Love and the Narcissist’s Child

RefractedHeart

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Can you recall the moment that the concept of Love first became a conscious consideration for you?

When did you start thinking about Love?

When did you become aware that a certain sensation was a feeling called Love?

And when did you begin conjuring up the image in your mind’s eye of the one who would win your heart, sweep you off your feet and carry you across a threshold into a happily ever after?

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“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.”
― Neil Gaiman

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Love is…

a human obsession,
and in some ways it is also a creation of ours,
one into which we pour a lot of time, effort, energy and passion.

And we’re often building on a portrait of Love passed down to us from those who came before us.

We create castles in our sky,
shrines to our visions of Love,
populated by our prince or princess,
our king or queen,
of hearts,
who will make all our dreams come true,
wipe away our tears,
make us safe,
fill our empty places and spaces with treasures.

One day they will come into our life and everything will change for the better never to be worse again…

Our ideas and ideals of love can be very grandiose…
a gift of that bountiful imagination which we all have,
even when we think we don’t,
even when we’re certain that we’re realists who don’t believe in anything until…
we see it,
feel it,
and have it firmly grasped in our sticky fingers never to part with it again.
It belongs to us now.

Love is… narcissistic, even when we’re not a narcissist… and definitely when we are… which is why a narcissist may be so attractive to us when it comes to falling in love with Love.

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“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

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A narcissist is obsessed with finding true love… they make of Love a mythic quest which only a real hero can accomplish… it is the kind of love which is so special that it is only designed for them, their loved one must only love them, must sacrifice themselves for them, must give and only give to them and keep giving… never taking, never wanting, never changing or trying to change…

you do not change those you love, but your love does have transformative abilities…

yes, it’s a contradiction of sorts…

basically what it is saying is – change me with your love in the ways that I want to be changed, but don’t try to change me in the ways that you want for me to change for you, and don’t expect me to do anything strenuous when it comes to changing, this love either changes me miraculously or… it’s not real love.

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(one of the most narcissistic love songs ever… which many of us loved because it spoke of the kind of Love we yearned to experience either as the giver or the taker or both…)

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I recently read a post on an astrology blog which summed this up beautifully through a Q & A about astrology which really wasn’t about astrology at all… that was just a means to an end, the end we’re always after whatever means we use when it comes to Love.

Someone asked the astrologer to tell them whether they should stick with a relationship or not.

What a question!

How on earth is anyone else supposed to know (even if they’re some sort of oracle) what you should do in a relationship that is yours?

According to the querent this relationship was everything they had ever wanted, wonderful, perfect… BUT… they had some issues, their perfect soul mate wasn’t perfect enough for them… and the astrologer… gave them an awesome earful and reality check which I think is… the sort of reality check we all need sometimes when it comes to relationships (including the one we have with ourselves – which influences the ones we have with others).

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Elsaelsa snippet

snippet via ElsaElsa – Capricorn Woman Meets Aquarian Man – Sparks Fly, But…

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What is a real relationship?

What is an unreal relationship?

And can the twain ever meet?

You often hear people who have been in and subsequently out of love with a narcissist describe the love they had as not being real… because they’ve come to the conclusion that the narcissist’s love was unreal, false, fake or some variation on that theme.

And if their love for you was fake, then… what does that make of your love for them?

The latter is what hurts the most because it cuts to a core which is afraid of being rotten in some way.

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“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
― William Shakespeare

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I can’t recall the moment the concept of Love entered my awareness, but it was fairly early on in my life…
I can remember that when I started playing with Barbie dolls, Love was part of the plot in the play, in fact it was the quest which both Barbies and Kens were after…
often the stories started where fairy tales (of the edited kind, the sort which companies like Disney sell us) end, at the happily ever after… and then everything went to shit.

(real fairy tales tend to have that as their middle…)
My hero and heroine would meet, fall in love, want to be together forever and ever…
but their happily ever after was always out of their reach…
there was always some evil a-hole (often more than one) who wanted to ruin things for them out of greed, envy, misery loving company, obsession, possession…
the evil a-holes were sometimes the parents of one of the heroic protagonists…

Gee… I wonder why my stories evolved like that?

I’m fairly certain that my first contact with the concept of Love came via my mother…
as she loved to talk… about Love and how she was the empress of it… and my ears were her captives as she owned them and me due to my being her child.

She loved to talk about Love… I think she saw herself as Aphrodite…

(my father’s penchant for painting her did not do much to alleviate that delusion…)

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“…you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.”
― Charles Bukowski

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Her favourite fairy tale to tell me,
apart from Goldilocks (which she told really well, changing it slightly each time, infusing it with personal details, making the story tie in with real life…)
was the amazing adventures of her and my father’s love.

No one else really existed (including me… I was an inconvenient fart caused by their gender members meeting and greeting).

