It’s Narcissist Friday!
Narcissists are lonely.
“What? Narcissists are lonely? Get real. My narcissist is surrounded by people. I’m the one who’s lonely!”
Yeah, I can hear the objections. But I would still suggest that narcissists are lonely people. We know that it is possible to be lonely while surrounded by people. In the airport, in the coffee shop, waiting at the doctor’s office—no matter how many people are there with us, we can be lonely.
In the future, of course, no one will need to be lonely. We will have holodecks, like Star Trek, and we will simply create the people we want around us. They will perform the way we want them to perform and they will be our friends. If one of them fails us or, through faulty programming, betrays us, we can just delete that person or do whatever reprogramming is needed. They can look and act the way we want them to look and act. That should cure loneliness forever.
Really? Would that satisfy you? I understand that it might be fun for a while, but would it meet your heart needs? I don’t think so. When the people aren’t real, the need for love can’t be met.
And the narcissist doesn’t see other people as real.
For his or her own protection, the narcissist has depersonalized other people. No one is real. Some might be harder to understand or manipulate, but the narcissist believes that is just a matter of finding the right hook or threat or promise. People are artificial and can be abused, discarded, changed, whatever.
But narcissists need love just like the rest of us. Their problem is that they believe they have to manufacture the love they receive. Because people are not real, the only love the narcissist ever gets is love she makes for herself. So, yes, the narcissist loves himself, because he is the only one who can.
But, you say, my narcissist has received all kinds of love from me and from others. Actually, he hasn’t. You have given it, but he hasn’t received it—at least not in the way you think. He thinks he has done something to deserve it. He gives himself credit for the love you have given. And, because he deserves your love, it isn’t really love in his mind. He searches and longs for real love, but he doesn’t believe it when he sees it.
All of this makes for a lonely life. People are not real and cannot satisfy. The narcissist is alone in a crowded world. But she lives in anger and depression and fear because the people aren’t real.
I know people who can make friends with someone in the doctor’s office. They ask questions and listen and care and, in the time before they are called inside, they have connected with someone. They talk at the airport or on the plane and they communicate love. It might be a shallow and temporary love, but the others know their lives have been touched by a real person. Those people drive away loneliness, in themselves and others, simply because they see others as real and valuable.
You see why the narcissist can’t do this? He might strike up conversations. He sees people as potential customers, as jokes to talk about later, or as opportunities for him to look good. Some of them will appreciate his connection and never know they meant nothing to him. But none of them will touch his heart.
I think it must be very sad to be a narcissist. I feel bad for the children they were, but not so much for the adults they have become. There is love out there, lots of it, but you have to accept it as real.