This article is the first in a two-part series.
What is real love?
Poets and writers have attempted to define true love for centuries. While true love is certainly something worth striving for, it’s not all candlelight and romantic walks on the beach. Men and women speak a different language when it comes to showing and receiving love. This sometimes results in interactions that are less than ideal. However, in a mutually loving relationship, each partner is ultimately treated with respect and consideration; two things that are absent in a relationship with a Narcissist. At least, from their side.
Often, part of what makes a person susceptible to a one-sided, abusive relationship is painful experiences from childhood. Unfortunately, it was during this time that many people learned about conditional love. Specifically, if you were behaving in a particular way, you were rewarded with love, affection, or at the very least, acceptance. If you didn’t follow through with specific criteria, you may have been punished physically or emotionally. Because of this, millions of adults are still stuck in patterns of co-dependency looking for love and validation outside of themselves.
This is precisely why we accept disrespectful and abusive behavior from a Narcissistic partner. Subconsciously, we believe we are not lovable and that only through our actions and/or what we provide can we be accepted and loved. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the fact that Narcissists often prey on people with low self-esteem and what it may look like if you’ve become a target of an emotional predator. (Although they can, and do, also target people with high levels of confidence).
10 Lies We Mistake for Love
1. “You’re the most beautiful (hottest, sexiest) person I’ve ever seen.”
This statement is generally the first hook by a Narcissist. Narcissists are themselves typically attractive, well-dressed, trendy, and “popular”. So, for someone with low self-esteem to hear this, it’s very validating. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Narcissists usually go after attractive people because it helps them look good by association. However, if someone you’ve just met has told you this, it’s a red flag.
A person’s true beauty comes from the inside. That’s how physically attractive people can appear ugly if their behaviors are vile. It takes time to get to know someone and determine if they are truly beautiful. However, if you’ve been lonely and feeling “less than”, it can lead to magical thinking if you hear this soon after meeting someone.
2. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.”
If you’ve been seeing someone for a long time, this statement may well hold some credence. However, if a new date tells you this the third time you meet, it’s a red flag.
Hearing this from someone you’ve recently met means they have determined that you will make an excellent source of supply. You’ve passed their screening process and scored high on the “I’ll do anything for love” aptitude test.
Being a loving person is a good thing. Blindly giving your love to someone who will never appreciate it only leads to heartache and lower self-esteem. Narcissists will never appreciate your sacrifices, your submission, your intelligence, nor your loving heart. People are only in their lives according to their potential benefit.
3. “You understand me more than my Ex ever did”.
Logically, if you are forming a relationship with an emotionally mature person, they wouldn’t feel the need to compare you to their Ex. A mature person especially wouldn’t articulate this in the very beginning.
When you hear this from a person you’ve been dating for only a week, they are saying it to appeal to your nurturing, sensitive nature and as a form of love-bombing. Basically, it’s a form of reward and an unspoken prompt for you to persist in fawning over them.
4. “I never loved/cared about my Ex the way I do you.”
This is a popular statement among emotional predators. They say it to give you the impression that they think you are special. To feel special after having a painful childhood and/or adulthood where you never felt that way can be blinding. It appeals to your need for love. What’s sad about it is that while you are feeling wanted and exceptional, they are secretly laughing at the simplicity of their pursuit of you.
Again, if you’ve been seeing someone for only a few weeks, there is no way that the relationship has gotten to the point where they can love or care about you more than their Ex. That’s not to say you aren’t lovable or special, only that love takes time. Besides, Narcissists don’t experience that emotion; not genuinely. While you may very well be special, no one can make this type of determination in a month. Don’t fall for it.
5. “This might sound crazy, but let’s get married.”
Emotional predators pop the question early on for strategic purposes. They want you to start making long-term plans for the relationship and subconsciously commit yourself to them even though you’ve only known them a few weeks. However, know that while they are popping the question to you, there is another woman in the wings who is being brutally discarded.
When it comes to a Narcissist, nothing is as it seems. They jump from target to target without any misgivings. If you are in love with one, it’s very difficult to comprehend how they can do this because we assume they feel the same emotions of love and commitment that we do. But, they don’t. It’s important to realize that if the person you’ve recently begun dating frequently compares you to their Ex, plays the victim, pushes for physical intimacy, and pops the question too soon, you are being targeted. Or, if you’re reading this in hindsight, perhaps it will give you the courage to go ahead and implement No Contact.
Look for Part Two next week where I’ll cover more lies that we mistake for love. In the meantime, Heather Inks defines what true love is NOT:
“True love birthed with lies is not true love, it is deception.
True love filled with abuse is not true love, it is lust, power, and control.
True love with a selfish partner is not true love, it is unrequited love and codependency.
True love that experiences infidelity of any kind-emotional affairs, physical sexual affairs, pornographic addictions, or lust issues is not true love, it is fickle lust and a relationship of convenience. True love is not always convenient, it requires dedication and sacrifice.”