You don’t love me!

It’s Narcissist Friday!    

 

If you have never watched “Citizen Kane,” starring Orson Welles, you have missed one of the best portrayals of narcissism fueled by limitless money and power. In other words, a story of what might happen if a narcissist got everything he wanted.

Kane fits both the stereotypical neglected/spoiled child and the pampered adult surrounded by sycophants. His life is one of extreme luxury, great power, and feigned love. The people in his life are drawn to him, intimidated by him, and used by him. He has little regard for truth, either in his relationships or his news business. He does what he wants with no regard for consequences. He has enough money to endure almost any trouble, and he simply does not care about the suffering of others. An unbridled narcissist.

But the tragedy of the story is that he never feels loved. Marriage, business, children, politics—none provide the kind of love he wants. He considers himself the victim, even after he destroys the lives of others.

There are some good exchanges in the film, but I have pulled out two quotes that seem to summarize the narcissism of Kane’s life. The first is from his long-term and loyal business associate, Jedediah Leland, the closest Kane ever came to having a real friend. He says:

“You don’t care about anything except you. You just want to persuade people that you love ’em so much that they ought to love you back. Only you want love on your own terms. Something to be played your way, according to your rules.”

And his second wife, Susan Alexander, understands as well as she says:

“Love! You don’t love anybody! Me or anybody else! You want to be loved – that’s all you want!”

So there it is. The narcissist does not love, but the narcissist longs to be loved. Not only to be loved, but to be adored, cherished, worshiped—simple, normal love can never satisfy. Real love makes us vulnerable, and the narcissist can never feel that way. So no matter how much others offer, it can never be enough. It is always doubted, always belittled, always pushed away; yet desired above all else.

And to get love, the narcissist will be loving. He or she will work to do whatever it takes to get that love. But it is work, not heart; an investment, not a feeling. Narcissistic love is draining and abusive, and the recipients of that love are usually victims rather than companions.

Of course, the narcissist will say that he/she is the victim, that others use and don’t understand. Others are cruel and stingy and distant. When the investment is counted, the narcissist believes it should be enough. But the lack is not in the others. It is the narcissist who cannot receive, will not believe, in the real love that is offered.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “You don’t love me!

  1. Virtue Ministries

    Absolutely LOVE this. This is SO true. I’ve experienced this same type of relationship. This was something I needed to hear, thank you, Janelle Goodwin

  2. I lived with that for 38 years, a needy child in a man’s body who resented the live Zi gave out two children, the love I gave my parents and his family, most of all the love I gave Jesus. When I asked Gid to give me his heart for this man, He did in a fiery passion like I had never known, with understanding of the man’s needs and a willing heart to pour into him, not holding adultery against him. But the man wouldn’t let my love in, and said “Too little, too late.” What a tragic waste of a life and destruction of a family – two intelligent, compassionate, godly sons he now- to gain an annulment, after our divorce, from the Catholic Church so he can remarry- claims he never wanted, but he won’t tell our sons that to their faces. A petulant child demanding his way, telling God what to do. Shakespeare couldn’t have written a deeper tragedy.

  3. Excellent post and a clear explanation between loving and being loved. The narcissist from my past once said to me, “I need you to need me. I need you to love me like I love you.” I responded to him saying, “You don’t love me. You love the idea of me. If you loved me, you wouldn’t make such a demand on me to love you in such a needy and clawing way.” To that he responded, “You’re so cruel. You’re cold-hearted!! How can you be so cruel to me when I love you soooo much?!?!” He was always trying to make me feel guilty, while he played the victim. Just so stupid and immature, and I fed into it by stickng around as long as I did thinking he’d grow up.

  4. Penny

    This.
    My narc once offered an “apology” and “forgiveness” like this: “my forgiveness will come at a price: I will forgive you, if you agree to love me as I say”.
    How do you even respond to someone whose thinking is so skewed?

  5. Kitkat

    “It is the narcissist who cannot receive, will not believe, in the real love that is offered.” This last line is the epitome of my ex friend. It didn’t matter what you did for her or said to her, she still didn’t believe that anyone cared for her. Her poor husband has been living with this nightmare for nearly 40 years now, and yet when you talk to her, he is always the big problem in her life. This man will scrub her floors on his hands and knees because that is the way she wants it done, he tries to please her as best as he can, but, to her, that is not love. She will concentrate on the things that he doesn’t do rather than on the things he does do.

    I will be going back to the church I left because of her, this Sunday. It will be interesting to see if she turns up. She claims to no longer be a member, we will see.

    Good to see you back Pastor Dave! Hope you and your family are all well. Thank you so much for this blog. I refer people to it all the time. God Bless you!

  6. Kitkat

    “It is the narcissist who cannot receive, will not believe, in the real love that is offered.” This last line is the epitome of my ex friend. It didn’t matter what you did for her or said to her, she still didn’t believe that anyone cared for her. Her poor husband has been living with this nightmare for nearly 40 years now, and yet when you talk to her, he is always the big problem in her life. This man will scrub her floors on his hands and knees because that is the way she wants it done, he tries to please her as best as he can, but to her, that is not love. She will concentrate on the things that he doesn’t do rather than on the things he does do.

    I will be going back to the church I left because of her, this Sunday. It will be interesting to see if she turns up. She claims to no longer be a member, we will see.

