Narcissism is often a defense mechanism that can stem from emotional neglect, childhood trauma, and emotional abuse from parental figures.
To cope with these painful feelings, they create a fake grandiose personality to feel better about themselves.
When others see this superman-like persona, they are duped into giving the narcissist their attention, validation, and admiration.
This gets them to build a predictable pattern of the narcissistic abuse cycle, from love-bombing, to devaluing, to discarding in most of their relationships.
Can you fix a narcissist?
No, you cannot fix a narcissist. They are unable to understand how their behavior negatively affects those around them. Even when shown proof of a negative outcome, they blame others rather than admit responsibility. They may, however, fix themselves if they seek counseling and make changes, which they rarely do.
It’s really frustrating when you try your best to show a narcissist how they’re hurting you and others, but they just won’t own the blame.
They’re afraid to admit their faults because it undermines their self-esteem and makes them feel bad about themselves. As a result, they see no reason to change their behavior.
So, your best course of action is to focus on saving yourself instead.
Why you cannot fix a narcissist?
Here are some reasons why it is hard to fix a narcissist:
1. Their Inability To Love Or Empathize Emotionally.
Narcissists are unable to love themselves or anyone else.
They often develop a deep-seated hatred for themselves and their lives, and feel worthless and insecure inside, which leads them to develop a lack of empathy for others.
This inability to empathize emotionally is a hallmark sign of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
They are emotionally empty, and especially cannot truly feel positive emotions, which is why they often behave in ways that seem insensitive and callous.
To cope with their intense insecurity, narcissists develop a fake persona that they use to manipulate people and gain admiration, attention, adulation, and validation (narcissistic supply).
As a part of their carefully crafted act, they might put on a charming, charismatic front that makes others feel drawn to them.
They don’t actually care about others or their feelings (and they even do not realize it), they only care about getting what they want.
One of the most frustrating things about dealing with a narcissist is that they can be very convincing.
They often make promises they don’t intend to keep and flatter you to get what they want.
They might make you feel like they really care about you and your problems, but this empathy-mirroring is just a way for them to gain your trust so that they can use you for their own purposes.
Another common trait of narcissists is that they tend to lack a sense of accountability for their actions. They might blame others for their mistakes or refuse to take responsibility for their behavior.
But love comes with accountability.
This can be very confusing and frustrating, and it can be difficult to get through to a narcissist who refuses to see the truth.
Narcissists may also use gaslighting tactics to make you doubt your own perception of reality.
Since it can be extremely difficult to deal with a narcissistic person, it’s best to set strict relationship boundaries with them to protect yourself from their selfish and scheming behavior.
2. Their Abuse Cycle of Love-bomb, Devalue, Discard.
Narcissists follow a predictable pattern of love-bombing, devaluing, and discarding.
This forms a narcissistic abuse cycle that they practice in each of their relationships.
When you first meet a narcissist, you might feel like you’ve met your soulmate.
They can be gentle and charismatic, and shower you with affection and compliments. It is the love-bombing phase and the narcissist will do everything they can to make you feel special and loved during this phase.
They’ll tell you everything you want to hear and mirror your personality traits, so you feel like you’ve found your perfect match.
But this phase is just a tool for them to get you under their spell so that they can control you.
Once they gain your trust and admiration, they make you submit to their whims and fancies. Their control over you drives them to take joy in making you do things that you don’t want to.
When you begin to fall short of their expectations, they begin to devalue you.
They treat you to insults, neglect, and gaslighting. You feel like you’re not good enough for anything, and that everything wrong in the relationship is your fault.
And sadly, you keep trying harder to get a “good partner” certificate from them.
As you become unwilling or unable to give them their narcissistic supply, they start looking for a new source to replace you. As soon as they are sure of this other person, they begin to discard you.
The discard stage can be devastating for any victim. Narcissists are cold manipulators who can convince you that you are to blame for your miseries.
Meanwhile, the narcissist will move on to their next target and repeat the cycle all over again.
Please remember that your feeling bad and sad while handling their abuse cycle is not your fault.
If you suspect that you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, seek help and support before they isolate you socially and instill a fear of meeting anyone without their permission.
Do not feel guilty for not being able to keep them pleased. Do not feel undeserving of being treated with respect and kindness.
They don’t own you, so find people who can help you break free from their vicious trap.
[Sometimes the narcissist may try to use “hoovering” to get you back when you try to leave them.]
3. Their Masterful Manipulation Techniques
Narcissists are masters of manipulation, and they use various tactics to control their victims.
Silent Treatment is another tactic narcissists use, where they completely ignore the victim for long periods of time, leaving them feeling isolated and alone. This is how they punish you for not complying with their wishes, and it can be incredibly damaging to your self-esteem.
Projection is another manipulation tactic, where the narcissist will accuse the victim of the very things they are guilty of themselves. They do this to deflect attention away from their own behavior and make the victim feel like they are the ones who are at fault.
Guilt-tripping is another form of emotional manipulation that narcissists use to fill you with remorse and shame for something that is not your fault.
Manipulation is when the narcissist makes you feel bad for telling them that they are wrong.
Stone-walling is when the narcissist shuts down communication completely and refuses to engage with the victim, even if they are trying to resolve a conflict. This can be incredibly frustrating for the victim, who is left feeling powerless and unheard.
Emotional withholding is another tactic that narcissists use, where they withhold affection, validation, or attention to manipulate the victim into doing what they want. They make the victim feel like they have to earn their love and attention, which can be incredibly damaging to the victim’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
Gaslighting is another of their favorite manipulation techniques, in which they twist the victim’s reality to make them doubt their own sanity.
They will deny everything you confront them about, and tell you that they are crazy or overreacting. This can be incredibly confusing and frustrating for the victim, who starts to feel like they can’t trust their own judgment.
Overall, narcissists are skilled manipulators. Some narcissists have even been known to manipulate their therapists.
4. Their Refusal To Accept Suggested Changes
Trying to fix a narcissist is like trying to fill a bottomless pit.
Narcissists lack the capacity to recognize their flaws and take responsibility for their actions. They believe they are perfect and superior, and any criticism is a direct attack on their ego. As a result, they refuse to seek help and change their behavior.
Many people fall into the trap of trying to fix a narcissist, believing that their love and support will be enough to change them.
However, this is a futile effort that only leads to frustration, disappointment, and further emotional abuse.
Narcissists will use every trick in the book to maintain control over their victims, even giving their victims a fake show of getting better as long as it serves them.
Please recognize that you cannot save a narcissist
The truth is, the only person who can fix a narcissist is themselves. But narcissists lack the self-awareness and empathy to do so.
But you can save yourself. So, distance yourself from the toxic relationship.
Narcissists often leave their victims feeling powerless and trapped, making it difficult for the victim to leave their offender.
You can, and must, gather all of your courage to break free from their emotional abuse and reclaim your life. Recognize your own worth and prioritize your well-being. Focus on self-care and recovery.
Why would you waste your time and energy trying to fix someone who doesn’t want to be fixed?
Three harsh realities of trying to fix a narcissist are:
- Narcissism is often a defense mechanism that blocks out positive emotions.
- Narcissists lack empathy, love, and altruism, and see fixing them as an attack on self-esteem.
- Narcissists can fix themselves, with the help of psychological counseling, provided they seek help.
You cannot change a narcissist, but you can change your own life. Seek support from trusted friends, family, or a therapist to help you through the healing process.
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Author Bio: Researched and reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy. His expertise is in mental well-being, positive psychology, narcissism, and Stoic philosophy.
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