I have someone in my life I think is one. I think it’s important to set healthy boundaries with them, but I also feel it’s really healing to recognize they miss out on the most enjoyable aspects of life as well. That doesn’t excuse their behavior, but I do think it helps those of us hurt in their wake to understand their selfishness doesn’t serve them. Let me explain.
Some common traits of narcissists include:
Nothing can be their fault.
They ask very few questions and rely heavily on their assumptions.
They feel entitled to control things that aren’t theirs to control.
And they think they can’t change.
Taking a closer look at these…
If you can’t recognize anything is your fault, you can’t experience forgiveness and grace. Sure people can forgive others without them knowing, but you’d have to admit wrong before you’d actually be able to experience their forgiveness for yourself. And forgiveness/grace is one of the most healing and connecting emotions we can experience.
If you ask few questions and rely heavily on your assumptions, you can’t actually be close to anyone, and close relationships strongly affect health and happiness. To hear someone’s suffering, to feel their struggles, is key to knowing someone and a requirement to being close to them. When all you see is what you want to see in people, and can’t genuinely feel for them, not only are you not a support to that person, you can’t be close to them at all.
If you feel entitled to control things that aren’t yours to control, not only do you cause others to resent your presence, you cause yourself way more distress and disappointment. Trying to dictate how things go in areas that are none your business doesn’t only make you overbearing and difficult to others, but it catches you up in drama you wouldn’t have if you would just relinquish control. On the contrary, if you respect others decisions to make their own choices, you actually might be asked for advice and have more influence. At a minimum letting go of that which isn’t yours to control will make your life calmer and less full of drama.
And lastly, if you think you can’t change, you minimize your happiness because growth is important for happiness. To feel like your contributing, learning, advancing, is important for happiness. People who think they can’t change tend to remain stuck. Stuck in patterns that they may feel serve them the best but don’t allow them to know better things. It’s difficult for any of us to change, but if you stay stagnant, unfortunately you miss out on all the joy growth brings.
So if you know a narcissist, I say try not to waste anger on their selfish behavior, they’re missing out on some of the most beautiful things in life.