Feeling Sorry for the Narcissist

Narcissist Mask Slips

Imagine having to go through life wearing a mask. You can never remove it, at least in public. You worry constantly that someone will see the ugliness that hides behind it.

Much of the time, the mask is extremely irritating. You want to rip it off. But doing so would expose your biggest secret. You're not who you pretend to be. If people knew the truth, they'd sprint in the other direction.

Wearing a mask day in and day out is exhausting. Despite your best efforts, occasionally, it slips. When it does, a beast appears. Sometimes, it's just a brief appearance, and the ogre is replaced with an easy-going smile.

But you live in fear that slippage is going to happen, no matter what you do.

Then, there are those unusually perceptive folks. They see through the mask. They are repulsed by what's behind it. These people pose a threat, and they must be neutralized and marginalized. That way, if they decided to call you out, no one would believe them.

Imagine going through life wearing a mask, and how truly stifling it must be.

Malicious Behavior Detection

If you've ever been hurt by a malicious person, you're probably familiar with the term "malignant narcissist." You're also aware that some people wear masks to cover their darker personality traits.

Although such people may appear happy, their inner misery is what compels them to abuse others. Some social scientists, who study morally disordered people, seem to think that this dulls the emptiness and pain. They are probably correct.

Please understand that I'm not a psychologist, and I have no formal training in this type of personality disorder, other than a couple of introductory, college-level psychology course. My "education" came after meeting one of these characters in real life.

Although I am not qualified to diagnose anyone, you and I can determine when a certain set of behaviors qualifies as malicious. So I'm going to shift the focus away from particular labels, and talk about actions.

Maliciousness is when someone deliberately plans to harm someone else, and then gleefully follows through on their plan. Watching another person in pain makes them happy. Someone who operates this way is also capable of constructing elaborately sophisticated scenarios designed to destroy a fellow human being.

Unfortunately, a minority of the population seems to have a severe character flaw, which, apparently, fuels these actions. It's good to know this, so you can protect yourself especially whenever a new person enters your life.

However, if you've read this far, you've probably already become entangled with a narcissist, and you're trying to put your life back together. If that's the case, then read on. I'm going to explain why it's good for us to pity these mean, malicious beings.

Narcissists are pathetic.
Narcissists are pathetic. | Source

Getting Hurt by a Narcissist

The normal response to narcissistic abuse is anger. From a non-professional standpoint, I can tell you this is a normal emotion, and probably a healthy one, at least for a short time. However, over the long run, it will eat away at your soul. Anger will cause you great harm and much distress. That's why it's much better to view the nasty experience through the lens of pity.

Why Do I Feel Sorry for the Narcissist?

Of course, the term "narcissist" shouldn't be thrown around lightly, especially by those of us whom are non professionals. Also, we should never talk about a specific person being a "narcissist" with others, simply because it isn't nice to point out someone else's faults, as people with personality disorders are so prone to do. We certainly don't want to model them.

However, we should be aware of certain behavior patterns, so we can protect ourselves from emotional predators. So, labels aside, one fact remains. A minority of people, both men and women, do not relate to others honestly.

Dr. Martha Stout, PhD., who wrote The Sociopath Next Door, estimates that 1 in every 25 people have the potential to abuse others, in hideous ways, yet feel no remorse.

Instead, some of them appear to love causing trouble. Crafty and clever, very few people can see through their artfully crafted mask. This makes it all the more frustrating, because those you should be able to count on for support let you down, and side with the narcissist, because, after all, he or she is so "nice."

All of this can do a number on your psyche. You feel weak, frightened, devastated and discouraged. But in your weakness there's a silver lining. That's because you have the potential to bounce back stronger than ever. The narcissist, on the other hand, has dug himself deeper, and likely gained no insight in the process.

Narcissism Behind the Mask

Should you feel sorry for someone whom abuses others?

  • Yes
  • No
See results without voting

Narcissists are Bullies

I'm not sure if all bullies are narcissists. But I've never known a morally disordered person whom wasn't a bully.

When a narc picks a target, he or she is very single minded in this pursuit. For awhile, you seem occupy their uppermost thoughts. Your reactions provide thrill, entertainment and a sense of accomplishment. However, narcissistic people get bored easily, so, eventually, this game will become tiresome.

Then, they move on and find someone else to torment. This, however, should give you evidence of how empty a narcissist's own life has become. This type of unbalanced behavior proves you are dealing with a case of arrested development.

Happy, successful people do not try to elevate themselves at the expense of someone else. They don't need to, because they can stand on their own merits.

Sympathy for the Narcissist

So, if you've ever been targeted by one of these very disturbed individuals, take a step back and try to see things from their perspective.

Behind the mask, now showing signs of cracking, is a seriously sick person. They may be able to hide this fact from most people, but not everyone. Left unchecked, their behavior has the potential to get worse.

Oftentimes, people with antisocial personality disorder, who disregard the rights of others, also have a problem with substance abuse. This means they're headed for a crash landing, at some point.

Many disturbed people also have poor impulse control, and they spend themselves into debt. This, too, is bound to catch up with them.

