When you first met the Narcissist, he mournfully depicted woeful tales of being cheated on, taken advantage of, and having suffered a dreadful childhood. His parents neglected him and let him down, as have all the women in his life – as evidenced by his “crazy Ex” who blew up his phone as the two of you dined by candlelight.
It felt so real, and all you wanted to do was show him that there is a true and comforting love available for him. Your love…and so you set out on a mission to prove that you could love him past all of his wounds and vulnerability.
In the process, you overlook his transgressions, his verbal and emotional abuse, his irresponsibility, and his utter lack of social etiquette.
He just needs me to help him, you tell yourself.
You shoulder the responsibility when he says you haven’t been understanding.
Then, when you tell him you can’t tolerate the lying, cheating, and mistreatment another day, he responds 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 him “unconditional love”.
After all, there just might be some hope for him yet, right?
Well, not really. In fact…
Maybe his parents were rotten, low-down scoundrels, but alternately, they may have been of the ilk that over-praised him, never teaching him 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 his self-serving behaviors.
He takes it in, processes it and it winds up in the same wasteland as yesterday’s meatloaf (you’ll need to use your imagination here).
That’s right, he eats love and caring for lunch and synthesizes it for his survival. He doesn’t care where his next meal comes from, as long as it satiates his appetite and keeps him going.
Meanwhile, he rides along on the coattails of your desire to show him that love can conquer all – never really caring about your efforts, sacrifices, or heartbreak.
Every time you forgive him, he eats out on it for a while…going about his 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 his online dating profiles, you fall into another swirling eddy of despair, wondering what you did wrong to drive him to do such a thing. After all, he told you he wouldn’t be forced to do that if you were “different”, never really giving you his 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 women all the time, “Maybe he’ll finally get it.”, “Maybe I’m not doing enough for the relationship.”, “I know there’s a hurt, insecure little boy in there…I’ve seen him.”
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?
Don’t listen to his words. Observe and analyze facts.
Okay, so he’s the one hurting while you’re the one putting in all the effort and sacrifice while he:
- Continues affairs and sexcapades with nary a pause.
- Insists on putting a password on the front screen of his cell phone. In fact, all of his electronic devices are on lock-down like a federal penitentiary.
- Engages in nuclear meltdowns that make a two year-old look like a Zen master.
- Verbally and emotionally abuses you and keeps you in a constant state of fear, doubt, and self-loathing.
- Shacks up with the new supply, but continues to come around for occasional hook-ups.
- Tells you you’re too paranoid, needy, and crazy.
To further drive the point home, that “Crazy Ex” from the beginning of this post that blew up his phone during your romantic, candlelit dinner? Those cellular interruptions were his Ex (who he is stringing along), plus a few other of his women in varying phases of being devalued (think silent treatments) while he inducted you into his 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 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 and resolve to love yourself instead.
There simply is no happy ending with men like this, and your love cannot change him, no matter how tolerant and wonderful you are.
He doesn’t act the way he does because you don’t show enough compassion or aren’t doing a good enough job licking his so-called wounds for him…
His 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. If you’ve left a narcissist, how did you finally do it?
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