The Lonely Narcissist

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.


Filed under Narcissism

16 responses to “The Lonely Narcissist

  1. I love to people watch. I enjoy sitting in a park and watching people and wondering what their stories are. Sometimes I interact with them, but being more of an introvert, I find joy in watching others enjoy themselves. Unfortunately, when I was with the narcissist, people watching became kind of a dirty thing. The narcissist pointed out flaws from mismatched socks to quirky ways some people walked or carried themselves. He was especially critical of women. At first, I listened closely and was thankful I could not be criticized in such ways. But then I became disgusted by the criticisms he had of others. It was never-ending! I found myself ignoring him and nodding unconditionally in agreement in order to avoid one of his outbursts or rages if I countered his negative observations of others. I hated people watching with him. I felt alone because he was living in a lonely world of darkness and I wanted to leave him there. I finally left and have zero sympathy for him. Being alone in thought and action is where narcissists deserve to be.

    • Paula, I took the liberty of editing your comment as you mentioned and, when I tried to contact you, discovered the link to your YouTube channel. What a precious young man! You are blessed!

      Here’s the link in case anyone else is interested in seeing some fun and special videos from Paula:

      • Hehe! Thank you! My son will enjoy knowing you shared his videos, especially his tutorials. He tells me he’d like to be a teacher and a ninja one day. 🙂

    • Penny

      gosh, this describes my MIL to a “T”. Constant criticism, incessant blathering, put downs, humiliation, emasculation. I recently read that in ancient Hebrew (aka “Old Testament”) that cursing was primarily criticism, as opposed to blessing, which is primarily edifying. So, it’s not just “cussing”, but cursing is criticism [& a critical spirit] which kills the soul. No wonder I am exhausted after being exposed to her. The constant criticism, never being good enough, always being falsely accused when all I did was get up in the morning has worn me down. It really is darkness as you have described. I have no more patience or time for someone who does this. God’s Word says, “I will bless those who bless thee, and will curse those who curse thee”. I realize that God was speaking to the nation of Israel, but I think it can also be applied to personal relationships. I am done with placing myself in the path of a cursing ‘christian’, thus she has succeeded in being alone. Good for you for leaving the darkness and walking into the light!

  2. Sheila

    I left my ex N after 11 years of giving him unconditional love, putting up with his temper tantrums and indiscretions etc. Spending thousands of dollars and hours of my time only for him to leave our relationship to develop another with a hooker, a very rich one though! Can’t tell you what that has done for my self-worth/esteem.
    So, yes I fully concur that Narcissists don’t identify with real love when it’s offered. 😦
    Blessings x

    • These stories are so amazing, so hard for most people to understand. But when you share, others read and find hope and understanding. Thanks, Sheila!

      • Sheila

        Yes it does help to know you are not alone. Sometimes it’s very difficult to put into words just how much an impact this type of narcissistic abuse can have. Thank-you 🙂

  3. laura

    Thank you for this post. My narcissist husband filed for divorce 2.5 months ago and long story short he told me “you never loved me”. This really hurt me because despite our occasional bad fights I have been a never-ending source of unconditional love and support for him through all of the family, personal, and career stress during our marriage. We have a 5month old son and a 19 month old son and he “surprised” me with the divorce notification and refuses for us to go to counseling to try to save our marriage. This post helps remind me that it’s maybe not my issue but his that he can’t accept and didn’t appreciate my love and friendship.

    • Laura, I am so sorry to hear of your pain. You will get through this, but it will take a while to sort things out. One of the puzzles will be understanding just what it is that you have lost. I pray that you have good support around you.

      While I am grateful that my posts give insight, I am always saddened to hear the stories that connect. Please know that many here will be praying for you. This is a safe place to vent and you are welcome to contact me personally. I care.

  4. WTP

    I just wanted to let the author of this blog know how much his posts regarding the Narcissist have helped me. As an adult child of a verbally and sometimes physically abusive N your posts have helped give me some much needed perspective on my childhood. What a relief to know that I AM lovable and that my parent’s behavior really was a reflection on her and not me! There are large periods of time during my childhood that I don’t remember. I also am unable to recall any moments of kindness toward me from my mom. I have been grieving the loss of a parent as a result but I have found comfort that God is the perfect parent and that only He can change her. Thank you God for taking that burden from me!

  5. Penny

    The Star Trek imagery of holodecks has really helped me understand the friction of trying to have a real relationship with a N. It is impossible, b/c they really do objectify people this way, and when you don’t comply, they rage! They use every trick in the book to force you back into the holodeck and “behave”. I was especially amused by the sentence “So, yes, the narcissist loves himself, because he is the only one who can.” How do you truly love and cherish a Stepford Wife? You can’t, and neither can they. I have so often wondered WHY my N even wants a relationship when it is so fake and we are so “flawed”. This post helped me better understand that I am no different than her artificial plants that need no water, and why it feels so empty being in her house.

    • Cecilia K

      Penny, I asked my ex-boyfriend one time after he berated me with a list of my flaws, why he kept pursuing me if found so many things wrong with me. I prefaced the question with this outburst – “Alright! Let’s just stop pretending for One Minute that you even want to be with me. Your opinion of me is obviously so Low that you couldn’t possibly want to be with me.” Then when I asked why he continued to pursue me, he said, “Because I believe you can change.” I skipped the part about me not being the only one with flaws that need changing and went straight to pointing out that you don’t pursue/marry someone in order to change them; you accept them the way they are, because you don’t have the power to change them. He disagreed with me. However, my reaction did scare him and caused him to realize he had gone too far. He apologized and admitted he shouldn’t have laid into me like that. He hugged me, and I couldn’t hug him back (at least not completely), because I was just so weary, numb, hurt, angry and dead at that point.

      That was the one time he brought up counseling – I had brought up the idea some time before that – and suggested we talk to the pastor. But it was too late for me. At that point, I had lost all desire to save the relationship, and I said I no longer wanted to talk to the pastor. He said, “So that’s it?” and showed the beginning signs of going off on me again, so I rolled my eyes, got up and left. He followed me to the door and watched me as I walked to my car. I made some parting semi-friendly insincere comment and drove away. Later I was chastised and guilt-tripped for my “typical behavior” of storming away angry.

      • Penny

        It’s all about power and control. “You can change” is narc-speak for “I can force you to change”. Apologies are mainly about getting you to shut up, not about repairing damage. It’s like you are a TV (object) and they have the remote. They keep pushing buttons on the remote, trying to “control” the TV (you), and when they can’t, they blame the TV….when the real problem is the remote (them). But they will never give up the “remote control”…they always expect the “object” to change. Beyond maddening. Good for you for leaving. Don’t go back. Ever.

  6. Shirlee

    Excellent article. Cleared up some thoughts for me with the Narc I just kicked out of my life.

  7. Sally

    They are just beyond the pale…unbelievably cold, no compassion, and blame anyone and everyone except themselves. So true, they love no one, not even themselves.

  8. “I feel bad for the children they were, but not so much for the adults they have become.” Exactly.

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