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What Does it Really Mean When A Narcissist Says "I Love You"

by Olivia Surtees

I assume that you are reading this because you are concerned, or you actually already know that you are in a relationship with a narcissist. If they have told you that they love you, you might start to question what that really means. Do they actually love you? Or will they never be able to love you as much as they love themselves?

In this article, we are not only going to explain what a narcissist is, and how you can spot one, but also what it really means if they tell you that they love you. As well as this, we are going to discuss how you should respond and think about some of your options moving forward.

What is a narcissist?

A narcissistic person actually suffers from a personality disorder, it is not just someone that is vain or loves themselves a little too much, as we might have all been led to believe. There is genuinely something going on in their minds and bodies.   

We can take a look at the definition by the Mayo Clinic, “Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders — it is where people have an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.” 

So, how can you tell if someone is a narcissist?

If you are not sure that you’re dating a narcissist, you could look at the signs below and see if any of them ring true when you think about your partner. 

However, it is important that you really think about it and to what degree they show the signs. A big question to ask yourself is, “Does their personality and the way they treat people cause problems for them or others?” If they do, you are probably dating a narcissist.

 People without Narcissistic personality disorder could also show some of the signs, but definitely not to the degree that it affects their life and people around them.

  1. They were overly nice to you and showered you with compliments when you first started to date.
  2.  They always speak about themselves. They manage to turn any conversation into then saying something about them.
  3. They have no sympathy or empathy for other people. So, do they get upset that you are upset? If they’re a narcissist they won’t be bothered by your emotions.
  4. They are overly protective.
  5. They don’t have many friends.
  6. They put you down, a lot.
  7. They will never ever apologize. Nothing can ever seem like it is their fault.
  8. They genuinely believe that they are right about everything, even when the facts are staring them in the face.
  9. They make a lot of effort with their appearance.
  10. They are highly sexually driven, in a selfish way. They want you to make them feel good, not necessarily the other way around.

Ater reading those signs, have you realized that you’re dating a narcissist? It can be really heartbreaking to know that the person you are with is not the perfect person you thought they were. They will probably already have manipulated you into believing them, and even letting them control you. You also need to start realizing that this person is ill. They have a genuine personality disorder, and you can’t compete with it. They will always pick themselves over you. Even though you might be invested in them, you need to realize that they are not normal. 

So, let's take a look at what it can mean if a narcissistic person tells you they love you.

There are a few things that a narcissistic person really means when they say that they love you. However, it is important to say straight away, they do not love you. They are not telling you that they love you because you make them a better person, or they are crazy about how they feel when they are with you. 

These things might be true, but that isn’t why they are telling you they love you. This is not any normal relationship, so the “I love you” won’t be normal either. Now that you have come to terms with the fact that they are not meaning what they say, let’s take some time to uncover what they mean.

1. They love being able to control you.

They are telling you that they love being able to control you. They will be really happy that they have been able to manipulate you and they hold their power over you. Without you realizing it, you might now see that he has been manipulating you the whole time. Is he always telling you what to do and criticizing you for doing something wrong? He will love that he has control over you, your actions and your emotions.

2. They love that you will forgive them time and time again.

Narcissists can play the victim very well. Even if they have caused you pain or they started an argument with you, they will turn the situation around so that they look like the victim. You will always feel like you need to forgive them and even apologize to them. This is really not normal and a sure sign of manipulation. They love that.

3. They love that they can make you feel crazy.

Something that narcissists are really good at is gaslighting. Gaslighting is well defined by the National Domestic Violence hotline, “Gaslighting is an extremely effective form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, giving abusive partner power.”

They will love to gaslight you. If they can make you feel crazy, then they can easily control you. They will also thrive off the process of gaslighting you. Every time you question yourself or have a moment of self-doubt, they will buzz off it.

4. They will love lying to you.

This sounds really insane, but narcissists will actually love lying to you about being in love with you. The act of telling someone that you love them is a really special and important thing. They will be making a deceitful mockery of this, and they will get off on that. They will be having a great time telling you that they love you, knowing that they are telling you a lie.

5. They don’t want you to leave them.

Although narcissists are very self-absorbed people, they still need someone by their side that they can manipulate and use their ‘powers’. By telling you that they love you, they will have guaranteed you to stick by their side. You think that they love you, and you will love them too. They have cemented a bond between the two of you because they don’t want you to leave. Who would they control then?

6. They love looking down on you. 

They will love to pity you. They will look down on you and it will make them unbelievably happy that you have fallen into their trap. They are doing everything according to their twisted plan, and you are joining them on the path of self-destruction.

7. They love to think about you like you are their personal plaything.

They love to know that you are their personal toy. They can play with you and your emotions. You are their possession and they love that. They will always have you right there just for them. They can pick you up and put you down whenever they feel like it. They can also control your whole life, just like you are a toy doll.

