What does it mean if a narcissist says they hate you? To put it bluntly, it means they hate you.
It’s harsh, but true.
When a narcissist, borderline, histrionic or other Cluster B variety pack person says, “I love you” it doesn’t mean “I love you” the way it does to a normal or a codependent. Their declarations of love are intense, but superficial. “I love you” means they see you as good in that moment. Love declarations usually have very short expiration dates.
Defining love Cluster B-style.
A NPD, BPD or HPD loves you when you make them feel good about themselves. They love you when they’re getting everything they want. They love your attention and other resources. Narcissists, borderlines and histrionics love the dopamine high of duping you into falling in love with them. Or rather, falling in love with the ideal woman or man they pretended to be at the start of the relationship.
They love the new shiny object who hasn’t seen behind the mask of normalcy yet. They love being enabled and indulged. If you have social status, they love that, too. This is the pleasurable side of splitting. (Splitting is the root the all-or-nothing thinking and the I love you–I hate you extremes.)
Narcissists, borderlines and histrionics love the way toddlers and teens love. Their construct of you is dependent on their immediate ego and emotional states. This is why you can be their soulmate on Monday and by Thursday they’re sharing photos of themselves with their newest soulmate. It’s like how some kids have a new best friend every few months. The instant they feel disappointment, frustration or rage (that you now see them clearly), it’s the beginning of the end.
In other words, whatever it is they feel for you — not love — it is all about them. It’s about their feelings, wants, needs and you doing the impossible. Filling up the un-fillable emptiness inside them. Finally, when you fail to do this (and you will fail), they hate you for it.
What does it mean if a narcissist says they hate you?
Alternately, if a narcissist, borderline or histrionic says, “I hate you” it actually means they hate you. Ultimately, narcissists hate everyone and respect no one. They hate you because:
- You see their limitations, flaws and myriad other pathology once the love bombing wanes.
- You tell them no.
- You hold them accountable for their lying, cruelty and other abusive behaviors and betrayals.
- You implement consequences for their crappy behavior.
- You’re not okay with their cheating.
- You won’t enable them anymore.
- They can’t possess your goodness, decency and talents.
- You didn’t buy them a pony.
Most of all, they hate you because you tolerate their abuse. Ironically, at one time many of my clients believed that tolerating their NPD, BPD or HPD partner’s abuse is how they proved their love, loyalty and devotion. In reality, tolerating their abuse feeds and fuels their sneering contempt for you. They’d never tolerate from you what they regularly dish out. And, they hate you for it.
What does love mean to you?
Does it mean suffering abuse to prove you’re a good and loyal person? Does it mean allowing someone to exploit you in the hopes that they’ll love you? What’s your half of the equation? What has led you to accept that someone who loves you would treat you the way your narcissist, borderline or histrionic partner/ex treats you?
Do you believe that:
- You have to work hard to earn someone’s love?
- You have to prove that you’re good enough for someone to love you?
- You must be perfect to be loved?
- You have to go along with, like, or agree with everything your partner likes or wants?
- Your needs and feelings aren’t of equal importance to your partner’s needs and feelings?
- It’s your responsibility to fix or save your partner?
- Love means never giving up, even though you’re being regularly hurt and degraded by your partner?
- Love conquers all?
Obviously, none of these beliefs are healthy. In fact, they make you a target for toxic people, bullies, abusers and other predators. They’re the relationship beliefs of codependents, enablers and the trauma bonded. Or, maybe you don’t believe any of these things. Instead, maybe you believe if you try harder that you’ll be able to reason with a NPD/BPD/HPD partner and get them to see the proverbial light.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen.
Narcissists, borderlines and histrionics also hate you for trying to help them become better people.
To clarify, you shouldn’t have to explain what being a decent human means to a grown adult. Most kids know that lying, cheating, stealing, bullying, hitting, kicking, biting and pitching tantrums are wrong. If they don’t learn it at home, there’s school, religious institutions, Sesame Street, ABC After School Specials and very special episodes of Blossom.
Yet, many clients find themselves doing exactly this. For example, they repeatedly explain why name-calling is wrong and hurtful as if it’s brand new information. It’s similar to how a parent corrects a child who’s behaving badly. Narcissists, borderlines and histrionics will hate you for this, too.
If you’ve done this, have any of the how to be a decent human being lectures actually changed their behavior? Changed for the better, that is? Or did it make them angrier, more abusive and play victim harder when you explained mature adult vs. terrible toddler behavior?
Furthermore, if your NPD, HPD or BPD partner or ex behaves like a decent human being in public, that means they know what acceptable adult behavior is. Now ask yourself why they choose not to behave that way with you.
If you’re confused because they ping pong between loving you and hating you, be confused no more. These individuals are incapable of enduring and mature adult love and relationships. Again, it’s highly unlikely that things will ever become better. Better meaning they’ll stop being personality disordered and develop empathy, integrity and a conscience. That ship sailed a long time ago. It’s highly likely, however, that things will get worse. Much, much worse.
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals with relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. Since 2009, she’s specialized in helping men and women break free of abusive relationships, cope with the stress of ongoing abuse and heal from the trauma. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. If you’d like to work with Dr. Palmatier, please visit the Schedule a Session page or you can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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