"People use the word 'love' a lot of different ways. Take me, for instance. I am often heard saying that I love my mom and dad. I am also often heard saying that I love pizza. What am I saying when I say I love my mom and dad? I'm saying that I care about them. I'm saying that I love spending time with them and that I talk to them every chance I get. I'm saying that if they needed me, I would do every humanly possible to help them. I'm saying that I always want what's best for them. What am I saying when I say I love pizza? Am I saying that I care deeply about pizza? Am I saying that I have a relationship with pizza? Am I saying that if pizza had a problem, I would be there for the pizza? (What? Not enough pepperoni? I'll be right there!) Of course not. When I say I love pizza, I'm just saying that I enjoy eating pizza until I don't want any more pizza. Once I'm tired of the pizza, I don't care what happens to the rest of it. I'll throw it away. I'll feed it to the dog. I'll stick it in the back of the refrigerator until it gets all green and moldy. It doesn't matter to me anymore. These are two very different definition of the word 'love'. It gets confusing when people start talking about love, and especially about loving you. Which way do these people love you? Do they want what is best for you, or do they just want you around because it is good for them, and they don't really care what happens to you? Next time someone looks deeply into your eyes and says 'I love you', look very deeply right back and say, 'Would that be pizza love, or the real thing?" - Mary Beth Bonacci
REALLY HOW COULD IT BE?
I remember a story of a friend´s sister who at the age of 10 put on a pair of glasses for the first time ever and declared with surprise “Trees have leaves!!” She had only seen blurred images before. No-one had realised, not even herself that she couldn´t see well - how can you know that you don´t have it, if you don´t have it?
RELATIONSHIPS WITH NARCISSISTS
The narcissist's partner is perceived by him to be merely a Source of Narcissistic Supply, an instrument, an extension of himself. It is inconceivable that – blessed by the constant presence of the narcissist – such a tool would malfunction. The needs and grievances of the partner are perceived by the narcissist as threats and slights.
The narcissist considers his very presence in the relationship as nourishing and sustaining. He feels entitled to the best others can offer without investing in maintaining his relationships or in catering to the well-being of his "suppliers". To rid himself of deep-set feelings of (rather justified) guilt and shame – he pathologizes the partner.
He projects his own mental illness unto her. Through the intricate mechanism of projective identification he forces her to play an emergent role of "the sick" or "the weak" or "the naive" or "the dumb" or "the no good". What he denies in himself, what he is loath to face in his own personality – he attributes to others and moulds them to conform to his prejudices against himself.
The narcissist must have the best, the most glamorous, stunning, talented, head turning, mind-boggling spouse in the entire world. Nothing short of this fantasy will do. To compensate for the shortcomings of his real life spouse – he invents an idealised figure and relates to it instead.
Then, when reality conflicts too often and too evidently with this figment – he reverts to devaluation. His behaviour turns on a dime and becomes threatening, demeaning, contemptuous, berating, reprimanding, destructively critical and sadistic – or cold, unloving, detached, and "clinical". He punishes his real life spouse for not living up to his fantasy, for "refusing" to be his Galathea, his Pygmalion, his ideal creation. The narcissist plays a wrathful and demanding God.
We are living in a narcissistic society, capitalism breeds it, like fungus. Meanwhile us women are spoon-fed on dreams of a wonderful princess style life. Narcissist could constitute up to 30% of the population (spreading into women) according to That number has doubled in the last 30 years. The same researchers reported a 40 percent decline in empathy among young people, a personality attribute inversely related to narcissism, since the 1980s. Meanwhile the new hysteria, "conversion disorder" is estimated with a prevalence anywhere between 30 and 60% (with between 2 and 6 female patients for every male).
WHY DO WE STAY THERE?
WHAT TO DO?
Narcissists and Psychopaths seem to be on a similar continuum, they have similar genetics and brain anatomy according to this programme. It would seem that psychopaths constitute around 5% of the population (Salekin et al., 2001). Of course there is a difference between people who diet and people who are anorexic are on the same continuum. I refer to psychopaths and narcissists in the same manner. In an experiment they showed photos to psychopaths of people´s facial gestures representing emotions. They had no idea what it was all about. One guy, seeing fear, said “That is the face my victims make before I kill them”. An “I” connected with emotions, would not be able to continue seeing and empathising with that fear because it would eventually hurt itself too much (a selfish self defense), but psychopaths and narcissists to a lesser degree don´t have that mechanism. They cannot empathise.
FINDING "IT" YOURSELF
The answer is to try and find what that person appears to give you, in your self. A narcissist has such a good mask of emotions…they write you poetry, and amazing stories, and tell you such great fantasy, but there is nothing real behind it all…we need to find what it is we are looking for in ourselves, for real. We need to learn to provide it for ourselves. We need to learn to set limits, so that the next time a narcissist knocks on our door, we don´t go into la-la land ourselves (therefore making ourselves vulnerable to illusion makers) thinking that we have found the man of our dreams, and that Cinderella, after all her hard work in the kitchen, is going to be able to lounge around on a beach drinking cocktails with Richard Gere.