Can Narcissists Change?

The simple answer? Yes. And no.

Narcissism is a spectrum disorder. Those on the middle-lower end of the spectrum can become self-aware and learn to change. But only if they want to. It must come from within.

The problem is that most narcissists are unaware that they are the ones responsible for the turmoil in their lives. Those narcissists who do become aware often do so after a crippling narcissistic injury – a painful rejection or another life-changing event, or due to seeking help for symptoms of depression. In short, narcissists change when it’s more painful to continue their behaviors than it is to change.

While someone with NPD may come off to others as egotistical, self-absorbed, selfish, overly confident and mean, these behaviors were likely created by the disordered individual as a defense mechanism to protect them from extremely low self-esteem, often stemming from abusive childhoods. From the narcissists’ perspective, we are simply standing up for ourselves in a world that has devalued and rejected us from our earliest memories.

The sad irony is that our disorder is what is keeping us from experiencing the unconditional love we so desperately need and that everyone deserves.

Unfortunately, those on the higher end of the spectrum may never become self-aware enough to see the damage their behavior causes in relationships, or have the desire to change.

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