In each version (and there were many variations on the theme depending on mood and other parameters) of her story about the great and grandiose love which they shared,
she was always Goldilocks,
innocently wandering into the woods and ending up in a place where she could have been eaten by bears and other beasties, finding everything not quite to her liking even if she politely muttered that it was just right… wait a minute and it would soon not live up to her expectations invariably causing disappointment…
she never portrayed my father as a hero,
although she did hero-worship him (but mostly because of how that reflected upon her – only a true heroine could catch a hero’s heart),
he was usually the Beast who Beauty managed to love enough to turn into…
someone she would rather be with,
with her super special magical Love…

which to this day, even though my father is now dead, she is still trying to force him to live for her (she did tell me repeatedly while he was still alive that she looked forward to the day he was dead as then he could become who she wanted him to be and he would stop interfering with her vision of him…

for some when a relationship ends… is the moment it truly begins, they never loved you as much as they do now that you’re no longer around, and they’ll never love anyone else as much as they love you because you’re inside of them, you are their inner love fantasy which will only really die when they do…).

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I’m not sure that I ever heard my father’s version of how my parents met and ended up together…
considering that he often portrayed my mother as a witch in his tales about her later on…
I wondered what he ever saw in her in the first place,
other than a muse for his work,
but he had many of those… and he simply moved on when he was done with them.

Yes, he was a narcissist…
and so was my mother.

Which makes me a child of narcissists…
and possibly a narcissist myself.

You can’t always believe what you hear, what you are told,
(and that includes my labeling my parents as narcissists)
what is based on a true story and what is pure fabrication… when it comes to what my parents told me about themselves, their lives… and me as an extension of them… I still don’t know which is which, but I have a fairly good idea about the parts which involve me… their version of me was usually fantasy and that fantasy wasn’t always a pleasant one. Mostly it wasn’t… someone had to embody the worst of them, and it certainly wasn’t going to be them.

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“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.”
― Pablo Neruda

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One thing which is true is that their Love dominated my childhood,
in one way or another,
particularly the version of it where Love turns to Hate…
(a common occurrence where narcissists are concerned – they sometimes confuse the two, and if a narcissist ever loves you… you too will be confused about the difference between Love and Hate).

Someone asked me  – How do children of narcissists stop attracting/being attracted to people who are similar to their (narcissist) parents?

Are we cursed forever to keep reliving our relationship with them? Bound to fall in love with yet another narcissist? Bound to our parents forever?

Or forced to be alone because we can’t trust ourselves to not fall for people who are like our parents?

Why do we keep repeating the relationship we had with them with others?

I came across this concept of…
basically falling in love with one or the other of your parents reflected in a partner…
quite awhile ago,
and it scared the crap out of me,
made me paranoid about Love,
particularly about whether I could trust myself when it came to falling in Love.

I definitely didn’t trust myself by the time that I considered falling in Love to be something more than a childish crush.

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My first great love,
when I was a teenager,
had many echoes of the relationship which my parents had between each other,
and which I had with them.

(my relationship with this person was heralded by the Culture Club song above… hmmmm…)
The subject of my affections…
(no, that isn’t a typo… I do not like the term ‘object of my affections’, as that’s what we and others are, an object, a thing, without feelings or a pulse or anything living about us, when the love is narcissistic.)
wasn’t a narcissist,
but was a teenager… so was I…
teenage Love can be very narcissistic,
and it can also be fraught with all those issues about Love which we inherit from our parents,
and which we’re trying to rebel against…
but the more you try to rebel against something, the stronger it seems to take hold of you.

After that experience…
many things happened in my life which took me away from teenage distractions and interactions,
I was sucked into a very adult world,
and deeper into the horrible mess of my parents’ relationship.

If you’ve ever watched a Soap Opera and laughed at how ridiculous it was…
I lived in a Soap Opera 24/7,
and as much as I tried to laugh at how ridiculous it was… mostly I just wanted to kill myself because I couldn’t figure out how else to escape its clutches.

Which is pretty much how a relationship with a narcissist ends up making you feel.

How do you get yourself out of this fine mess in which you got yourself? How do you get out of it alive?

Of course, at first, a relationship with a narcissist can be something entirely different…
the narcissist can make you feel as though you’ve been transported into your dreams come true.

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that smile you gave me

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There are a lot of theories about the how’s and why’s of this… which mostly centre around the narcissist… most literature online and in books about NPD, narcissists, etc, are all about the narcissist… which is the way a narcissist likes for things to be. They need to be the centre of our attention, of our universe… and they don’t really care if that is negative or positive as long as it is… which allows them to know that they are… that they exist and that their existence matters.

And we seem to like it that way too… because it stops it being about us.

But… what if it’s more about you than it is about them?

Yes, everything about you and your relationship is about them and their relationship (or the lack of it) with themselves… as far as they are concerned.

They’re wrapped up in themselves

(and they hate themselves… underneath all the self-love is a deep fathomless pit of self-hate…

for more on that, read this – Narcissism by Richard Boyd of the Energetics Institute (this site keeps changing the link to this page which is annoying for people like me who link it… but it’s still a great in-depth article on all aspects of Narcissism)

and therefore if you love them they can’t feel it, so they test your love in the only way they know how, by offering you everything they hate about themselves to see if you can love what they can never love…

if you can then maybe you can heal their wound for them…

Love conquers all, doesn’t it…

but usually all that happens is that their wound is passed onto you…

and now everyone is wallowing in self-hate…

seeking a miracle cure for it…

from someone else).

