Q&A Tuesday

Narcissist Says He Loves Me

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Dear Kim,

I’ve been in a relationship for two years with a man whom I believe is a Narcissist, based on the information from your blog and others I’ve read.  During this time, I have been verbally abused and humiliated.  I am confused because in spite of his aggressive behaviors he says he loves me.  Do you think it’s possible that he really does love me and that I just need to give him more patience and kindness.  Can he change?

~ Stacy

Dear Stacy,

First of all, thank you for reaching out and sharing your story with me.  While I’m delighted to be in contact with you, I feel sad for you at the same time.  I know what it’s like to be in love with an abuser.

The hardest thing for people like you and I to understand is that the Narcissist will never change.  Sure, they make promises, they might claim to feel badly for how they’ve treated you (which is usually when they feel you are going to leave them), and they might even go a few days pretending to be happy and in love.  However, it’s all a mirage.  All of those things are smoke and mirrors to keep us tricked into believing there is a happy future with them.

To answer your question, extending more patience and kindness will only backfire on you.  When we continually forgive the Narcissist for their abusive and soul-killing deeds, it’s nothing more than a green light for them to continue those behaviors.  I’m sure you’ve already given him more than his fair share of forgiveness.

If your partner is truly a Narcissist, he will not change.  Whether he is a Narcissist, Borderline, or a Sociopath, it doesn’t matter.  They are all disordered and will not change.  Period.  In order to help you understand why he won’t change, allow me to elaborate:

Disordered People Feel No Remorse

Narcissists, and other disordered people, lack the basic character elements that most people possess.  In other words:

  • They don’t experience pain in the same way as non-disordered people.  Therefore, there is no motivation for them to change.
  • They don’t believe that what they are doing is wrong.
  • They don’t have morals, and in turn, cannot experience shame or guilt.
  • They think they are smarter than everyone else.

Any sign of repentance they might exhibit is purely false.  Ask yourself, do his actions show you that he loves you aside from his just saying the words?  Probably not.  And the fact that you’ve forgiven him for his cruelty thus far shows him that you won’t set any boundaries for his unacceptable behavior.  Two years is a long time to keep yourself in an abusive relationship based on false promises and false claims that he loves you.

Lastly, I need to add that just because Narcissists can’t experience real love doesn’t mean that you are unlovable.  It certainly doesn’t mean that you deserved any of his abusive treatment.  We all have the belief that if we love someone, we should make sacrifices and forgive them for their mistakes.  That is true in normal relationships.  However, it’s not the case when you are in a relationship with a Narcissist because they will see those things a sign of weakness and will continue to violate you.  The truth is you would have better luck with an alcoholic or drug addict, because at least some of them can change.

Hope that helps!

Do you have a burning question about your partner’s dubious behaviors?  Submit them to [email protected] and your question will be entered into our database and possibly included in a future publication. 

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© Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach, 2016

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Jenny says March 13, 2015

I was involved with a recovering alcoholic, narcissist for 3.5 years. It took me 2.5 years to finally be done. I left him numerous times after cheating and abuse. Each time he would try to change by working his AA program seemingly authentically, redoubling efforts to change himself. Even admitting he is a narcissist, signing off FB, working with a sponsor, etc. He even did the Landmark Forum, which did cause him to become vulnerable and honest like I’d never seen. Genuine tears, grief and amends to several of us he had hurt. He has a willingness and is aware of his narcissism and addiction issues, but always he would revert back to the behavior. They lying, cheating and abusive side of him is stronger. I would have to leave him again, and he would beg me for another chance at changing. Agreeing to counseling again, whatever to keep me. Like most of here, I genuinely love this person. I feel sorry for him and I know he is a tortured soul who is trapped by his pathology. He knows it too. It’s been 6 months with no contact and I have a protection order to keep him away. He has found a new girl and is again trying to change. We recently exchanged emails and he told me he was happy, and asked if I would please not contact him because he was trying to make it work with her. My friends have to remind me often of intentional harm he has caused me, the felonies committed, the cheating and lying, so I don’t go into denial, or feel empathy for him. It sucks to love a narcissist especially when they know they are sick, and beg to be loved unconditionally. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do is give up on a man I loved, had much in common with, and was still attracted to, even when he continued to show willingness to change. I know there is some level of willingness inside of him, but I believe he is constitutionally incapable of changing. My biggest fear is that I’m wrong, and he could change. That’s what kept me in so long – the hope. The doubt. But I finally had to cut it off, for my own sanity and health. It’s a heartbreaker, especially to see him trying to make it work with someone new. Bless you all…

DeAnna says January 5, 2014

I started searching for answers a while ago just like you Stacy. I was perplexed about the dynamics of the relationship I was in and the fact that agreements weren’t kept, lying, drinking, game playing and lack of bonding. My intuition, boundaries, and feelings all kicked in and I started calling BS on his behavior. I am now in the process of leaving and emotionally I am DONE. I suggest that you listen to your inner knowing, ask yourself if this is all you want and then plan your future. There is not a real person inside.

Kim, you answer was spot on.

Good luck Stacy. Build on your strengths and take care.

    Kim Saeed says January 7, 2014


    I’m glad to know you were able to clearly see him for what he is and have made plans to move on. I hope you are able to follow through so you can get on with a life you are deserving of. He will most likely try all sorts of tricks and antics to get you back under his spell, which normally happens when we choose to leave THEM instead of the other way around. Feel fee to reach out if you need some emotional back-up 🙂

elizasherr says January 4, 2014

I was married to a sociopath. That is narcissism on a steroidal overdose. No matter how he hurt me, he always would persuade me to stay “because I love you, and I don’t want you to leave me.” I have come to learn that the I love you doesn’t really mean anything if it is preceded by a hurt. Bravo for this blog!

    Kim Saeed says January 7, 2014

    You are correct, Eliza. More and more I believe my Ex to be a SP, or at the very least, a malignant narcissist. They will literally stop at nothing to destroy their target(s). Your comment is funny…I think there is actually a book out that’s titled, I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope to see you around again! 🙂

bethbyrnes says January 4, 2014

This is all valid. These are deep pathologies and can only be managed, if the patient is aware and willing. They cannot be ‘cured’, sadly. It is like being tall or short, ‘baked into the cake’, so to speak.

    Kim Saeed says January 7, 2014

    You’re spot on, Beth. “Aware and willing” is crucial, yet rarely ever the case with disordered people. Although, many of them will go through the motions of seeking therapy to fulfill whatever sick agenda they have plotted out…It’s so good to see you again. I’ve been thinking about you 🙂

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