Narcissism is the opposite of love (ERICH FROMM)

Narcissism is the opposite of love (ERICH FROMM)

Looking at it from the standpoint of values it becomes evident that narcissism conflicts with reason and with love. This statement hardly needs further elaboration. By the very nature of the narcissistic orientation, it prevents one—to the extent to which it exists—from seeing reality as it is, that is, objectively; in other words, it restricts reason. It may not be equally clear that it restricts love—especially when we recall that Freud said that in all love there is a strong narcissistic component; that a man in love with a woman makes her the object of his own narcissism, and that, therefore, she becomes wonderful and desirable because she is part of him. She may do the same with him, and thus we have the case of “the great love,” which often is only a folie à deux rather than love. Both people retain their narcissism, they have no real, deep interest in each other (not to speak of anyone else), they remain touchy and suspicious, and most likely each of them will be in need of a new person who can give them fresh narcissistic satisfaction. For the narcissistic person, the partner is never a person in his own right or in his full reality; he or she exists only as a shadow of the partner’s narcissistically inflated ego. Non-pathological love, on the other hand, is not based on mutual narcissism. It is a relationship between two people who experience themselves as separate entities, yet who can open themselves to and become one with each other. In order to experience love one must experience separateness.

 

 

The heart of man : its genius for good and evil
Erich Fromm



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