But…

What if your love for them is not just a reflection of them, but a reflection of you?

I know… that’s disturbing and you want to look away, look at them and blame them the way that they are looking away from themselves and blaming you.

The buck has to stop somewhere, doesn’t it, or we’ll all just keep going around on a merry-go-round of hell…

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“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
― Pema Chödrön

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After my first love,
what I experienced through it,
and mostly what I noticed about myself due to it… which wasn’t pretty…
and because I got sucked deeper into my parent’s relationship nightmare after it… coincidentally… or not, maybe…
I…
took the coward’s route
and vowed off Love completely…
until I could ‘sort myself out’…
not sure what I meant by that…
I know what I thought I meant by that…
but…

I thought a lot of things during that time… and my thinking was not always clear… rarely clear, often under the influence of the narcissistic way of viewing everyone and everything…

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Love, narcissistic style, is a thought process…
the feelings aren’t felt but thought…
it’s amazing, when you pay attention to it and are willing to go to uncomfortable inner places, how often what we claim are feelings are actually just thoughts…
thoughts which can disguise themselves really well as feelings,
and convince us that we’re actually feeling what is not a feeling at all but a very strong thought that wants so much to be a feeling… it wants to be what it is not… much like a narcissist.

Have you ever caught your mind in the act of convincing you that you ‘felt’ sad or angry… when you didn’t feel that way at all? It wanted you to hate someone who… you didn’t hate and never could with all of your heart, but the mind doesn’t have a heart it just wishes it did because it’s scared of how little control it has over the heart of you

And your mind bullied you into to accepting a thought as a feeling… and screwed up your relationships, your heart and sometimes even your soul because of it. The way that narcissists do that too…

Have you ever found yourself in that strange predicament of trying to make yourself believe that you ‘love’ someone or something that your heart doesn’t really have any feeling for…?

I did that a lot about my parents… because society told me I should love them when I didn’t, and made me feel (or think I should feel… a thinking and sinking feeling) ashamed, guilty, bad for not feeling what they thought I should feel… for them (all of them, my parents, society…). So I made myself feel what I wasn’t feeling and felt good about it (while feeling the bad consequences of it) through thinking myself into feeling that way.

That’s a narcissistic experience… and no, it doesn’t make you a narcissist for experiencing it.

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“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.”
― Oscar Wilde

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Narcissistic Love is a thinking thing, a mind thing, an ego thing…

it’s the part of us that wants a dream to come true and edits out all those ‘red flags’, details, and reality which we don’t want to see…

it’s the part that conjures up fantasies of revenge…

or any other illusion where we get what we want, get our way, control the story and everyone does what we need for them to do for us to feel… think we feel… a certain way… better… have closure… or our happily ever after whatever that is in the moment.

It’s the part that can’t let go when we know that we would be better off if we did…
for those who go No Contact with their narcissist and struggle with it…
yes, some of it is the fault of the narcissist who doesn’t recognise such things, they never have, never will… and once they’ve decided that you’re a part of them, you’re like a limb on their body and that’s not going anywhere… unless they go with it.
but some of it is down to you and you know it which is why the struggle with it hurts so much…
the side of you which is having the hardest time with going No Contact is the side which… sometimes longs for a Love that is… unhealthy… yet satisfying in a way that healthy Love just doesn’t yield.

Our dreams of a light-filled Love are met by an equally strong attraction to a dark kind of Love… these two sides do battle within and outside of us sometimes…

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(weird and completely irrelevant factoid – Marilyn Manson is an astro twin for me… uh oh… and this song ( by The Cure) is one which was an anthem for me when I was in my teens and summed up Love for me)

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I gave up on Love a long time ago,

perhaps even before I thought about Love…

but it’s inherently human to yearn for those very things which we give up on…

so we never really give up on them, we just tell ourselves to do so, it’s never going to happen for us, we’re not like the others…

but we are like the others…

and that is the difference which can help us distinguish between narcissistic Love and other kinds of Love.

Real love has an ordinariness about which can jar against our fantasies… forcing us to get real with it, with ourselves, with others.

Want to stop attracting or being attracted to narcissists?

Get real with yourself…

easier said than done…

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Soul Mates - Thomas Moore

extract via Soul Mates (redux of his book on Psychology Today) by Thomas Moore

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What is Love?

Forget about what it is for others… at least for now, you will have to understand their take on it, but first understand yours…

What is love for you?

Is it a battlefield?

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

Is it the stuff of fairy tales?

Is it going to heal your wounds?

Is it going to fill your empty spaces?

Is it stability?

Is it rebellion?

Is it safe or dangerous?

What is it for you?

Have a discussion with yourself about this… and listen to yourself when you do that.

Find your ultimate Love Story…

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“How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure. ”
― Alexandre Dumas

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Then…

What was Love to your parents?

What was their love for each other? Did they love each other and if they did how did that play out? Did how it play out before your eyes and did it match their version of it when they spoke about it?

Does that play out in your relationships too?

What was their version of Love when it came to their relationship with you?

And does that play out in your relationships?

How do you Love yourself?

What was love for all those others around you while growing up? Not just those real people whom you knew, but also all those on TV, in films, fiction, literature… everything which informed your growing self about concepts such as Love.

