Narcissists Cannot Heal or Get Better

Updated on July 3, 2017

A question we hear asked a lot is how can the narcissist heal, or how can narcissists get better. The truthful answer is that the narcissist cannot heal. Narcissists cannot get better. The narcissist is a shattered persona. The narcissist's mind - their very self - broke into pieces under whatever stress and pressure they were subjected to before the personality was even formed yet, and before they could even understand what was going on.

And then it stayed that way.

And then it formed that way.

And then it grew into being that way.

There is no way to put this back together to make it whole. It is not possible. A personality disorder affects every aspect of a person's thinking. It colors every single thing they do, say and think. There is no way to change this. It's who and what they are. They are many fragmented pieces walking around behind a mask. In that way, it is similar to dissociative identity disorder, which we used to call multiple personality disorder.

Now, that doesn't mean there is no hope for malignant narcissists to become better in some ways - especially depending on which disorder they have. Some parts of some narcissists' behavior can be changed, through therapy and possibly medication. If they can understand they have a disorder, admit that the problem is with them and their thinking, and commit to treatment wholeheartedly, there is a possibility that some of their more awful behaviors can be changed - but again, that is all that can happen, and it's a long shot. Their way of thinking and feeling will not change. They will still be a narcissist. They will still be a shattered persona with no true identity and no true ability to love or see people as real and equal in importance. They can never be made whole.

If you drop a plate on the ground and it shatters, the plate is broken. Even if you could somehow glue it back together, there will be chunks and pieces and splinters missing. There will be holes and gaps and jagged edges. The pieces cannot truly connect to each other. It can never be the same. It can never be whole. It is simply a bunch of shards stuck together. It can function for a period of time, as the narcissist also can function for a period of time, but there is always the threat that it could come apart under pressure because it is already broken. With enough pressure, it will come apart.

This is why you cannot love narcissists back to mental health. There is no mental health to come back to. The possibility of them being a whole person was destroyed before you ever met this person. It was destroyed before they were ever even old enough to have a true identity. You cannot force them to be different. You cannot wish or make or hope the narcissist better. When you love a narcissist, you do not love a person, because there is no actual whole person there. There are simply endlessly-shifting masks and pieces coming to the forefront and then fading into the background as another takes over.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        This hurt me! 

        3 months ago

        I was diagnosed on narcissistic spectrum (and also asd) , and this article is very insulting. I do recognize that I think of myself first in each situation and don't realize what others are thinking or feeling, but that doesn't mean I don't care. It just doesn't dawn on me to think about it. I feel guilty each time I'm told I did something insensitive. I don't deliberately set out to hurt people. Empathy is difficult to remember, but not impossible. We aren't psychopaths. You sound like you're writing about Dexter, not narcs. There is a big difference. The main difference being that we don't have malignant intentions.. we're just immature.

      • SinDelle profile imageAUTHOR

        The Little Shaman 

        8 months ago from Macon, GA

        @John: Personality and identity are not the same thing. It isn't a metaphor. The identity of pathologically narcissistic people is often seriously fractured from trauma, similar to what happens in Disassociative Identity Disorder. Once again, personality and identity are not the same thing.

        Good luck to you.

      • profile image

        John 

        8 months ago

        This article is ridiculous. I am a narcissist. I think and behave in ways I recognize are unhealthy, wrong, and sometimes unkind to others in an effort to maintain my unstable self-esteem. However, that does not make me "broken." Personality is not something that can "break" into "pieces" that are "shattered." It's a very nice visual metaphor and seems compelling, but these terms and phrases aren't explained by referring to any actual facts about how we know the mind works. You could replace narcissism in the article with nearly any other personality or mood disorder, and it would still make sense because the powerful metaphors aren't supported by analyzing of the processes underlying narcissism.

        If any other narcissists are reading this, don't let this article bring you down. Frankly, it's irresponsible for this to be such a popular search result for narcissists seeking to better themselves. It takes courage to face a personality disorder and work on yourself. It is not impossible to heal and grow and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

        Source: a psychologist

      • SinDelle profile imageAUTHOR

        The Little Shaman 

        10 months ago from Macon, GA

        Alice: You can change your behavior if you don't like it. :)

      • profile image

        alice 

        10 months ago

        So what's the point? Why am I here? If I can't change I might as well fully buy into my narcissism right?

      • profile image

        Scott 

        23 months ago

        Well by those reasons why am I even living if there is no hope? Thanks for giving me hope when there was none

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