Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Love your neighbor as yourself"

This is a notorious crux for adult children of narcissists. Some feel they need to learn to love themselves first and become "selfish", so they could then learn to love others. Some think this is narcissistic thinking, and recognize it in their narcissistic parents' justifications.

I see it like this: Jesus was here giving us an equation. An equation very useful to us adult children of narcissists. The unknown (x) is "love".

x(Others) = x(Myself) 

If you want happiness, peace, harmony, love, good relationships, even wealth, success, or achievements for yourself, you can want the same things for others. It's possible. It's even more likely you'll be happy if your neighbor's happy.

The equation works. What you feel is love. Congratulations. You're free from narcissistic traits and you're free from narcissistic conditioning.

If, on the other hand, what you want for yourself or your children is to be special or superior or better than others in any way - if you want to be the best - you can't logically want the same for others. It's impossible for everyone to be the best. So, if you "love" yourself or your children in that way, you can't "love" your neighbor as you "love" yourself.

The equation doesn't work. That's not love. You don't really love yourself. You're either a narcissist or have been conditioned by one to believe you're worth nothing if you're not the best or at least better than the neighbor's kid.

Don't worry. Be gentle to yourself. Allow yourself to love yourself. But really. Want good things for yourself. Happiness. Harmony. Peace. Joy. Integrity. You'll be surprised how easily and quickly real love for others will gush forth. Or, conversely, start by loving others the real way. Help them really grow and develop and be truly happy and joyful and kind, without any pressure to be better than anyone else at anything in the world. You'll learn to treat yourself the same way pretty darn soon.

So the debate about who comes first is silly. It's like the chicken and the egg. The important part is realizing what love is. When you've solved the equation, loving your neighbor as you love yourself is only natural.


  1. Beautifully said. This would make a nice article FOR narcissists who need to know what love is :). I do agree we need to accept (and love) ourselves before we are fully able to love others, especially our children. Understanding what the way I was parented did to me and how it affected me helped me be a more loving parent, free from the crazy stuff I might otherwise feel obliged to engage in.

    "My" N just sent out a group mail to about 50 people about a friend who has cancer (acute leukemia) and is getting treatment. It was ALL about how the "dying" (despite excellent survival rates!) person affected the N's emotional state. Nice. Another lesson in what real love does not look like.

  2. For me, it was actually the other way around. First I let myself just enjoy my family and unblock my love for them and then I realized I already did love them, but I thought I didn't because I thought I had to achieve so much, but didn't feel the same about them - they were fine the way they were. So because I wasn't as "ambitious" for them I thought I didn't love them. But then I realized that I could love them, I only didn't really love myself - they were fine whatever they did, but I never was. So only then did I slowly start loving myself too.


I encourage comments!!!