From a young age, we are taught certain beliefs and ideas around love and relationships that are not always true.
Phrases such as love can conquer all, love is unconditional and love is perseverance can be extremely dangerous when we grow up and find ourselves in toxic or abusive relationships.
I want to speak to the question I get every single day.
Can I make a relationship with a narcissist work if I try hard enough?
Well… sure. You can make almost anything somewhat work if you try hard enough. But what would that relationship with a Narcissist look like when only one person is trying to make it work?
It’s going to look completely one-sided and here are the reasons why.
They feel entitled and their ego will take center stage
You will need to constantly keep up with the Narcissist’s demands in order to keep them somewhat satisfied.
“Narcissists feel entitled to get what they want from others regardless of their behavior. Their sense of entitlement masks their inner shame and insecurity. They convince themselves that they’re superior and it follows that they deserve special treatment.” -Darlene Lancer LMFT
Even doing so will not make you exempt from stonewalling and the silent treatment when you do something that doesn’t appease the Narcissist.
The reality is that you will never be able to satisfy an ego that is masking the highest level of insecurity that you can imagine.
They will never try to see things from your point of view
A healthy relationship requires communication and empathy for each other’s feelings.
A relationship with a Narcissist contains neither of these things and it makes it impossible for them to see your point of view.
“They are so in their own world they can’t even see you. It’s hard to stand in someone else’s shoes when you can’t see past your own. Narcissists see you not as you, but more as an extension of themselves.” -Dr. Robin Berman, MD
If you try to make a Narcissist take responsibility for hurting you they will manipulate and project the blame unto you. Eventually just to restore the peace you will find yourself apologizing for what they did in the first place.
They aren’t dating for love
When validation and attention are at the forefront of someone’s mind there isn’t room for vulnerability and intimacy.
Now, at the beginning of the relationship, the Narcissist can provide an illusion that this is what they feel.
“In reality, the narcissist wants you to feel special not because they really care about you, but because they want something from you.” -Psychology Today
Then, when you are deep in their web, they will pull the rug out from under you and you’ll wonder how they were able to love you one day and suddenly discard you the next.
You can have a long-term relationship with them but you have to accept that they will never be able to love you in the same way you love them, and at any moment they could decide they don’t want you anymore.
They will take and take until you are completely depleted
Let’s imagine for a moment that you accept that you will have to live with all of the behaviors I mentioned previously, and you proceed to try to make a relationship with a Narcissist work.
You may be able to do it for years, or even decades. However, the reality is that you will feel alone and will be unfulfilled because none of your needs are being met.
Eventually, you will most likely reach a breaking point both emotionally and physically and there will be no reason for the Narcissist to stay.
They will find no more use of you and they will seek out a new source of narcissistic supply and discard you without a second thought.
You cannot be doing all of the work in any relationship
It doesn’t matter if it’s with a Narcissist, one person cannot be expected to carry the entire weight of their relationship on their shoulders.
If you are in this situation and you are still thinking about making it work, I will tell you right now that unless a Narcissist is willing to look within and do the extensive work and therapy, they will not change their toxic behaviors.
Something that I have had to learn the hard way is that I cannot love someone hard enough to make them love themselves.
You cannot salvage something with someone that doesn’t even know who they are, and ultimately don’t know how to properly love someone, including themselves.
You deserve to be in a relationship that involves two people putting forth the effort to make it work.