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5 Ways to Know If His Love is “Real” or Narcissistic-Illusion

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Love is an ongoing process of living deeply,, unquestionably the most profound of all human experiences that brings meaning to our lives. A couple relationship is a unique balancing act, in which two separate beings agree to engage their power, as partners, ideally to mindfully grow the capacity of each to love and recognize, honor and nurture the presence of both self and the other — as both are works of works of art in the making.

When we feel genuine love for another, we yearn to see and know who they are and may become; simarly, we also yearn to be seen and known by the other. Love is a two way street. A tango; requiring two. A couple relationship can only strengthened, made vibrant when both partners tend to their part, to nurture own and other’s growth and wellbeing.

A narcissist refuses, rejects, disdains such endeavors, indeed, feels scorn for persons that do.

This makes them not capable of love, at least not human love. A narcissist self-identifies by their refusal to engage or do “real” things that grow and nurture emotional intimacy, tender exchanges, mutual empowerment.

Never go by the words he speaks. Note the lies and inconsistensies, as well as the characteristic outcomes they methodically act to produce.

Narcissism is a love deficit, a mind and body state of existence that a narcissist has been tricked to believe somehow — not engaging or feeling inner human processes — proves he is superior, with entitlements over others.

In his mind, people are objects to either manipulate or be manipulated by. As a result, his behaviors are mostly driven by the “get them before they get you” mindset he holds, which keeps him on guard (to zealously protect his ‘perceived” power and status regardless the costs to others).

What a narcissist means when they say “I love you” differs dramatically from what we expect from human beings, however imperfect, are wired to have inner yearnings to love and be loved, connect whole heartedly. It’s how humans derive meaning in life.

“Love” to a narcissist is about objects and sex and power. Love to a narcissist is also about hoarding pleasure and inflicting pain to stay in control. He relishes orchestrating chaos and keeping pursue-withdraw conflict alive in relationships. He strategizes to separate his victims to that they have no contact between family members; and covert narcissists in particular, are highly skilled at hiding and shifting blame onto those they prey on. They train both their victims and accomplices alike to collude with them.

Not wanting to see or believe or even consider this reality — that a narcissist is not capable of genuine love exchanges — is the main factor that keeps women stuck in toxic relationships.

So is it love? Or narcissistic illusion?

There are at least 5 ways to know. Today’s post is in the form of poetry!

If His Love Were Real — And Not Narcissism

If his love were real,
It would make him happy, 
To tune in to what makes you happy,
To what you want, need, and love,
As it makes you happy to do for him.
It’s not love, if he gaslights; to twist
Your words into hellish conversations,
To make you question your sanity.
If his love were true,
It would be a priority for him,
To treat you, your words and voice,
As a valued presence, seen and heard,
Just the way it’s a priority for you.
It’s not love if he gaslights; to train 
You to deny your wants, needs, self, reality,
As if only he, his needs need be visible. 
If his love were sincere,
It would be an honor, not a competition,
To collaborate as partners,
To do his part to build a life, change and grow together,
As you do your part.
It’s not love if he gaslights; to make 
You feel bad, absolve him of responsibility,
And believe the lies, excuses, illusions.
If his love were authentic,
It would make him smile,
To see you feeling good, confident, happy, 
Secure about your self and life,
As you feel about him..
It’s not love if he gaslights; to triangulate 
You with others, get you off balance, question your worth and value, 
So you work even harder to earn his approval, attention.
If his love were genuine,
It would make him happy to know,
You are loved, supported, admired,
Appreciated by your family, children, friends,
As you feel happy to know he is.
It’s not love if he gaslights; to cause chaos, make 
Others’ doubt your sanity and character; and at same time get you
You to question and doubt the love of your family, friend’s.

5 Ways to Know If His Love is “Real” or Narcissistic-Illusion

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2019). 5 Ways to Know If His Love is “Real” or Narcissistic-Illusion. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Apr 2019
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