And then ask yourself…

many many questions…

but don’t necessarily answer them…

with your mind…

let the answer come through another way…

focusing

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“What is true is already so. Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse. Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away. And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with. Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived. People can stand what is true, for they are already enduring it.”
― Eugene T. Gendlin, Focusing

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gently drifting on waves of being…

and discovering of being…

so…

you attracted a narcissist and fell in love with them…

and they were as your parents were…

and now…

as a child of narcissists

you wonder if you’re…

never going to experience anything other than the dark side of Love…

is it you…

is it them…

is it karma…

life…

or…

is there a way to avoid it?

Is there a way to avoid narcissists?

To keep yourself safe from them and their kind of Love?

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because it matters - john green

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Yes…

by not trying to avoid them and their kind of love…

by not being afraid of being hurt, of being vulnerable, of heartache and pain…

as contradictory as that may seem,

the best way is the way most traveled rather than the less traveled way…

the road less traveled is the one that narcissists tend to take as they’re seeking something which isn’t part of the journey of being human…

so if you go thataway, then you will meet them there…

but if you go where humans go, then…

you may still meet narcissists,

but,

you will also meet others…

people who don’t live up to your dreams, ideals, and fantasies…

you don’t live up to theirs either…

but that’s okay…

they don’t expect you to (unlike narcissists)

they just want to be loved and to love in return… and they do want to love you (unlike a narcissist) and that…

allowing someone to love you…

as you are…

warts, faults, flaws, and being human and all…

is the greatest challenge of all,

because you can’t control that kind of Love…

or the person who loves that way…

And sometimes that’s why people prefer narcissistic Love to ordinary Love…

the Love which our mind has,

well, our mind tells us it is safer…

than that of our wild, bleeding, beating heart.

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Don’t be afraid of narcissism in Love…

there’s always an element of it within…

for when others love us they inspire us to love ourselves…

and when we love them we inspire them with self-love…

self-love isn’t a bad thing…

it can be very good…

healthy for us…

and for others too…

as the more we love ourselves in a healthy way, the healthier our love for them becomes…

but when we hate ourselves, and think of it as love, then it becomes unhealthy for us and for others…

it’s not narcissism which is the problem… it’s what we do with it.

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I live under your bed

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28 thoughts on “Love and the Narcissist’s Child

  1. I’ve been going through reading your posts on narcissism. I really enjoy what you write. You say things other blogs have never asked before. You have great insight.

    What you said about narcissistic love is so spot on with what I encountered. I’m sorry to keep using that you tube blogger I met but she is the perfect example of this. Her vlog and her blog are filled with her constantly writing how her husband is “the love of her life”. She has written a comic detailing her life with him in his country.

    When I met her in real life and I thought we were friends, she would go on and on about how she couldn’t breathe without him. He was her everything. They would wear matching outfits. She had to have him wherever she went. When I asked her one day what she loved about her husband, she went quiet for a moment and then said, “I like that he has no opinions on anything. He has no hobbies and interests. He doesn’t read history or get into politics. He listens to me. He supports me. He is a blank page. I find that so comforting.”

    I didn’t know what to say after that so I changed the subject, but I was struck by her response. Not one thing there described what she liked about him the person other than, he wasn’t really a person. She made him sound like a possession, a mirror, more than a soulmate. And when I met him he was a happy go lucky man child. He seemed happy to play the role she had for him.

    Constantly, she would drop hints of how her love with him was not an ordinary love, but an extraordinary. Her cult-like followers buy into this and shower them with praise that they are a “magical love” story. However, I know the truth of one of her blog posts. I took her to a special cafe that she posted about.

    When I met her at the cafe, she told me how her husband exploded in a jealous rage upon learning what kind of cafe she was going to. He started asking “Am I not good enough for you? Why do you need to go there?” However, in her blog posts she wrote in parenthesis — my husband was so supportive of me going there. He is the best. He never gets jealous. Ever. He is the sweetest, most amazing husband ever. I feel so lucky every day to have him!

    All these things should have been red flags. I regret not reading these warning signs sooner. I don’t know which was true. Was her story of his jealous rage true or was what she wrote in the post true?

    She uses social media to brag about him. When she finally blocked me, one of the reasons in her long, long message attacking me was that “I didn’t talk to her husband enough”. This from the girl who told me she would break into his Facebook and cell phone account while he was in the shower to see who he had been talking to and delete any messages from girls.

    It felt like she wanted people dying with envy of her “handsome husband”.

    Not to be mean, but he didn’t interest me. I find people with their own hobbies, thinking, and ambitions interesting.

    He had only three hobbies: exercising so he could have abs, appeasing her, and toilets.

    Otherwise, he quit all his jobs and lives off her. He has nothing on his resume. He is steadily becoming completely dependent on her for everything.

    I also have to be careful of mentioning them. For one thing I don’t want her toadies to come here. For another she roves the internet searching for mentions of herself and will scream and holler to her toadies if anything negative about herself should be noticed.

    On her vlog and blog she weaves a tale of perfect love and soulmates who found one another. But all they do these days is hang around their apartment and occasionally go to the city. She writes comics about their “perfect” love story. I don’t know how that is interesting.

