Heartbreakers

In any sentimental relation the one who cares less can exploit the one who cares more. (The Law of Personal Exploitation) E A Ross, Principles of Sociology

Love is a risky business and human nature being what it is, even the most caring lovers can wound each other. Every relationship has its frustrations, disappointments, hurts and upsets but in some cases they are far beyond what is normal or tolerable. Some relationships harm far more than they enhance.

Some people fall in love with and trust someone they shouldn’t. In the same way that an alcoholic or drug addict cannot help but hurt those close to them, some people have personality flaws that make them disruptive if not destructive romantic partners.

We all know of people who wrong those they claim to love or people who have had their lives turned upside down, their spirits broken, who’ve lost assets, peace of mind, and self-confidence because of a disastrous relationship. The reality in some relationships is betrayal, abuse, exploitation, physical violence and even murder.

When we love someone or they claim to love us, we don’t think we will need to protect ourselves from them or that our very lives might be at risk. Why would anyone want to jeopardize, let alone deliberately attack a loved one’s self-esteem or their emotional or physical well-being?

We assume that when someone loves us they will treat us fairly and considerately. And most of us believe that if we are reasonable, logical, and treat others with respect and goodwill they will reciprocate.

But no amount of reasoning can make some people reasonable, no amount of trust can make someone who isn’t, trustworthy. No amount of communication, negotiation, understanding, or patience can extract fair treatment from someone who has no sense of fairness. And it is impossible to elicit care from someone who doesn’t want to give it, concern from someone who doesn’t feel it, or loving behaviour from someone incapable of it. So who are these people who break hearts so readily? They are people with narcissistic personalities.

The term narcissism comes from the Greek myth about the beautiful and conceited youth Narcissus who fell in love with his own image in a pool of water and was so mesmerized by himself that he wasted away and died.

Narcissism is a personality trait involving exaggerated self-importance and a sense of superiority, a feeling of being special, and an expectation that other people will agree with and reinforce such a self-image, along with a sense of entitlement and a lack of empathy. Narcissism is an unconscious impulse, instinct, and urge based upon a sense of superiority which influences all thoughts and actions.

When we enter into a romantic relationship we each have our own unique way of behaving, what psychologists call our love style. The way we interact and bond with our partner is based on how much we trust and respect others and how important intimacy is to us. In turn, these are decided by our innate temperament, how we see ourselves, and what we learnt from the way our parents treated us. Our love style always reflects our personality traits and style.

A healthy love style will be satisfyin