Emy grew up with a narcissistic parent,
and feels there is a love deficit in her heart.
No matter how many people love her,
she still feels unloved.
Her best friend Mary keeps saying she should practice self-love so she can open her spirit up to the love that’s already around her. In theory, Emy knows she deserves more love than her narent offered while she was growing up, but down inside, she still feels unworthy. Maybe that’s because she also married a narcissist.
It’s the time of year when everyone wants to think cozy and romantic thoughts about love, but there is a much darker side to relationships if you grew up as the child of a narcissist or are married to one. If you stay focused on the narc’s needs, you might find it’s a struggle to love yourself. You might wonder if the narc has stolen your chance for love and it could be true. Here are five ways the narcissist might steal your ability to love:
1. The Narcissist has Screwed Up Your Basic Concept of Love
Whether you dated a narcissist or grew up with one, chances are your relationships are influenced by narcissism. This is not your fault, but if you choose to become more aware you can gain a better life. If you are a people-pleaser or codependent or lone star isolating yourself from messy relationships, you probably need to study up on what real love looks like. If the narc has messed with your mind, you might be so used to being abused that you find it hard to recognize real love.
2. The Narcissist Offers a False Substitute for Love
A relationship (if you can even call it that) with a narcissist is one-sided. You might love them and you might do a lot of nice things for them, but a narc will only use you and give nothing in return. Even if he is giving something to you, there are probably strings attached. True love doesn’t try to fix you, form you or force you into another’s mold.
3. The Narcissist Tries to Block You From the Love of Others
The narcissist likes to interfere with your relationships by talking about you or putting you down and trying to get others to exclude you. This process of shunning or isolation your from others is obviously not a loving move, but it is meant to keep you from having other relationships. The narc wouldn’t want you to have warm and fuzzy feelings with anyone else now, would he?
When a narcissist is through using you, he’ll try to run you out of town. Whether it’s because you told the truth, married someone he doesn’t like, or voted for the opposite party, you have failed to meet his expectations and now you are the big bad villain. The narc will scapegoat you and try to separate you from the rest of your family and friends. This might leave you alone and hurting and wondering where is the love? Even more isolating, he will try to turn all your relatives and friends into flying monkeys who will do the narc’s dirty work for him.
4. The Narcissist Wants You to Feel Like a Failure at Love
Whether you’re in a romantic relationship with a narcissist or were raised by one, chances are you’ve received more criticism than love. A narcissist will treat you like you’re inadequate because you haven’t loved him/her the way they wanted. After all, if you can’t love your own mother the way she wants, you must be devoid of love. This isn’t loving, but manipulation. Love is not jumping through hoops to please someone.
The narcissist probably knows you are better at love than he is and in order to keep you to himself, he wants you to feel inadequate. If you are still trying to please someone who constantly criticizes you, perhaps they are not worthy of a relationship with you. You might actually be very good at love. Perhaps you should try it with someone capable of giving love back to you.
5. The Narcissist Wants to Rob You of Self-Love
If you grew up with a narcissistic parent, you might feel guilty for loving yourself. That’s probably because the narc’s emotions and needs took precedence in your childhood. You might even sense your narent’s feelings before you feel your own. If you were taught that self-love is selfish, then you might not know how to love yourself. If any of these things ring true for you, it might be wise to find a good counselor and explore this further. You have the right to love and care for yourself. If you don’t love yourself, you won’t have any love to give to others.
Real love is kind. Rarely can you find true kindness and empathy from the narcissist. Even if you’re in a relationship right now that’s painful and you know you need to leave it, remember the world is full of empathetic people who actually have the capacity to care. Not everyone wants to use you. Despite what the narcissist has told you, you are still worthy of love and freedom.
The sooner you recognize the ways the narcissist has interfered with your relationships, the sooner you can get him/her out of your life and move on to real people who have the ability to love you. When you let go of the twisted versions of love imposed on you by the narcissist, you will be free to love yourself and in turn, you will be able to give and receive love with others.