    Sitting around making up stuff to complain about or gloat about seems like a rather dull life to me. A rather normal life, yet somehow she’s got her followers buying into it being extraordinary.

    However, she seemed to seethe at the very idea that her love was just her love. That it was just a nice story. No, no, no, she insisted. They had destiny.

    I wonder what it’ll be like for their kids when they have them. Will she be able to share her husband’s affection with the child? What if she has a daughter? She is extremely sensitive to body issues. I hear some narcissist women get upset as their daughters go into their prime while the mother gets old.

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    1. We all become obsessed with our narcissists – through our obsession with them we figure out puzzles that help us figure ourselves out through trying to figure others out.

      Trying to understand a narcissist can be a brain twisting teaser, an illogical logic problem. They don’t make sense and yet we try to make sense of them because we need to clarify the confusion they’ve created in our mind.

      At some point in our obsession with them, as we go over every detail of our interactions with them, as we analyse their behaviour, list all their faults and flaws, take them apart, review how we once saw them as some ideal person who embodied our dreams then smashed our dreams by not being who we thought they were, as we feel the pain of the deception, the fool they made of us, the lies they told which we believed and now know are lies we believed, and face the uncomfortable possibility that we helped them fool us, and all sorts of complicated issues which rise up… we need to stop looking at them and look at ourselves. Stop asking questions about them and start asking questions of ourselves.

      The best gift a narcissist will ever give you is the chance to get to know yourself better than you did before you interacted with them. It often feels like a curse because it hurts so much at first, and keeps hurting for a long time afterwards. But there is a blessing inside of that curse, and healing inside the pain.

      Narcissists live in a fantasy, their fantasy can be very attractive as long as we don’t look too deeply at it and don’t ask any questions. But asking questions is how we learn, evolve, change and find out what life means to us.

      Perhaps when you first came across her she seemed like someone who had everything you wanted, perhaps she was even who you wanted to be – narcissists have a way of representing our own fantasies to us, and they attract us because they seem to be living that fantasy which we want to live. We want to be near them so they can teach us how to live our fantasy as they are. When we realise that they aren’t actually living that fantasy but pretending to live it, and we see the price that something like that comes with. it can give us the reality check we need to stop being so hard on ourselves. Those people who seem to have it all and seem so perfect, and who make us feel like failures when we look at them and all that they seem to have… they don’t have it, so… we’re okay, in fact we’re better than okay, at least we’re not as deluded as they are.

      Think about everything you’ve learned while observing her – ask yourself what have you learned about yourself form this experience. Has it changed your perception of yourself, of what you want for yourself, for your life. Has it given you an appreciation for yourself which you didn’t have before. Do you now see that you have a healthier approach to relationships than she does.

      From the sounds of it, everything which bothers you about this woman, all the things which you feel she is doing wrong, point to things which are right with you. Perhaps you needed to meet her so that she could be an example of who you don’t want to be, and through being that show you who you really are. Maybe before you met her you were being hard on yourself, and now you’ve been given the opportunity to appreciate yourself.

      Don’t regret the meeting and missing the red flags, what happened happened, find a flip side to it.

      Learning to flip things around is helpful when dealing with a narcissist.

      Instead of regret, feel gratitude – this mistake is not a mistake.

      You’ve learned some interesting things thanks to the experience, and you also now have a ‘relationship with a narcissist’ on your personal experience resume, so if you ever meet someone else who has had a relationship with a narcissist you won’t think they’re crazy, you won’t reject them and their story, you’ll have empathy, you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about and you may be the first person they meet who lets them know that they’re not crazy. You may be the difference between them sinking into despair and finding hope and strength in adversity.

      Your questions about your narcissist show you who you are – someone who self-reflects and who has a healthy approach to others. You want to love someone else for who they are, not as an extension of you. You want your creations and achievements to be real not fantasies, you want to be real not pretend – these are great things to know about yourself, as life can be hard and it’s easy to lose sight of who we are and how great we are in a world which keeps telling us that who we are is not good enough.

      As you work through this experience remember to make note of what your observations about her tell you about yourself – that’s the part which will help you to recover from this kind of experience.

      Narcissists help us through their nonsense to make sense of ourselves and get to know who we are better 🙂

      ps. many of my rants on my blog are about being the daughter of a narcissist mother who had a perfect love with an equally narcissistic husband.

