Can My Love Change the Narcissist?

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

May 13
can love change a narcissist

When you met the Narcissist, they mournfully depicted woeful tales of being cheated on, taken advantage of, and how dreadful their childhood was.  Their parents neglected them and let them down, as have all the ex-partners in their life – as evidenced by their “crazy Ex” who blew up your partner’s phone as the two of you dined by candlelight.

It felt so real, and all you wanted to do was show them that there is a true and comforting love available for them. Your love…and so you set out on a mission to prove that you could love them past all of their wounds and vulnerability.

In the process, you overlook their transgressions, the verbal and emotional abuse, their irresponsibility, and their utter lack of social etiquette.

He/she just needs my help and understanding, you tell yourself.

You shoulder the responsibility when they accuse you of not being understanding.

When you mention you can’t tolerate the lying, cheating, and mistreatment another day, they respond with the almighty, “I knew you didn’t love me enough!  I knew you’d give up on me!  You only care about yourself!”, thus effectively kicking your guilt into overdrive and renewing your resolve to show them “unconditional love”.

After all, there just might be some hope for them yet, right?

Well, not really.  In fact…

Maybe their parents were rotten, low-down scoundrels, but alternately, they may have been of the ilk that over-praised your partner, never teaching them accountability or empathy towards other people.  The cold truth is that you’ll probably never know, and it doesn’t really matter.

Because there’s absolutely no amount of love on the planet that will change their self-serving behaviors.  

Narcissists don’t suddenly morph into their disorder at random times during adulthood.  By they time reach biological maturity, their disorder is a permanent part of who they are. 

As such, he or she takes in your love, compassion, and understanding, and processes them where they wind up in the same wasteland as yesterday’s meatloaf.  Your shady partner consumes love and caring for lunch and synthesizes it for their survival. They don’t care where their next meal comes from, as long as it satiates their appetite and keeps them going.

Meanwhile, they ride along on the coattails of your desire to show them that love can conquer all – never really caring about your efforts, sacrifices, or heartbreak.

Every time you forgive them, they eat out on it for a while…going about their usual crimes as you bask in the afterglow of believing there’s another chance to make the relationship work.

Then, when you happen again upon their online dating profiles, you fall into another swirling eddy of despair, wondering what you did wrong to drive them to do such a thing.  After all, they told you they wouldn’t be forced to do that if you were “different”, never really giving you their definition of the word and keeping you strung along with the “possibility of salvation”.

 And that’s the way it will always be, regardless of the amount of effort you put in.

I hear from readers all the time, “Maybe he or she will finally get it.”,   “Maybe I’m not doing enough for the relationship.”,   “I know there’s a hurt, insecure little boy/little girl in there…I’ve seen him/her.”

Narcissists are very good a playing the victim.  Haven’t you noticed when you try to describe your pain and confusion, they turn on the pity-party persona and insist they’re the one who’s suffering?

Don’t listen to their words.  Observe and analyze facts. 

Okay, so they’re the one hurting while you’re the one putting in all the effort and sacrifice while they:

  • Continue affairs and sexcapades with nary a pause.
  • Insist on putting a password on the front screen of their cell phone. In fact, all of their electronic devices are on lock-down like a federal penitentiary.
  • Engage in nuclear meltdowns that make a two year-old look like a Zen master.
  • Verbally and emotionally abuse you, keeping you in a constant state of fear, doubt, and self-loathing.
  • Shack up with the new supply, but continue to come around for occasional hook-ups.
  • Tell you you’re too paranoid, needy, and crazy.

To further drive the point home, that “Crazy Ex” from the beginning of this post who blew up your partner’s phone during your romantic dinner?  Those cellular interruptions consist of their Ex (who your partner is stringing along), plus a few other of their side supply in varying phases of being devalued (think silent treatments) while they induct you into their harem.

To answer the question, Can my love change the Narcissist?  

Your love can’t change the Narcissist, but it can change you. 

I don’t mean to sound cliché here, but the truth is there are reasons why you are drawn to an emotionally unavailable, exploitative, black hole of a partner.

