Narcissists can feel sadness. They often suffer from dysphoria—a feeling of low mood, sadness, and melancholia— and even depression.
Narcissism is sometimes described as a form of “low-intensity” depression. However, there is currently no evidence to suggest a correlation between Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or narcissism and long depression.
Sigmund Freud published his “On Narcissism” in 1957. Though Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory is now out of favor with modern psychologists, much research has been done on narcissism since then.
• To find out if someone you know is a narcissist, take a look at these 20 Signs of A Narcissist.
Do Narcissists Feel Sadness: Narcissistic Dysphoria
The narcissist is often unhappy and can descend into dysphoria. Narcissistic dysphoria typically lasts for a short time only.
Narcissists may feel sadness as a result of the following:
1. Loss of self-worth
The narcissist reacts to criticism or disagreement with depression, especially when the criticism comes from a trusted and long-term source of narcissistic supply.
He is afraid of losing the source of his narcissistic supply and damaging his own fragile mental balance. The narcissist also feels resentful about his vulnerability and his extreme dependence on feedback from others. This type of depressive reaction, therefore, stems from a mutation of self-directed aggression.
2. Grandiosity gap
Narcissists view themselves as powerful, brilliant, accomplished, irresistible, and invincible. This is grandiosity.
Now, most of those of their beliefs are untrue. However, if the narcissist finds information that contradicts their beliefs, they will ignore it or reinterpret it.
Even so, sometimes reality hits them hard, and they realize that they are not all that great. This creates a Grandiosity Gap.
Narcissistic dysphoria may occur as a reaction to the Grandiosity Gap.
The narcissist is frustrated when confronted with the gap between his inflated self-image and grandiose fantasies and the bland reality of his life: his failures, lack of accomplishments, disintegrating interpersonal relationships, and low status.
3. Loss of narcissistic supply
Narcissistic dysphoria may also be a reaction to the loss of one or more sources of narcissistic supply.
The term “narcissistic supply” describes a type of attention or admiration that the narcissist requires in order to maintain his or her self-image as grandiose and exceptional.
4. Grief of permanent loss
The next phase of narcissistic dysphoria is an acute and deep depressive phase. The narcissist is now grief-stricken over the permanent absence of his narcissistic supply.
This deep dysphoria actually energizes the narcissist, motivating them to seek new sources of narcissistic supply.
Deep inside, the narcissist hates himself and doubts his own worth.
He condemns his desperate addiction to narcissistic supply. He judges his actions and intentions harshly and sadistically.
This unlimited source of self-chastisement, self-doubt, and self-directed aggression yields numerous self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors.
They can give in to reckless driving, substance abuse, constant depression, and thoughts of suicide.
Do Narcissists Feel Sadness: Narcissistic Depression
Narcissism is often considered to be a form of depressive illness.
The life of a narcissist is a series of intermittent bouts of dysphoria, anhedonia, and clinical forms of depression (cyclothymia, dysthymia). Narcissism is already apparent in early adolescence.
Although the distinction between exogenous (reactive) and endogenous depression is no longer considered valid, it is still useful in the context of narcissism.
Narcissists not only react with depression to life crises, but also to fluctuations in narcissistic supply and to a circumstantial inability to express their dominant psychosexual type (cerebral or somatic)
How Does A Narcissist Get Out of Sadness
What can lift the narcissist from deep misery to the heights of manic euphoria is just one dose of Narcissistic Supply.
A narcissist gains a sense of self-worth by receiving attention from others, which is their narcissistic supply.
Any threat to the uninterrupted supply of his supply compromises his psychological integrity and his ability to function. To the narcissist, it is a threat to their very existence.
However, a narcissist’s dysphoric (or euphoric) phase does not interfere with their occupational functioning. Narcissists tend to function flawlessly most of the time.
The narcissist’s gregariousness is calculated, “cold”, controlled, and goal-orientated. They are social and friendly for the sole purpose of extracting Narcissistic Supply.
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- 5 Dirty Ways Narcissists Treat Their Ex (How To Handle It)
Narcissists can be sweet or brutal to others, but they are never likable to themselves.
Many narcissists end up schizoid, delusional, or paranoid. In some cases, to avoid an oncoming relentless and gnawing depression, they give up on life itself.
But, while narcissism is a rational choice based on self-preservation, it is also a reversible choice that can save many self-hating narcissists from
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental wellbeing, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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