    Good to see you back Pastor Dave! Hope you and your family are all well. Thank you so much for this blog. I refer people to it all the time. God Bless you!

  7. Kitkat

    Ooops, sorry, I made a minor grammatical correction and it posted twice.

  8. Kelly Ann

    I’ve missed your posts … 🙂

  9. I once told my ex, loooong before I knew he was a Narcissist, that I was going to donate his brain to science because I had never encountered anyone like him and could never, ever figure out why he did and said and acted as he did! I thought he was going to get mad, but he started laughing, he didn’t think I was serious (but I was so very serious!) – so I just covered and started to laugh myself, duck and cover as they say!
    I have missed your posts, spot on! I will print this one out and save it, thank you!

  10. me :-)

    Glad to see you’re back too, and I hope that everything is good.

  11. Rox

    The Kane reference describes my N former best friend perfectly. He didn’t want real love. He wanted to be worshipped. He pretended to be serving God, when what he wanted was to BE God. He once said, “If you take what I do personally, we won’t be friends.” He’s right. I did. And we’re not. What a tragic waste of someone squandering the gift of real love that God asks us to give freely to each other.

  12. It is the same here as Rox, only it is my husband. He doesn’t want love, and he doesn’t give it. Because he claims to be a mature Christian man, I have challenged him regarding love being the heart of the Gospel. Whenever I bring up the word or the concept, his eyes goes blank and he say nothing. What he does want is our worship. He believes we have to go through him to get to God. We can’t have a relationship with God on our own or individually. Our respect, adoration, gratitude, and obedience to him are our duty and the only line to God that we have.

    • scoogs

      You deserve Love and u need your own relationship with God. We are not here to worship anyone but only God. Through that we love,respect and find contentment and peace with all of our relationships. I am divorced and would love nothing more than to be remarried. But I also know that God will direct me if that is to be. Love who u are and remember Love is not a Duty . It is a Gift that was given over 2000 years ago.

  13. a prodigal daughter returns

    Because the N parent in my life had money, which really was the true love of her life and her God, she collected enablers, yes sayers, and supportive family members like trophies. She played the victim masterfully as the long suffering wife, taken for granted mother, while behind closed doors created hell. She pit children against each other, lied about one to the other, courted their favor with gifts while watching the mayhem with glee.

    She made up stories to distant family members to gain sympathy about her hard life which was actually entrenched in luxury and every bauble she could buy. After a life time of abusing her children she expected adoration. As an adult remember her guilt mongering stories of seeing loving families supporting their mother, taking her out to lunch, doting on her. She wanted this public display of devotion as her due and would sic the golden child on the errant child that didn’t property bow and worship.

    It went on and still goes on in her 80’s, the fractured loyalties, the dutiful child, along with the one no one speaks too are evidence of something evil. The shattered lives heaped up in ashes around her and in the end, the enablers of the narcissist still hang on.

  14. Still Reforming

    Very, very insightful – and what so few Christians (or at least professing Christians) in churches seem to understand. Thank you.

  15. Ron B

    Pastor Dave, Wow, you described my brother (a pastor) and sister to a tee. I could give you many examples but will limit myself for now to just one.
    When we helped our parents move from the farm into town I gave them a suggestion to help ease the move. I found out a year later that my brother was “filled with rage” at me for doing so. I found out that he also had a suggestion but did not convey it to our parents. When I asked why he told me the following.
    “At that point I still couldn’t deal with the possibility of rejection — that is ingrained in me down to my bones. My shrink tells me he loves me, people at the church tell me and express love to me and I simply can’t accept it. Love must be earned. I’m not about to take the chance of being ‘unloved’. That’s why I didn’t say anything. Try walking in those shoes — it’s not very comfortable.”
    It took me half a decade but, with the help of this blog — thanks, I can finally now see this for what it is. Childishness and selfishness — “do as I tell you”, or “give me what I want” and if you don’t then you are “rejecting and unloving me” which makes the N a “victim”. I have seen this pattern repeated many times with him where if he does not get his way then he is not respected, not loved and made a “second rate nobody at best”.
    I believe “love must be earned” has a flip side that being if the N does what he/she feels necessary to “earn” your love then you “owe” it to “love” them. Then if you do not “love” them the way they want you to you are the bad guy and they are victims.
    At times I am filled with rage at my brother and sister for the immense suffering they have inflicted upon our mother and even continue to do so in her latter stages of Alzheimiers and Parkinson’s and for the suffering inflicted upon me (her caregiver) and that will be inflicted in the months and years to come. At other times I am amazed by the depth of delusion and the fantasy world they have created and insist upon living in. At other times I am greatly saddened by their inability to “grow up”. I say this because we were raised in a good family, given love and raised in a wonderful environment, their N is not the result of abuse so I “conclude” that it is an unwillingness to mature. I fear greatly for their souls. However, I know they know the truth and it is up to them to decide to accept or reject it. I hope this made some sense.
    Ron B

    • Still Reforming

      Ron B,
      I am moved by your comment and saddened by what you have gone through in your family with your brother. Since he is a pastor and I presume has read God’s Word at least once in his life, then he knows that God’s love cannot be “earned” and therefore, love does not have to be “earned” per se. Parents love children without any earning of that love. Trust too is often offered freely until lost by experience. So…. I think your brother knows all this. Narcissists are so self-centered that logic and reasoning doesn’t impact their seared consciences.

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