There is a difference between love and abuse. And what makes matters so confusing for the brain of survivors is that pathological narcissists blend the most superficial levels of love with hate that is at the core of their disorder. It’s a toxic cocktail they serve continuously to their partners.
The Seductive, Violating World of Abusers
Most of the time when we walk into an abuser’s world – we have no idea that’s what we’re doing. I certainly didn’t. I saw someone who was attentive, smart, adventurous, accomplished, and nice. Physically I thought he was stunning. He was a charmer so he knew the words to say and the actions to take.
Back then I didn’t know the red flags like grooming, love bombing, lightening speed pace, and abuse seduction. Yes, I was a neuropsychologist at that time, but I was clueless about this kind of partner. I have a firm belief that mental health professionals cannot truly understand the relationship dynamics of narcissists unless they were raised by one or had a significant relationship experience with one (e.g., work, partner, friend).
When we walk into the world of an abuser, we are blending two worlds. One world reflects authenticity and truth. Real bonds and connection. The other world is built on the temporary addictive love stage only to be replaced by the disordered (often dangerous) hateful character traits of pathological narcissism. It will be extremely difficult for our brain to make sense of the behaviors of a narcissistic partner.
The Value of Real Love
Loving someone comes with loyalty, appreciation, respect, willingness to put them before ourselves, concern, caring, and the overwhelming desire to protect them. But you will find none of that behind the narcissistic relationship.
You will not be appreciated for what you do or sacrificed for them. You will not be respected for your opinions or contributions. They compete. They minimize. They play with the emotions of others flippantly. They want to be on top and often that will mean you’ll get hurt.
Sure the people we love who are not narcissistic can make us cry, disappoint us, annoy us, and might even lead us to yell. But people who have the ability to love deeply do not abuse us. Their behaviors are not traumatizing.
Abusers Always Cross the Line
Empathic or loving people do not cross that very dark forbidden line … that boundary far down the road that hurts us in such a way that we need a period of recovery. Those are the people you must be careful of. A narcissist will whisper the words I love you and tell you, “this is the way I love” and “You are just too sensitive.” Nothing will lead them to look at their own behavior and realize you are having a normal, negative reaction to their patterns. And they certainly will not feel badly for what they have done.
There is a difference between love and abuse. And what makes matters so confusing for the brain of survivors is that pathological narcissists blend the most superficial levels of love with hate that is at the core of their disorder. It’s a toxic cocktail they serve continuously to their partners. And as sad as it is, it is also a fact that people with pathological narcissism are limited so severely that they can harm your well-being.
You deserve peace
Whatever the underlying reason that you ascribe to regarding the cause of pathological narcissism — attachment issues, bad parenting, indulgent parenting, genetics, environment, neglect, etc… (And honestly the cause does not matter)… it’s most important that you keep yourself safe. Knowing it was genetics that causes them to lack social safety will not lessen the impact of their abuse.
What really matters is that there are no hugs, love, explaining, forgiveness, or understanding that will lead them to behave differently in their intimate relationships.
Please take care of yourself.
(c) All rights reserved