Can A Narcissist Love?

Narcissists are individuals who have an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme need for admiration and attention. They often believe that they are superior to everyone else and have little empathy for others. Because of their self-centered belief system, a common question that often arises is, “Can a narcissist love?”

Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health disorder that is characterized by a grandiose sense of self, lack of empathy, need for admiration, and excessive preoccupation with power, success, and beauty. Individuals with NPD often feel entitled to special treatment and have a tendency to exploit others for their personal gain.

While everyone has moments of self-centeredness and self-promotion, narcissists take it to another level, always putting themselves first, and often devaluing the people around them. They have an inflated sense of their own abilities and achievements, and will often boast about their accomplishments and success, whether real or imagined. Their behavior can have a negative impact on their relationships with friends, family, and partners.

The Narcissist’s Idea of Love

While many people with NPD may claim to love someone, their concept of love is usually different from that of most people. Narcissists often feel entitled to love, attention, and admiration, but they are not usually interested in giving these things to others. For them, love is often conditional, and they may only express it when they are getting something in return.

Narcissists may also have difficulty truly connecting with other people because of their lack of empathy. They may have a limited emotional vocabulary and may struggle with understanding the needs and feelings of others. For this reason, narcissists often engage in superficial relationships, rather than forming deep emotional connections.

Can a Narcissist Change?

Some people wonder if narcissists can change their ways and become more empathetic and loving individuals. While it is true that people with NPD can change, it is often difficult for them to do so.

People with NPD typically lack self-awareness and may not recognize that their behavior is problematic. They may also resist therapy or other forms of treatment because they do not see themselves as the problem. Some may even feel that their behavior is justified or that they are victims of other people’s actions.

However, with the help of a skilled therapist or mental health professional, some people with NPD can make progress towards a more healthy and empathic way of life. This often involves working on self-awareness and understanding the impact of their behavior on others. It may also involve learning better ways to communicate, empathize, and form deeper connections with others.

Dealing with a Narcissist in a Relationship

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it can be challenging and emotionally draining. You may feel that your needs and feelings are overlooked or that your partner is not genuinely interested in your well-being. However, there are some steps you can take to manage your relationship and protect yourself from harm.

The first step is to recognize that you cannot change your partner. Narcissists are unlikely to change on their own and attempting to change them will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Instead, focus on setting boundaries and communicating your needs in a clear and assertive way.

It is also important to practice self-care and self-compassion. Being in a relationship with a narcissist can take a toll on your emotional well-being, so it is essential to take care of yourself. This may involve seeking support from trusted friends or family members or working with a therapist to process your emotions and gain clarity on your situation.

Final Thoughts

While narcissists may claim to love others, their understanding of love is often limited and conditional. Their lack of empathy and self-centered behavior can make it difficult for them to form deep, meaningful connections and have fulfilling relationships.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist or suspect that someone in your life may have NPD, it is essential to remember that changing them is unlikely. Instead, focus on setting boundaries, communicating your needs, and taking care of yourself.

Remember, you deserve to be in a loving and healthy relationship, and you can take steps to make that a reality.


FAQs: Can A Narcissist Love?

1. What is a narcissist?

A narcissist is a person who has an inflated sense of importance and believes they are superior to others. They often lack empathy for others and have a constant need for admiration and attention.

2. Can a narcissist love?

While a narcissist may be capable of feeling emotions, such as love, it is likely to be limited and self-serving. They may only show affection when it benefits them and may struggle to form genuine connections with others.

3. Can a narcissist change?

It is possible for a narcissist to change, but it takes significant effort and often requires professional help. They must recognize their problematic behavior and be willing to work on themselves to improve their relationships with others. However, not all narcissists are willing to change, and some may never seek help or recognize their harmful behavior.


1. Campbell, W. K., & Foster, C. A. (2007). Narcissism and commitment in romantic relationships: An investment model analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(7), 935–947.

2. Grijalva, E., Harms, P. D., Newman, D. A., Gaddis, B. H., & Fraley, R. C. (2015). Narcissism and leadership: A meta-analytic review of linear and nonlinear relationships. Personnel Psychology, 68(1), 1–47.

3. Malkin, M. L., Barry, C. T., Zeigler-Hill, V., & Southard, A. C. (2013). The Narcissistic Personality Inventory’s (NPI) nomological network and incremental validity beyond the Big Five personality traits. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 4(4), 298–308.