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Lonely hearts and narcissists

Valentine’s Day is a hard day for lonely hearts and narcissists

Not getting a Valentine card, not being loved or remembered, can hurt. For those with narcissistic issues the problems are more severe.

  • Narcissists suffer from disturbances to areas of their self-image.

Like Maleficent, the Queen in Sleeping Beauty asking a particular question of her magic mirror, they want to live in a world which only reflects back just how special they are.

  • Narcissists rejects anything that deviates or reflects a different view.

Narcissists may gain a temporary sense of power over the mirror, or the person they reject, but this is short-lived.  This is why the Queen has to keep asking the same question and needs to keep hearing the same answer again and again.

 – “who is the most special of them all?”

 – “you my Queen

Narcissistic disorders originate in early childhood development

They begin when a lack of satisfactory attachment figures (like mother or father) mean that the emergent personality fails to engage satisfactorily with people and instead is left wounded and isolated.

The narcissistic personality is alone and tends to fall back on its own distorting projections, failing to develop a realistic sense of how it relates to:

  • self
  • other people
  • the world

The mirror will only temporarily protect the narcissist from its lonely heart

  • Narcissistic individuals sometimes appear to have fallen passionately in love, but this is misleading.

What has happened is they have momentarily got caught up in something of their own reflection and have magically become caught in their own projections.

Someone has by chance brought them narcissistic supplies and they have lapped them up.

It may look like love, but it isn’t, and just as suddenly as it came, the illusion fails, and the narcissist is gone, often leaving behind them a confused and heartbroken person who thought they had found a meaningful relationship.  Narcissistic people cause harm.  Satisfying love relations tend not to work like this.

So how can a narcissist find a way out of this trap of illusion, projection and mirrors?  How can they find a way to relate meaningfully with others? 

Without finding a way to engage and work on these issues they are unlikely to.

At the core of the narcissist’s psyche is a wound

This is an area of self and psyche that should have been loved and looked after and carefully introduced to the world around it.

Instead, left alone and wounded the narcissist has developed adaptations to try to protect themselves.  One of which is to develop a grandiose and inflated sense of self in an attempt to mask their injuries.

  • The narcissist is blind to the area of their own pain and is likely to be cut off from any knowledge of the wound that needs attention.  They will reject those who try to help them see their wounds.

Instead they focus externally, ever vigilant on the sense of themselves that is reflected back.  They search for just the right kind of attention, and view with suspicion what is reflected back to them.

Anything off key will trigger rejection.  Consequently, they will reject the people who do try to love them.  They are quick to develop a sense that there is something wrong with the way people relate to them.  Their address books will be littered with the people they have crossed out, all of which underlines their lonely hearts.

  • The narcissist is drawn constantly further into a painful and lonely world.

How can they find partnership?

Who could reflect them back adequately, other than a mirror in a Disney film?

Narcissistic states form the basis of complicated psychological disorders, left unchecked they get worse

Consequently, the heart of the narcissist remains lonely, and Valentine’s Day is another dark day in the calendar.

Perhaps only made up for by the consolation that no lover could ever be good enough.

Lonely hearts and narcissists

Toby Ingham

Toby Ingham is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and supervisor based in High Wycombe in England. Toby works on both a short and long-term basis with people who are trying to work through a variety of situations. Sometimes these relate to a specific event such as CPTSD, bereavement, divorce or redundancy, sometimes relating to a more general problem or behavior. He blogs on a wide range of psychological themes.

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APA Reference
, . (2018). Lonely hearts and narcissists. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 Feb 2018
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