Narcissists are self-absorbed and invariably prioritise themselves above all others. So what happens when two narcissists come together in a relationship? Can it work or is it a disaster in the making? Is it possible for two narcissists to truly love each other?
The two main types of narcissists – Grandiose vs Vulnerable
In order to understand how a relationship between two narcissists would work, it’s important to understand the different types of narcissism. There are two types of narcissism: grandiose and vulnerable.
Grandiose narcissists are the more “traditional” type that most people think of when they hear the word narcissist. They are extroverted, confident, and have a sense of entitlement. In other words, they love being the centre of attention and are always looking for ways to increase their power and status.
Vulnerable narcissists, on the other hand, are introverted, insecure, and hypersensitive to any perceived slights or criticisms. They are often envious of others and feel threatened by any perceived rivals.
The most common pairing between narcissists is between a grandiose narcissist and a vulnerable narcissist, since these to a certain extent complement each other. The grandiose narcissist provides the confidence and status that the vulnerable narcissist lacks, while the vulnerable narcissist provides the attention and admiration that the grandiose narcissist craves.
A transactional relationship
Narcissists are not capable of true love and intimacy, so any relationship between two narcissists is likely to be based on a transactional type of love. This means that they will only stay together as long as they are getting what they want from the relationship. As soon as one or both of them feels like they are not getting what they need, they will move on.
So what is likely to keep them together? Well, narcissists are all about appearances. A narcissistic couple will always look picture-perfect to the outside world, even if their relationship is anything but. They will be the couple that always seems to have it all together and will go to great lengths to maintain that image.
Their social media accounts will be filled with photos of them looking happy and in love, lounging on tropical beaches or enjoying luxurious meals. Every photo is carefully curated to show off how successful they are, in a bid to project their enviable lifestyle. They will never post anything that might suggest that their relationship is anything less than perfect.
Of course, this is all just a façade, and behind closed doors, their relationship is likely to be anything but perfect. In fact, it’s likely to be quite dysfunctional.
So can two narcissists truly love each other?
Given that both parties are self-absorbed and constantly seek validation, it’s likely that their relationship would be full of drama. There would be a lot of fighting and manipulation as each narcissist tries to one-up the other.
With time one narcissist will emerge as the alpha and will take control of the relationship. This will invariably be the more aggressive and abusive partner, who will subjugate the other narcissist, who will become submissive and take on a more codependent role.
This is not a healthy or sustainable way to live, and eventually, the relationship is likely to implode.
It’s also important to note that narcissists are notoriously bad at monogamy. So even if two narcissists did manage to stay together in a relationship, it’s highly unlikely that it would be a healthy and happy one.
The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle
The narcissistic abuse cycle is a term used to describe the way that narcissists interact with their partners. It consists of three phases: idealization, devaluation, and discard.
The idealization phase is when the narcissist first enters the relationship and everything is perfect. They will put their partner on a pedestal and shower them with compliments and gifts. They will make them feel like they are the most special and important person in the world.
This phase is likely to be on steroids when both partners are narcissists. The love bombing will be amplified, with each narcissistic partner determined to outdo the other. The truth, of course, is that none of these grand gestures actually mean anything – they are simply a means to an end, a way for the narcissists to get what they want, along with lots of selfies they can post on social media to show off their grand passion.
The devaluation phase is when the cracks start to show. The narcissists will start to find fault with each other. One partner will emerge as the stronger between the two, and will become critical and abusive, both emotionally and sometimes physically. The subjugated narcissist will also try to find ways to get validation, often through emotional manipulation.
The discard phase is when the relationship finally implodes. One of the narcissists (usually the alpha) will abruptly end the relationship, without any warning or explanation.
It’s important to remember that not all narcissistic relationships follow this exact cycle, but many do, and the same applies to relationships between narcissists.
Final thoughts – can two narcissists love each other?
So, the answer to the question “can two narcissists love each other” is yes, some form of twisted, self-centred love is indeed possible between narcissists.
However, would they have a healthy relationship? The answer to that one is probably not.
The fact is that given the narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a lack of empathy, it’s highly unlikely that two narcissists would be able to truly understand or care for each other.
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