8. They love that you will always compliment them.

They will feel even greater about themselves when they feel that you adore them as much as they adore themselves. They are getting double the love that they were before. When you compliment them, it will feel like it is their fuel. They will eat up all the compliments that you give them but will rarely return them. They will also love that because they rarely compliment you, you then react in such a happy state. They control how you feel.

9. They love that your emotions don’t affect them, but their emotions do affect you. 

They will thrive off the fact that your emotions don’t affect them. This is because they don’t feel empathy or sympathy. They won’t be upset when you are, for example. However, what they will love the most is that you, like everyone else who isn’t a narcissist, will be affected by their emotions. So, if they feel sad or angry, you will react and empathize with them. They have you hooked around their thumb, and you don’t even realize it.

10. They love the fact that your life has become their life.

Narcissists normally have pretty rigid life plans, and they will have already manipulated you into thinking their life plan is what you want. Whatever the two of you do together moving forward will always be their idea or their decision. 

They will love the fact they simply have someone that supports them and that can be controlled by them. They do not love you, they love what you can do for them.

How should you respond when a narcissist tells you that they love you?

Firstly, you need to think about yourself and how safe you are going to be when you respond to them. If you know that you are in a safe environment and that your partner is not physically abusive, you do not have to say it back. However, if you do not say it back, they will notice. They will probably start shouting and arguing with you.

Obviously, you can tell them that you love them too. Of course, you might, especially if you have only just found out that they are a narcissist. However, you need to emotionally shut off when you say it. Don’t make it obvious, but you need to make sure that you don’t get emotionally invested when you say it. If you do respond with this positive and mutual response, they will lap it up. You need to keep telling yourself that you don’t, you are just saying it to bide your time. It is also necessary to say that you love them too if you think they are going to be physically abusive towards you. You need to keep yourself safe, so you need to lie. 

Finally, your last opinion really is to change the subject. Of course, this will probably not work, but it might bide you some time to see what your best response out of the two above might be.

How should you move forward?

Firstly, I need to tell you that unfortunately, they are not going to change. Narcissistic people have a personality disorder, you cannot change that. As much as you might love this person, you can’t change them. 

So, now you know that you need to make a choice. I only advise one option, but we will look at both. You will either stay with him, or you will leave him. 

Stay with him (please don’t).

I am only telling you about this option because unfortunately a lot of people that are in relationships with a narcissist will never leave them. Being involved with a narcissist can mean that you are going to be subject to emotional and even physical abuse. They will also make it very difficult for you to leave, hence the reason a lot of people are still in relationships with narcissists. 

If you want to stay with him, the first thing you need to do is realize and accept the fact that he is controlling you, because he will never stop doing that. Do you want to be controlled and told what to do for the rest of your life? 

Secondly, you should speak to family and friends that love you and want the best for you. Tell them everything. Then, see what they say. I am sure that some of them may have actually had previous experience with a narcissist, and they will be able to give you some personal advice. I assure you, they will look out for you and will not allow you back into the relationship.

Finally, if you are set that you are going to stay with him, I beg you to reconsider. You deserve so much more than a controlling, manipulative and dangerous relationship with this person that is never going to change.

Leave him (yes girl).

Narcissists never change, and you don’t have to put up with the horrific and mind-altering relationship that they have subjected you to. Get out, leave! You will free yourself from all the awfulness that he put you through, and you will come out the other side ready for true love.

However, I do not want to make it sound easy. Like I mentioned earlier, narcissists make it difficult for people to break up with them. So, you need to prepare fully for it. You need to make sure that you keep up the appearance to him that you love him. He cannot know that you are planning to break up with him. If you live together, and if you can do so subtly, start to move your things to another place. 

Then, tell your family and friends that you are going to need a secure support network around you. You will need them to not only look out for you after the breakup, but they might want to make sure you are safe, especially if you think he might turn physically abusive towards you when you break up with him.

When you have everything prepared, do whatever is safest for you. I would advise meeting him in a public place to break up with him, or you could even text or email him if you think he could be aggressive.

For a while afterward, you need to stay on high alert. He will be angry that you have stood on your own two feet and taken his power from him.

Well done. You should be unbelievably proud that you have taken your life into your own hands.

Conclusion

I really hope that this article will have helped you figure out what a narcissist means when they tell you that they love you. I am so sorry that you had to deal with this kind of relationship, but you will now be ready to enter the world of love with an open heart and an open mind. The next time someone says that they love you, it will be because they actually do. 

Did this article help you at all? If it did and you liked what you read, please let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you.

REFERENCES - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662 - https://www.thehotline.org/what-is-gaslighting/

Olivia Surtees
After realizing I was the person that everyone around me always came to for dating advice, I decided to merge this skill with my profession – writing. So, I came about to be a relationship advice writer! Being able to show not only my passion for writing, but also my passion to help others in their relationships, means the absolute world to me and I hope to continue doing so. Studying the vast and complicated world of relationships entices me, and I am constantly striving to learn more, so I can then help others with more knowledge and experience.

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