Can A Narcissist Really Love You?

Reviewed on 3/2/2021

What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder (narcissism) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a pattern of self-importance (grandiosity), a constant need for admiration and attention, and a lack of empathy for others. Because of this lack of empathy, a narcissist cannot really love you. Narcissists do not experience and show love in the sense that most people do.
Narcissistic personality disorder (narcissism) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a pattern of self-importance (grandiosity), a constant need for admiration and attention, and a lack of empathy for others. Because of this lack of empathy, a narcissist cannot really love you. Narcissists do not experience and show love in the sense that most people do.

Narcissistic personality disorder (narcissism) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a pattern of: 

  • Self-importance (grandiosity)
  • A constant need for admiration and attention
  • A lack of empathy for others

What Are Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) defines narcissistic personality disorder as one that has:

  • A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior)
  • A constant need for admiration
  • A lack of empathy

The above personality traits begin by early adulthood and are manifested by at least 5 of the following 9 criteria:

  • An extreme sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
  • A lack of empathy
    • This lack of empathy means a narcissist cannot really love you
    • Narcissists do not experience and show love in the sense that most people do
    • They do not care about the happiness of others except as it relates to them
    • They are really only concerned about their own happiness and needs
    • Some seem to find “love” but are really only seeking a practical arrangement for their own needs or are chasing perfection and once they see flaws, they will end the relationship
  • A need for excessive admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Exploitive behavior of others
  • Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her
  • Arrogance and haughty behaviors or attitudes

What Causes Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

The cause of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown but it may be the result of a combination of biological, social, environmental, and psychological factors.  

It is believed an unhealthy early parent-child relationship may be a significant factor in the development of the disorder. 

There does not seem to be a genetic link to narcissistic personality disorder. 

How Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

Narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed with a psychological evaluation. 

Before arriving at a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, other personality disorders with similar characteristics must first be ruled out, such as: 

There are no specific lab tests used to diagnose narcissistic personality disorder, but a toxicology screen may be used to rule out use/abuse of drugs and alcohol as the cause of the behaviors. 

Personality tests may also be use to help make the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, such as:

  • Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire–4 (PDQ-4)
  • Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory III (MCMI-III)
  • International Personality Disorder Examination (IPDE)

 

What Is the Treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder often involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

There are no specific medications used to treat narcissistic personality disorder, but medicines may help relieve some symptoms or treat other co-existing mental illnesses.  

Medications that may be used to treat symptoms of other mental illnesses include: 

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Reviewed on 3/2/2021
References
https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1519417-overview

https://www.mentalhealth.gov

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understanding-narcissism/201905/are-narcissists-really-capable-enduring-love