6 Reasons You Cannot Fix Or Change A Narcissist, Ever

— Reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy.

Narcissists are often made, not born.

They are thought to have been victims of neglect, trauma, or abuse from parental figures during childhood. These hurt children create a fake grandiose persona to feel better about themselves.

As they grow up, they present this superman-like persona as their identity.

And this gets them other people’s attention, validation, and admiration. But eventually, people discover their egocentric nature and break off.

This makes them build a pattern of the narcissistic abuse cycle in most of their relationships.

Can you “fix” your narcissist?

  • No, you cannot “fix” your narcissist because they cannot empathize with how their behavior negatively affects those around them.
  • Even when shown proof, they blame external factors rather than admit responsibility for their mistakes or negative acts.
  • However, they may improve their behaviors if they seek counseling and make changes, which they rarely do.

Narcissists are often considered “unfixable” due to their lack of empathy, high self-centeredness, and habit of manipulating and exploiting others. These traits, ingrained over time, typically make them resist change.

So, your best course of action is to focus on saving yourself instead.

Not everything is worth fixing

6 Reasons Why You Can’t Fix A Narcissist

Many well-intentioned people fall into the trap of believing that their love and support can change the narcissist. But this is a delusion that often results in frustration, disappointment, and emotional abuse.

These are the reasons why you cannot fix your narcissist:

1. Emotional Insensitivity.

You cannot fix narcissists because they cannot fully understand emotions like love. They cannot love anyone, even themselves.

This is why:

  • Narcissists are well aware of their “average” selves underneath their veneer of “superior” selves.
  • These feelings of insecurities and worthlessness hurt them inside. They are often seen trying to mask or cope with their feelings of anxiety, depression, and shame.
  • To feel better, they develop emotional insensitivity as a coping mechanism. It helps them keep their sense of superiority and protect their fragile ego.
  • This reduced ability to recognize and reciprocate emotions makes it hard to connect with others on an emotional level. They cannot experience other people’s emotions the way those others feel.
  • Their other way to feel better is to get people to give them attention, admiration, and validation (narcissistic supply). For this, they craft a charismatic persona that draws others, and you, to them.

This graceful and charming person can be emotionally hollow. Even if you try teaching them how to connect emotionally, they might never be able to read or respond to your emotions.

2. Empathy Mirroring.

Trying to fix a narcissist is futile also because your trust and rapport with them is an illusion.

They can act sensitive to your feelings without any real empathy. Their ability to convince is based on empathy-mirroring:

  • They can mimic your behaviors, speech, and emotions to create a false sense of connection.
  • They can show excessive concern for your mildest sufferings, to gain your trust in them.
  • They can make false promises to appease you in your preferred words and tone.

You falsely believe they will change themselves, as you have a genuine connection. But their personality often prevents meaningful self-reflection or genuine efforts to improve their behavior.

3. Chronic Blame-Shifting.

Trustful relationships come inbuilt with accountability.

But narcissists are stubborn about taking accountability for their actions, mistakes, or shortcomings.

Taking the blame is shameful for them; it damages their self-esteem and makes them feel bad about themselves.

Their first instinct is typically blame-shifting—finding ways to deflect accountability onto others. It’s never their fault; the blame always lies with someone or something else.

This chronic blame-shifting is a defense mechanism. It shields their fragile self-image.

They can outright deny the facts or make up outrageous justifications for their behavior to stay on their grandiosity pedestal.

While you are utterly confused as to why your narcissist refuses to take responsibility or say Sorry, their reasoning goes like this:

No mistakes were made, no reason to change.

Here's Why You Can't Fix A Narc

Trying to make a narcissist admit fault is a futile exercise. They will twist, manipulate, and gaslight until they have successfully shifted the blame onto you or others.

4. Pathological Entitlement.

Entitlement means a feeling that one deserves special treatment or recognition without actually being worthy of it. The entitled person puts their own feelings or needs ahead of those of others.

Narcissists harbor a deep-seated sense of entitlement. They often believe they deserve special privileges and are exempt from normal rules or constraints.

This pathological entitlement is not just a daydream. They genuinely believe they are superior beings. They fully expect to be held in high regard, admired, and obeyed, without questions.

It will always be a fruitless endeavor trying to “fix” a narcissist’s deep-rooted entitlement.

Whenever they perceive a slight or a challenge to their inflated ego, they react with rage, retaliation, or silent treatment.

5. Manipulation Techniques.

Narcissists can seriously make you believe that you are the one who needs to “fix” themselves.

Some narcissists have self-declared to have manipulated their therapists, they are so good at it.

There’s this popular social media message:

“Manipulation is when the narcissist makes you feel bad for pointing out their misdeeds.”

Some of their known tactics are:

  • Silent Treatment is a 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 tactic they use. They accuse the victim of the very things they do themselves. This deflects focus from their own behavior onto the victim. The victim ends up feeling 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.
  • 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.
  • Gaslighting, 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.
  • Emotional withholding is another tactic that narcissists use. They withhold their affection, validation, or attention to control 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.
  • Future-faking involves making promises or painting elaborate future scenarios to entice or exploit others, often without any intention of following through. This tactic can create false hope, build trust, and keep the victim invested in the relationship or situation, even when the promises are consistently unfulfilled.
  • Breadcrumbing is when a manipulative person like a narcissist sends just enough signals to keep a person interested, but without committing to a genuine relationship. They keep the other person emotionally invested without any intention to fulfill promises. This can boost their ego and sense of power over the other person.

6. Resistant To Change.

Trying to change a narcissist is like trying to fill a bottomless pit. Their disordered personality makes them impervious to change.

  • Narcissists are blinded by their grandiose self-perception, utterly incapable of recognizing their own mistakes or flaws, and truly believe they are superior beings, above reproach.
  • They interpret feedback, criticism, or suggested change as an attack on their self-image, which they have carefully constructed to perfection. Their defense mechanisms kick into high gear to deflect or reject any hint of imperfection.
  • Underneath their bravado lies a deep well of shame—an emotion they can’t process well. The mere thought of taking responsibility for misdeeds or flaws is so overwhelming, that they simply refuse to acknowledge them.

So, narcissists strongly reject any suggestions of seeking help or changing their behavior. They can’t seem to accept that they need any self-improvement.

Narcissists can even give you a fake show of improvement without actually getting better.

Can You Fix A Narcissist

Write it down somewhere that you cannot save a narcissist from themselves.

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.

The only person who can fix a narcissist is themselves, but they lack self-awareness and empathy.

Final Words

Why waste your time and energy trying to fix someone who doesn’t want to be fixed?

Instead, put your efforts into saving yourself. Get away from the unhealthy relationship. And focus on self-care and recovery.

Narcissists often leave their victims feeling powerless and trapped, making it difficult for the victim to leave their offender (called trauma bonding).

√ Also Read: How To Manipulate A Narcissist: 10 Covert Ways To Exploit Them

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