Recovery Day 5: Can the Narcissist Change for the Better?

One of the common characteristics of survivors of narcissistic abuse is that we are resilient problem solvers. When we spot a problem, we move forward to begin fixing it, take a few punches while things are still being resolved, and finally come out of it fixed, better, wiser, and stronger.

Unfortunately, it’s not that straight-forward when dealing with a narcissist. They are not neurologically wired like we are. They don’t see or respond to the world like non-narcissists do.

Narcissists Lack Emotional Empathy…

Without emotional empathy, they are unable to genuinely and deeply bond with another person… ever. They don’t “love” to be loved… they don’t “care” because you matter to them as an important individual. Only one thing can ever motivate the narcissist to do, say, or think about anything… and that’s “narcissistic supply.”

Narcissistic supply includes external approval, adulation, and affirmation required to validate and regulate the narcissist’s self-esteem and self-definition.

People with NPD are believed to have experienced emotional trauma early in life (abuse, neglect, shame, or being placed high on a pedestal), resulting in the inability to self validate or feel guilt. And as such, they have failed to develop the ability to see beyond their own needs, leaving them unable to emotionally empathize with others while being totally dependent on external validation to gauge their self-esteem and worth.

When you were a young child, it was normal to behave like the world revolved around you with little concern for the needs and desires of others. You depended on your caregivers for feedback to let you know if you were being “good” or “bad” because you were learning to be your own person. You eventually developed independence and grew to become a whole, individual person. You learned that you have your own thoughts and emotions about yourself and everything around you… and other people are their own, separate person with their own very real thoughts and feelings as well.

Narcissists, on the other hand… never reached the “becoming an individual” part. The emotional part of their brain was numbed-out, so they grew up with an identity and self-worth BASED ON feedback from people & things around them). They quite literally live in a world where everything and everyone exists solely to supply their need to feel good or special.

Because of this, narcs are unable to see past their own needs. Their ability to emotionally integrate into the world is extremely limited. If they’re happy, that’s all that matters… regardless of what you’re feeling. If they’re upset, it means you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing in his or her life – which is whatever the narcissist has “assigned” for you to do (whether it’s it’s keeping the house clean, financial support, sex, companionship, status, etc.)

No. Narcissists Cannot and Will Not Genuinely Change for the Better…

You (or anyone else for that matter) CANNOT “fix” a narc by loving them more. You CANNOT make them “realize” their poor behavior by being patient and constantly giving them more opportunities to hurt you. Narcs are not concerned with or hold any importance for these things because the only thing that matters to them is obtaining narcissistic supply; for without adequate supply, they’re left to sit in their own miserable emptiness.

It is only when the narc is able to extract attention and energy that he or she experiences temporary relief from their inner void. The relief is temporary because they cannot keep “emotional memories” so the narcissist is always focused only on their immediate need for supply… and the actual sources of supply are interchangeable.

Remember, narcissists have a mask for every need. If it appears that they’re changing for the better (regardless of who they’re doing it for) it’s solely to get narcissistic supply. There is nothing genuine or permanent about this superficial role-playing – ever.

You Can Prevent This From Happening to You Again…

While the narc may not have the genuine desire or the ability to change, YOU have the power to change your life for the better! Do whatever it takes to shift and keep your focus on yourself, and work on healing your inner-injuries… because once you’ve completely recovered, you will no longer be susceptible to toxic abuse.

I know just how difficult and painful it is to totally accept the truth about who these narcissists really are. We give people the benefit of the doubt to prove they’re good and honest… especially those we love and care about. But please hang in there, because living in truth and reality will help set you free from this nightmare.

I’ll be right here walking you through the recovery process. You’re doing great so far, and I’m confident you will break free from this!

I’ll see you tomorrow


Life Strategist
Advocate for Victims of Narcissistic Abuse
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