These reasons might include codependency, being an “abandoholic”, recreating past painful relationships, and/or trauma-bonding…and, ironically, some victims of narcissists are themselves emotionally unavailable and don’t realize it.

Whatever the case, your love won’t change anything while you direct it at the Narcissist, but you can love yourself back to health…though you’ll need to detach from the emotional terrorist you call a partner.

There simply is no happy ending with people like this, and your love cannot change them, no matter how tolerant and wonderful you are.

They don’t act the way they do because “you don’t show enough compassion” or aren’t doing a good enough job licking their “wounds” for them…

Their problems are much bigger than you and your relationship.  That’s why it will never work out.

Self-Love is your path to true emotional freedom.

 Trying to make it work with a Narcissist is like shoveling the sidewalk while it’s still snowing.  Download your free ‘Empower Yourself’ starter kit below to begin your journey of self-love!

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(23) comments

[…] in spite of what they may tell you, you can’t love them out of their disorder, much less their […]

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[…] spite of his horrible childhood and sadistic mistreatment by all twenty-seven of his Exes, you can love him enough to help him.  Maybe, just maybe, he will soon realize the error of his ways, see how much he loves you, and […]

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kaylene June 10, 2015

Had a minor meltdown today.
18 Months after end.
Parked next to next GF (girlfriends) car.
Unaware but noted business sign on car
Then entered shop got trolley etc and shopped…crossed my mind to go up ‘and say something’. But my mind said ‘that would be foolish’.
And, So proud of my response!
But also, Felt sick and was surprised at how I reacted, it threw thought I was Over It.
Spoke with 2 girlfriends… helped.
First… run into. I GUESS.
Any ideas?
This site is brilliant…
Thanks
K

Reply
    Kim Saeed June 10, 2015

    Kaylene, it sounds like you were triggered and experienced some physical PTSD symptoms. There’s not much you can do to stop it from happening completely, but it will eventually fade over time, and in the meantime you can engage in activities that help soothe PTSD symptoms There are lots of videos on YouTube for Tapping and EMDR. You might want to check them out 🙂 Thanks for the encouraging words about my blog *hugs*

    Reply
Leonardo May 14, 2015

First I want to apologize for any mistyping (my first language is Spanish).
Sometimes I doubt and deny the fact that I had an interaction with a Narcissist.
I stayed in a relationship with my ex partner for one year and ended that relationship because he offended and wished ill upon me like nobody else had done it.
I recognize my codependency and the abandonment fears I experienced during the time we stayed together. He never worked during that year, I made sure he had a car filled up with gas, food, phone, alcohol and pot so I could keep him by my side (feel shame)
My self esteem dropped way down, I was confused and so lost. This is how I started wondering what was wrong with me.
A year and few months passed by after the breakdown, his mother contacted me and we have been communicating for about 5 months now. I feel her Narcissist tendencies sometimes and her manipulation. I don’t see her much, but she texts every morning sending her blessings.
He is currently in jail. His mother in a very sneaky way made sure I would know about it. I deposited money in his jail account a couple of times, I know it is silly to do that. I don’t want to blame it to his mothers manipulation and sometimes I just want to shut up and keep it in secret. So far I haven’t tell anybody about me sending money and taking care of my exes mother. I keep telling myself that I don’t want him back in my life and realize how dangerous would be to have him back.
As part of my confusion sometimes I think this was just an ego’s war between his and mine. It just takes a little look back at the facts, his abuse and manipulation to re affirm we both danced the dance of the co-dependent /narcissist and that is in my best interest to keep working on my recovery.
If I may suggest to whom may feel trapped in this sick engagement. Coda (codependents anonymous) works. Thank you for reading me and for sharing all your experiences.
Leonardo

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    Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

    Hi Leonardo, thank you for sharing your experience here on the site and also for your suggestion of checking out a CoDA group. Many people have gotten tremendous help with 12-step programs, and I’m glad to know you’re one of them 🙂

