- He dutifully waits for you after work specially when you do 2-4 hours of overtime. Your colleagues always see him and they gush that he obviously is a devoted lover. You can’t help but agree.
- He surprises you with a delivery of your favorite cake and a bouquet of flowers on the morning of your birthday. Your friends & family is pleasantly surprised at the gesture. All of them say: “He really loves you.”
- He sees dirt on your leather shoe. He immediately kneels before you and wipes your shoe clean. People passing by give you an “Awww-isn’t-that-romantic” smile.
Are all of the above gestures of love?
The biggest lesson I learned after being in a narcissistic pseudolove relationship is this:
What one says or does is not of value.
What is essential is WHY they say what they say and
WHY they do what they do.
Does he wait for you every night after work because he cares for you or is it because he wants you to think he cares for you?
Does he give you a gift because he wants to make you happy or is it because he wants to be seen as a loving and generous partner?
Is he authentically sweet or is he merely acting sweet to make you and others believe he is.
Does he value his image and the perception of others more than the truth? Does he prioritize being thought of as loving and caring more than being authentically loving and caring?
Does he treat you differently in private than when both of you are out in public?
Have you seen two contradicting sides to his personality?
The narcissist-ex I was in a relationship with said and did things that made me think he loved me. I wasn’t alone with this belief. My family and friends thought the same way as they have seen him say and do things that made them conclude he cared.
It was years later after being out of the relationship did I realize that he said and did “loving” things not because he loved me. He only wanted me to think he loved me.
He showed and built an image to make family & friends think he was loving. He wasn’t. He was more concerned for his image than actually BEING loving.
It was all an act.
He said the right stuff and did the right things enough to convince me of his pseudolove.
Authentic love doesn’t convince.
Marketers, businessmen, sellers, advertisements make an effort to convince. Their job is to persuade potential customers of their product’s good qualities.
Truth simply conveys.
“Liars want to convince rather than just convey.” – Joe Navarro
Narcissistic Personality Disordered individuals are liars. They pretend their way through life and relationships.
They are actors playing the starring role in the movie inside their heads. People in their lives are merely extras, appendages or relegated to supporting roles. Being the star of their own movie, they only care about themselves. NPDs only consider others as essential if they support the idea/image the “star” wants to be known for.
NPDs act and say what you want to see and hear to get to your good side; so they can win you over; so you’ll be taken in.
NPDs are charmers.
The purpose of “loving” gestures NPDs GIVE out is for them to GET something back.
They give to get.
Their intent is to get Narcissistic Supply.
Their intent is to not make you happy; to not care for you. They only pseudocare & pseudolove you enough to make you think you are loved & cared for. Once you think these, you are open to giving NPDs the supply they need – be it attention, affection, your physical presence, your finances, etc.
The Primary Narcissistic Supply is attention, in both its public forms (fame, notoriety, infamy, celebrity) and its private, interpersonal, forms (adoration, adulation, applause, fear, repulsion). It is important to understand that attention of any kind – positive or negative – constitutes Primary Narcissistic Supply.
To the narcissist his “achievements” can be imaginary, fictitious, or only apparent, as long as others believe in them. Appearances count more than substance, what matters is not the truth but its perception.
Secondary Narcissistic Supply includes: leading a normal life (a source of great pride for the narcissist), having a secure existence (economic safety, social acceptability, upward mobility), and obtaining companionship.
Thus, having a mate, possessing conspicuous wealth, being creative, running a business (transformed into a Pathological Narcissistic Space), possessing a sense of anarchic freedom, being a member of a group or collective, having a professional or other reputation, being successful, owning property and flaunting one’s status symbols – all constitute secondary narcissistic supply as well.” – Sam Vaknin
I mistook my narcissist-ex pseudolover’s panic, tears, pleadings, promises to change and the 180-degree change in his behaviors as equivalent to his fear of losing me – which I thought meant that he therefore loved me.
I interpreted his positive behavioral changes as him exerting an effort to make himself and the relationship better. I was wrong. He was merely calibrating his behavior enough to make me believe that he was changing. Once I am again hooked on him or when I begin to open myself up to trust him again, (which also means supplying him with his needs and wants) he reverts back to his old narcissistic selfish self.
I functioned as a supplier to my supply-addicted narcissist ex-pseudolover.
I was too late for me to realize that the pseudolover I was in a relationship with did not see me as a lover or as a person. I was merely a supplier.
There was no love at all.
I also painfully realized that I similarly must SEE the intent behind my actions and words.
I also had to face the reasons WHY I say what I say, WHY I do what I do.
Besides the “loving” actions my narcissist-ex pseudolover presented me with, he also showed the dark and true side to his personality. He was abusive – physically, mentally, emotionally. But I dismissed all these and chose not to think of his abuses. I instead preferred to focus on his “loving” actions.
I denied the proof of his abuses, and of his narcissistic personality disorder.
I chose to believe that his abuses were something he didn’t mean to do; that he will change.
Despite all the glaring proofs, I sadly loved these beliefs more than the truth.
I held on to these beliefs and used them as a crutch to prop up my dreams of a happily ever after. I embraced my beliefs because I was afraid of the truth.
The truth was: I stayed in the relationship not because I loved him. It was because I had fears of being alone, of being out on my own.
I wanted to keep the image that we were happy, that he was perfect for me, that we were perfect for each other.
My greatest fear was that he didn’t love me and he was merely pretending. I didn’t want to face this fear so I held on to my hope and belief that he will change.
My motivation for my words and deeds were to keep myself from NOT facing my fears. Not facing my fears required that I deny them. Denying them meant I had to use my beliefs as a cover to not see or acknowledge my fears.
I forced away the facts to fit my beliefs.
I excluded the truth of my experience to keep my beliefs alive.
Doing all these almost cost me my life.
“Each of us has a tendency to define the local truth to be whatever feels good to our ego and boosts our self-esteem…We justify our actions, feelings, attitudes and beliefs & interpret events to support our needs, wants, desires & expectations.” – Tom Campbell, My Big TOE
Know your reason for doing what you’re doing.
Know why you’re saying what you’re saying.
Be honest with your answers.
Honesty is difficult specially when we prefer to see what we want to see. We all have blinders built in to shield us from aspects of ourselves we can’t face. Sometimes, it may take time to even acknowledge that we have blinders.
But if you have the intent to live in truth,slowly but surely you can get yourself to a place where you will eventually accept the lies you made yourself believe. Accepting that you lied to yourself is extremely difficult, but it is the first step to growth.
If you have the intent to get rid of your blinders but don’t know how, there are tools to make this process relatively easy.
(Please see the Tools & Resources I Used To Leave, Heal and Recover From a Pseudolove Relationship )
Honesty is necessary specially if you want to know if others are being honest with you.
You can easily discern honesty from others if you are honest with yourself.
Honesty is a process. Seeing the truth is different from totally accepting it. Though seeing it is a very important first step and is a giant leap towards growth.
Once you’ve accepted the truth and are honest with your motivations, you may feel pain at first. These are the birth pangs of the new you coming out. The hurt will be there but it is temporary.
Eventually, constantly and consistently living your truth will drive away complications from your life. You will evolve and you will take others along with you.
You will be free from pseudolove and you will give as well as receive authentic love.
The process is not easy, but once you have released yourself from pseudolove’s grip, it is 100% worth it.