What It Means When Narcissistic Men Say 'I Love You'

Photo: Unsplash: Ana Maria Nichita
What It Means When Men With Narcissistic Personality Traits Say 'I Love You'

To my "love",

Because of my narcissistic personality traits, what I’m about to say is not something I’d ever say or admit (to you). To do so would end the winner-takes-all-game in our relationship that is my main source of pleasure in life — one that effectively manipulates you into carrying my load.

And that’s the whole point.

But the truth is, when I say, "I love you", that's just my narcissistic personality disorder in action, trying to guilt and shame you into doing what I want.

RELATED: 5 Seriously Messed Up Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head

Like me, here's what men with narcissistic personality traits actually mean when we say, "I love you."

1. "I love how hard you work to make me feel like your everything."

I love being the focus of your life, that you want me to be happy, and that I’ll never be expected to do the same. I love the power I have when I take advantage of your kindness and intentions to be nice.

I love the pleasure I derive from you when I make myself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to make you feel small and insignificant.

I love the feeling it gives me when I think of you as a weak, vulnerable, and emotionally fluffy. I love looking down on you for your childlike innocence and gullibility — your weakness.

I love the way I feel knowing that, through gaslighting — a form of psychological manipulation that makes you, the victim, feel shamed and at fault — what you want to discuss or address will never happen.

And I love this narcissistic power I have to train you to feel "crazy" for even asking or bringing up issues that don’t interest me. It serves the dual purpose of effectively ever lowering your expectations of me and what I’m capable of giving you, while I mine you for everything you have to give.

2. "I love how easy it is to keep your sole focus on alleviating my pain."

I love how, regardless of what you do, you’ll never make me feel good enough, loved enough, respected enough or appreciated enough. Misery loves company.

It’s not about the closeness, empathy, the emotional connection you want, what I did that hurt or embarrassed you, or how little time I spend engaged with you or the children. It’s about my status and doing my job to keep you in your place, in pain and with no value in relation to me.

I’m superior and entitled to all the pleasure, admiration, and comforting in our relationship, remember?

3. "I love the way I feel when you are with me — as my possession."

Like driving a hot car, I love the extent to which you enhance my status in the eyes of others, letting them know that I’m top dog, and so on. I love thinking others are jealous of my possessions.

I love the power I have to keep you working hard to prove your love and devotion, wondering what else you need to do to "prove" your loyalty in a way that will appeal to my narcissistic personality.

I love the way I feel when I’m with you. Due to how often I hate and look down on others in general, the mirror neurons in my brain keep me constantly experiencing feelings of self-loathing. Thus, I love that I can love myself through you.

I also love hating you for my "neediness" because I have to rely on you or someone else for anything.

4. "I love that you are there to blame whenever I feel this needy."

Feeling scorn for you seems to protect me from something I hate to admit: I feel totally dependent on you to "feed" my sense of ;superiority and entitlement so I can keep my illusion of power alive in my mind.

Nothing makes me feel more fragile and vulnerable than not having control over something that would tarnish my image and superior status. When you question how" I treat you, this is key proof of my superiority to the world.

You’re my possession, remember? It’s my job to teach you to hate and act calloused toward those "crazy" things that only "weak" people need, such as "closeness" and "emotional stuff".

And by the way, I know this "works" because my childhood taught me to do this to myself inside.

It makes me light up with pleasure that my narcissistic personality traits can easily get you flustered, make you act "crazy" over not getting what you want from me, make you repeat yourself, and say and do things you’ll later hate yourself for.

For any hurts or complaints you share, you can be sure that I’ll taunt you with later to keep you ever-spinning your wheels, ever trying to explain yourself, ever doubting yourself and trying to figure out why I don’t “get” it.

(There’s nothing to get! To break the code, you’d have to look through my lens, not yours. The fact that you can’t figure this out, after all the ways I’ve mistreated you, to me, is proof of my genetic superiority.)

5. "I love that I can make you feel insecure at the drop of a hat."

I give attention to other women, my friends, family members, children — the list is endless. I put, on display, what you don’t get from me, to taunt and make you beg for what I easily give to others.

I love making you wonder why it’s so easy for me to give what you want to others, to express feelings or affection, and to give them compliments — that is, when it serves my pleasure and I get watch you squirm as I do it.

I love the power I have to get you back whenever you threaten to leave by throwing a few crumbs your way. I get pleasure watching how quickly I can talk you into trusting me when I turn on the charm, deceiving you into thinking, this time, I’ll change.

And I need you due to the self-loathing I carry inside as a narcissistic. I need someone who won’t abandon me so I can use them as a punching bag, to make myself feel good by making them feel bad about themselves.

This is how I pleasure myself since I have a narcissistic personality disorder, and the way I numb and deny the scary feelings I carry inside that I hope to never admit, ever. I hate any signs of weakness in me, which is why I hate you and all the "nice" weaklings I view as inferior, stupid, and feeble.

RELATED: 8 Signs He's An Evil Narcissist (And How To Deal With His Behavior)

6. "I love fixing and shaping your thoughts and beliefs."

I love controlling your mind so you think of me as your miracle and savior, a source of life and sustenance you depend on, and a place to bounce back to, no matter how high you try to fly away or jump.

