One big, fat narcissistic lie about love you need to recognise
Where do you even start to disentangle the web of lies a Narcissist envelops you in? Narcissists make a point of lying right from the get go – because they are conmen and women who set out to sell you on the most attractive dream that you have.
That is Phase One of the relationship.
They need your buy-in. That is how they work their “intimate partner relationships”, their “friendships” and even their workplace “relationship.
Once they have your buy-in, obviously, the game changes.
Then they move on to Phase Two – which is also the place that a narcissistic relationship proper tends to start from. At this point, they feel secure enough in their hold over you, to ditch their sales spiel. In this phase, you are far more likely to see a lot of the Narcissist’s true feelings, together with their worldview.
Now, in all likelihood, you probably caught more than a few glimpses of the Narcissist’s worldview and their true feelings, even during the buy-in period.
However, once they have “sealed the deal” to their own satisfaction, the whole ballgame changes. Romance, idealism and the celebration of love become surplus to their requirements. They stop bothering to say the things that made us feel that they shared our thoughts, beliefs and values.
But what do we empaths and trusting souls do?
We tend to cling to the words they spoke – and maybe still sometimes do speak – that corroborate our own beliefs about how the world, relationships and people work.
We cling to the good things that they have said to us – about themselves and us – even if their ex-partners were crazy and most everyone in the world is wrong-headed and ill-intentioned. According to them, at any rate.
“Love flies out the window”
My father who, in some ways, could have been a spokesperson for Narcissists Inc. often said, throughout my childhood that
“When you get married love flies out of the window.” As a self-appointed Font of All Knowledge, he loved to let us know how the world worked – in his opinion.
When he was feeling relatively jovial – which was not terribly often – he would share the story of his courtship of my mother.
They belonged to tightknit communities but had always lived in different cities. (With the benefit of hindsight, that has led me to wonder how much of a challenge they would both have encountered in trying to find a partner within their own community and city.)
This was long before the days of social media and cohabitation (a concept that he never accepted). It happened long before there was anything like the level of connectivity that we now have. My father laughed as he spoke about how much time he and his future bride spent talking together. He even took part in activities that she enjoyed.
He made it quite clear that that was a silly, immature period of his life that was gone forever.
But not regretted.
He regarded that shift from talking with to talking at as both inevitable and right.
The normalization of lovelessness
As he told it, nothing could have been more normal than that love should fly out of the window once reality reared its head.
My father’s mantra gave love a decidedly bum rap, on various counts:
- He normalized the demise of the precious feeling and commitment that brought two people together.
- He normalized being in a long-term relationship with a person that he felt no need to treat with love, respect or consideration.
- He confined his use of the term “love” – exclusively – to his marital relationship. It was never a word that he felt necessary to use in the context of his children.
In fact, he normalized, even celebrated, the descent of his closest relationships into lovelessness.
Speaking the unspeakable
In addition to being a Narcissist, my father was “unreconstructed” to the point of being an emotional Neanderthal. What that meant, in practice, was that he felt quite comfortable in stating the unspeakable, most notably about love.
A lot of Narcissists are too canny to nail their colors – publicly – to that mast.
However, there can be little doubt that they do so, at least intermittently, through their actions – or inaction – as much as through their words.
All Narcissists let you know that the general direction of love is downhill. That is a very important lie that they need to get you to swallow.
What Narcissists need you to believe
Narcissists need you to believe that love is conditional and their punitive response to any real or perceived affront – no matter how small – is justifiable.
They need you to believe that love is, essentially, the fund of goodwill stored in their heart at the start of the relationship. Anything you do wrong will diminish that fund and appear on your account statement forever after.
In theory, you can replenish the funds, by gratifying the Narcissist in some way that will likely be more than a little demeaning to you. However, in practice, there is such a ruinous exchange rate to negotiate that only a tiny fraction of the funds you bank will ever make it into your account.
The long, hard march
Narcissists teach you that love is a long, hard march through misery to a destination that you are unlikely ever to reach.
That is incredibly dispiriting.
We stay because that feels so true.
It feels true for the simple reason that being with a Narcissist makes it 100% true of that relationship.
However, what is true of a narcissistic “love” relationship is NOT true of a functional, loving relationship.
Healthy love does not
Healthy love does not inevitably
- Have a short shelf-life
- Impose very unloving treatment on you
- Rest on an endlessly shifting web of lies and manipulaiton
- Require endless compromise from you to accommodate a totally uncompromising partner
- Have a very short temper but a very long memory for a grudge
- Revolve around competition and blame
- Lurch from one drama to the next
- Hinge on power, control of one partner towards the other
- Treat you progressively worse over time
- Demonize and dehumanize you
- Insist that you routinely sacrifice yourself
- Insist that nothing else will ever come anywhere what little you have with them
The big, fat narcissistic lie about love
The big, fat lie that all survivors of narcissistic abuse need to expunge from their belief system is that narcissistic love is any kind of love at all. It is not. It has nothing to do with love and everything to do with abuse. The only thing you will ever learn about love from being in a relationship with a narcissist is what love is not.
If you struggle to disentangle yourself from the Narcissist’s lies, you, too, could find the tools, support and strength you need in my Break Free Membership. Don’t let a Narcissist’s lies deprive you of your happiness any longer.
Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.
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