Imagine this, your partner leans over to you, kisses you on the cheek, and tells you how happy he/she is that the two of you are together. Then, before they leave for work, they scribble “I love you” on a pad of paper for you to find. This would make all of us feel deeply loved and cared for. Then, later that day, or even the next day, your partner blindsides you with anger, coldness, and criticisms at a seemingly innocent mistake you had made. The tone of their voice is condescending and their demeanor is ice cold. They ask you, “Why would you do this?!”.
Would you still feel loved? This kind of “love” is not real love at all. It is not healthy, and most of all, it erodes our self-esteem. That sort of love is conditional, and it fades, the minute we make mistakes, real or perceived, and when we fail to meet the idealized expectations of those that claim they love us.
With real love, people are not disappointed when we make human errors or get so upset when we don’t do what they expect.
Let’s back up for a moment and define what real love is and how it begins.
Real love can only be developed through time. It starts with an initial spark but is a slow burn. It has the capacity to go the distance because it burns steadily and grows brighter and stronger, as two people get to know each other. It deepens and solidifies with the passage of every season because it’s built on a solid foundation. There are no rapid declarations of love based on the idealized image of the other person within the first few weeks or month of meeting.
Real love is meaningful and patient. It doesn’t need to rush into a relationship, because it is genuine, and not built on false fronts and appearances that can’t be sustained for an extended period of time.
The flames of real love may lack the passion and intensity of the romances we watch in the theaters, but it beats the exhausting drama of the explosive passion of fake love, that fizzles as quickly as it started.
Narcissists and sociopaths do not have the capacity for real love. They can only mimic the actions and words of love they have observed in others, but beneath their superficial loving exterior, there is only emptiness, not the capacity for love. They lack the ability to take a relationship beyond the initial infatuation or idealization stage. So, instead, they quickly create a facade of true love, by using “love bombing” techniques, that appeal to our egos and the hopeless romantic within us. Instead of being put off and feeling uneasy by someone who can so easily and quickly profess their love for us, and declare us their soul mate, we abandon our good judgment and gut instincts and rationalize that we’re just lucky to have finally found the partner we have been waiting for.
The reality is that anyone who can so quickly profess their love is a person who knows nothing about what real love is or how to give it. It should raise a huge flashing red neon warning sign in your head if someone tells you they love you too quickly or declares you their soul mate, in the earliest stages of acquaintance. If they do, it is only because they don’t have a real understanding of the meaning of the word love, and this is why they can so easily throw the word around, and eventually the relationship away. The word love, to them, is only that –a word. A word narcissists and sociopaths wield around like a weapon. A weapon that snares unsuspecting victims into their loveless torture traps. This is why over time, as their victims fail to meet their unrealistic, idealized expectations, the cycle of devaluation begins.
Here are the 10 most common love trap lines narcissists and sociopaths use in the first few weeks or month of meeting you.
- No one has ever made me this happy before.
- I can see myself spending the rest of my life with you.
- I would marry you yesterday.
- We are so much alike, you are my soul mate.
- I have never married, or it didn’t work out with anyone else because I haven’t found the right person.
- You are the kind of person I have been searching for my whole life.
- When I was younger, I envisioned my spouse looking exactly like you.
- You’re more wonderful, more giving, more (insert blank) than all my exes
- You are my future. I would be honored to call you my future wife/husband.
- You’re everything I have been searching for.
If you have met someone who seems too good to be true and has said a few or all these things to you within the first few weeks or month of knowing you, you can bet you are in the clutches of a narcissist or sociopath. Proceed with caution, or better yet, run like hell before your life becomes a living hell. Just ask anyone who has heard these lines early on in the relationship and thought they were just lucky to finally meet the “one.”
For those of you that have unfortunately already been trapped in the cross-hairs of a narcissist or sociopath, what are some other lines or versions of the above that you were told?
Bree Bonchay, LCSW, is a psychotherapist with over 18 years of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and psychopathy in her blog FreeFromToxic. Her articles have been featured in major online magazines and she has appeared on radio as a guest expert. She is also a dedicated advocate, educator, and facilitates survivor support groups and workshops.
Copyright © 2015 Bree Bonchay. All Rights Reserved