    Reply
swo8 May 14, 2015

The lady is right “there ain’t nobody got time for that”.
Leslie

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Persia Karema May 14, 2015

Reblogged this on Blog Of A Mad Black Woman and commented:
“Narcissists are very good a playing the victim. Haven’t you noticed that when you try to describe your pain and confusion, he turns on the pity-party persona and insists he’s the one who’s suffering?” ~ Kim Saeed at Let Me Reach

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Anonymous May 14, 2015

I’m a year out from being asked, forced really, to leave the home I helped him obtain. He is happily dating (a lot) and I’m still stuck on stupid. I have struggled deeply with the breakup between recognizing him as a narcissist and the blame he placed on me for my jealousy issues. Going to dinner was always an experience, the waitress always had his attention and flirtatious banter. I resigned to going through the drive thru rather than subject myself to humiliation. Often times, I got more sympathy from the waitress than my partner and love of 6 years. He has reached out professing that he made a mistake in breaking things off in such a horrible manner. The day of me moving out, already in agony, he showed up furious and began screaming at me that It shouldn’t take that long to remove my things, I wanted to die. I didn’t know then he was planning a date with a neighbor the next day. As I read your blog today it was revealed to me that the relationship I had was textbook narcissism and that I was narcissistically abused. I am desperately trying to make peace with the fact that I allowed myself to be abused. I had a choice, but failed myself. It seems as though I will never heal, never find a man who will appreciate the love I have to offer and reciprocate in the same fashion. What I do have now, is a sanctuary…thank you Kim.

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    Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

    Anon, please forgive my delay in responding to you as I’m just seeing your comment. I hope you have begun healing since you left it.

    Please don’t feel badly for staying in the relationship. You were acting from wounds that you’ve likely carried with you a very long time. We stay because we try to resolve those wounds. The person we become involved with (the narcissist) represents someone from our past who inflicted those wounds.

    Please know that it is very possible to find a partner who can appreciate the love you have to offer. I say that because I found one who not only appreciates my love, but returns it, too. That’s possible for you, as well <3 The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to write down a list of 5-10 deal-breakers and then if someone breaks one or more of them, you must be willing to walk (in spite of how difficult that may prove). Set healthy boundaries and enforce them. When we show up for ourselves and stand up for what we believe in, we weed out the users and abusers and open up space for our perfect partner <3

    Wishing you the very best!

    Reply
Millie May 13, 2015

There are other reasons women are drawn to these men. Sometimes narcissists are attracted to each other especially if they are opposite types. I’ve known narcissist men that have been married for 20+ years and it’s because the wives are just as bad as they are. It’s good for us non narcissists to know what the red flags are so we can avoid them but not every woman out there will run because they love these type of men. From experience too, some of the men actually take pride in being controllers and cheats. My ex told me that if I wanted an alpha male as a boyfriend, I had to give up control. It was the trade off. He calls the shots and does whatever he wants and I get the man that will protect me from the world! No thanks!

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    Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

    Hi Millie, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Funny how some will use the “alpha male” bit. Being an alpha male doesn’t mean his woman has to accept abusive behavior and infidelity. This card is very similar to the religious zealot who insists his wife must be biblical and bow down to his authority…the real truth is that God doesn’t want anyone to enable abuse. (Sorry if you’re not religious. I was just using that as an example).

    Reply

Reblogged this on modern day samaritan woman.

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No name May 13, 2015

Excellent way to close the topic. We all should just concentrate that love to the one self. I think that would take care of everything.

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    Kim Saeed May 13, 2015

    I think so, too, No Name 🙂

    Reply
Jules May 13, 2015

Wow Kim–you just wrote my story. I endured all this for 14 years always thinking I could fix him so our relationship would be strong and healthy. I was so very wrong. Everytime we had an argument, it was my fault. He had an affair because I drove him to it. His mother always praised him and told him he was the one that would be successful–he wasn’t. When he left me for his affair partner, I was devastated. Then 6 months later I realized it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Now….I year later, my life is even better. I still have bad moments (PTSD), and probably will as I recover from his abuse, but wow, life is wonderful! I can sleep, go out with my friends, have fun again and not worry about the consequences.
Thank you Kim–best advice ever!!!