I love that this makes me feel like a god and that I'm able to keep you so focused and obsessed with making me feel worshiped and adored. Pretty narcissistic of me, right?

You sacrifice everything for me to prove yourself so that I don’t condemn or disapprove of you. You seek to please none other and, inherently, I have the sole rights to administer rewards and punishments as I please.

I love how I can use my power to keep you down, doubting and second-guessing yourself, questioning your sanity, obsessed with explaining yourself to me (and others), professing your loyalty, wondering what’s wrong with you.

You don't realize that you can't make someone like me "happy". I derive my sense of power and pleasure from feeling scorn for the weaklings who let me take advantage of them.

7. "I love the way I feel when I see myself through your admiring eyes."

You’re my feel-good drug, my dedicated audience, my biggest fan and admirer. Training you to look up to me, never question me and bow down with pleasure to serve me as your never-erring, omniscient, omnipotent source of knowledge is my end-goal — my drug of choice.

You may have noticed how touchy I am at any sign of you questioning me. I hate how fragile I feel in such moments, worried that failing to train you in silent submission could tarnish my image in the world, which is something I care about more than anything else.

And I love that, no matter how hard you beg and plead for my love and admiration and to feel valued in return, it won’t happen, as long as I’m in control.

Why would I let it, when my narcissistic personality is hooked on deriving pleasure from depriving you of anything that would make you feel worthwhile, be the wind beneath your wings, risking you’d fly away from me?

Besides, it gives me great pleasure to not give you what you yearn for, the tenderness you need and want, and to burst your every dream and bubble, then telling myself, "I’m no fool."

8. "I love that I can control your perception of reality."

I control your mind by shifting the focus of any "discussion" onto what is wrong with you — your failure to appreciate, to make me feel loved, to make me feel good enough. And of course, I manipulate you by reminding you of all I’ve done for you and how ungrateful you are.

I love how skillfully I manipulate other people’s opinions of you as well, getting them to side with me as the “good” guy and side against you as the “bad” guy. Instead, I portray you as being incapable of making me feel happy or manly — or make you seem needy, never satisfied, always complaining, selfish and controlling, and the like.

I love how easy it is for me to say "no" to what may give you credit or increase your sense of value and significance in relation to me, with endless excuses. Instead, I return your focus to my unfulfilled needs and wants, my discomforts or pain.

I love feeling that I own your thoughts and your ambitions, while ensuring that the only wants and needs you should focus on are the ones that serve my narcissistic need for pleasure and comfort.

9. "I love being like a drug you simply have to have."

You stay regardless of how I mistreat you, despite all the signs that your addiction to me drains your life of energy. It delights me that you are at risk of losing more and more of what you value and hold dear, including those you love and who love and support you in return.

I love that I can isolate you from others who may nourish you and can make you question if they ever really loved you. I love making you mistrust them, so you conclude no one else really wants to put up with you but me.

I love that I can make you feel I’m doing you a favor by being with you and throwing a few crumbs your way. Like a vacuum, the emptiness inside me — that results from my narcissistic personality traits — constantly wants to suck the life and vitality you and your kindness bring to my life. I crave it like a drug that can never satisfy, that I fight to hoard, and hate the thought of sharing.

While I hate you and my addiction to your caring attention, my neediness keeps me craving to see myself through your caring eyes, ever ready to admire, adore, forgive, make excuses for me, and fall for my lies and traps.

I could never appreciate or value you for this, and I hate myself for needing these caring, yet unmanly gestures, which disgust me.

10. "I love that you keep telling me how much I hurt you."

You don't know that, to me, this is like a free marketing report. It lets me know how effective my tactics have been to keep you in pain, focused on alleviating my pain — so that I am ever the winner in this competition — ensuring that you never weaken or control me with your love and emotional-closeness stuff.

In short, when I say "I love you", what I really love is the power I have to remain a mystery that you’ll never solve because of what you do not know and refuse to believe.

I am the only one who can win this zero-sum-winner-takes-all game that is our relationships. I'm the only one who knows "the rules".

You can never persuade me to join you in creating a mutually-kind relationship because — in my narcissistic world view — being vulnerable, emotionally expressive, kind, caring, empathetic or innocent are signs of weakness and proof of inferiority, which would make me lose my power.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I’m resolved to stay on my winner-takes-all ground and embrace my narcissistic personality disorder, ever in competition for the prize. Thanks to my narcissistic personality traits, I see you as my fiercest competitor and gloat in my ability to be heartless, callous, cold, calculating ... and proud to ensure my neediness for a sense of superiority isn't hampered.

Forever love-limiting,

Your Narcissist

PS: I really, really need help — but you CANNOT do this work for me, not without making things worse for both of us! Remember, we’re co-addicted to each other, and you'd never go to an addict for help, right? Only a therapist with experience stands a chance, and even then, only if I choose to really, really, really let them.

RELATED: If The Person You Love Has These 5 Personality Traits, You May Be Under The Spell Of A Narcissist

Dr. Athena Staik is a licensed marriage and family therapist, in addition to being a relationship and emotional intelligence coach. She helps men and women make transformative changes in their lives and relationships through neurolinguistic programming and other psychological models.

This article was originally published at "Neuroscience and Relationships" On Psychcentral. Reprinted with permission from the author.