It's probably a safe bet that their personal relationships are a mess, as they don't have the capacity to truly love others.

Perhaps, as a Catholic, I see things a bit differently. From my vantage point, the biggest tragedy is that their bad behavior will have eternal consequences. A malicious person wastes precious time, which could have been spent on personal growth, as well as helping others and making the world a better place. Someday, they're going to regret this.

I believe we're all going to be judged, by a loving and merciful God. However, this is balanced by His justice.

At the end of our lives, we'll have to give a full accounting of our time on earth. Take pity on those poor souls who spent it mistreating others.


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ArtDiva profile image

ArtDiva 18 months ago from Yountville, CA

Feeling ashamed, caring and inviting the wrong person into our lives is what's felt. You question what's wrong with yourself not seeing the person you thought a friend really wasn't a friend after all. Really like how you presented this article, soft and non-clinical, on the narcissistic personality— all too present in a "me" society which in of itself is sad, in my opinion. A really good read.

Pawpawwrites profile image

Pawpawwrites 18 months ago from Kansas

I never gave much thought to how I feel about them, but I guess I do pity them somewhat. I know I wouldn't want to have to live like they do.

Julia life-love11 profile image

Julia life-love11 18 months ago

Very good read !

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 18 months ago from USA

It's much easier for me to feel pity for the nasty narcissists I have known at a safe distance (in both time and space). It has also helped to remind myself that genetics and sometimes terrible environmental situations such as childhood abuse or neglect can contribute to their mentally disordered patterns of thought and behavior. Of course, it's easy to forget all that once they re-enter your life or take a swipe at you.

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 18 months ago from USA Author

Hi ArtDiva, Pawpaw, Julia and Flourish, thanks so much for reading. Yes, it will all come flooding back if they get to swipe you again. I wasn't able to feel much pity when too close to all this. Distance is the key.

Susan Trump profile image

Susan Trump 18 months ago from San Diego, California


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 18 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Very interesting and I can see this often in life that our best remedy for anger is to pity those who we would be angry at.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 18 months ago from The Beautiful South

Knowing one of these personally (well; at least one for a fact) I find it hard to believe they are miserable on the inside. I think they are too busy worrying about their wants and needs to give a thought to how they really are. It is so terrible loving someone like this (as in family) because you can get them out of your life but never out of your mind and wondering what they are up to now and who are they hurting. Great food for thought article. Voting up and sharing.

Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 18 months ago from the wadi near the little river

I enjoyed your article, but I don't feel sorry for narcissists and I don't feel sorry for murders either. I feel sorry for their victims.

justthemessenger profile image

justthemessenger 18 months ago from The Great Midwest

The narcissistic behaviors are an outgrowth of strife, wrath and hatred, things that the Scriptures refer to as fruit of the flesh which is at odds with the spirit of God. (Galatians 5:20) I'm not a "professional" either but when I detect these things in someone, I know to be careful.

brakel2 profile image

brakel2 18 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Thank you for sharing this well written article. I have a relative who is a Narcissist, and sometimes I feel badly for her. Most of the time, I feel sorry for her family. I don't know how she developed this disorder, but I do know she is not happy with herself. She sets goals that hurt others and sets out to get what she wants. What she wants are her own desires in whatever way possible, and I do not think she knows how she hurts people. She becomes angry at people who did not make her angry, but maybe someone in his family made her angry. The disorder is very complicated, and I wish it could be easily cured. Blessings, Audrey

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 18 months ago from USA Author

Susan, thanks for reading, Eric, thank you again, as always, Jackie, if they're not miserable at the moment, eventually they will be. This is along the principle of "enjoy now, pay later."

WriterFox, thank you for reading. Although most of my sympathy goes toward the victims, in all cases, I feel sorry for murderers because of what they will eventually be facing.

Hi justthemessenger, more and more, as a non professional, I'm beginning to think this is more spiritual than anything else.

brakel2, thank you so much for reading and I am so sorry to hear about your relative. Of course she's miserable, as would anyone be who hurts people and seems to get so angry. God Bless you too.

VioletteRose profile image

VioletteRose 18 months ago

I agree, feeling sorry for the narcissists will hopefully help to bring peace to ourselves, as long as we don't have to put up with them again. Thanks for writing this!

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a useful article with an interesting point of view. Thanks for sharing another thought provoking article in your malignant narcissism series. You're creating a great resource for people.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean

Thanks for these very helpful insights into responding to the narcissist. Especially like your take on bullies. Very educational and voted up!