Jules

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    Kim Saeed May 13, 2015

    Jules, I still have triggers, too, but I know what they are and why they happen and am able to talk myself through them.

    I’m glad you are living a more fulfilling life. And thank you so much for reading my post and commenting 🙂

    Reply
Karin May 13, 2015

… or like trying to taste the number 12
I remember this so well, how beautifully broken he was, how I knew I could fix him. After all, I’d done it in different ways with different people with much love and success. I am an Empath and proudly so.
The fatal flaw is / was not knowing that I wasn’t dealing with a normal person, with normal hurts and their own desire for love and healing.
I think this is why I bridle a little about the concept of Empaths being attracted to Narcs – I wasn’t “attracted” per se, I wanted to help who I perceived as a normal human. How could I have known that every detail was part of a Narc’s toolkit?
I do know now (thank you Kim <3) and do my best to get the word out. There is still an inexplicable resistance by many to believe that such humans exist, are not fixable and will do everything in their power and their Apaths to maintain a facade.
Love will not cure a Narc. Love and understanding will cure an Empath.

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    Cynthia May 13, 2015

    I thought I was dealing with a normal person, too! He was charming, love bombed me, spent every moment with me- we married after only 8-9 months of dating! Marry in haste, regret at leisure…my first realization that something was wrong was when he refused to let me fall asleep before him, no matter how late it was or how tired I was. Then came the arguments that lasted all night – over little things to start – oh, I didn’t “initiate” enough. The house was messy, my son from my first marriage was too noisy. Then he would be marvelous again, all loving. Then he didn’t want to travel to see my widowed, ill father at Christmas, then he didn’t want me to go to a lecture with some older friends (“why do you want to spend all that time with them? They must be 50”)Then his reactions to my son became meaner. I kept thinking things would change and go back to the wonderful 8 months we had …I thought if we moved into cheaper housing(and lost out on buying the cute cottage we were renting)…if we had a baby he would understand my love for my son…if we moved back into a real house…if he went free-lance in his work…Things would be great for a few weeks, then he would go back to the angry critical person I’ve come to realize is his true persona. He really damaged my beautiful son…I didn’t know about true narcissism from 1984 all the way till 2012. It took two years of work but now I am almost free of him. My therapist pointed out that I can only move my own chess piece in life – I can’t move his. And I’m done trying.

    Reply
      Kim Saeed May 13, 2015

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Cynthia. The more personal accounts that others can read, the more we are able to spread awareness of these debilitating imposters. Glad to know you’re out and I wish you all the very best in your continued recovery.

      Reply
      Karin May 13, 2015

      Half the battle is knowing that you’re dealing with a Narcissist. I didn’t know, had no idea that there was a pathological aspect to “garden variety” (and even the tiny bit that is not unhealthy) this.
      I will never stop trying to educate people. Kim’s was the voice that shone a light onto what I was involved with. I count myself blessed everyday for that.
      Take care of yourself and stay strong. ~ kei

      Reply
    Kim Saeed May 13, 2015

    Thank you for sharing, Karin. I’m an Empath, too, and went through all of the same thought processes. In fact, I almost destroyed myself as a result.

    I think part of the “attraction” is vibrational, meaning we probably do share an inner wound with them, but they have reached the point of no return. Whereas we have the ability to give and receive love (and heal ourselves and others in the process), that particular emotion never “took” with them, so they just go through life treating everyone as disposable, because that’s truly how they view other human beings.

    It’s so good to see you here 🙂 Thanks again for commenting and for the beautiful writings you share on your site…

    Reply
      Karin May 13, 2015

      Just so 🙂 I believe it’s why we give more chances and try to exhaust every avenue to help. It’s a virtue and one that wins in most cases. Thank you for what you do Kim, the positive reinforcement is huge for all of us. K ~ xo

      Reply
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