Last Updated 3 months by Emily Standley-Allard
If you’ve ever tried having an intimate relationship with a narcissist you know how exceedingly frustrating and impossible it is. No matter how hard you try to love them you’re letting your love go to waste. It’s not going to work. Read on for some reasons why.
We’ve all loved a narcissist at some point in our lives. Whether that was our parent, a friend, co-worker, boss, spouse or intimate partner.
It’s so painful to realize that it doesn’t matter how hard you try or how much you believe in their potential, they make it impossible to forge a deep and meaningful relationship with them.
It may not be their intention, but a narcissist lacks the very foundations of a healthy personality so an intimate relationship which requires a deep foundation of trust, and an equal power dynamic is simply not possible.
In the beginning the narcissist can appear like the most charming, gregarious and giving people.
Until their mask drops.
A narcissists’ nasty traits will ultimately reveal themselves and their malevolent intentions will sabotage any healthy intimate relationship.
Their pathology will prevent them from being able to genuinely care, communicate and nurture a healthy intimate relationship, which results in a toxic, manipulative, and draining one instead.
Here are 6 specific reasons why an intimate relationship with a narcissist will bring you more grief than it’s worth.
1) It’s Their World, and Always Will Be
Narcissists have a very skewed view of reality where they’re at the center of it and everyone else has just been placed on this earth to cater to their needs.
With narcissists, it’s very black and white. You’re either with them or against them and if you dare to call them out on anything they do, they have no problem viciously turning on you.
It won’t matter how many kind things you have done for them in the past, everything will be erased if you decide to take the chance and call them out on any type of bad behavior.
Basically, they’re missing a key ingredient in an intimate relationship and that is made up of genuine care and feelings of empathy.
They may care about you in their own way, but the care they feel for themselves and their world trumps that every time.
Your needs are always going to be of second priority to their own.
Their own needs are referred to as ‘supply.’ In an intimate relationship supply roughly translates into sex, attention, validation, admiration, or even a place to stay or live, status or financial reasons.
Once you have run out of ‘supply’ for them, you are typically discarded without any emotion.
A narcissist will also find ways to guilt you into putting their needs above your own. If you have ‘fallen short’ in their eyes and not fulfilled their needs, the level of guilt in the form of stonewalling, gaslighting or other manipulation will emerge.
Examples of gaslighting:
“I never said that”
“That never happened”
“I’m sorry you feel that way”
“You’re too sensitive”
This makes it impossible to have equal give and take and leaves you feeling desperate and empty.
No Sense of Empathy
2) A Narcissist Will Always Turn the Tables on You
No matter how much justification you have a narcissist will always manage to turn the tables back on you as the one at fault.
Instead, they will immediately jump to their own defense even if it’s at the cost of making you doubt your own mind and perceptions and struggle to rethink your own recollections and perspective.
Narcissists also have no boundaries when it comes to maintaining their power, status and protecting themselves.
That means that they don’t mind resorting to pettiness, aggression, revenge, or even humiliation to get their way and come out on top.
Just as they have the ability to charm you into feeling like you are their whole world (in the beginning) remember they do that just to get what they want; they will study you to learn exactly what your weakness are and discover how to break you down from the inside by using the exact words, examples and actions that they know will hurt you most.
Why do Narcissists in Intimate Relationships Act This Way?
No one knows for sure if it’s genetic or the way they were raised.
The cause is likely complex. Narcissistic personality disorder may be linked to: Environment — parent-child relationships with either too much adoration or too much criticism that don’t match the child’s actual experiences and achievements. Genetics — inherited characteristics, such as certain personality traits. – Mayoclinic.org
Whatever the real root of the problem, they are incapable of viewing any situation from your eyes.
They Love to Blame-shift
3) A narcissist excels at blameshifting and lying
Instead of potentially thinking something could possibly be their fault, or they could have contributed to the problem – they immediately blame others.
They cannot turn the microscope of introspection on themselves because that would be too painful.
Lying comes extremely easy to narcissists.
They experience pleasure from lying because they lack the normal range of human emotions. They are empty and bored, they lack empathy for others, and they do not feel shame or remorse. This emptiness also enables them to lie with minimal effort. – Chronic Lying – Narcissist Abuse Support
4) A narcissist won’t go to therapy
A narcissist typically doesn’t believe in therapy, or rehabilitation because they view themselves as superior even to professionals.
Their assumptions that they’re always right will override the opinions of professionals. If the therapist says something that doesn’t polish their ego, reaffirm their views or they feel that they are undermining their side, they will brush them off as being stupid, not worth the money and time and label them as useless.
Responsibility? What is that?
5) Narcissists would rather lie their teeth off than take responsibility
“No one gets angrier than a narcissist that gets called out on something they have done.”
They will deny events that you have witnessed with your own eyes, put words in your mouth and confuse you by talking so much (diversion technique) that you don’t even remember what it is that you wanted them to take responsibility for.
Taking responsibility means owning up to a mistake and attempting to fix it and change it.
This is work that narcissists simply don’t want to put the effort into. Instead expect to go in circles time after time again over the same issue, only for it to escalate more and more each time.
This is not healthy conflict resolution and why it’s impossible to have an intimate relationship with a narcissist.
Vulnerability Is a Weakness
6) A Narcissist Cannot Be Vulnerable
Vulnerability is an integral part of any relationship. For two people to find each other and fall in love, they have to make themselves vulnerable to getting hurt.
That means giving up some of their power and control in the name of love. However, narcissists can’t stand the idea of losing control so instead, they see vulnerability as a weakness rather than the key to deeper intimacy.
They pretend to be vulnerable just enough to earn trust and then use the very same vulnerable information you shared with them against you.
Be very careful what you reveal or share with a narcissist.
Their Way or the Highway
By now you probably see why an intimate relationship with a narcissist just doesn’t work. They may not realize it, but narcissists end up in relationships where they neglect their partners’ needs, manipulate them into thinking everything is their fault and suck them dry like a vampire.
At the end of the day neglect, manipulation and love simply can’t coexist.
They are simply stuck in a state of entitlement and believe that things should always go their way.
Although this is due to their fragile self-esteem and need to be taken care of and validated, it is not your job to make sure all their needs are met, especially when they’re not going through the same effort for you, whereas a healthy person would.
“Don’t set yourself on fire just to keep someone else warm.” – Penny Reid
If you have a narcissist in your life and are looking for ways to disarm and detach from the narcissist(s) in your life – check out this book:
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