Phyllis Davenport 13 months ago

Yes this is a very good read. I have been beating myself up over the abuse I suffered. I walked away with no self worth, dazed, confused, and heartbroken. Then mad at myself for letting it happen because I have always been strong and self sufficient. All of this torn away from me. The emotional and physical abuse were extreme I had no idea why but I knew my heart and soul could not take another day. I walked out and still could not get this vile man out of my head, so I began reading all I could find about narcissim. There is power with knowledge. I finally thought to see what I could find out spiritually this is where I had my ah ha moment. My goodness feel sorry for his soul is lost forever because he is so extreme I can honestly say he will never listen to reason. I on the other hand have a good heart and from now on it can only go up hill for me. I will be strong like I once was. I know without doubt l will indeed feel love and share love again because I know what love is. His lost mean spirited soul never will. I believe praying and feeling sorry for him and even forgiving him will only make me feel like myself again. My thinking on this is he didn't ask to be this way and I'm sure his parents didn't realize what they where creating by sheltering him and putting him on a god like pedestal. I can look back and see what happened to him. They have passed on and of course he got worse. So yes I pity him how sad to be so vile and cunning at the same time. A fake. I will keep life real, smile, and love again. He will never be truly happy so he does suffer unaware and incapable of turning his life around. So yes yes yes I do pity him. He is the one that looks weak to me not myself!!

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 13 months ago from USA Author

Hi Phyllis, thanks so much for reading. Despite how persistent and unchanging narcissism usually is, I don't believe anyone is beyond help until they draw their last breath, because they can always turn back to God. So please continue to pray for him. Narcissists are so troubled and miserable. I pity them. I've since met another since I wrote this, but moved her quickly out of my life. I feel sorry for her.

DDE profile image

DDE 10 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I voted NO because I know what it is like to have experienced such behaviors from a narcissistic person.

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 10 months ago from USA Author

Hi Devika, thanks for reading. I feel better viewing them as very broken, sad and miserable people in need of healing. They aren't happy, or they wouldn't treat others this way.

passionatelearnr profile image

passionatelearnr 8 months ago

Interesting.I agree with you.

savvydating profile image

savvydating 6 months ago

I've just read "People of the Lie," by M. Scott Peck. (I read it once before, but I skipped parts) Anyway, he writes about the Malignant narcissist and how they are to be pitied for the very same reasons you listed. He also said they are terrified of being "found out." I called out one of them recently, and he predictably slid into "projecting" and using me as a scapegoat.

It's maddening, especially when everyone around you remains silent and does nothing to back you up. But I have realized that sustained anger is useless. One should have pity for the malignant narcissist. But as you well know, that doesn't mean you have to spend any time around them. They will only bring you down and "lower" the very environment that they exist in.

Malignant narcissism is a truly horrible phenomenon. Dr. Peck actually refers to it as evil. I agree, which is why my pity for them has limits.

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 6 months ago from USA Author

Hi Savvydating, I really liked that book. I read it a few years ago, and it was so insightful.

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 months ago from Nashville Tn.

Having been a victim of someone with NPD it is clear that these personalities have a need to control others - especially their victims. As you have stated - they are bullies deriving pleasure from hurting others.

Thank you for this well-written hub. How liberating it feels to have your support!

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 months ago from California

I have worked with narcissists clinically. It is a tough diagnosis--all of the personality disorders are difficult. Narcissists frequently have poor ego strength, but they show the opposite, so it can feel draining to be with them--

truthandlight 4 months ago

My sister is a malignant narrisist and my mother a BPD ..I spent 15 yrs in a whirlwind of hell . I was attacked physically , emotionally, mentally and spiritually (along with my grown kids,grandkids and husband , although it was only through me that they attacked them as well) from the age of 40 to the age of 55 first by sister and then the 'mother" joined the gang and it filtered on out in the rest of the family. But it was sister in the command seat. Finally 2 yrs ago I walked away, I opened my eyes. Being raised by a bpd mother, you learn to put up with and be pathologically patient with behaviors most people would not. Whys did it take me so long? Because I had to face the fact my family did not really love me but once I did it was a peace that passith all understanding. The truth of the situation started unraveling after that at quantum speed. Revelations exposed to the light and I just am amazed as I watch it unfolding. It was if I surrendered and let it they exposed themselves. Sad and tragic ending to what should not have been but I am OK , I understand myself and the world around so much better. Do I hate them ? No..I am really not even angry anymore… maybe still somewhat sad for what is not , but at peace. And yes I feel pity for them somehow.

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 4 months ago from USA Author

I can't help but feel sorry for them. I know what you mean. Even if you don't feel as if your family loves you, please remember that God loves you very much.

truthandlight 4 months ago

Thank-You for saying that. Yes, its really the only way I made it through all of the shock and confusion of what I know now is a severe scapegoating process. My faith in God is rock solid now !

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 4 months ago from USA Author

That's good. He probably allowed this trial for that very reason. God bless you.

teresa 6 weeks ago

This is a truly wonderful post. I have too much history to delve into: art dealer who should have known better- resulted in almost financially broke art history student, who now actually does knows better. Your article is succinct, precise, enlightening and factual- thank you. Extremely well written and totally relevant. Gratefully.Teresa.

Georgie 4 weeks ago

I find it so sad that the reason most narcissists are narcissists is because they were neglected or abused by a parent. That makes me feel very sorry for them and sad however no one should be abused. No one deserves to be and it's so unfair to treat another person cruelly. I was with a narcissist for 2 years. I still love the nice one of him, the other one was evil. I left when I realised if I didn't, if the physical side didn't kill me then the stress would. I still care about him, I'm stupid I know.

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