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  2. Wow after a long time one very insightful post… 🙂

    This one reminded me of something that might not have any apparent connection to the way narcissists love and the way ‘normals’ love….
    There is a saying from an old indian wise heads … If I remember well it was something that we should always turn ourself to the pure spirit rather then soul… As the spirit is one, pure and mighty, while the soul is dirty and wants to attach itself to everything through many past lives until now, especially love. So we have potential for both… soul as a bag of attachments and spirit as something that is what it is. So we could maybe weirdly connect the narcissistic love to the way the soul loves, and ‘normals’ to the ways to the higher love through perfectly ordinary things. Personally I think i am somewhere in between… 🙂
    Hahahahah I hope this all written makes any sense to anyone decent out there… I am sure it will make perfect sense to you Ursula 🙂

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      What you shared reminds me of the Tibetan Book of the Dead which describes the path we take after death, passing through these different layers (a bit like the ones surrounding the planet) where we encounter demons (of our own making… maybe) and things like that which try to lure us back to existence through attachment to a thought, feeling, idea, passion, etc. If we can make it through each layer without getting sidetracked then we no longer have to incarnate. If we get sidetracked, whatever caused us to do so becomes the theme of our incarnation and we must once again experience physical life and all its challenges until we learn to release ourselves from all the strings which bind us. Or something like that…

      It’s hard sometimes to know what advice to take, who to listen to, when it comes to concepts about love, soul, spirit. As wise as the old wise ones are, they’re still human and prone to the illusions which are a part of being human. Everything is open to the interpretation of an individual experience, which is often a collective experience too. So theories about soul and spirit are theories from a human who is a soul/spirit/bunch of random atoms collected together. Some are attached to the idea of non-attachment and have built palaces filled with treasures to house the concept.

      Sometimes I just like to see everything and everyone as particles discovering themselves through taking various forms, and what attaches some to others is a magnetic resonance… which can also repulse if their polarity changes 😉

      So it is both what it is and what what it is attaches itself to, and then detaches itself from and… I have no idea 😀

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  3. You touched on so much in this long blog. I think there is a part of deep love that is hard to find words for, as humans we try to analyse things that are very. very deep, far deeper than words really reach. I think there are so many different forms of love and a lot of what you are writing about is so called romantic love which has a kind of blindness and immaturity in it, as well as a lot of projection and binding back to old unreconciled longings and needs filled or unfilled from childhood and then there is the search for what we lack but long for through the quest of love…. When I think of love I think of a benevolent gaze that can contain most of the spectrum of human feeling, foible, mayhem and madness and does not need to cast judgements. But its full of contradiction. For example you could love a person but still hurt them, which would not feel like love to them. And you could love someone and they may not feel it (like the narcissist you mention, which causes me some concern as sometimes I have felt it hard to feel someone’s love for me…..lately I am wondering more and more if I am not very narcissistic myself) To me if its love it isn’t selfish in terms of thinking about what you can get but more about what you can give. Its full of a kind of benevolence and non attachment and yet even as I write this I think of how attachment and the difficulty with it is such a huge part of the love journey, just as Thomas Moore writes. I experience love as a willingness to walk with someone awhile and share what they need to share from their heart without putting too much of your own agenda into the equation. I also see my own hypocrisy with ex partners when I didn’t act in a very loving way when my own deep wounds were triggered though I claimed to love, sometimes I didn’t act in very loving ways. Another really thoughtful post. .

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      You’re right that there are many kinds of love and some aspects of love go beyond words, thoughts, feelings, it’s life loving through living and being.

      You often hear people speak of unconditional love to describe that non-selfish, non-attached expression of love. It’s a wonderful notion but really hard for humans to do, even when they think they’re doing it there is still an attachment to the idea of unconditional love, to what it does and can yield for the individual even if they believe that they ask nothing in return. There’s always a smidgen of ego in it which loves itself for loving others unselfishly.

      We’re all a bit narcissistic, especially when it comes to love… I think we need to be to a degree, and that it’s not unhealthy. It can be but so can everything. There’s a natural aspect to it which is just there and perhaps the more we accept it as it is, accept ourselves as we are, and others as they are, the more we get in sync with nature’s version of love, which may just be about respecting life and living it as it happens.

      I’m still very much a novice when it comes to love and everything else. 🙂

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      1. I love what you wrote about acceptance. And I think its so healing to know no one gets it perfectly right, can love totally unconditionally and that there IS an ego driven tinge to that idea.
        There is quote by W H Auden that is quoted by Marion Woodman a lot “to love one’s crooked neighbour with one’s own crooked heart” or something like that.
        I was also thinking if you were a person not shown a lot of love of the true kind in childhood the concept of love becomes a huge issue, so much to learn, so much you don’t know, so many mistakes and lessons to go through (which probably aren’t even really mistakes at all). Perhaps it’s in the living and aching we learn more about love.

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        1. I think there is much richness to be had in the living and aching especially when it comes to a notion like love. The most popular love stories tend to be ones filled with sorrow, pain, heartache… perhaps leading to a happy ending, but sometimes the ones with the unhappy ending are those we love the most. In love we’re often looking for some kind of redemption, and perhaps it is exactly what Auden said about a love which can accept what is crooked (perhaps because it has been broken and glued back together so many times) 🙂

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          1. I absolutely love that last few lines of something reassembled from all the tearing and breaking apart that goes on when we love…there is a richness in aching for there is something so deep and tender felt within the ache sometimes. Today I am contemplating very deeply the idea of defencelessness which may go with a deeper kind of surrender. Sometimes its when we loosen our fixed hold that some far larger can flood our being and awareness. Sometimes I sense love as this deep, vast complex ocean which floods us at times and then the flood recedes maybe leaving all flotsam and jestum scattered everywhere which changes the landscape. Its lovely to play with this kind of ways of understanding.

