As with Narcissus, narcissists are really only in love with their image and their appearance, but the real difference in narcissists and their mythological namesake is that at some never-recognized level, they hate the false self and all the work required to sustain the image, but they will not abandon that mission. The life of a narcissist, therefore, always involves living in the mirror. Many narcissists will talk of love, but if one is only in love with a self-image—is only in love with self—then ultimately that person is not capable of loving “another.”
It should now be clearer why the point was offered in an earlier post that
only in the absence of personality, and thus in the absence of that personality disorder called "narcissism" which inspires an attachment to false images, can the True Self be known and can true peace happen.
Here's another case study as an example. Because narcissists cannot know True Love (that is, un-self-ish, unconditional, unconditioned Love), they mistake many other emotions for love. For example, consider the narcissistic woman with a sense of entitlement, discussed in one chapter from the book CASTING LIGHT ON THE DARK SIDE OF RELATIONSHIPS. Her case is a reminder that (1) all personality is rooted in childhood adaptations in response to dysfunctionalism, that (2) personality disorders fixate when childhood adaptations become adult personality traits, that (3) personality disorders are, therefore, rooted in concepts that were learned experientially during childhood but are carried over into adulthood, and that (4) childhood survival skills, and the subsequent childish thinking and behavior, work very poorly when applied to adult-age circumstances, relatively speaking.
In that case from the book CASTING LIGHT, the woman’s father told her at eighteen that he would send her brother to college but would not pay for her to attend. His advice to her was, “You’re good-looking. Go get a job until you find a man to take care of you.” Her mother added, “If you manipulate men with love, you can get anything you’ll ever want or need.” The subliminal message behind those statements included, “Your brother is valuable but you are not” and “Use your body and your looks to attract men. Then, use love as tool to manipulate them into taking care of you and you'll live a good life.”
Those words of her parents became her marching orders for life because they programmed and conditioned her to be narcissistic, to be a user, to be a manipulator, to believe that love is nothing more than a tool, and to identify with body alone. As far as the pointer that narcissists cannot know True Love but they mistake many other emotions as love, that applies as well: the woman in the case study has never earned her own way and has accumulated huge debts when alone. She married multiple times, always going for the wealthy man who was attracted to her looks and who was in a position to meet her financial desires and needs and to assuage her financial fears. Each time that some man was willing to “take care of her” (that is, was willing to “bail her out” and pay off her financial debts and cover all her expenses) she always mistook the feeling of “relief” for the emotion of “love.”
Now, compare her traits to the traits of narcissists in yestersday’s post that were taken from the DSM-IV: preoccupied with success, power, beauty, and ideal love, that is with “idealized” love; want to associate only with high-status, wealthy people; appear to care about people in order to use them; feel entitled; and are takers. Those are also the traits of the non-Realized, the traits that attach persons to their roles, that make them dependent and co-dependent, and that will almost always prevent them from ever seeking authenticity and Realization.
As far as “love” goes, narcissists are, of course, not the only ones giving lip service to it without having a clue about the unicity and True Self and what, therefore, “True Love” involves in this relative existence. For example, in another chapter of CASTING LIGHT ON THE DARK SIDE OF RELATIONSHIPS, the results of a survey of newlyweds are provided. 1000 women offered the top fifteen reasons they had recently married their husbands and 1000 men offered the top ten reasons that they had recently married their wives. What was not included in any of the top 25 reasons for marrying their spouses, as provided by the 2000 recently-married people who were surveyed? Guess. Please enter the silence of contemplation. (To be continued)
(FOR THE ANSWER AND FOR MORE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN CASTING LIGHT)