him is emotional and intense.   (Oh, honey, he’s got you trapped in his lair now).

He begins to complain and berate his former girlfriends, and talks about how deeply they’ve all hurt him (right, because nothing is ever his fault).   If he never seems to take any responsibility for the demise of his former relationships (or if he’s the type that gloats about how HE dumped THEM), that’s a huge red flag.  Don’t ignore it.  He’s telling you something.

He may propose to you at this point, or talk about what beautiful babies you’d have together (any man who doesn’t really seem to like children, but still wants to “have babies with you” because the combination of your genes would be “so beautiful” is almost certainly a narcissist).  Blargh.

The narc begins to show his true colors. 

hoovering

At this point, he may suddenly start seeming colder or pulling away.  He stops calling you as often, or seems annoyed when you call him, giving you some vague reason why he’s “too busy” to see you or scolding you for bothering him when he’s in the middle of an important meeting.   This is the beginning of the discard, which means that you’ve sated his supply and he’s grown bored.   He needs the challenge of the hunt again, and will probably dump you soon.  There is nothing more he needs from you.

Other narcissists tighten their hold on you.  If he senses you beginning to pull away, he’ll up the ante and take you on vacation or bring you roses every night.  This is called “hoovering.”  He’s sucking you back into his den of doom like a Hoover vacuum cleaner.   Most likely you will fall for it, and once you’ve reassured him you still adore him and think he’s the smartest, handsomest, sexiest man you’ve ever known,  the abusive behavior begins.

The dream becomes a nightmare.

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If the narcissistic man you’re in love with doesn’t D&D you, then it’s common for them to begin to abuse you once he’s certain you will stay.  Often, this begins on your wedding night, when it’s too late for you to escape without enormous expense and inconvenience.   I don’t have to go into the various forms of abuse he could use–they could be mental, financial, emotional, and sometimes physical.   The man who seemed like the most understanding, romantic, empathetic, attentive man you’d ever known has transformed into a coldblooded, unfeeling, abusive monster.

Early red flags.

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There are many red flags I haven’t listed here, but the following tend to be the first ones you’ll notice before any real abuse begins.

  • He complains about his exes and seems to blame them for everything that went wrong in their relationship, without ever admitting anything was his fault.
  • He moves in too fast, declares his love or proposes marriage too quickly for your comfort
  • His intense look unsettles you a little.
  • He has mysterious “meetings,” friends and “family matters” that he doesn’t discuss with you or seems annoyed when you ask about them.
  • After seeming to want to be with you all the time, he suddenly seems to lose interest in you, and never explains why.  If you try to pin him down, he becomes angry or irritated.
  • He’s always talking about what a perfect couple you are or how beautiful the two of you look together, sometimes even wanting to look at both of you together in the mirror.
  • The intensity of his ardor or attention overwhelms, scares or disgusts you.
  • He brags about how many women have fallen in love with him (overt N).
  • He moans about how no other woman has ever loved him (covert N).
  • He begins to question your whereabouts or why you don’t spend more time with him.
  • He accuses you of looking at or flirting with other men.
  • He uses tears to get sympathy or get his way.
  • He likes to play cruel jokes on you, just for fun of course.
  • He acts jealous or seems upset when you want to spend time doing anything that doesn’t include him.

Further reading:

The Narcissistic Lover’s Playbook

All My Narcissistic Lovers

Narcissist Man in Love

 

 

 

 

Do narcissists fall in love?

thelovers

Narcissists can’t love but they can and do fall in love. All the time. What they feel is a state Dorothy Tennov has called “limerence,” more commonly known as infatuation or colloquially known as a crush.

According to Wikipedia,

Limerence (also infatuated love) is a state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person typically including compulsive thoughts and fantasies and a desire to form or maintain a relationship and have one’s feelings reciprocated. Psychologist Dorothy Tennov coined the term “limerence” for her 1979 book “Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love” to describe the concept that had grown out of her work in the mid-1960s, when she interviewed over 500 people on the topic of love.

Limerence has been defined by one writer as “an involuntary interpersonal state that involves intrusive, obsessive, and compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contingent on perceived emotional reciprocation from the object of interest”. Limerence has also been defined in terms of the potentially inspirational effects and the relationship to attachment theory, which is not exclusively sexual, as being “an involuntary potentially inspiring state of adoration and attachment to a limerent object involving intrusive and obsessive thoughts, feelings and behaviors from euphoria to despair, contingent on perceived emotional reciprocation”.

In other words, the state of limerence is much like being high on a drug. The “LO” (limerent object) is the person fixated on, and this person is a mirror for the infatuated narcissist. When a narcissist falls in love with you, they can be the most romantic people you could ever imagine. They’ll gaze longingly into your eyes, bring you flowers, want to spend every moment with you, tell you they want to be with you forever.

But it’s not you they are seeing. What they are seeing is a reflection of themselves that you are showing them by reciprocating. You make them feel good about themselves because you are giving them supply and attention, and letting them know how wonderful you think they are. You’re basically nothing more than a mirror, and your narcissist, when he gazes into your eyes, is really gazing at his own false self you are feeding.

This doesn’t mean that only narcissists experience limerence or infatuation. Most people do at some point in their lives. It’s much more common for teenagers and young adults to have a “crush,” but it’s a temporary state. I think it’s more common in young people because they are still rather narcissistic and trying to find out who they are. Mature adults can “fall in love” too, but will normally move from the initial state of limerence with all its heady excitement and intensity, into a more stable state of deep love, which is less emotionally intense but much more rewarding for both partners.

psyche
Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. Antonio Canova (Italian, 1757–1822) – Eric Pouhier (May 2007)

Limerence only lasts an average of 1-2 years (in evolutionary terms, this is just enough time for a relationship to result in the birth of offspring, and is also about the length of time of an average engagement). But limerence isn’t love. It’s what Tennov calls a state of “cognitive obsession.” You can be “in love” with someone you don’t even know or have never met (like a celebrity for example), so how can that be real love? It isn’t. It’s obsession. You may be projecting what you want to see onto the limerent object, rather than seeing what’s actually there. That’s why later, after you’re “over” the object of your infatuation, it’s common to wonder, “what did I ever see in her?”

A narcissist can certainly fall in love (unless they’re the commitment-phobic type), but once you begin to express your own needs, and begin to show cracks in your armor that mean you’re only an imperfect human, you are no longer mirroring the narcissist as they want to be mirrored, and that’s when the abuse and manipulations will begin–or in some cases they will begin to devalue you before the final discard.

A narcissist cannot move from a limerent state into real love, as a normal adult can. Real, lasting love requires mutual give-and-take, empathy, sacrifice, compromise, and a lot of hard work–all things that narcissists simply can’t handle. That’s why their marriages and relationships usually don’t last that long–or if they do, become such hotbeds of misery and discord.

If you’ve been discarded by a narc and they’ve moved onto someone else, don’t feel too bad. Before you know it, that new “perfect” lover will seem not so perfect to them anymore, and they will be abused or discarded too, joining their long list of conquests.