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            1. Have you ever been caught in the turmoil which can happen underwater when a wave hits, and you struggle to find the surface but can’t reach it or may not even know where it is. You think you’re going to drown and there’s nothing you can do about it so you give up, and that’s when you float to the surface or are pushed there, spat out by what was trying to eat you. We always think that we have to fight, to protect ourselves from this thing that’s out to get us, hurt us, etc, but sometimes the real fight is in not fighting the flow. 🙂

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              1. I just posted a post called the black wave and then scrolled down list to find this. It was exactly the dream I had and I have had that experience many times, but I think in life I have struggled and resisted far more than I have surrendered. Today I had to have a breast biopsy. It was painful but there was a moment where the nurse holding my hand said she felt my resistance let go and she said to me “I felt you go into the Zen zone”, I had let go on some level and surrendered to the process. So yes I really get where you are coming from with this .. and on some spooky synchronistic level its spot on!

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                1. OH and years ago I got caught in a rip and I had to let go and go with it in order to get spat out of it, and I remember at the time writing a poem about the experience and seeing how it mirrored something deep on an emotional level that was occurring with my now dead sister.

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                    1. All my best for a cure and recovery. A very real and fearful experience, so much powerlessness and vulnerability, but also a place to discover what truly matters and how strong you are for yourself.

                      You’ve spent so much of your life worrying about the illnesses of others, trying to support them, help them find a cure and recover from their experience, and that has been deeply painful for you. Time to collect your experience and focus it on and for yourself, and turn that deep pain into healing.

                      Take good care of yourself ❤

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  4. Fabulous post. 🙂 Very thoughtful. Very insightful. Very real. 🙂

    I’ve mentioned before that to me, your mother and mine sound almost like the same person. I lived in a soap opera as well.

    You raise excellent questions. Over the years, I have thought a lot about my parents’ relationship and what it meant to them (or didn’t). My mother drama-queened herself along while my father usually tuned her out. He provided for her for most of her life, but as soon as she passed away, he started a completely new life, a very different life. It some ways, it was juvenile and even childish.

    I have also considered what love is, for me. Something I’ve realised is that it’s not always the same shape. I don’t mean that it inherently changes, but that it takes on different shapes at different times. Sometimes it’s a blanket, sometimes it’s a garden hoe, sometimes it’s my next-door neighbour. People love you (and you love yourself) because of what you’re putting out there. And what you put out there is dependent on what’s in there. Narcissists are good at hiding, blurring and dodging, and you’re quite right, if what’s in there is unformed, unsure and unfocussed, then the narcissist will look like a keeper.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      If you think about it, children are kind of like spectators of the relationship between their parents, only we came in late for the show, and there’s all this stuff which happened before we arrived which we often only hear about in bits and pieces. We know the story, we’re a part of the story and yet we’re also a stranger to it because there’s so much adults keep from us. Yet their relationship influences all the other relationships we have because it’s a template in so many ways for how to relate… or how not to do it.

      I like what you shared about love. It is a fluid substance, and does change shape depending on who or what is being loved or loving. It can be in the smallest of things as much as in the biggest. I love what you’ve shared 🙂

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  5. Wow… left speechless.. again. So many wise thoughts in here. I think you have inspired me to write a post about my childhood, some day… 🙂 Although I do not believe my parents were narcissists, they certainly had difficulties with emotions and life… quite a difficult environment to be in sometimes.. “dysfunctional”, not the worst, but not the easy road either… oh, and I had goose bumps when reading about thinking about suicide..and how narcissists bring that sort of despair out in person.. I believe that is so true! I also found myself in the end of the relationship with narcissistic ex, thinking to myself: I have to get out of this, or I will probably become suicidal!… I am in awe of how you can be this artistic person and have this strong voice, after growing up with people who couldn’t really see you for who you were… I am sorry if I am not that eloquent right now, there were just so many thoughts going through my head at once, fighting for head space, after reading this post.. take care! Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      When people can’t see us for who we are, which is usually the case when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it can end up inspiring us to really see ourselves, get to know ourselves from the inside out. Pain can be as creative as it is destructive. And sometimes going to the darkest places within ourselves can bring light to hidden aspects within.

      Some of what we experience with narcissists is due to them passing their wound onto us. It’s a strange dynamic and we can merge with them in a way, not knowing who is us and who is them, because for them there is no boundary between us and them. It’s up to us to find and make that boundary, and doing that requires getting to know ourselves really well to know who we are and who we are not. Often, in doing that, we find we had so much more to us than we ever knew.

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      1. This is all so true! Yet, I find myself in such a longing… whn he is “hoovering” me right now… I “know”, I really do know, that he is just using me as someone eho “was always there”… he never truly cared for my needs. well, superficially/physically, he could, most of the time.. but, I knew, I knew dee inside, all along, he could never really “love” me.. not the the way I loved him, his broken child within, and all. (I saw that child on multiple occasions, when he was clingin on to me for dear life, like a small boy, when I was about to leave..) It is all so messed up! I have all this Florence Nightingale shit going on, I need to get rid of some of that! Gonna have to write a post about that… I can not “save him”, I hav eto save myself.. heal my own past wounds.. not his.. I troed to get him into therapy, he pondered it, but refused.. why the hell do I have to care so much.. aaaarhg I just want to be freeee… I am on my way to it.. but still. Reading your blogs has helped immensely.. Thank you, dear.. Many hugs to you! (Still in awe of how you are so cool on your blogs!) 🙂

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        1. Thank you 🙂

          One of the things to keep in mind is that there is nothing wrong with your Florence Nightingale shit which is going on, it’s a normal and natural part of humanity, and the only tweak it needs is the balancing which awareness brings. You’ve got that now thanks to this experience with him, and you know that sometimes the way to help someone is to know when you can’t help them. In this case helping him is by not helping him.

