Why It Doesn't Matter If You Love a Narcissist
We often hear that love conquers all and that's true in most cases. However, it's not true in the case of the pathologically narcissistic person. They don't recognize or understand love, though they may seek it incessantly. It's a sad situation where they are continuously demanding something they cannot recognize and will not accept. This of course does not stop them from wanting it. It only stops them from getting it.
Narcissists do want love. They demand love, in fact, and they punish people they don't feel are giving it to them. They believe they have been shortchanged by life, or that they are superior and therefore everyone needs to recognize their status as a victim or a superior being by showing them all-encompassing, unconditional love, forgiveness and compassion. The problem is, that's not reality and they know that. Their "positive image" or false self as we say, is a fake. It's a cover up, a mask for the pathological shame, self-hatred and inadequacy they feel. Because of these things, they are convinced no one will ever love them and no one ever has. This is why it doesn't matter whether you love them or not. They cannot recognize it, even if you do. Everything will be twisted into something bad because they are unable to believe in other people's sincerity, or trust that people have genuine feelings. Anything you might do or say cannot compete with the barrage of self-hatred and abuse they heap upon themselves nonstop.
Some people disagree with the idea that narcissists hate themselves, but it's obvious from their behavior even when they try to hide it. People who truly care about themselves don't sabotage and abuse themselves the way narcissists often do. The exception to this would be psychopaths, who don't usually seem to suffer from the same type of delusional self-hatred that other narcissists do. On the contrary, psychopaths seem to have no feelings at all, even for themselves.
It's a wonderful idea to believe or hope that you can love someone back to health and heal them and show them love for the first time ever, but in too many cases, it's just not true. In the case of narcissists, it isn't true. They cannot be loved back to health because there is no health to go back to. Their personality has grown into its dysfunction. There is no baseline normalcy to go off of. For example, if someone has schizophrenia, it usually shows up when they are in their 20's. They used to function one way and then they began to function differently. There was a before and an after.
With narcissistic people, this is their normal. There is no before and after. There is no other way they have ever been. Breaking through something like that is much more difficult. How can someone see there is a problem if they have never been any different? How can you make someone understand that the way they are literally perceiving things is wrong? When something is affecting someone's perception, explaining things to them is pointless. The reason you are having to explain it to them is exactly the same reason they can't see the problem. It would be like if you were describing a painting to a blind man because he can't see it and he's telling you that he can't understand what you're describing because he can't see it, so you keep saying, "It's right here, look! Look at how the artist did this!" Well, he can't. He can't see it.
Loving a narcissistic person is a painful, frustrating and ultimately pointless endeavor where people wait for years, chasing something they are not going to get. It isn't really malicious on the narcissist's part. They're not purposely not loving you out of spite. But you can't pour from an empty cup, and they have nothing to give. That's really the truth of it. They have nothing to give. They can only take and as long as you keep offering, they will keep taking, regardless of whether it's fair or not. You will be offered nothing in return except abuse, you will not be appreciated, considered or thanked and you will not get what you want from the relationship. That's just the way it is. There is no happy ending here. There is no amazing moment where they finally understand and it's all worth it because now everyone lives happily ever after. There is only abuse, pain and frustration until you get tired enough of it to leave or they find someone who isn't wise to their game yet and discard you. Or maybe they never leave, but instead of attacking you they just ignore you 90% of the time.
You can love a narcissist if you wish and you can pursue a relationship with one if you wish, but expecting your love and sacrifice to pay off in the end is unrealistic. It does not matter to them. It has not mattered to them yet and it likely never will. They don't even notice it. The only thing that matters to pathologically narcissistic people is getting their needs met, and since they have no idea what their needs even are or how to achieve any of this, there is almost zero chance of it ever happening.
Because of this, everyone that comes into their lives will be a bitter disappointment to them. Everyone who tries to love them will fail them. Not because they are failures, but because the narcissist believes others are responsible for holding their broken pieces together. This is impossible, and when people cannot perform the miracle of making the narcissist into what they want to be, they are hated. It is sadly ironic that narcissists demand love from others yet don't understand love at all. They cannot recognize it, they can't give it and they can't accept it.