A narcissist can seem to love you. A narcissist can make it look like love. A narcissist can say the words of love. A narcissist can think it's love. Unfortunately, when involved with a narcissist, you are enmeshed but not in love. You can be enmeshed and mistake that for love. But enmeshment and love are not the same thing.
The more fully we live and love, the more sadness we are bound to experience. Our inner critic tries to shield us from feeling the joys and pains of existence. It keeps us in a chronic state of numbness or dissatisfaction. In order to face our fears, we must consciously identify and actively ignore this coaching.
I had been caretaking for so long that it was habitual and addictive. However, once I realized that it was controlling rather than loving, I became determined to heal this addiction. I'm happy to say that loving myself and sharing my love with others is what I do most of the time now, and it brings me great joy!
When we emphasize compassion over esteem and measure our successes in terms of what we give as opposed to what we get, we build a solid sense of self that can leave us feeling less stress and more satisfaction in our lives. We can overcome insecurities and accomplish much more. And when we fall short, we can take a positive and resilient attitude that ensures better outcomes in the future.