          Narcissists can be like those people who are drowning and end up drowning the person who tries to rescue them, which is why lifeguards are trained to deal with that kind of scenario… that training came about because of experience. So it is with us and narcissists, we learn from our experience and that becomes our training which brings awareness to our natural desire to help others.

          It’s really hard when a narcissist is laying it on thick, when they’re so helpless and vulnerable and making us feel both guilty and special. The mind may know what they’re doing, but the heart takes much longer to know it and then figure out how to deal with it.

          It’s okay to feel for him, to feel the desire to reach out and help, your heart will feel the pull from him, but your mind informs you that he will drag you under, and that it is best for your own health and safety to do nothing.

          Your caring is a beautiful aspect of you, and caring as much as you do shows a how deeply you connect with others, how much empathy you have. These are treasures, you just need to be careful when sharing such treasures with a narcissist as they sometimes make us see what comes naturally to us as something unnatural. Be gentle with yourself ❤

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  6. Brilliant and impressive as usual. I dare add there is another feature for children of Ns to overcome: we don’t really know whatlove is and this confuses us because what we had to put up with, to gulp down, to accept, was just unbearable and yet, as a child, I thought it was normal for my parents to be like that, i thought every parent was the same.then I realized it wasn’t true but i kept on accepting it as it was the only family i had and I unconsciously hoped to be loved one day.These decades were harsh but i didn’t know i was doing that. I disliked my parents Relationship but unconsciously i went for N men. Now i am aware of all this. Why wasn’t i earlier? You were aware since the beginning: is it due to nature or astrology or..?Or i was just blind!
    I love the sentence you quote, “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”, that’s how i love my friends, my cat and someone who dared step into my hell. But my inner hell is dangerous as i haven’t put together yet all the broken pieces of myself and i can hurt others with my melancholic depression. I am consciously able to love but there are emotions of abandonment, fear and shame i can’t control especially in a love relationship; that’s narcissistic. Love is scary and as you say, it makes you feel very vulnerable, but at least I haven’t closed my door or my heart. I do struggle.I have been oblivious of myself for all my life and now i have to balance my awareness as I am all bruised.Definitely a late developer, buti am a better person now. Sorry if what i said is too strong or dark. xxx

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      I’m very glad you shared! That’s a very good point about not knowing what love is, and also how we come to see the way our narcissist parents are as being normal until something or someone shows us that they’re not, or confirms to us suspicions that we have but often feel doubtful about.

      When looking back it’s important to remember that you were a child dealing with the confusing and conflicting realities which narcissists create and invent and then force upon those around them. This happens day in and day out during your formative years, so by the time that you’re older you’re operating on coping mechanisms which your child self needed to survive the crazy world of your narcissist parents. Those coping mechanisms become a part of us, and since the world and realities beyond the narcissist family unit are often just as screwed up one way or another, we keep them going because we still need them to cope with life. Sometimes they are helpful still, other times they cause complications.

      From my own experience it takes ages (literally passing through different ages) to figure things out and to get to a point where we feel able to really see what we may have been avoiding seeing because it was perhaps too much to look at and we can only do it when we’re ready.

      I’ve dipped in and out of awareness all my life. My child self was fairly clear about what a pair of nutters my parents were, but there wasn’t much I could do about it and so I often tried not to see it. Sometimes I could see clearly, but then I’d go through a blind spot again. It’s only recently that things have sort of come together and I’ve been able to just look and not feel the need to look away.

      We figure things out gradually, in our own time, at our own pace. 🙂

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  7. I think this is a really awesome insightful post. Thanks for sharing. In self-reflecting, I see how I let all my ‘good’ relationships go. I thought it was lack of attraction. I’ve come to understand now that it was lack of turmoil. This is all I knew growing up that carried on into my adult relationships. Love to me is The Peace Prayers written by Saint Francis of Assisi. Yes, much easier said than done as you’ve said. But in using this prayer for the template of my life is how she got through. She used all my strengths as weaknesses. What I lacked was self-love (in a healthy way of course). This was/is my greatest lesson of all. I’m still finding it far more difficult loving myself than others. I still carry her projected wounds. It’s really hard not to kick myself hard in the arse, but ‘m trying to finally embrace them instead reject and discard them narcissist style. Much easier said than done again. Thank you again for sharing and the reminder.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      Sometimes it’s those who hurt us the most who teach us about our relationship with ourselves in ways that changes us eventually for the better, if only because we learn to be kinder and gentler to ourselves. Always remember that you’re human and it’s an experience which we’re all stumbling through, figuring things out as we go along.

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