Amorous narcissists represent a unique personality type. They don’t have the abrasive edge that brash, unprincipled, grandiose types do. And they don’t exploit (i.e. use and abuse others) in the same ways other narcissists do. In fact, they can be quite charming, alluring, and seductive. But because at the core they’re still narcissists, relationships with them are bound to be problematic.
Few folks even know about this type of narcissist. Not much has been written about them. But amorous narcissists are out there, to be sure. So, it pays to be informed. This kind of narcissist can bowl you over with what appears much love and affection. And you typically come to realize what’s really going only after your heart is breaking or has already been broken. (See also: Mistaking Interest for Regard in Relationships.)
Amorous narcissists vary in the degree to which they exploit relationships. Some of these “lovers” and charmers are relatively benign. Others will get what they want from you and then throw you away. But amorous narcissists at both ends of the spectrum can charm the socks off of you. They know how to make you feel good, valued, and wanted.
The more benign types form a kind of contract with you. And that contract is generally both simple and satisfying. They will build you up and make you feel great, if only you will return the favor. It’s as simple as that. “I stroke you, and you stroke me,” is the unspoken agreement they make with you. The problem is, however, that they can never get enough. So, they’re subtly always asking for more. And you constantly risk giving away more of yourself than you initially planned.
The more exploitative amorous narcissists always have an angle. Maybe they pour on the charm just to get sex from you. Maybe they seduce you into being enamored of them so you’ll support them, or possibly even give them money. In any case, the charm they display always has strings attached. There’s a hidden agenda. They don’t really care about you, although it can surely seem so. Rather, they care only about building themselves up in some way. Your value rests solely in being the vehicle for helping them do that.
The most problematic variety of amorous narcissist is the Don Juan or Casanova type. Such types can really make you feel special – like God’s gift. They’ll wine and dine you. But their seeming regard for you can be convincing, it’s disingenuous. They always want something from you. And once they have it, they’re done with you, and it’s on to the next conquest.
Both sexes have their share of amorous narcissists. And interpersonally, amorous narcissists function in much the same way, whether they’re male or female.
Charm and Seduction
In today’s character-deficient culture, charm and seduction must always be held suspect. Because character disturbance is so widespread, we have to be leery of anyone’s attempts to charm or seduce us. We must always ask ourselves two key questions:
- What do they want?
- Are they of the character where they merit what they’re asking for?
In a way, it’s sad we have to even ask these questions. But ours is the age of character dysfunction. (See: Character Disturbance.) So, unless you don’t care about potentially being exploited, it pays to thoroughly vet any potential partner. And because narcissism comes in so many shades and sizes, it pays to be particularly wary of those who know how to charm.
There are those among us who know well the secrets of interpersonal connection. Such folks can become quite confident in their relational skills. They may carry a certain smugness about them, knowing that they can make you fall in love with them. That’s why, in our times, you owe it to yourself to look beyond the charm someone might display or the interest they might show in you. A potential partner should have to demonstrate through consistent actions that their regard for you is genuine, free, and enduring.
I’ll have more to say about this personality type next week.