I often tell my online community that healthy self love is a love magnet that attracts more love into your life. This positive quality taken to its extreme is a disorder known as narcissism, and it is a big block to a loving relationship. Find out if you or your partner are too narcissistic to love, and what you can do about that.
What is a narcissist?
The term is based on the Greek myth of Narcissus, a handsome young man goes off to find his perfect love match. He rejects the love of a beautiful nymph, Echo, who fades away. When Narcissus sees his own refection in a stream, he falls in love with his own image and gazes at it until he dies.
The myth of Narcissus reveals the tragedy of self-admiration which leaves you unable to connect with anyone outside of yourself. You often hurt the people you reject the way Narcissus hurt Echo.
How do you know if you are a narcissist?
A narcissist typically exhibits these personality traits:
You have an overly positive, inflated view of yourself.
You see yourself as better than others in social status, good looks, intelligence, creativity and success.
You do not value relationships.
You lack emotionally warm, caring and loving relationships with other people.
You let people into your life who express admiration for you and support your grandiose view of yourself.
You may rage against people who criticize you or do not show their admiration.
You experience a breakdown in most relationships because they lack emotional depth.
Can a narcissist ever be in a loving relationship?
In the book, The Narcissism Epidemic — Living in the Age of Entitlement, authors Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell say that you can like yourself just fine without loving yourself to excess.
The authors suggest that narcissists make these changes in outlook and actions in order to make loving connections:
* Change your focus from self-feelings and focus on life — your relationships with others, your work, natural beauty.
* Think about the deepest joy you experience in life–it doesn’t typically come from thinking about how great you are. Instead it comes from connecting with the world and getting away from yourself. As when you enjoy time with friends, family, and children, are engaged at work, or do all-absorbing tasks such as art, writing, crafts, athletics, or helping others.
Would a narcissist become less successful after making these changes?
The authors point out the difference between a narcissist like Donald Trump who placards his name whenever possible, and many successful CEOs–who live a low-profile life, never rest on their laurels and continuously work to improve themselves, their companies and their relationships.
What if you see narcissistic tendencies in yourself or your romantic partner?
Exaggerated self love will block a narcissist from experiencing a loving, multi-dimensional relationship, since they tend to equate worship with love. This is why a marriage or dating relationship with a narcissist often feels like a one-sided relationship.
Before you commit to this relationship, I suggest that you ask yourself if you are willing to sacrifice a deep, mutual sharing of love to be involved with a confirmed narcissist.
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