There are very few people on this planet who believe that a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), can truly be healed. I am one of them. I know- without a doubt- that a narcissist could heal… IF he had a TRUE DESIRE to do so. That makes me quite unpopular among some of the narcissistic abuse victim crowd, as you can imagine. I find that, the less forgiving the victims are, the more they dislike me, and my belief that a narcissist can heal. I don’t mention that I actively am researching treatment methods. I figure that might be pushing it a bit much.
But anyways…I’m already off on a tangent…back to the topic at hand.
The million dollar question is, “If a narcissist can heal, then how come there are no healed narcissists running around the internet shouting it from the mountain top?! Why isn’t anyone talking about some radical new drug that can heal narcissism?”
There actually are a few people out there who have programs and systems to help heal persons with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I can’t speak to the efficacy of these programs (sadly, my own husband was less than enthusiastic about these programs, and is now more narcissistic than ever- super fun!) but, from what I can tell, those programs focus mostly on behavioral modification, as opposed to healing the inner-wounding that caused the creation of the narcissist’s False Self in the first place.
There are also a few different kinds of therapy, out there, that have shown marked improvement,- again- in modifying the destructive behaviors of the narcissist. That is to say nothing of actually healing the narcissist’s original wounds. While therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) can do wonders, to ameliorate the symptoms of narcissism, especially as the narcissist gets older (some say), nothing- and I mean NOTHING- will ever heal the narcissist unless he decides that he really, truly wants to heal.
For the most part, it takes a serious life crisis- the narc hitting rock bottom- before he would ever even pretend to consider such an offensive suggestion. Unfortunately, even IF (and that’s a pretty, damn big ‘IF’) we were to somehow convince the narcissist that he does, in fact, need profound healing, he has such a deep and complex system of defense, that unraveling all the layers might very well take months! In addition to all these roadblocks, there’s the fact that most mental health professionals refuse to work with narcissists because…well… because they’re obnoxious, rude, inconsiderate, entitled, and manipulative little bastards, who emotionally and psychologically terrorize the therapist, at every opportunity.
Furthermore, the narcissist is someone who has all but annihilated his True Self, so now, the conscious experience of that True Self is excruciating. At the slightest hint that the pain, and lonely-emptiness of the True Self, is about to be felt; the narcissist panics. And, in that state, he will do anything, and everything, in his power to avoid having to face a pain that he does NOT understand- nor can he identify it. In this state of absolute panic, and terror, that the narcissist does the most traumatic damage to his victim. The victim is lowered to the status of less-than-human, so that the narcissist is free to inflict upon her whatever damage necessary to soothe his despair, and terror.
Now, as spiritual beings, we don’t understand abuse. On the deepest level, we know that we are all connected, so we know that there is no logical way that we could hurt another person without also hurting ourselves. You’d know that what I say is true, if you’ve ever made the mistake of hurting someone you deeply care about, and felt the terrible pain of sincere remorse, and the shame we feel for what we’ve done. While you might find it hard to believe, I’m convinced that the narcissist is no different.
I believe that the narcissist feels every bit as bad as we do in these scenarios. BUT…and here’ s the absolute, most pivotal piece of the puzzle.
Basically, if you put everything I’ve written here together, you’d see the one massive block that keeps the narcissist from achieving anything close to healing, is his extreme sensitivity to emotional pain. Crazy, right? But, think about it…
The narcissist fears the intimacy of a close love-relationship because, he fears being completely engulfed- swallowed up- by the other. Rendered invisible. No longer independent and special. He can’t simply forgo the relationship though, because he needs his partner to validate his power, his special-ness, and his very existence. So, he creates drama within the relationship. Pushes his partner away. Mistreats her,when things are going too smoothly.
When the partner reacts to his abuse, the narcissist must pull out all the stops, in order to avoid having to take responsibility for his abuse- taking responsibility means not being perfect, and special, and that means having to wonder why real life is not matching up with his (delusional) reality. Then, that True Self starts to show itself…and the narcissist starts to feel that horrifying void. Pain. He panics and mercilessly rains down every tactic he knows to break his partner, so he can feel justified in whatever wrong thing he did. He must have something to blame, in order to retain his delusion of perfection.
Only when his partner accepts the blame, becomes enraged, or breaks down under the heavy weight of his abuse, does the narcissist feel relief. He then rationalizes that he it wasn’t he who did anything wrong….after all, did everyone see how his partner completely lost it? The narcissist comes to the conclusion that his partner- whom he, of course, loves so much- is, sadly, but obviously mentally unbalanced- probably bipolar. Or he tells himself that she is just one of those people who need to be miserable and just can’t be happy.
In his messed up little world, he files away the memory of the event, conveniently leaving out his behavior and how HE created and instigated the drama in the first place. If you’re thinking that’s pretty messed up, you’re right. It is. But that’s the narcissist for you. And there is the entire reason why narcs DON’T heal (not can’t heal).
In order to heal, the narcissist would have to take full accountability for all his transgressions, and he would have to face his fear of the True Self pain- just for a moment- and only so that he could forgive himself. Really, the narcissist could completely heal himself, if he could only swallow his pride long enough to learn to love himself… what a shame.
~The Narcissist’s Wife