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are narcissists capable of love

Are Narcissists Capable of Love?

Dr. David Hawkins tackles the thorny question “are narcissists capable of love?”. They certainly think they are, but what is their idea of love? Like almost everything else in life, to a narcissist, any relationship is all about them, their needs, their feelings. Narcissism is self-ism + emotional immaturity, and that is not a formula for love.

It’s a formula for the opposite of love. In this video, Dr. Hawkins talks about 3 Traits of Healthy Love and what to do if your relationship is lacking these traits. Contrary to what people believe, it’s not either you love me or you don’t. We can all learn to love well, yes, you can LEARN to love well! That is what we are in the business of doing here at the Marriage Recovery Center. If you need help, please reach out!

Are Narcissists Capable of Love?

Navigating relationships with narcissists can be a perplexing and emotionally taxing experience. Dr. David Hawkins from the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute delves into the complex question: Are narcissists really capable of love? In this article, we’ll explore the multifaceted nature of love and how narcissism factors into the equation.

Defining Love

Before we dive into the intricacies of narcissistic behavior, let’s start by defining love. Dr. Hawkins suggests that love can be defined as “extending ourselves for the well-being of another.” This definition comprises three essential components: extending, well-being, and selflessness.

The Narcissistic Dilemma

Narcissism is characterized by profound selfishness and emotional immaturity. These traits inherently clash with the selfless nature of love. Thus, the question arises: can a narcissist truly love?

Narcissistic Selfishness

Narcissists exhibit an intense focus on their own needs, desires, and perspective. While they may care about others to some extent, this care is often conditional and driven by how others can serve their interests. Their primary concern is satisfying their own desires and maintaining their self-image.

The Unhealthy Love Dynamic

In relationships with narcissists, love can take on an unhealthy form. This love is characterized by selfishness, demand, and an aversion to rocking the narcissist’s world. It revolves around the “Me, Myself, and I” mentality, where the narcissist’s needs are paramount.

Mature Love in Contrast

In contrast, mature love seeks to know, embrace, and celebrate the other person. It entails genuinely understanding and immersing oneself in their world. This form of love cherishes the uniqueness and individuality of the other person, celebrating their quirks and differences.

The Telltale Signs

Identifying whether you are in a loving or unhealthy relationship with a narcissist can be challenging but crucial for your emotional well-being. Signs of a loving relationship include a genuine effort to understand, embrace, and celebrate your individuality.

What to Do

If you suspect you are in a relationship with a narcissist and desire a healthier dynamic, open communication is key. Express your needs and expectations clearly, emphasizing the importance of seeking to know, embrace, and celebrate each other’s uniqueness. If the narcissist is unwilling or unable to make these changes, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.


The question of whether narcissists are capable of love is a complex one. While narcissists may have the capacity for caring, their inherent selfishness and emotional immaturity can hinder the development of selfless, mature love. Understanding the dynamics of narcissistic relationships and taking steps to foster healthy love can be transformative for your emotional well-being. Ultimately, love should be a force that nurtures, supports, and celebrates the unique essence of each individual, transcending the confines of self-centeredness.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: The 5 Stages of Personal Transformation

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.



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