It's not a nice question to ask, but unfortunately, the truth is that you have to ask yourself this question, and I hope this article will encourage you to burst the bubble if you believe otherwise, and be prepared for the brutal truth.
The answer to this question is both no – and yes. Why? Because when a narcissist meets you initially and they start the 'love bombing' stage, they are in love with an idealized version of you... a version that has nothing to do with who you really are as a person.
They mirror you and this creates an enigmatic rapport that has you falling head-over-heels before you know what's hit you. But after a while (usually quite short), they start seeing you as a real person who can't live up to their impossibly high, and totally false, ideals of who you should be. So then they start the ‘devaluing’ stage, and this is where they get really mean, and you’re left reeling from shock because you can’t understand this Jekyll and Hyde behaviour they’re suddenly displaying. One minute they adored you, the next, they’re criticizing you, flirting in front of you, withholding sex and affection, and leaving you feeling wretched. They devalue you to make themselves feel better, which is pretty sick when you really think about it.
They hate you because they can't stand to see your authentic, good, kind and decent self. You reflect all the things they will never be, and that's why they set out to destroy you. First they trap you into falling in love with them, with love bombing, and in turn your provide tons of positive fuel to feed their monstrous egos, but they are incapable of hiding their true, ugly self for very long because nobody can live up to their ludicrous expectations.
The 'false self' that they show to you in the beginning is a carefully crafted facade designed to charm, woo and win you. And you have no idea that this is going on. You think you've met your soul-mate, your dream lover. You're in so deep that by the time the ugly real person who is the narcissist appears, you're well and truly addicted and you don't know what the heck you've done wrong or where the wonderful person you fell in love with has gone to.
Narcissists typically start ‘devaluing’ you at some point after the love bombing stage, and this sends you into a complete tailspin because it makes no sense to you. This is when cognitive dissonance kicks in - basically, that's when you have two conflicting ideas in your head that just don't add up. One minute this narc was professing profound and deep love for you, the next he's treating you like dirt, gaslighting you, lying, cheating and generally making your life a misery. You brain can't compute the very disparate behaviours coming out of the same person. To make matters worse, they can switch back in a heartbeat, and tell you that they love you. You’re the most precious thing in the world to them. It’s incredibly confusing and emotionally exhausting. It’s crazy-making behaviour.
So back to the question... yes, they are lying. In the beginning they are lying to themselves, because they know the form... you're not the first person they've love-bombed, and you won't be the last. During your relationship, they will almost certainly be carrying on relationships with other sources of 'supply', because one is never enough to satiate their utterly insatiable appetite for Narcissistic Supply.
They are lying because a narcissist is truly incapable of real love. A narcissist is an empty, hollow vessel who needs constant attention, adoration and incessant validation. They exhaust you, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and often financially and physically. They lie, cheat, belittle, degrade and steal - not just your possessions and money, but they aim to seal your self-worth, your life, your very soul.
They use the word ‘love’ as a means to trap you, and to keep you trapped in their web of lies and deceit. The simplest way to gauge if someone really loves you is to judge them by both their actions and their words; do they match up?
Are they kind, gentle, loving, generous to you? Do they do what they say they’ll do? Do they make promises they keep? Do they love to see you happy and fulfilled? Are they supportive? Do they encourage you to do well, to go out and enjoy time with your friends, to spend time with your family? Do they make you feel good about yourself, most of the time?
Or can you honestly answer NO to all those questions? Do they utterly confuse you with gaslighting, saying one thing and then denying it, spying on you, running ‘word salad’ rings around you and telling you that you are needy, insecure, jealous, suspicious, and accusing you constantly of doing all the things they are doing?
Have they tried to isolate you from your family and friends? Do they constantly talk about themselves, and have little time to hear or listen to anything you have to say?
Does this sound like the behaviour of someone who loves you? Ask yourself what love really is, and what it means to you? How do you show your love? What matters most in showing love to you? Are you getting back even a fraction of what you’re putting into the relationship?
If you are living with a narcissist, then you are not loved. You’re being used, abused, and you will be destroyed and discarded. It’s only a matter of time. My advice is and always will be, (I know, I sound like a broken record), to get out of the relationship and start living your life in freedom again.
Find ways to heal. Start believing in yourself again. Get support, get a therapist! Do whatever it takes to heal because you can heal in weeks, not years, but you have to start by making a commitment to yourself that you deserve better, and you will heal.