If you pay attention to thousands of years of history then you have thousands of years of experience at your fingertips.
If you are smart you learn from other people's experience. If you are average you learn from your own experience. If you are stupid you don't even learn from your own.
Parents are supposed to tell you the things you don't know. Unfortunately these days most of them don't tell you some very important things. Lots of churches don't do their job, either. There is certainly no excuse for their failure, because they have about three thousand years of experience to transmit to you. Some do their job, I suppose, but I certainly don't know where they are.
Here has been my experience:
Infatuation (middle school puppy love) is mostly based on need.
Lust is based on taking.
Love is based on giving.
Father Robert Barron did say that love is "willing the good of the other." He said it gets you of the "black hole of your own subjectivity, your own egocentrism."
Traditionally such love, so described, is a theological virtue.
In love, then, you're supposed to overcome your narcissism.
In the not-so-distant past narcissism was described by the Bible as Pride, which the Greeks called Hubris. The Greeks also had a myth about Narcissus.
Narcissus, Pride and Hubris have all been expanded on, and if people pay attention they can learn some very useful things.
In all of the Cluster B personality disorders (so prevalent today) what they have in common is self-centeredness and a lack of empathy. In other words, they're a combination of infatuation and lust. But love? Apparently not.
The worst is Antisocial Personality Disorder (psychopathy), in which the person shows a pervasive disregard for the rights of others, lack of empathy, and (generally) a pattern of regular criminal activity. The worst of these people are the serial killers, and a lot of them are necrophiliacs and sometimes cannibals.
Then there is Borderline Personality Disorder, in which there is extreme "black and white" thinking, instability in relationships, self-image, identity and behavior often leading to self-harm and impulsivity. Susan Smith, who put her kids in a car and drove it into a lake, was a borderline.
Another one is Histrionic Personality Disorder. These people show pervasive attention-seeking behavior including inappropriately seductive behavior and shallow or exaggerated emotions. These are almost always women - I've met them.
Probably most well-known is Narcissistic Personality Disorder, in which the person shows a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. It's characterized by self-importance, preoccupations with fantasies, belief that they are special, including a sense of entitlement and a need for excessive admiration, and extreme levels of jealousy and arrogance.
John Douglas, the retired FBI profiler of psychopathic serial killers, found all of them were motivated only by domination, manipulation and control. They had no consciences. They had no guilt. They were incapable of love. They blamed their problems on other people. They were excruciatingly sensitive to being humiliated.
I've been reading the Manosphere for several months. There is a lot of dangerous nonsense in it. One of the most well-known concepts in it is that of the Dark Triad: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.
The Dark Triad is supposed to be an admirable thing. It's not. There is nothing admirable about it at all, and those who think it is are clueless because they're not paying attention to the truth and instead are paying attention to lies.
The Dark Triad is all about narcissism and the inability to love.
Heinz Kohut, who studied narcissism his professional life, associated narcissism with the protection of a "radically weak, shamed, or damaged self." This is why I point out that narcissists are wimps who cover it up with bluster. It's why bullies are cowards.
Are as Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) told the gunsel Wilmer in The Maltese Falcon: "The gaudier the punk the cheaper the patter."
"I feel sorry for them in a way," writes Lisa Scott. "Narcissists are not able to experience the joy of loving another. Sure, they think they love you but that's because they are dependent on you for survival, not because they are in love with you in any mature, adult or romantic way. They truly cannot help it. They simply never developed feelings such as love and empathy."
The Dark Triad is supposed to be a combination of Psychopathy, Narcissism and Machiavellianism. Whoever came up with this concepts didn't know what he was talking about.
A psychopath already is a narcissist, but a narcissist isn't necessarily a psychopath. So whoever came up with the Dark Triad doesn't understand what a psychopath or a narcissist is.
As for Machiavellianism, that is a political philosophy.
You cannot turn yourself into a psychopath, and not only that, you don't even want to show any traits. The worst of psychopaths are the serial killers, and most of them - I will point this out again - are necrophiliacs and sometimes cannibals. Often they mutilate their victims and have sex with their body parts, as did Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy.
Those who believe in and promote the Dark Triad are wimps. They're little men, with poor self-concepts, who are terrified of humiliation. They're trying to protect their "radically weak, shamed or damaged" selves with bluster, insults and claims they are "Alphas" and "Sigmas" and anyone who sees through them is a "Gamma" or "Delta" or "Omega."
Bullies on top; cowards underneath. Wimps, who get hysterical when confronted.